TYPICAL GIRLS: VOLUME 5 by Various Artists
Black vinyl, Black & white printed sleeves, Includes download code, 2020
Being the 5th installation of the Typical Girls series, this is clearly not the first rodeo for Emotional Response, a label releasing quality content since 2012, including many comps. The Typical Girls endeavour is like a contemporary version of that homemade 12 disc 'A Reference of Female-Fronted Punk Rock 1977-89’ that circulated around the blogosphere a decade or so ago, though including sounds that would be considered more 'indie' by those standards. Nonetheless, many of the artists on Typical Girls 5 seem to channel the best of the burgeoning DIY scene of that period, even if subject matter has shifted from FM radio (‘frequent mutilation’) to smart phones. TG5 certainly divulges an embarrassment of riches - soon after dropping the needle, one is struck by a diversity of approaches across guitar-centric genres from fem-identifying creators around the western world, united in their ubiquitous talent and unequivocal ingenuity. Opener Empat Lima seems to claim a direct Slits influence, while Color TV (L.A. not Minnesota) are on a very different, polished power pop trip. From the off kilter yet melodic punk of Child’s Pose to the classic Discharge-style hardcore of Snob to the unabashed weirdness of Table Sugar to the Scratch Acid-esque noise rock of Drama to the avant-pop of Hélène Barbier, there’s something here for all stripes. The dynamic track from Kamala and the Karnivores was an unexpected highlight for me, and quick research reveals Kamala’s impressive DIY pedigree with the Berkley 80’s - 90’s punk scene. The LP features a spartan design and layout, which is attractive and effective, but some insightful or even abstract liner notes that bring more raison d'être to the project could really elevate this series from a recurring showcase to a cherished institution. Kudos to ER for bringing this type of thing to vinyl at all though - the music spans an arc of brilliance, making for an inspiring listen.