Wednesday, 21 June 2017

'The Shortest Distance: A South Florida Compilation' - Fiddler Records - 1998

'The Shortest Distance: A South Florida Compilation' - Fiddler Records - 1998

So here's a long story. In the early 00s, VICTORY RECORDS released a DVD called 'Release: A Punk / Hardcore Documentary', featuring interviews with lots of bands (including SICK OF IT ALL, FACE TO FACE, YUPPICIDE, IGNITE, WESTON, EARTH CRISIS, AGENT ORANGE, etc.) talking about punk scenes at that time. As well as being a generally cool little documentary, two things really stood out for me: the song over the end credits (which, after some research I discovered was the phenomenal 'Picks' by a band called QUIT), and an interview with a seventeen year old called Amy who briefly chronicled putting on a release show for the first 7-inch that she was releasing on her label.

For years after watching the doc., I listened to QUIT online, and 'Picks' has since become an all time favourite tune (I won't gush too much here, but just hearing the opening chords makes my eyes water), but it wasn't until last year that I decided to see if anything more came of Amy. A couple of Google searches later and I discovered that her label, FIDDLER RECORDS had gone on to put out tonnes of amazing stuff, and were pretty much the catalyst for the success of bands like NEW FOUND GLORY and THE BLED. She'd also recently written a novel called 'A Million Miles' about a girl who was running her own label and going on tour with a band who's record she was putting out.

Inevitably I got in touch with Amy pretty sharpish and ordered not only a compilation that she'd put out in the late 90s that exclusively featured 'Picks' by QUIT, but also her novel and a tee (and a very small hoody). Given that I'd pretty much ordered the comp for one song, I was curious but wouldn't mind if the rest of the tracks didn't hit me quite as much. Boy, was I in for a shock; it very quickly became a favourite compilation (and I've listened to a lot of comps). Just like 'Picks', every track on it pretty much gels perfectly with my music taste; fast, super melodic skatepunk / melodic punk-rock that has that pure energy and rawness that you just don't get with FAT WRECK and EPITAPH bands. There are early tunes from NEW FOUND GLORY, CHRIS CARRABBA (of DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL) and his early band VACANT ANDYS (who were the band on Amy's first 7-inch), some more perfect melodic punk tunes from MILKSHED, DAN'S ARMY, PIVOT, ANCHORMAN, GOING NOWHERE, and ONE + ONE (love that guys vocals), the odd harder tune from bands like LAST MINUTE, and even some ska from POOPY PANTS and KING 7 AND THE SOULSONICS.

I've only listed about half of the bands here, but if you're into real skatepunk, every second of this will be perfect for you; I couldn't recommend it enough. I think the artwork is done by that guy who did loads of stuff for HOT WATER MUSIC too. Sometimes it's hard to get into new stuff as you get older, but this comp from 1998 blew me away in 2016. You can grab it from FIDDLER RECORDS or listen to the whole thing on Youtube. I can also highly recommend Amy's novel 'A Million Miles'.
Amy, you are awesome.