Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Various Artists • Urgh! A Music War

I'm pretty amazed that many of the bands on this live compilation album (culled from most of what made it to the film of the same name) are still recognized by people of my ilk: That is, new wave/punk rock nerds who still listen to this stuff! I'm also impressed that there were so many shades of new wave, punk, post-punk, whathaveyou, back in late 1981 when this came out. 'Cause it don't appear to be that way anymore!

Urgh! A Music War was released to movie theaters, and found its way (primarily) to midnight showings in the bigger cities. With performances by The Police, XTC, Wall of Voodoo, X, Devo, The Cramps, Oingo Boingo, Joan Jett, Gary Numan, The Go-Go's and MORE, it's pretty hard to go wrong with the movie or the vinyl. The 2-record set was released by A&M, and lucky for me I just found a super clean (probably never played) copy at a local store for only eight bucks. First thing I did was burn a CD for my buddy Steve who needed "Driven to Tears" by the Police, "Foolish I Know" by Jools Holland, and "Respectable Street" by XTC. Then I listened to the whole thing, and I remembered that this may be the second-best ever compilation of its kind.*

Now, if you gotta have the video, you CAN get it. Warner Bros. has it on DVD, and it's actually made to order. It's a cool thing because so many movies (musical and not) just sit there without a DVD release, even though there might be a video master collecting dust in some vault. Since a VHS copy of Urgh! costs an arm and a leg when you find one on Ebay, it's well worth the twenty-odd bucks to get your very own personal copy. I ordered one for myself after hearing this again; I saw the movie once at a local music venue as part of some festival (Bumbershoot?) back in college. I'll let you know the quality of the DVD once I get it. If only all "wars" were this entertaining.
4/5 (A&M) (*The first best is IRS Greatest Hits Vols. 2 & 3.)

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