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July 24, 2024

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Hellcat Records Presents...Give 'Em the Boot
Hellcat Records

By: Alex Steininger

Hellcat Records is the brainchild of Tim Armstrong and Brett Gurewitz. Serving up some great ska bands, punk bands, oi bands, as well as hardcore bands you'll find everything you need at Hellcat Records. They're kind of a one-stop shop record label for all the punks and rudies of the world. And their first release is a compilation of many of the bands they'll be bringing to you in the coming months, as well as some classic Epitaph bands.

No Epitaph related compilation would be complete without Tim Armstrong's genius mind at work, and what do you find on this compilation? An unreleased Rancid song kicking off the twenty track disc. Tim's scratchy vocals add a very rough touch to his melodic punk songs, while the fuzz of the guitars add sheer power. The bass can't be stopped with Matt Freeman behind it, while the drums keep the time to the millisecond. Hepcat, hailing from California, serve up their brand of traditional ska on "Can't Wait." The Pietasters and their donation to the disc, "New Breed," serve up their combination of traces of traditional ska brought up to date with their third wave, up tempo, danceable ska beats. But don't worry, if you like ska but are just craving your doses of oi and punk, the compilation has that for you as well. The Business serve up "Spirit of the Streets" hot and spicy. Fast paced punk/oi just the way you crave it. Wet and greasy and full of raw power. Skinnerbox, riding high on their latest release on Moon Ska Records, contribute their fusion of reggae and ska with "Does He Love You." This song, second only to Rancid's track (and a close second), heats up the disc to almost melting temperatures. Django's voice drills a hole straight to your heart with his straight ahead lyrical approach, while the rest of the band warms your sole with the clean cut dancing melodies. Don't waste time, get up and enjoy yourself during this track. Speaking of Django, his other band Stubborn All-Stars contribute "Open Season" to the disc as well. This time he goes straight to the roots and gives you a taste of traditional ska. Although the lyrics aren't as bold, interesting, or as well written as they are on the Skinnerbox track, you'll find his voice is always enjoyable. New to the Epitaph staff is Union 13, a California hardcore outfit covering Rancid's "Roots Radicals." Half the songs are in Spanish, but you can enjoy Rancid covers in any language. And these guys do a great job of bringing you a powerful, fast, and loud cover sure to please the biggest of Rancid fans. The CD spins down with The Dave Hillyard Rocksteady 7 and their song "Playtime." The horns are so hot they could melt butter, and they do.

Epitaph hit it big when they brought us some of the hottest bands burning up the scene, and now Tim Armstrong and Epitaph are bringing you some of the hottest ska, punk, hardcore, and oi music available today. If there was every any question on how talented Tim Armstrong is, it's settled now. Tim and Hellcat are sure to hit gold in no time. Lookout baby, because there's a hellcat on the prowl and he's gonna get you. I'll give this compilation a B+.

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