There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Modern artists seeking pop perfection and radio airplay for their singles are expected to run, on average, a three-minute mile. But even that mark seems interminably long in certain punk-rock circles. The short-attention-span manufacturers at the Fat Wreck Chords label are intent on knocking the standard down to a mere half-minute. The Fizzy Bangers clock in the most concise performance on this novel compilation, with “Short Attention Span” running an apt eight seconds for the album opener, while a few bands who should know better can’t quite beat the clock—Unwritten Law’s “Armageddon Singalong” times out at :34, the Dwarves’ “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” pushes an epic :37, and Bad Religion’s “Out of Hand” runs to an unwieldy :39. Otherwise radio-friendly bands Blink 182, Nerf Herder, and the Mr. T Experience squander their time reeling off nonsensical naughty language, and they’re certainly not the only ones. But more esteemed radio airwaves colleagues Green Day, the Offspring, Tilt, Sick of It All, Down by Law, NOFX, Pennywise, and the Muffs each work the time limit to great advantage, packing quick-witted punk gems into the tiny parcels. Green Day’s fine acoustic number “The Ballad of Wilhelm Fink” (:31) is among the band’s best. But, except for certain longtime practitioners of the form—Citizen Fish, the Subhumans, All, D.O.A., and the Vandals—most of the other bands prove they don’t need any more time by using their 30 seconds to show how little they actually have to say, notably the Dillinger Four, with “Farts Are Jazz to Assholes.” —Colin Bane