Album Review: Fat Wreck Chords – Fat Music Vol. 8: Going Nowhere Fat

imageIt would be difficult in today’s world, with music of every genre accessible in seconds, to understand how vital compilations such as those produced by Fat Wreck in the nineties and noughties used to be. For punk kids thirsting for the music they’d suddenly fallen in love with, they were a gateway into the beautiful unknown – beyond the mainstream and into the undergrowth of subculture, this mysterious and spellbinding world of rebellion.

‘Going Nowhere Fat’, the tenth compilation released by Fat Wreck, may not carry the same magic as its distant predecessors. Nonetheless, it is still a worthy tribute to a label that, despite the passage of time, still manages to adapt and survive after 25 years. This album doesn’t just wheel out old favourites and hope people still care – it’s full of fresh and exciting new talent to take the label forwards.

Fat Music Vol. 8: Going Nowhere Fat by Fat Wreck Chords

Minnesota favourites Banner Pilot take the opening slot with ‘Modern Shakes’ which is in honesty pretty typical of their likable brand of melodic punk. They’re followed by the superb Masked Intruder and their track ‘The Most Beautiful Girl’ which is so uplifting you’d have to be dead inside not to enjoy it. As you continue listening track by track it’s striking how varied the songs are and what a wide spectrum the ‘punk’ label can cover today.

The old favourites like Lagwagon, Strung Out and Good Riddance are of course present, but definitely not to make up the numbers. They all contribute tracks that sound as fast, furious and passionate as anything they released in their heyday and remind you that if you think it’s not worth buying their albums anymore you’re missing out.

Meanwhile you’ve got a whole host of newer bands to the label who all bring their own elements and ingredients to the party. There’s toyGuitar with their funtime surf punk vibe, Get Dead with their raucous street punk, Night Birds who are real old school dark and dirty sounding, and Pears who are snotty and fast.

Leftover Crack make a welcome return with the track ‘The Lie of Luck’ which shows that they’ve lost absolutely none of their bile and aggression. It’s a shame that there aren’t more girl fronted bands on here given that Fat Mike has always made an effort to champion them in the past, but Bad Cop/Bad Cop are present and show how they’re one of the coolest outfits around right now with the poppy and insanely catchy ‘Nightmare’.

NOFX carry on their ongoing tradition of sticking B-sides and demos on the comp with the slightly-weak-by-their-standards ‘SF Clits’ and then we have a few more surprising additions including Snuff and The Real McKenzies (both still going strong despite seeming old 15 years ago) and CJ Ramone.

The 25 songs on this release not only represent excellent value for money but they also represent quite definitively that despite what others wish to tell you, this music definitely isn’t dead. The legacy of Fat Wreck Chords lives on and strong, and this is a worthy volume in a collection of collections which will be looked back upon with great pride.


’Fat Music Vol. 8: Going Nowhere Fat’ by Various Artists is out now on Fat Wreck Chords.

Fat Wreck Chords links:

Words by Alex Phelan (@listen_to_alex)


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