As if the music biz wasn’t a difficult enough place to make a living, 2020 comes along and throws everything under the bus. With live music all but a memory, sadly Nashville’s Sweet Time Booking had to ditch their annual Sweet By Sweet Time Fest 3 that would have gone off in August in Nashville.
SXST run by multipotentialite Ryan Sweeney, the man behind the namesake label, and also the drummer for a number of bands, figured he’d still bring together a kick-ass group of bands and release a comp to support the three Nashville venues integral to the festival’s success. Duke’s, The 5 Spot, and Drkmttr Collective will receive an equal share of the following:
- 100% of proceeds from sales of the digital version of the comp
- 100% of payments over the set minimum on physical sales of the comp
- 100% of proceeds from either Sweet Time T-shirt currently available
Awesome stuff. So what do you get for your money? Well, in short, a shitload of killer rock and roll from some bands you’ll know, and some you may not. Often the trouble with compilations is there is inevitably a lapse or two in quality from track to track, especially when you’re talking about 26 of them! But what Sweeney has done with the Sweet Time Comp is admirable. The sequencing plays like a great mixtape and even though there are familiar names here for readers of this site, it also serves as an ideal introduction to a number of exciting bands and the raw and invigorating sound of amped-up rock and roll.
I am going to attempt to write up all 26 tracks but honestly, you’re going to have to take my word for it: there really isn’t a weak spot here. Solid, solid contributions from favorites like Personality Cult, Midnite Snaxxx, Johnny Otis Dávila, The Ar-Kaics, and Ladrones to name a few. And I have happily gone down the rabbit hole checking out a number of bands that are new to me and isn’t that the raison d’être of any compilation worth its salt?
Things kick off with a rager from Texas rockers Love Collector featuring ex-members of the Ape Shits, The Fells, and Dirty Sweets, followed quickly by ‘(When I Grow Up) I Wanna Be A Girl‘ from The Daddy Sisters, in all its trashy glam decadence. This is one of my favorite tracks here and a band that I haven’t heard before. Next up is Nashville’s Primary Sound, another band new to me and I absolutely love the frantic art-punk/new wave chaos of ‘Scorpion‘. Even though their catalog is small (only 4 tracks), this is a band that is now on my radar.
We’re only four songs in before North Carolina’s Lifters, a band that features members of Unwed Teenage Mothers, Reatards, and Lost Sounds drop ‘Trust Exercise‘. With a pedigree like that, you can only guess how good this song is. I’m pumped to see that Mononegatives (from my sleepy hometown, London, Ontario!) clock in with a derranged psychotic synthpunk gem ‘I Don’t Care If I Kill‘. Check out their latest 3-track fastball Cheap Heat Tour Tape.
From there is more good stuff, with Virginia’s Nightcreature, the aforementioned Personality Cult, and Zoids, who add the dirty, grungy Stooges ‘Ram Hell‘. Nashville’s Schizos attempt to destroy your ears with the absolutely filthy ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Ugly‘ and Chicago’s NightFreak channel the sleaze rock side of Nashville Pussy on ‘I’ll Show You Heaven‘. Snooper and Spodee Boy, both from Nashville, lay down perfect examples of angular berserko-punk. Snooper already killed me this year with their brilliant cover of ELO’s ‘Don’t Bring Me Down‘ on the G.T.R.R.C II comp. Fellow Nashvillian DD Island aka Brandon Rhodes’ ‘Future Days‘ is a shimmering psych trip setting things up for Puerto Rican garage rock legend Johnny Otis Dávila and the power-pop perfection of ‘Pequeña Muerte‘ from his solo record ‘Solo Otra Vez‘.
We featured St. Petersburg, Florida’s Jeremy and the Clones back in pre-pandemic times with their Replacements swagger and Jerry Lee Lewis piano, and South Carolina rock and roll lifers, Fixed Faces play sugary old school super hooky power-pop. The snotty-ass sleazy punk of Sick Bags ‘Boys I Used To Date‘, Zodiac Panthers‘ ‘Nothing Lasts Forever‘ and Night Talkers ‘On the Fence‘ are a forcible one-two-three punch. The Ar-Kaics, always on point include a live version of ‘Outsider‘ back to back with Missouri’s Thee Fine Lines ripper ‘Lose Control‘ which was recorded live in Chicago using a 1950’s reel to reel machine. Fresh Graves (featuring Elijah Von Cramon and JJ from Paint Fumes) weigh in with ‘Evel Knievel‘ a rocker with a Misfits grime to it. Up next is one of my favs, Ladrones with the single ‘Saico‘ a blazing spirit of ’77 punk rocker featuring the mighty growl of Valeria Sánchez.
The album closes with ‘Evil Man‘ an absolute nasty piece of business from Modern Convenience and the 70s glam bomb of Nat Brower’s ‘Two Thousand Twenty New Tanks‘. And there you have it, I’m all out of superlatives, but if you are a fan of high energy rock and roll, this is a box full of ‘nuggets’ – just in time for the Xmas season. Available on double yellow vinyl, black vinyl, and digitally of course. Definitely worth the dough, and it’s a good cause to boot.
Artwork – Katie Turner