Alternative Tentacles has done an amazing job getting rights to repress essential out-of-print albums in recent years, and The S**t Split is surely no exception.
The EP (originally released in 1991 on Lookout! Records) devoted a side to two Bay Area bands, Blatz and Filth, who were staples of the same scene that spawned more well-known acts like Green Day, Operation Ivy, Jawbreaker and Rancid.
Despite the fact that only a handful of acts ended up with national recognition, bands like Blatz and Filth were as well known on their scene at the time, and it’s amazing to see their work compiled for the next generation of punks to get their hands on.
The nice part about this split is that the two bands could not be more different. They were put on the release because they were contemporaries and friends from the same scene, but the two bands sound nothing alike, and are two great snapshots of dissimilar sounds from the Bay in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Filth was a Crass-influenced crusty bunch through and through. They played thick, tight hardcore riffs and then buried them in vocals that sound like Jake, the vocalist is singing while simultaneously coughing up a mix of hot coffee and corn chips and taking the occasional punch to the throat. And when it works, it works - at times, it’s pure crust-punk perfection, like on “Filth” (Listen/Download) – but occasionally it doesn’t, and then it really borders on being unlistenable, like on “Scarred For Life”(Listen/Download).
Which is probably exactly the way they wanted it to turn out.
A true sweet spot on this album is their cover of the Peter and the Test Tube Babies classic “Banned From The Pubs” (Listen/Download) where the band really cuts loose and drops the gutturals. It’s fun.
Blatz is the band that makes this record, and indeed are the kind of band that drew me to punk rock in the first place, the epitome of my idea of what true punk rock is. They play simple, sloppy three-chord punk, and trade off snotty vocals between two female and one male vocalist. It’s noisy but has an (albeit chaotic) hook, and the lyrics run the gamut from straight up drunk punk fun with songs like “Fuk S**t Up” (Listen/Download) to true punk nihilism on darker tunes like “Lullabye” (Listen/Download).
The Blatz disc is worth the price of this split EP (I'll even go so far to say that a single Blatz CD would be better than both in one package!) in and of itself, and it will make you realize why people got into punk rock and making punk music, and could even probably infuse with enough of that “I can do that” mentality to make you start your own band.
It won’t be as good as Blatz, though.
This CD is packed with a ton of bonus material. In addition to all of the material from the original pressing of The S**t Split, each is actually a complete discography of each band, and includes a live/practice/demo compilation on the Blatz disc and Filth’s 1990 demo tape in it’s entirety.
As a whole, this album is worth owning for it’s historical value and for the fact that it’s truly a great record. Even if you’re the type that has a hard time wrapping your ears around Filth’s dissonance, the Blatz record will make you appreciate simple punk rock again.
And if you can get past Filth’s sometimes grating vocals (or even enjoy them), then it’s all gravy.
Release Date: January 20, 2009