By Matthew Waldrep
The Grand Rapids artist collective, Paranormal Video, Cassettes & Hair EXtensions or PVC H.EX., released its most recent compilation album, entitled (002). PVC H.EX is a co-operative music organization composed of a panel of members who’s goal is the promotion of selected musical acts. PVC H.EX.’s promotion is not limited to producing albums. They also offer other media promotion including concerts, videos, and zines (self-published small-circulation magazines).
According to PVC H.EX’s Facebook page, the collective aims to support artists who “have a shared interest in the bizzare,” which (002) has no shortage of.
The compilation features contributions from 19 artists, predominately from West Michigan but includes artists from Chicago, Dallas, Memphis, and more.
(002) showcases an array of talents and carries with it the same energy as a tiny, packed, beer-soaked, underground punk venue. But to simply call it a ‘punk’ album would not serve justice to the variety of post-punk, metal, industrial, and hardcore that completes the album.
The goal of creating a cohesive and fluid listening experience while pulling tracks from a diverse pool of artists can prove challenging. However, (002) achieves balancing the weight of the aggressive or emotionally heavy songs with the more progressive or humorous.
The album begins with a dark electronic opener, “Everyday is Halloween” by Audible XXY, that sets a tone of humor. The second track pulls a 180 with the Bunny Skulls’ “Burden of Man,” a thirty-second, hardcore, self-detonation that is over as soon as it begins. Sharing a similar head-splitting, musical concussion is Cocksnot’s “Action, Reaction, Retaliation” placed towards the end of the album.
(002) quickly finds its flow with the surf-rock sound of “Negative Sleep” by Waylon Thornton and The Heavy Hands followed by Chip Fundy’s gritty and angnsty, “Disappear.” The Telefones restore some of the humor with “Stop Rudy Stop,” a new-wave-esc song with an infectious hook shared by the song title. “I live in a Cemetery” by Corrosive Kids offers an early punk sound coupled with dynamic vocals that beg to be danced to. Later, Astro Bats color the album with the progressive six minute acid-rock track “Be Three” followed by eXXXposure’s melding of house beats and industrial rock that make “Memory.” Violently Ill later serves up the hilarious “All Cover Set,” a one minute percussion-driven satire sampling what sounds to be the voicemail of a venue owner demanding an ‘all cover set’ to be performed. “I wanna hear some Segar, some Skynard, Journey, and Poison… All cover set…”
The overall value of an artist compilation album is that gives listeners a chance to sample artists they might otherwise be unfamiliar with as well giving artists fair exposure. (002) does just that, and also does its best to create flowing transitions amid unique artist styling.
For more information on PVC H.EX and their involvement the Grand Rapids music scene visit facebook.com/pvchex.