California-based label Fat Wreck Chords has a long and proud tradition of releasing not only some of the more worthwhile and recognizable albums in the punk scene of yesterday and today but also some of the most appreciated punk compilations. They continue that tradition with the brand new Vol. 8: Going Nowhere Fat, the label’s first comp in five years. Its twenty-five tracks include songs from Fat releases by Banner Pilot, Masked Intruder, Lagwagon, toyGuitar, Get Dead, Banner Pilot, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, and Morning Glory. In addition to these, and more, there are previously unreleased tracks by PEARS, Night Birds, Leftover Crack, NOFX, Western Addiction, and Swingin’ Utters.
These comps have been happening in the Fat Wreck camp since the label’s early days, starting with Fat Music for Fat People in 1994, featuring the bands that had appeared on the Fat releases to that point and have since become label and scene favorites: Propagandhi, Lagwagon, Strung Out, No Use for a Name, Bracket, Face to Face, NOFX, Good Riddance, and 88 Fingers Louie, among others. Next, in 1996, the label released what it arguably its best comp to date, Survival of the Fattest. Again, this one featured Propagandhi, Lagwagon, Strung Out, NOFX, Good Riddance, No Use for a Name, as well as new additions to the comps such as Hi-Standard, Diesel Boy, Wizo, Frenzal Rhomb, Snuff, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Life in the Fat Lane followed in 1999, with standouts like “May 16” by Lagwagon, “The Exhumation of Virginia Madison” by Strung Out, “Road Rash” by the Mad Caddies, and “Promise to Distinction” by Swingin’ Utters. Live Fat, Die Young was released in 2001 and had many of the same bands as the comps which preceded it, and a few new ones: Zero Down, Anti-Flag, Sick of It All, Rise Against, etc. Then there was Uncontrollable Fatulence in 2002. To my knowledge this was the label’s first comp to feature The Lawrence Arms and Dillinger Four. If I’m not mistaken, Fat Wreck didn’t release another compilation volume until 2010 or so, Harder, Fatter + Louder, which consisted of twenty-two tracks from just as many bands, including Against Me!, None More Black, Banner Pilot, Cobra Skulls, Teenage Bottlerocket, Smoke or Fire, The Flatliners, Pour Habit, and Old Man Markley.
This is actually a fine time for Fat Wreck to release a new comp album, being that a handful of its artists have released their first albums in some years, including Lagwagon, Strung Out, and Good Riddance. Going Nowhere Fat also features one of the label’s newest signees, New Orleans hardcore punk four-piece PEARS. And the closer on the comp is the song “Monster” from NOFX frontman Fat Mike’s punk rock musical Home Street Home.
The only negative thing I can say about some of the song selections is that odd choices were made when adding tracks from some of the band’s recent albums. In recent years, the singles from new Fat Wreck releases tend to be some of the lesser songs on the albums rather than the attention-grabbing, sonic magic that singles are supposed to be. But while I have heard this from several others, it is also subjective, as most things with the arts tend to be, and no doubt varies.
Vol. 8: Going Nowhere Fat is definitely a another worthwhile comp from Fat Wreck Chords. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another five years for another one.