VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore (Adeline Records)

Larry Livermore guided Lookout Records through the period when the label helped introduce pop-punk to, first, the American underground and then, through the success of early signings like Operation Ivy and (most especially) Green Day, to the world.

So it’s no surprise that Adeline Records (owned by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong) would ask Livermore to curate a collection of today’s best up-and-coming pop-punkers. Sadly, the term “pop-punk” has been co-opted by a generation of autotuned synth-driven careerists more influenced by mall-punk crap like Blink-182 and whiney emo than the Ramones, but Livermore sets things right with a non-stop liner of killer (and all original) tracks here: Harmony and adrenaline collide full force on the first track by Dear Landlord, as well as fairly established pop-punk forces like the Copyrights, Dopamines, and Be My Doppelganger.

Happily, Livermore keeps this affair from being an all-boys club with the inclusion of strong female voices from Lipstick Homicide and City Mouse; youth must be served as well, so we get the teenaged Emily’s Army (whose drummer Joey happens to be Billy Joe’s son.) Don’t start crying nepotism, though; the Army’s “Good Looks” ranks as one of most snarling, stirring tracks here, completely in the Lookout Records spirit (if 30 years too late.) It’s the East Coast bands that steal the show here, though; a shot of pure Screeching Weasel-esque snot-punk from the Max Levine Ensemble, the nerdy yearning of NYC’s House Boat, and the gang-vocal’d Samoans-ish punk roar of Night Birds. Pop Punk is indeed alive and well; all it needs now is a Volume 2 of this compilation.

– Jim Testa