For close to two decades, NYC's Norton Records has played a key role in rescuing the distinctly American artform of greasy, trashy rock from extinction. I Hate CDs is a 3-CD set (I know, I know) culled from forty-five 45s put out by the label. It features artists that span the decades, from yesteryear up to today; it also serves as a comprehensive document of what this label — and this music — are all about.
The Dictators '”Who Will Save Rock and Roll?” opens the collection; it's a new song from an old-time trashy punk band, and it serves as a great rallying cry for the collection. Norton flagship artist, one-man-band Hasil Adkins (possibly the only artist ever to have a compilation record that consists solely of songs with the word “chicken” in the title) is represented (natch) with “Chicken Shake,” a song brimming with the no-fi Jerry Lee Lewis vibe that defines his work. Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill house band the 18.104.22.168s re-invents “Harlem Shuffle” as an organ-driven go-go swirl. “Are You For Real” proves that Question Mark and the Mysterians were good for much more than “96 Tears,” and “Jungle Stomp” by Johnny Clark and the Four Playboys is a fun mid-tempo swampy surf romp.
It's easy to rattle on and on about I Hate CDs — on a good day, I could go from sunup to sundown. For brevity's sake, let's just say that this compilation is a great way to unearth the multitude of treasures make up the Norton catalogue.