Now after some 40’s cool jazz where to go next? Short Music For Short People is the obvious, obvious answer, a 1999 compilation LP put out by, the often excellent, Fat Wreck Chords featuring ‘101 bands playing 30 second songs in 50 minutes’. Oh yes. This LP could just have been designed with me in mind and I snapped it up as soon as I heard about it in September ’99.
This is quite simply an awesome work of, if not art, then fun. Most of the songs were written especially for this LP, although there are some honourable exceptions. It is so good to hear and contrast the different approach taken by all the different bands here which range from ‘proper’ songs (Samiam), writing about the process of writing a 30-second song (Dance Hall Crashers), out-and-out torrents of profanity (The Mr T Experience), shout-outs to fans (Less Than Jake) – all life is here. We have politics, romance, surrealism, anger and, what I like best, bucket loads of humour. It also comes with a really rather spiffing booklet.
I listen to this LP a lot when I run, it helps to distract me from my overwhelming desire to stop running after 5 paces, so I know every nano-second of it. It is funny how your ears acclimatise after a while, so that some songs just seem incredibly long, even when they clock in at 33 seconds. It’s just like the Ramones retooled for the ADD generation. The best crafted tracks here, like Green Day’s ‘The Ballad of Wilhelm Fink’, No Use For a Name ‘Sara Fisher’, just sound so complete and long in this company. The other beauty of this LP is that if you don’t like a track, hey it’s pretty much over before you’ve finished processing that thought!
The bands are a mix of punk/hardcore goliaths like The Damned, Rancid, Youth Brigade, Bad Religion, Green Day, The Descendents, NOFX; other old stagers like Snuff, Poison Idea, Adrenalin O.D, The Bouncing Souls, GWAR; and all manner of others, weighted towards bands on Fat Wreck Chords, like Teen Idols, Swingin’ Utters, 7 Seconds; and two UK bands who intrigued me enough to investigate further – Consumed and Dogpiss. The former are a really fine hardcore/punk/rock band from Nottingham and the latter were a band which crossed over with some North-East bands I love, like Snuff / Guns N’ Wankers and Leatherface. In fact when I think about it, this compilation has sold quite a few other LPs – which is basically proof that it is a great collection of tracks.
If you have any sense of humour and love of music whatsoever I can’t help but recommend Short Music For Short People to you. But first, some honourable mentions:
- Shortest Song: Fizzy Bangers – Short Attention Span (8 seconds)
- Longest Song: Dwarves – The Band That Wouldn’t Die (38 seconds)
- Sweetest Song: Dance Hall Crashers – Triple Track
- Best Title: Dillinger Four – Farts Are Jazz To Assholes
- Best Song About The Act of Self-Love: Nerf Herder – Doin’ Laundry
- Best Swearing: Blink 182 – Family Reunion
- Best Use of Banjo: Dogpiss – Erik Sandin’s Stand-in
I could go on, but I won’t, do you’ll just have to discover the nominees for best acoustic track and best use of the phrase ‘barbecue their dicks’ are yourself. You need some mysteries in life.