PBS - Punk Broadcasting System
Music Video Distributors // Unrated // $14.97 // August 28, 2001
Review by Adam Tyner | posted September 24, 2001
Highly Recommended
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With the tens of thousands of different punk compilations that make their way onto record store shelves without fail every single week, I suppose it was just a matter of time until it dawned on someone to produce a DVD equivalent. There are a couple such DVD 'magazines', but Music Video Distributors' Punk Broadcasting System is the first compilation I've seen along these lines, collecting twenty-two videos from a variety of modern punk bands. This first volume includes the following music videos:
  • Refused - New Noise
  • All Systems Go! - All I Want
  • The Vandals - My Girlfriend's Dead
  • The Ataris - San Dimas Highschool Football Rules
  • Divit - Let Them Burn
  • MxPx - Responsibility
  • Midtown - Just Rock And Roll
  • Gob - I Hear You Calling
  • The Travoltas - You Got What I Need
  • Sloppy Seconds - Fifteen Minutes...Or It's Free
  • Pennywise - Alien
  • Horace Pinker - South Stanley Place
  • AFI - Total Immortality
  • The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Smash It Up
  • Snapcase - Caboose
  • The Movielife - Single White Female
  • Flogging Molly - Likes Of You
  • The Dwarves - Over You
  • The Strike - Shots Heard 'Round The World
  • One Man Army - Another Night
  • The Descendents - I'm The One
  • Divit - A Reflection

If you recognize at least a few of those names, there's a pretty decent chance you'll find this compilation worth the $12 or whatever. A fairly wide variety of styles are represented, from the poppy and upbeat to pissed-off and crunchy to the scarcely recognizable as punk. Some videos are pure performance pieces, like the Ataris' "San Dimas High School Football Rules", while others are more typical, blending some semblance of a plot with the performances. Though nearly all of the videos were shot on the cheap, most of them turned out pretty well, and there are only a couple of clunkers in the set. Divit's hysterically bad emoting in the shot-on-video "Let Them Burn" stands out as the worst of the lot. Among the highlights are the Travoltas' "You Got What I Need", where the Norwegian band is offed by a sadistic, sultry woman, a Bar Mitzvah gone awry in "Just Rock And Roll", and the Buffy-inspired soccer duel in "I Hear You Calling". Punk Broadcasting System is a solid, low-cost video compilation, and with any luck, it won't be too long before a second volume hits stores.

Video: The vast majority of the music videos on this disc were shot on a shoestring, and it's unlikely they'll ever look considerably better than this. Since these were almost certainly culled from high-quality video sources or Avid exports, there aren't any dust, assorted specks, or other print flaws that aren't on every other copy of these music videos floating around. The only of these videos I'd seen in its entirety beforehand, Gob's "I Hear You Calling" is a significant improvement over the soft, noisy mess I caught on MuchMusic on digital cable a few months back. Bits and pieces of MxPx's "Responsibility" were inserted in a performance of theirs on USA Network's Farmclub.com, and I don't remember those clips seeming as unusually soft as the video presented here. The presentation overall is unlikely to blow anyone away, but given the budget of these videos, this is as good as it gets, I'm sure.

Audio: There's not an incredible amount to say about the stereo tracks on Punk Broadcasting System. The audio seems comparable to what I'd expect from watching MTV2 or MuchMusic, though falling short of CD quality. There aren't any significant problems to speak of, though the Ataris' "San Dimas High School Football Rules" has a pretty heavy hiss throughout.

Conclusion: Since there's not really any sort of widespread media outlet that's willing to bite the bullet and air videos like the ones on this disc, Punk Broadcasting System will probably be the only way for most of us to catch these music videos for quite a while. With the number of videos and the variety of musical styles, there should be something here for any punk fan. Music Video Distributors has done this disc the right way, offering tons of videos at a list price that's barely more than a couple of punk CD compilations. Don't let the goofy title turn you off -- available online for as low as $10, Punk Broadcasting System is highly recommended.

Decent companion pieces might be Punk and Disorderly (the British equivalent of PBS) and Rage - 20 Years of Punk Rock West Cost Style, also available from Music Video Distributors.

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