If you were a kid in the early '80s and owned a skateboard, you had a tape of "Valley of the Yakes" in your bulky-ass Walkman and at least two JFA stickers on your deck. The same rule probably still applies. JFA (Jodie Foster's Army) were the coolest skate-punk band in the world -- not only because they were a bad-ass punk band, but because they were also bad-ass skaters. Much of the music skaters listened to -- Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and Agent Orange -- was revered because it was perfect to skate to: fast, short and angry. But only a handful of bands were revered because they actually sang about skating. For JFA, there was a bonus in that they were about the same, adolescent age as most of the people who listened to 'em. Thus, this CD -- compiling "Valley of the Yakes" with the classic "Blatant Localism" EP and a dozen bonus tracks -- is sweet nostalgia for those whose youth was misspent drinking cheap beer and smoking cheap weed in concrete ditches waiting their turn. But it's also a painful reminder of how far punk rock hasn't come in 20 years. After all, when your own kid could come home from some fancy "skate park" rockin' out to a carbon copy of "Beach Blanket Bongout," you realize how cool it was to be there the first time.
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