Various Artists
Florida’s Dying Party Platter
Florida’s Dying

According to Florida’s Dying impresario, Richie Evans, the Party Platter has been two years in the making, and by my approximation that’s about as long as the party-punk scene has been in vogue. Who knows exactly when punk went off to party instead of annihilate and protest? I suppose it was the Ramones who made punking fun? I’d like to imagine that “party” has always inherently been synonymous with youngsters banging on chords at fast rhythms, with limited funds, cheap smokes, cheap beer, and more real life bummers than smash the system diatribes to inject into their music. Well, here on the party circuit, bands as far and wide as San Francisco’s Rantouls and Chicago’s Yolks have taken the shindig experience to a hyper-novel extreme, even if these bands’ extremes were already a bit novel to begin with. Try naming your band Personal and the Pizzas and then trying to convince an audience you’re dead serious about what you’re doing. Thing is, most of these bands are in it for the fun of it—what punk should be about after all, right? But it’s the fun that’s taken to the extreme with the Florida’s Dying Party Platter. I don’t think the label is as much trying to stable these bands into one unified scene or statement as they are trying to accent and prompt even more fun out of their favorite bands working today.

At the request of Evans, each of the groups enlisted wrote and recorded their own dance number for the Platter; think along the lines of “The Twist” and “Surfin’ Bird” or even “Rock Lobster” because more than a few of these lads seem to have some B-52s coursing through their veins. Point is, your appreciation of the Party Platter is dependent on your threshold for kitsch and overall goof. The songs here, as cohesively consistent as the record is, range from the slightly dumb, yet witty, to all out, “never getting those two minutes back” mind-numbingly stoopid. If you’re familiar with the rock-around-the-clock handclaps and crowd chants of Nobunny, who here turns in a classic beach ’n’ blacktop stomp with “Hocus Pocus,” then you’ll likely enjoy most of what the Platter offers up. These are times, though, when taking yourself too seriously is a cultural faux pas and being willing to let loose in a mist of spit booze is seen as customary, which is what makes the Pizzas’ hilarious “Toss That Pie” something underground music desperately needs. Elsewhere on the Platter, power-pop is mined on “Cuddle Up” by the aforementioned Rantouls, auto-tuned vocals are defiled for the sake of cheeky punk on “Wiggle It Around” by Brian’s Dirty Business (who actually give instructions to their dance), and on personal favorite “Totally,” written by the Puddin’ Pops. The latter sounds like they’ve actually assembled the entire neighborhood in the basement to learn this blast of cruddy horny skank. I’m ashamedly a bit partial to those bands onboard that have a little sense of melody, which makes skipping the Sweet Sixteens’ “Hoosier Twist” and the Sexcapades’ “Hucklebuck” a necessity. But for the duration it’s difficult to do anything but smile and move, realizing it’s midnight somewhere and it’s likely the party is on.
Kevin J. Elliott