Various Artists: Let Them Know: The Story Of Youth Brigade And BYO Records

Punk would not be without BYO Records and Youth Brigade. Well, it would, but it might be much different. Books and films have been written and filmed on the scene, but to hear it from the mouths of those who lived it and in many ways fostered it, that’s the difference between the “primary” and “secondary” sources you heard about in high school.

Let Them Know is all primary material. Written and compiled largely by Mark and Shawn Stern, two of the three brothers that made up Youth Brigade and the day to day operations of BYO Records, the coffee table experience starts with a historical account of the formation of the people (in other words, the Stern family) and outlines their beginnings into the nascent California punk scene, the formation of the band and the record label to put out their music. Each chapter is punctuated with writings from the bands, journalists and other label-types who were there and experienced the national punk scene at various points in time. So, NOFX, L7, The Bouncing Souls, the Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Fugazi, H2O, Rigor Mortis, the Briefs, Alkaline Trio, Leatherface, et al. The list goes on.

And many of them have songs featured on this compilation. Comprised of bands covering BYO artists’ catalogues—Pennywise covering 7 Seconds, NOFX covering Battalion Of Saints, Lagwagon covering One Man Army, 7 Seconds covering Youth Brigade, Youth Brigade covering SNFU, Off With Their Heads covering The Bouncing Souls, The Bouncing Souls covering 7 Seconds. Yeah, this gets really incestuous (in a fun way). It’s a cool way to celebrate their friendship and togetherness as individual entities and also to give fans some insight on older material they may have missed or forgotten.

And then there’s a DVD documentary covering Youth Brigade and the nascent punk scene, its portrayal in the media, interviews with Fat Mike, Ian MacKaye, The Souls, etc. It’s quite the package, and it’s available in both as a double LP plus DVD set or a smaller one CD, one DVD plus book package. Quite the package(s).

In A Word: Celebratory