First official reissue of the Canadian classic.
A monster rarity from the inception of Punk Rock on the West Coast was actually a soundtrack to a film of the same name. 1978's Commercials For Free is a 20 minute DIY film about a young man leaving the suburbs in search for a life more exciting. It's a film full of chain-wielding punkettes, broken dreams, getting ripped off and also some fabulous archive footage of early punk in Vancouver including early Subhumans footage and a wacky storyline that follows Siggy and his experience with the New Wave. Shortly after the film release a small, one-time pressing of 200 copies was released, quickly snapped up by locals. Commercials For Free flew under the radar and was generally an unknown piece of punk rock history complete with false-starts, maniacal singing and raw manic energy. The excellent Smash The State Compilation series drew some more attention to this rare artifact and compiled 3 of its 4 tracks on the 3rd edition, removing some more of the mystery that made up this release.
Our take: Neon Taste Records reissues this ultra-rare Canadian punk EP… seriously, check out the Discogs sales history on this one. According to the liner notes, Commercials for Free was a soundtrack record for a 1978 20-minute DIY film of the same name. Nothing about the music screams “soundtrack” to me, though; this is just a straight punk record. The title track is a thuggish punk track with off-key and off-time vocals, and while they’re a little silly, the rest of the musicianship is tight enough to remind me of some of my favorite “fake punk” records. Either way you slice it, if you have more than one Killed by Death or Bloodstains compilation in your collection, this is the shit you love. Of the remaining three tracks, two are in a similar vein and the last is a bitter acoustic track called “People Who Cheated Me.” I don’t know if I’d drop $800+ on this one, but for less than a tenner, this is a no-brainer.