Rhino Record’s D.I.Y Series
I was recently in Austin for the first time, and I had the opportunity to check out Waterloo Records, a cornerstone of the thriving musical community that has been prevalent in Austin since Waterloo originally opened it’s doors in 1982. Similar to the Amoeba record stores in California, the selection in Waterloo was dense and overwhelming, both in audio (vinyl, CD-R, cassette) and visuals (DVD, Blue-Ray, VHS). Usually, if a records store has a section devoted to Surf Rock compilations or Hard to Find 45’s, I’m hooked for hours on end. Not only did Waterloo have sections like this, they also had a section devoted to power-pop compilations. While browsing through, I stumbled across a used CD-R of Rhino Records Teenage Kicks – UK Pop (1976-1979) compilation, the third installment in Rhino Records vastly underappreciated DI.Y Series.
Released in 1993, Rhino Records D.I.Y. Series is a nine-disc set that covered the British and American power-pop scene of the mid 1970’s to the early 1980’s. The complete collection consists of:
- DIY 1: Anarchy in the UK – UK Punk I (1976-77)
- DIY 2: The Modern World – UK Punk II (1977-78)
- DIY 3: Teenage Kicks – UK Pop I (1976-79)
- DIY 4: Starry Eyes – UK Pop II (1978-79)
- DIY 5: Blank Generation – The New York Scene (1975-78)
- DIY 6: We’re Desperate – The L.A. Scene (1976-79)
- DIY 7: Come Out and Play – American Power Pop I (1975-78)
- DIY 8: Shake It Up! – American Power Pop II (1978-80)
- DIY 9: Mass. Ave. – The Boston Scene (1975-83)
This series provides an exceptional summary of what was happening musically between 1975-1983 in pop music. Conspicuous by their absence are groups like Talking Heads, The Clash, and Elvis Costello & The Attractions, but this was chiefly due to contractual issues that fell upon Rhino. Few of the groups featured in Rhino’s D.I.Y series ever achieved main stream acceptance or success, but all helped to facilitate the shape of today’s music. As a historical document, the D.I.Y series provides a snapshot of the chaotic, but stimulating beginnings of punk and new wave. Throughout the nine disc series, power-pop and punk diamond in the roughs are featured by undervalued artists such as The Nerves, Pezband, The Undertones, Chris Stamey & The db’s, The Beat, and The Motels. Although most of the artists featured in the D.I.Y have fallen into dusty album crates of obscurity, the D.I.Y series also features popular artists such as The Jam, Blondie, XTC, Nick Lowe, The Germs, The Romantics, Stiff Little Fingers, and The Buzzcocks.
Today, the Rhino D.I.Y series is out of print, virtually absent from record stores, and difficult to find online. As of thus far, I have collected hard copies of three installments in the D.I.Y series over the course of a few years.
As a long time aficionado of American/UK power-pop from the late seventies/early eighties. I consider Rhino Records D.I.Y Series to be the most comprehensive compilation of American and British power-pop. It has introduced me to some of my favorite power-pop tunes such as “When You Find Out” by The Nerves and “Blow Yourself Up” by Tommy Hoehn, as well as expanding my knowledge on this superb period of pop culture.
You can find the D.I.Y series online, but many of the MP3 rips are of poor fidelity. If you are purely looking for content, then I would recommend seeking this compilation out from whatever blogs or websites you can rip from. Otherwise, I wish you happy hunting in record stores!