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The West Coast of the East Coast: A Pittsburgh Compilation to Benefit the Multitool Reviewed while Lifting Weights
Dwight Alan Chambers

[Editors' note: Semi-regularly, our own Dwight Chambers will be reviewing the latest releases of Pittsburgh-area bands and musicians while going through his everyday life, seeing just how well these albums fit in with the tasks and activities they so often accompany.]

As a recent convert to the faith that is eating right and exercising from the religious order I personally founded—the Church of Current-Day Lazyasses—I find myself in a gym weight training. Yes, me: a pizza-lovin’ couch potato with a heart of gold (at least that is the color I imagine cholesterol to be), training with a resistance other than the sofa cushions resisting the force of the immovable object that was my butt.

Now I am kinetic. Just like the bands on The West Coast of the East Coast: A Pittsburgh Compilation to Benefit the Multitool, the CD to which I will put my body in motion. (The Multitool is apparently some progressive-thinking group out to change the world, but that is incidental. The music is what matters.) The disc is filled with hard-pounding, fast-moving punk rock from local bands, some with names that are fittingly incarnated right here in the gym—like Suburban Death Machine (a.k.a. the lat pull-down torture device) and Totally Awesome Dudes (a.k.a. the totally awesome dudes).

I am a dozen feet away from the awesome dudes (I’ll call them ADs from here on in), some big and ripped, some large and doughy, using free weights, breathing hard, grunting, crying out (in a dudely way, of course) and dropping the weights to the floor with loud clanks when the energy in their muscles is exhausted after that one last attempt to lift. I begin the CD and my first set on the incline press. Appropriately enough, the machine isolates muscles in the upper chest, near the heart. Mine starts to pound when I realize it is not the sustained grunt-type cry of an AD that I hear, but the Pay Toilets’ “How Punk Rock” ... yelling set to instruments.

I get a bad feeling about the rest of the CD, but I try to keep an open mind like I did when I reviewed a CD by Human Brains, who also have a track on West Coast. But for now my brain is telling me that my most recent repetition is the last. I get up to stretch and head to the previously mentioned lat machine as “Damn, That Zombi Song is Gonna Be Good” starts. A mellow instrumental by Marichal, “Zombi Song” makes me feel as though I have reached an aural oasis. The track that follows is the referenced work, “Sequence 8 (Alt. Version)” by Zombi. Also completely instrumental, it is slightly more amped than “Zombi Song” and it continues what I hope will be a trend on the disc—no yelling.

Unfortunately, that was not to be. I am assaulted on my second set of lat pull-downs. No, I’m not harmed by a 'roid-raging AD, but by the incomprehensible shrieking by the group HTML on “Recognition”. It would have been nice to understand interesting lyrics like “No dissection is necessary / I’ll point out my flaws if you ask me to / What have I got to lose?” What I have to lose is my turn at the shoulder press machine if I don’t act quickly.

After the shoulder work I take a turn on the chest press and then the abdominal machine. I wind down my workout to the Totally Awesome Dudes’ “Fruity Dipshit”, a bizarre duet of painful screaming by one moderate-level and one deep voice.

My ears and upper body will be sore for days, and thanks to The West Coast of the East Coast, I will now associate unbearable punk music to working out. But my faith in weight training is not shaken. In fact, I resolve to keep finding myself at the gym, and if I work hard and long enough maybe one day I can breathe hard, grunt, and cry out in a dudely way until I am totally awesome.

The West Coast of the East Coast is available at Paul's Compact Discs in Bloomfield.

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