[ROCK] 'I don't think Portland's ever had anything like this,' explains Brian Applegate over a recent happy-hour beer at Club 21—that funny little bar just off Sandy Boulevard that looks like a ski lodge for elves. 'General comps are shitty. This one is unique because it's about a specific place.' Best known as one half of Portland's Devo-rocking satirists the Punk Group, Applegate has managed to buck prevailing wisdom by shepherding into existence a comp CD that—get this—does not suck. Club 21, Fuck Yeah! collects 21 original songs about Club 21, as written and performed by musicians who drink there, a lot.

The concept was inspired by one tightly written, cheeky little track on the Punk Group's 2005 full-length, Rock Off and Fuck On, titled 'Judy, Judy,' which pays endearing tribute to Club 21's popular Wednesday-evening (Dollar Pabst Night) bartender, Judy. That song quickly had its namesake gushing and her regulars talking: What if they did a whole record of Club 21 songs? This summer, Applegate seized the idea and began circulating 'invitations' to submit to his project. 'Some of these bands, I told it to 'em one day, two days later they had a finished product,' Applegate says. Indeed, enthusiasm sparks throughout this collection of cleverly written and extremely varied songs. There's everything from gnashing hard rock (Lopez's 'Requiem for a Drink') to gimmicky synth (Hello Lobster's 'Deep Fryer's On!') to spartan post-punk (Die Fuckitos' 'I'm a Drunk, I Love It') to over-driven roots rock (Pure Country Gold's 'Sittin' in Club 21'). Sleeping Aurora's dreamy instrumental, '2-2 1 Interlude,' crackles softly with actual conversation recorded in Club 21, while Diamond Tuck and the Privates sound nothing less than epic with their sweeping butt-rocker, 'Sandy Boulevard.' The catalyst for this project, and the only previously released song on the CD, 'Judy, Judy,' is included, as well as an additional Punk Group song, the live-recorded 'Hagatron.'

If anything, this comp drives home the themes that drinking at Club 21 is seedy, good fun, and Judy is wonderful (almost half these songs sing her praises). And the album is certainly a labor of love: The production was paid for collectively by the bands, but only 100 copies were originally pressed, making the disc tough to come by. The comp, which came out Oct. 17, is currently available via email through the Punk Group's website (thepunkgroup.com) and retail at Everyday Music. I'd advise hitting the EM at 1931 NE Sandy Blvd., then rolling over to Club 21 for a drink. Preferably on a Wednesday night.


To read more about dollar beers, Judy and why last week's listening party was NOT held at Club 21, keep your eye on LocalCut.com.