Released on December 20, 2019, the compilation Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire: Choice Cuts from Central Oklahoma’s Rock Underground Vol. 1 consists of an assortment of local rock songs showcasing talent from Central Oklahoma.
The person behind this compilation is Race Baker of Wicked Shimmies and Fire Bad. Being a local musician himself, his goal is to garner attention for underground rock bands in Oklahoma. While the album currently only contains musicians/bands from Central Oklahoma, the ultimate goal is to promote music from all over the state.
Eleven songs made the cut, and each song is from a different musician/band.
Fire Bad! starts the album off with their track, “Almost Like Gonn.” The repeated “Can you dig it?” paired with old rock elements give the song a nostalgic rock sound.
Demon Seeds follows with their “Astrohemoth.” Filled with growling vocals and grinding instrumentals, the song is heavy and filled with rage.
“Art of War” by The Killings keeps the party going with its high-powered ode to violence. The fast, stop-and-go sound provides a good soundtrack for a moshpit and gives off the feeling of jumping in an energetic setting.
Wicked Shimmies follow the raging track with their anxious six-minute song, “Hi-Fi Dog Food.” Various noises hover just beyond identification while a haunting melody connects them together. As the song progresses, the pace picks up, only highlighting the anxious vibe.
“Hard Light” by Dresden Bombers speeds things up. Electrifying and exhilarating, the song takes a more serious approach with heavier lyrics and a darker tone.
Lost Cosmos’s “Black Marble” brings a bouncy feel to the album. Fun instrumentals play through the entire three-minutes-and-forty-seconds, providing a reprieve from the screaming vocals of the first couple of songs and heavy themes of the other tracks.
Crooked Vinyl’s “Love Lamp” is vibrant and theatrical. The flair of the vocalist pairs with a wailing guitar and a layered echo to create a dramatic sound that is probably the most commercial of all of the songs on the album.
“Pray to the Saw” by Christophe Murdock darkens the allbum. Beginning with screaming and the sound of a power saw, the song launches into a crazy dark country rock ode to a saw that would appeal to any true horror fan.
Los Eskeletos bring serious nostalgia with an intro referencing the Wizard of Oz in their song, “Sabbatos Negro.” Fast music with the occasional “oh no, please, God, help me,” sets the song apart from its peers.
The second to last song on the album, “Piss Earth” by Wax Vandal, gives off a rocking, shaking feel as it progresses. The kind of song you jump to, it gives off a “live fast” vibe.
Finally, the album ends with the longest song, “Instructions for Modern Living” by Psychotic Reaction. With a cinematic, thriller sound, the track seems to combine the rock elements of the former ten songs.
The album is definitely a showcase for underground Oklahoma bands. Many of the groups featured are basically inactive on social media or music streaming sites, so the album provides something of a platform for them to perform atop. The mentioned songs are rock powerhouses that deserve to be heard, so the compilation is a nice touch.
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire: Choice Cuts from Central Oklahoma’s Rock Underground Vol. 1 is available to stream for free on Bandcamp, or you can download it for five dollars. All money will go to CD distribution and future volumes.