An A-list of Cleveland punkers donated songs to Ain't It Fun, a compilation every bit as solid as last year's low-dough ClePunk.comp. And, being free, this collection is the better bargain. How do they do it? There's nothing to give away except the music: The compilation exists only in cyberspace (at www.cleveland-aintitfun.com), where audiophiles from Canada to Australia have downloaded MP3 versions of the songs and the accompanying CD-sized pamphlet.
A snapshot of the 2003 Cleveland punk scene, the vintage-leaning mix is touched by both pop and emo. Höstile Ömish turns in the Ramones-indebted, '50s-flavored "Mowawk." In the thrall of Samhain, Allergic to Whores contributes the creaking, off-melodic "Deadman's Noose." Playing like the Germs on a good night, Femsickliver gets rough on "Jerkoff Vacation." Other scene staples include the speed-rocking Vacancies and stone-heavy Disengage. Even when the local in-jokes don't translate -- witness the Anti-Socialists' "Trafficant Jam" -- the music warrants a listen by punk fans everywhere.