"Volume III: From the Dumpster to the Grave"
Fat Wreckords
by James G. Carlson
New York City punk ensemble Star Fucking Hipsters is one of those bands that speaks volumes about the solidarity and values of the present underground punk community. More than a band, the Star Fucking Hipsters are a musical collective of sorts, a close-knit group of punks, squatters, activists, artists and friends (in fact, they have actually referred to themselves as an "anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, and anti-fascist organization"). In the members' own words, they try to "mix shit up their styles of playing and songwriting while keeping the ideas of leftist politics and punk ethics alive." With an ever-changing but remarkably strong lineup of some of the most notable names in today’s scene—as of the most recent album, it was Mikey (The Ergs!, The Soviettes, and The Measure s.a.), Stza (Leftover Crack, Choking Victim), Yula Beeri (The World/Inferno Friendship Society, Nanuchka, and Yula & The Extended Family), Chris Pothier (Dread Fabrik, Big Attack!), Frank Piegaro and P. Nut (Ensign, Degenerics), the lovely Nico De Gallo (Casa de Chihuahua), and others—the Hipsters have a great deal of individuality, musical experience and skill to draw from.
Each member of SFH brings his or her unique style to the table, which ultimately goes toward creating a diverse melting pot of sound that pushes dirt over the lines that would represent the borders between punk's ever-expanding genres and subgenres, touching on them, each and each, throughout an album, sometimes throughout the space of a single song. The band’s latest album on Fat Wreck Chords, for instance, Volume III: From the Dumpster to the Grave, features a dozen exceptionally well-composed songs ranging from crusty street punk, ska, and anarcho-punk to folk-punk, hip hop and hardcore. Sometimes they even incorporate three or more of these styles into one composition, utterly rejecting the stale, formulaic song structures that have been so common in the scene in recent years. In many ways, From the Dumpster to the Grave is everything a good punk record should be: loud, fast, dirty, experimental, diverse, with plenty of male/female vocals, and lyrical content directed towards important socio-political issues in specific and punk rock community in general.
Of course the genre-defying practices of SFH is nothing new, since they have been at it since 2005 or so. There were two albums before Dumpster—Until We’re Dead (Fat Wreck, 2008) and Never Rest in Peace (Alternative Tentacles, 2009)—that were written and recorded along similar lines, employing a handful of different styles and sounds. From the Dumpster to the Grave, however, shows the collective's musical evolution despite the significant lineup changes, as well as the inclusion of a few notable guest artists such as Boots Riley, Blackbird Raum, and members of Deadfall, Neurosis, Dystopia and Chump Change.
Speaking of lineup changes, SFH have lost both Yula Beeri and Nico De Gallo in recent months. Though Kelsey of Chump Change has already replaced Nico, Nico had laid down her vocals for Dumpster before her departure, and it is decidedly the better for it. Both artists will be missed by SFH and fans alike, and everyone wishes them the best in their lives and their present and future endeavors.

Having listened to From the Dumpster to the Grave nonstop for the past few days, I can easily say that my two favorite songs on the album are the opener and title track, "Dumpster to the Grave," and the seventh track which they wrote and played with the assistance of California gutter-folks Blackbird Raum, "Otra Vez." Truth be told, I have quickly become a big fan of the entire album, save for the ninth track, "9/11 'til Infinity," which is so much rap rock and straight-up hip hop together with a combination of punk and metal. "Ana Ng," originally by They Might Be Giants, is the only cover song on the album, and I have to admit it's a pretty rad version of the song.
I also heard tell recently that SFH will be featured on a split with hardcore punk outfit Jesus Fucking Christ on Inimical Records in the very near future. That will undoubtedly be one for the record collection. In the meantime, get your hands on From the Dumpster to the Grave, as it is definitely one of the best punk releases this year, if not the best.