THE BEST OF ORANGE COUNTY—VOLUME 1
As local-band compilations go, this is the best one we've heard since Dope America—maybe even since Volume 4 of Vegas Records' Hey Brother series. That's because it's not bogged down with bland ska or punk, the two styles people who don't live here will forever associate with OC, VH1 specials and awful Jack Black movies (are there any other kind?) be damned.
There's also a healthy lack here of turgid, trendy emo acts, which is the main problem with the recent Because We Care compilation. Instead, Best of OCmostly focuses on good ol' guitar-based rock & roll. There have always been more rock bands here than any other genre anyway, and it's always sweet when somebody decides to shine a little light on 'em (somebody besides us, that is—several bands on here have also been featured on OC Weekly compilation CDs).
The title is a bit misleading, in that the Fullerton-based Tankfarm label has purloined several Long Beach bands, but Long Beach is such a rich proximate vein that it can't not be tapped. (As much as we love the Dibs, though, we can't hear their "So Complicated" on this disc without thinking Frampton Comes Alive!)
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Some of the better tracks include "Reborn," a typically beatific Jay Buchanan tune; K.Luna's lilting "Serenity," suggesting that there's a bright future for what's left of the Killingtons; Scarlet Crush's turn away from bouncy power pop into affecting power balladry with "Dear John"; the John Wilkes Kissing Booth's darkly poetic "Motorcade"; and Wonderlove's swirly, organ-fried "She Don't Love No More."
Best of Orange County CD-release party, with performances from K.Luna, Nice, Goforth, Afterfall and the John Wilkes Kissing Booth, at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600. Sat., 8 p.m. $8. All ages.
OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.