Photo by Rick BainPunk You!
Yet another crappy punk comp from a gaggle of under-21 children who think Good Charlotte are the new Pistols? Think not—this is Hostage Records, after all, and the people running the label know full well they would've been firebombed out of their Huntington Beach homes eons ago if they didn't put out quality stuff. And lately, Hostage product has been very good—pay sonic witness to the quartet of not-bad-to-great seven-inches they released earlier this year.
What we're given this go-'round is Collateral Damage, 16 cuts from mostly OC bands who've spent their young lives opening for other, bigger, better bands—a stat that, for many, should change quickly. Only 1,100 copies of this vinyl-only pressing have been made, too—so not only do you have to hurry to get yours, but it's also never coming to an iPod near you.
There's a lot to like here—most of these bands feel authentic and don't seem like they're trying too hard. San Clemente's Bad Vibrations do surf punk like the Surf Punks, lamenting, "No beach access!" with the kind of pain only those in South County know. Firecracker 500 are probably the oldest gents on here, with three ex-members of Shattered Faith evidently still harboring grudges against Posh Boy's Robbie Fields (they were originally called Rob My Fields—cheeky! Meanwhile, their contribution, "Saturated," is just okay). The female-fronted Blood Soaked Hands' "Lights Out" is terrific—Elysia Moon comes off like a kicked-in-the-stomach Courtney Love, but with a voice so meaty we bet she could belt out opera.
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Side two is even better. Code 4-15's "City Lights" at the very least deserves to find its way into Indie 103.1's taste-making hands. Pharmacist's Son's "Uncontrollable Situation" is our favorite cut—partly because of the band's roots in two of the best Costa Mesa bands ever (the Women and Dodge Dart), partly because it's such a different, deliciously poppy tune, and partly because they've left spaces between verses for people to shout out the title. Laguna Hills' KBH jokingly fantasize of being in the mafia ("Black suits and Cadillacs . . . Greasy hair and baseball bats!"). Sensitive Side are fun and new-wavy, and they have two of the best fake punk names on the comp—Austin Translation and Holly Cost. Wargasms' "World War Forever" is perfectly fine pit-stomp material. And the ironically named ADHD—ironic considering they have the longest cut here at 3:40, which for '77-style punk is like a 22-hour miniseries—manage to keep their inertia going on "You Don't Know My Body," uppity enough to power your hybrid car by.
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, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701-7417.