Various ArtistsThe Hostage SituationHostage Records
Back in the primordial days, carloads of pumped-up beach kids would descend on Hollywood, spit on the Urinals, punch Darby Crash in the nose, and then go home and crank out their own aggressive, intense, stripped-down breed of punk. Now Hostage Records has put together this back-to-the-beach blitzkrieg showcasing the modern-day local heirs to that fine tradition. Despite the absence of the almighty Stitches, it's a tightly focused, mostly solid comp that's highlighted by typically snotty (and unreleased) salvos from punk granddaddies the Crowd, surf-and-slamdance anthems from Smogtown, and two razor-sharp tunes by up-and-comers the Numbers. And then you've got such beach bunnies as Bonecrusher, who crunch through some gruff street punk; Garden Grove's Discontent, who tap a vitriol-rich vein of suburban alienation (thanks in large part, probably, to living in Garden Grove); the Bleeders, who spin out a heartfelt rockabilly-influenced number; the Decline, with a seamless Clash cover; and under-the-radar perennials Instagon, who stomp out a too-short Flipper-style feedback frenzy that could be the album's standout track. Since almost every band on here is essentially riding the same midtempo, high-energy punk-with-a-streak-of-pop new wave, though, someone's gonna have to wipe out. That would be the Smut Peddlers, who go from gritty to grating after a few laps around a repetitive riff. And the Spooky's DOA horror would really growl with a lot more horror and a drop in the pop. Such bands as the Negatives and the Fakes are just treading water by comparison with their beefier bros, with washed-out takes on the same classic sound. But, hey, not everybody can be king of the beach. Just be ready to surf that track-skip button, and everything will be perfectly bitchen.
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