Chick Singer-Free!

Photo by Rick BrainVARIOUS ARTISTS

If regular ol' punk rock settles differences in back alleys and bar fights, beach punk simply draws a line in the sand—and with this ambitious vinyl-only compilation, local ber-label Hostage Records has made it pretty clear where they stand. “CDs are crap—we throw them away by the handfuls,” writes Hostage honcho Rick Bain. “We are vinyl. This will not be on CD, nor will anything we have slated for the future.” Fine by us—this kind of ragged, post-Adolescents punk sounds immeasurably more credible in analog, all the better to drive parents, teachers and anyone with a CD player up the wall. Most of the usual suspects are here with unreleased and mostly typical tracks—no Smogtown ska or anything—that runs from weak to peak. Broken Bottles creep toward maturity with downer lament “Teenage Dinosaur.” Discontent break character with a very X-y rock/punk song that fades out on the best part. The Pegs do a blunt-object riff on Jealous Again-era Black Flag and . . . well, we live and die by the wax platter, too, but there are a few tracks on here just begging for a fast-forward button. Too bad the worst bands also look the toughest—it's scary being a critic. But still: bonus points to Hostage for stabbing at diversity—they have yet to get a band with a female singer, but Tower 13 ropes in a decent sampling of guitar-heavy beach punk that's different enough to keep the comp from sinking.


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