The happening album of the now. North and South California meet to release punk as it is today. Los Angeles darlings, Lifes Halt, start off with a mixture of punk rock that is not only fast and to the point but interlaced with their Latin heritages. Some of the songs on their side are sung in Spanish. I may not understand, but the message they are trying to convey is truly felt. I may not always be in the know but they are amazing. I had the impression that they were power-violence kids, but they carried more of a ‘84 vibe in their music. Fast and faster but not too fast. I guess I need to get out more. San Francisco’s What Happens Next? have revived a whole genre in a matter of a couple of years. Renaming it Bandana-Core, they strive to thrash a new following while not making it too noisy for others to follow. I was part of the original scene and glad it’s coming back. Slamming (or for new kids, moshing) in a leather or choosing flannel with some bandanas is an easy choice. The look was created in Southern California and it’s more practical and more affordable. I sound like an adult talking about money, don’t I? This all-star bay area band have put out a good amount of releases lately and this follows in their quality. Absolutely raging, fast punk rock with thought-provoking lyrics. Can’t have enough thought-provoking lyrics. Hope more is to come from both these bands. I feel like a little kid getting the toy they dreamed for at Christmas. Aggression, rage, intelligence and some speed is all I’m asking for.

 –don (Young Blood)