Truth be told, I’m fairly burned out on the compilation format. Once a noble, invaluable format for local talent to make a collective statement of existence to the greater unwashed masses, the compilation has been co-opted and unceremoniously run into the ground by innumerable crap labels releasing previously released tracks by their cookie-cutter talent in an attempt to garner a few more converts and a just few more bucks. As a result, decent recent regional comps are uncommon (at least in my experience), really good comps of any ilk are rare and ones that reach the status of Yes L.A. or Flex Your Head are about as elusive as pinning down exactly what it is that warrants Paris Hilton’s chronic fame. And yet, I still get a little giddy whenever I get one for review, partly because I’m a fuggin’ masochist and partly because my unflagging optimism when it comes to punk rock always has me looking for that next pocket of incredible, obscure noise out there for the listening. While the comp currently under discussion, a regional comp of bands situated within the 107-mile distance between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, reaches nowhere near the lofty height of the format’s most celebrated examples, it does fall solidly within the ranks of the decent. Featuring some of the area’s “name” bands—Derita Sisters, Wimpy Dicks, and Rat Pack (not sure if it’s the same Rat Pack on Mystic back in the ‘80s)—as well as a bevy of lesser-knowns, a number of which actually lay down tuneage stronger than those with more notoriety. The good/not quite as good ratio is about dead even, with Public Defecation providing the most succinct title, “Emo Kids Fuck Off and Die,” and The Last Call offering up a nice hardcore ditty called “Out of Ideas,” and most of the songs, courtesy of Damaged Goods, Johnny Cock and the Nuts, Countless Shadows, Weapon A, Drunk in Public and others, steer clear from the land of suck. This may not be the modern equivalent of The Future Looks Bright by a long shot, but it ain’t all bad, either.
–jimmy (Records on Tap)