VARIOUS ARTISTS: Unusual Suspects: LP

Jul 20, 2021

I will always go on record as a staunch proponent of the punk rock compilation. There is just something so right about a collection of bands put together to form a cohesive album. While the golden age of the format was the early ’80s/late ’90s, the age of streaming and downloading has really taken its toll. Enter Hostage Records, a quarter century old southern California punk label in the tradition of Dangerhouse or Posh Boy. They know the importance of the punk rock compilation. I was hooked by 2000’s The Hostage Situation, and I have been a rabid fan ever since. Unusual Suspects is the label’s first compilation since 2004’s Collateral Damage, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Twelve blasts of sun-blasted punk rock to burn away our pandemic blues. As with most Hostage compilations, there are the label stalwarts, such as The Crowd, Channel 3, Love Canal, and Shattered Faith, and the upstarts such as Loose Trucks, The Berzerkers, The Plagues, and Infamous Stiffs. It all balances out perfectly. I don’t have the room here to go through song by song, but I can say there are no clunkers on this slab. I will single out Shattered Faith’s song “Darkness” as not only being amazing, but it holds the distinction of being the first song I have heard on record specifically referencing what the world has been going through this past year and a half. They say there are no guarantees in life, but I am always willing to bet on Hostage to put out the best that the Golden State has to offer. Get this before it’s gone! –Ty Stranglehold (Hostage)