VARIOUS ARTISTS: Valley Blvd.: LP

Fun Fact #1: Two of the three bands on this compilation also played the first club gig I ever performed in a band, way back in 1983. Then, as now, I was in utter fuckin’ awe at how good they were. Fun Fact #2: I waited to spin this dead-last, not out of dread, but rather anticipation—the “dessert,” if you will, of this review cycle. I’ve been waiting for what felt like forever for this to be released and it was definitely worth the wait. As with Posh Boy’s legendary Beach Blvd. comp, upon which its structure is based, you get three bands from the ’80s meting out fourteen slices of pure, undiluted thug-pop culled from tapes likely unheard by damned near anyone outside the San Gabriel Valley since at least 1988. Every track here, from The Steps’ propulsive bratty punk/pop, to Mad Parade’s assured-even-then mix of O.C. and U.K. anthemic grandeur, to Chainsaw Pop’s handful of gritty, dark-tinged tunes perfectly described by their name, is goddamned classic. By the time it’s over, you’re not only left wanting more, but asking why the fuck this was ever not a part of your life’s soundtrack. Gutterwail’s put out some crucial stuff of late, but this… this is the kind of release you half-wish had been released when the songs were recorded just so you can watch collectors slobber all over themselves and throw vast sums of money just to get their hands on a copy. Luckily for us, it’s out now and obtainable (for now). Fun Fact #3: If you listen closely, you’ll hear a little voice coming from your record bins, begging you to include this release. You really, really, should heed that voice. –Jimmy Alvarado (Gutterwail, madparade.biz)