Various Artists


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Orange County's Nitro Records is perhaps the region's premier punk label, featuring a bunch of well-known middle-aged bands on its roster as well as a few newer ones. This enjoyable sampler has one or two songs from every band on the label, as well as a couple of unreleased tracks. The impressive lineup includes veteran acts like T.S.O.L., who offer up the very fine "Wasted" and an unreleased track, "Sold," which is easily one of the best tunes the band has written since they re-formed with their original members. (The song didn't make it onto their excellent 2001 release, Disappear.) There's also punk rock's forefathers, the Damned, still rockin' out in their wheelchairs and sounding pretty good on "Democracy?" "Behind the Music," the satirical story of a band trying to make it in the record business, is among the cleverest, most humorous songs the Vandals have ever written. The song borrows music industry lingo like "showcasing," "buzz," and "we'd like to see it chart" to tell the mildly tragic tale of a band unsuccessfully attempting to make a hit record. There are also two forgettable songs from the Offspring's self-titled album, which came out in 1989. Of the non-senior-citizen-aged acts, the hardcore band Ensign and pop-punkers Bodyjar stand out. But punks of all shapes, sizes, and colors will dig this compilation.

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