By now you're probably noticing a trend here, but I'll continue it again in case you haven't read any of the prior write ups I've done on my Record Store Day hauls. My local store didn't carry the Hardcore Matinee compilation, so once again I was forced to look elsewhere and like with the other Swami RSD releases, I was able to nab this from Interpunk. So, thanks for that Interpunk, you came through big time this year.
Hardcore Matinee is a throwback to the days of compilation albums that cram tons of bands and variety into a blender and serve it up to you, the listener. Being of the appropriate age myself, I can't even tell you how many compilations I bought back in the 90s. It was essentially one of the main ways I discovered new bands. You find a comp that has a band or two on it you already like, and then you go through the rest looking for new sounds. It's actually how I discovered Rocket From The Crypt oddly enough. Swami John Reis has compiled a bunch of bands from his hometown of San Diego, CA and the results are pretty striking.
It starts off with a one-two punch of The Schizophonics and Octagrape, both are bands that I was familiar with, but hadn't really heard all that much by. While neither song ends up being a true highlight on this stacked compilation, they are both good enough to warrant looking into both bands a little more closely in the future.
There's some bands already familiar to me who expectedly knock it out of the park. Pinback, The Heartaches and Mrs. Magician are all at the very top of the best songs on this record and by listening to each it is clear that they were not turning in leftovers for this compilation. Every one of those songs could have easily ended up on an album or 7".
Of newer bands (or at least newer to me bands), Teenage Burritos and The Soaks really stand out. In particular, The Soaks stake a real claim at possibly having the best song on the entire compilation. I already have a demo tape by these guys, but I really hope to hear more from them very soon.
Next we'll talk about the two John Reis bands on this record. Chronologically, the first one is the first new Hot Snakes song since they started playing together again. It's as fantastic as you would hope and instantly makes it obvious this is a band that has lost none of their fire over the years. If anything it's interesting how much it seems to call on Rick's time with Obits. Closing out the album is The Sultans. Despite having been out of action for so long, they are the band battling with The Soaks for my favorite song on the record. Their inclusion "Hardcore Matinee" is something of a theme song for the entire record. It showcases all of the incredible chord changes, warm, jangly guitar and catchiness that The Sultans displayed on their last album. I want new records by all of John's band, but part of me would like to hear some more from The Sultans the most.
There are a few bands that don't get to me quite as much. The Gary Wilson song strikes me as being a little goofy and I'll never be into the kind of noisy hollering that bands like Death Eyes, Ghetto Blaster and WHA bring to the table. But as a whole this is an incredibly enjoyable compilation packed with old favorites and new hit songs. It brings me right back to the 90s, digging through compilation albums, looking for gold.
Octagrape - Rabalais:
The Soaks - "Boyfriend":
The Sultans - "Hardcore Matinee":