Inspired by the sounds of low-fidelity, budget-priced punk rock compilation LPs from the '80s, Hardcore Matinee is an anomaly in 2016. Streaming trumps physical media in terms of total listenership, and the only compilations that seem to matter much are those curated by Spotify users. It's a wonder, then, that this set of music—cramming 22 songs from 22 bands on two sides of vinyl—feels so exciting.
Released initially for Record Store Day before being available as a wide release in May, Hardcore Matinee was released as a charity compilation to raise money for the music department of The Museum School in San Diego. And that alone would be reason enough to want to shell out a few dollars for the physical product, but the talent on display here is actually pretty damn impressive. Most of the best bands from San Diego in the last decade or two show up here, each one contributing a pair of songs, most running about two and a half minutes or less. And sometimes less means far less—Death Eyes' explosive "La Lengua" is a volatile 43 seconds.
A fairly significant chunk of the 22 bands are Swami Records alumni. Current favorites Mrs. Magician offer up one of their nastier garage rock grooves, while Beehive and the Barracudas opt for a disorienting no wave blues. The Sultans deliver their first new song in nearly a decade with the head-nodding rock 'n' roll on the title track, and Hot Snakes show up for their first song in even longer than that, thrashing up an abrasive post-hardcore gallop on "Stay In School." As class reunions go, it's hard to beat this batch of upper classmen.
The remainder of the album finds a rollicking groove between veteran acts such as Pinback and Gary Wilson with relative newcomers such as Teenage Burritos (whose "Inflamed Heart" is 85 seconds of new wave fun) and The Soaks. Among the highlights are a surprising new slice of psychedelia from the much-missed Ale Mania, a furiously buzzing piece of exotica-garage from The Creepy Creeps, and an old-school bruiser from The Lumps. Not that you can really go wrong with any of the offerings here. When a community comes together to make a lot of snotty noise for a good cause, everybody wins.