Review: Orange County, New York vs. Orange County, California

Various Artists
“Orange County, New York vs. Orange County, California”
(Orange Peal Records / Smell My Thumb Records)

Just reading this compilation’s title will give you a pretty good idea as to what to expect.  The two-cd record pits Orange County bands from California and New York against one another in an all out, no holds-barred, cage match to the death.  Also as expected, the California disc features many more ska and poppy acts.

Starting off with Forces of Evil’s super-ska stylings, California fails to display much variation until Rock Kills Kid offers a brief relief with their standout track “Dream”.  A creative little rock song, “Dream” is a well-written tune that rocks some falsetto background vocals whose placement make the melody a hit.  Back to the poppy, Homegrown and Madcap also make solid appearances.

The next block of tracks features the more metal or aggressive tunes performed by the likes of Avenged Sevenfold and Eighteen Visions as well as the punk and street punk stylings of El Nada and Straight Faced.  California ends the round with Up Syndrome whose track “Last Song Forever” is an acoustic, heart felt, teenage ballad with violins.

The New Yorkers won’t take this sitting down and start off with another standout track in Autopilot Off’s “Wide Awake”.  What follows is more metal/punk rather than being so heavy on the ska side of the country.

Shai Hulud and Slugworth dish out the rock jams while Soul 4 Sale and The Schematics try to counter with their ska and easy listening punk.

Makeoutmusic proves to be New York’s ringer with their tune “Stand Up”.  It’s funny because Makeoutmusic makes music that definitely isn’t.  It’s fast paced street punk with the classic “Punk rock’s not dead” chant that we have all come to love.

When the gloves are off, New York proves to be tougher in the world of punk boxing matches between counties on opposite sides of the country with the same name.