Various Artists The Solution to Benefit Heal the BayMojo Records

Photo by Jeanne RiceIt's always dicey to release a double CD tied to a political cause, especially one so controversial as keeping the Santa Monica Bay and Southern California coastal waters safe and healthy. Sure, some people like clean water, but what about the people who enjoy watching big wads of human feces float by? What about them, huh? What about their rights? Oh, sure, you probably think it's cool to just go out and put together a two-CD compilation that's so good, so listenable, so crammed with songs you enjoy hearing that tons of people will snap it up and the money will ultimately go toward cleaning that shit up. You would think that, you selfish, selfish ocean lover! The Solution to Benefit Heal the Bay features 27 plucky tracks, including some tweaked live versions of songs you've heard (Blink-182's “Damnit”) as well as such previously unreleased tracks as the Rentals' “Simple Life,” Bad Religion's “Lose As Directed,” Reel Big Fish's ska-tastic cover of Lita Ford's “Kiss Me Deadly” and David Holmes' “Gritty Shaker.” The set manages, somehow, to cull from a number of genres and subgenres, including hip-hop, electronic, alternative and rock without making you feel like your brain's going to explode. There's even a track here for the berindie: “Priceless” by Jealous Sound, which is ex-Knapsack singer Blair Shehan's new band. And there's quite a big OC representation as well, with the aforementioned Reel Big Fish track, the Killingtons' “Thursday,” and Paul and Lara's standout “Picturella.” But make no mistake: if you care at all about your God-given right to swim with sewage, then buying this CD will only hurt your cause. THE WILD COLONIALS

The Wild Colonials' Reel Life Vol. #1 collects music that the LA band has recorded for 15 movies I haven't seen. Consequently, I have no idea whether these songs performed their original function, but it's an interesting album, vibrant and coherent enough for me to almost miss the fact that it's mostly covers. For instance, it leads off with “It's Not Unusual,” Tom Jones' hackneyed call for the ladies to throw their panties. But instead of descending into camp, the song comes off as sweet, sincere and charming. The few originals that are here—like the haunting, violin-driven “The Battle Won”—aren't really the Colonials but rather side projects by the band's individual members. Somehow that's irrelevant. Songs by such diverse artists as the Grateful Dead, Muddy Waters and Squirrel Nut Zippers exhibit a startling range, but all of them are refashioned to be the Colonials' own. (Victor D. Infante)

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