I don't know who I would be today were it not for cheap punk compilation CDs. In my formative teen years, I could stretch my paycheck to hear dozens of bands. Rock Against Bush, $6 in the Borders clearance bin, introduced me to bands like Dillinger Four and Jawbreaker. Punk comps can be terrible, though, and outdated now that it's super easy to stream a YouTube video to check out a band.
Yet I am delighted with The Kraken: All Hands Lost, a digital Bandcamp comp benefiting the Kraken bar, a mainstay of the Seattle music scene. Northwest punks will recognize several names on All Hands Lost, including bands that have partied in Montana, like The Anchor, Damage Done and Ol' Doris.
It also has a track from Missoula's own Bird's Mile Home. If you are ever so lucky to party in the Kraken and use the ladies' room, you'll sit down and see a Bird's Mile show poster on the wall.
Like the very best samplers, All Hands Lost introduces you to some great bands you might never hear otherwise. The $5 to download the comp gets you 30 great tracks and supports a venue that's welcoming and fun to all kinds of wayward folks.