"Rock Album of the Year: Hawaiian Islands Collection 2001-2002"
Various artists
Hawaiian Express

Collection rocks with
tunes of isle bands

Review by Gary C.W. Chun

One of the tireless underground music promoters in Hawaii, Jason Miller, is leaving today for training in the Air Force Reserve -- once you have a wife and two kids (with son No. 2 Luke arriving early last month), you know just being a concert promoter-slash-indie label owner won't be enough to pay the bills.

So here's wishing him and his family the best and a hearty mahalo for all the work he's done over the years, including those always entertaining compilations chock-full of the best and liveliest of local bands. This latest installment, a year in the making, is the best of the lot.

Even local music history is served with tracks from the state's very first punk/new wave band, the Squids, and their "Theme from 'Surf Boy'" and band guitarist Beano Shots (David Sumida) with his wonderfully moody "A Hermit's Lullaby."

Plus, all of my current faves are here: Hellbound Hounds ("I Saw Her"), Linus ("Arrivals and Departures"), Teradactyl ("Just Friends"), Da Hobras (the instrumental surf number "Go-T King") and Pimpbot (the G Thang remix of "Pentatonic Reggae"). Littlejeans, whose latest album will get national distribution later this month, after signing with Skankin' Pickle Mike Park's Asian Man record label, are represented by "Eskimo Kiss." (Keyboardist Tommy Yasuhara is also with the Haunted Pines, who, in the former incarnation as Kite Festival, contribute "We Laughed Out Loud (La, La, La).")

One pleasant surprise on this album is the strength of the songs from the neighbor islands, with Maui's Turbo Punx offering a hilariously deadpan "Not 2 Punk 2 Care."

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