SOME OF THE REJECTS: The Goners.
Anyone who’s ever truly needed peace and quiet, especially those who reside in the sturm und drang of urban neighborhoods, understand the incredible sanctity of a public library. Walking into a book building’s hallowed halls is pure bliss; you can feel its cool embrace as its respectful silence cloaks you like a blanket. It’s like going to church but without all the moral baggage and pressured confessions.
Anyway, the system of Providence Public Libraries is on the brink of financial disaster. At least six branches are in danger of closing if someone doesn’t find the cash soon. The Library’s trustees, who have long had their finger on the panic button, will shutter them in bunches. Some Rhode Island musicians, in conjunction with Not About the Buildings, a group trying to save the endangered PPL, decided to put their music where there mouth was. They created The Library Album, an online-only compilation featuring nearly two dozen bands that worship their local libraries. The Library Album was originally conceived as a fund- and awareness-raising project for the PPL. But then someone had a really good idea. Why not put all the songs online for free, like a . . . library would, therefore making it easy for downloaders to grab free stuff and donate money to a great cause?! Participating bands include BLOODLESS COUP, MAMMOTH HUNTER, PILES, TINY HAWKS, THE SET OF RED THINGS, HARRY AND THE POTTERS, <TFO>, UV PROTECTION, HBOMB HBOMB, THE ONE AM RADIO, AMATIELLE, ANDREW SAWTELLE, PINKY AND DOLORES, MATT OBERT, HORSEY, WHAT CHEER? BRIGADE, THE LAME DRIVERS, A PASSING FEELING, THE MASONS,, and GUNTAARD. And you can get a track from THE 'MERICANS’ forthcoming summer release. So, obviously, there’s lot of really good stuff. The spirit of the collection, along with the quality of the tracks, is uniformly excellent. You can snag all of them at www.notaboutthebuildings.com/benefit.html, and be sure to click on the “Donate” button.
Not all comps are as selfless in intention as The Library Album. But that doesn’t make them any less worthwhile. Rhode Island Rejects doesn’t rally for any altruistic cause. But it represent something; it’s the best pure punk rock album compilation to come out of Providence in a long time. With 30 songs by 15 bands, RIR was produced by Joe Moody at Danger, which immediately gives it a lift. Not only do the tracks sound great, they’re consistent in sound levels (many compilations get their tunes from disparate sources and are then spliced together). Moody is expert at getting great sounds; the guitars explode throughout this 74-minute barrage and, for the most part, so do the drums and vocals. Most of these bands are traditional old school punk, derived from the late ’70s cesspool of greatness (X, Black Flag, Fear), and the whole album has a sort of “throwback” feel.
Highlights are numerous; there are virtually no stinkers in this bunch. We’ve always liked THE GONERS, KATIE LEE HOOKER, and THE BRUNT OF IT, and their cuts don’t disappoint here. Pleasant surprises include MURDERGRAM and GUT BUCKET. Of course, none of this is for the faint of heart; it gets slightly disgusting in a gleeful sort of way. In fact, what punk worth its jackboots isn’t at least a little gleefully disgusting? Buy it, feed your head, and rest assured that loud friggin’ local noise is still in really good hands. Big props go out to Kenny Ruhle of the Dooshbags for putting many hours into pulling all this together. Harold Cruz, Ryan Weedon, and Marc DiMartino took care of the artwork. You can get it at www.13thstaterecords.com.