December 01, 2009 - GC
The compilation is a cipher in the current music landscape. Where once they served a utilitarian purpose of exposing new bands or bringing attention to worthy causes, the internet has nearly killed the album as a viable musical entity. A generous swath of music fans has not and will never buy an actual full-length record. Can we expect them to plunk down a few bucks for a variety of bands on one CD, many of which they likely are unfamiliar with?
GC Records and Scissor Press certainly hope so. Proceeds from Protect 2 go towards the Protect organization, which works for the welfare of children. While socially conscious compilations were a fixture of the '90s, one would be hard-pressed to locate many in 2009. Such smaller organizations surely need the money, especially when any potential federal funding tends to fall into the coffers of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
As with any record containing 27 different bands, the quality varies wildly. Since the bulk of the bands tend towards fast punk, the non-punk acts stand out. The Hotcakes offer a rousing alt-country rocker with "Tongue Tied," while Greg Ginn proves his skills have not waned since Black Flag with the smoky jazz/blues instrumental "Trip Vine."
That leaves us with a whole lot of uproarious punk songs. There's the snotty and spiteful (Vlad And The Impalers' live take on "Army Now") or the pop-minded (The Copyrights' "Immovable Object"). It's astounding that new bands still employ such saturated styles, yet some of these prove that there's nothing wrong with the old when done right. While 27 songs is a lot to consume, it offers enough variety to lure people in for a good cause.