It’s difficult to believe that releasing a CD is essentially an anachronism. Can uploading a collection of different bands be rightfully called a “compilation”? I think not. That’s really just a playlist, something that 12-year-olds do on their Kiks and you old people did on Myspace. It’s a continuation of the mixtape concept: Here’s stuff I listen to.
The classic Compilation—capitalized so you know I’m serious—is a snapshot of a town’s club scene at a moment in time.
I’m talking about a hard copy music compilation in the traditional sense. Not a box set (Time-Life’s British Boys in Spandex 1985-86) or a collection (Wankoff Metal Riffage III). OK, I made those up, but odds are they exist, albeit under another title. The classic Compilation—
Over the next decade, Socyermom Records became a contender for “Most Rock Compilations Issued,” weighing in with Ouch!, Sampler, Winter Sampler, two volumes each of New Mexico Rocks! Pin-Up Calendar Companion and Rock Outside the Box, most of which label owner Leonard Apodaca blithely gave away. Close behind are five volumes of Burque Luv, all tracks from the Dirt City’s electronic scene, little known unless you were part of it. But by sheer weight alone, public radio KANW trumps all with its hefty 43 New Mexican traditional music comps. ¡Hijola!
But wait, there’s more! Things We Did Last Summer (Beach Boys covers). DJ Caterwaul’s Ear to the Underground studio series. NM Showcase, a battle of the bands-type thingie. A few Frogville, Detach and Little Kiss label compilations. And most recently the (mostly) local Gatas y Vatas lady comps.
In a return to the old pan-label multi-band promo comes Music Lab-ABQ Volume I, an outgrowth of a showcase series, the proceeds of which paid for CD pressing. Joey Gonzalez and Dandee Fleming felt that the scene “could only benefit from a little more cohesion and cooperation,” according to Clark Libbey, who was enlisted to push the project forward. Gonzalez adds, “Clark covered most everything. I just wanted to document the scene as it stands right now [and] wasn't aware of anyone doing it across genres.”
The trio has succeeded with 16 bands represented, even ones that know-it-all jerks like me hadn’t yet heard. Besides being a historical document, the hope is that this comp will convince you and I to get our slack asses out the door and support local music. The next volume should see the light of day in spring 2015, and bands are encouraged to sign up.
In five words or less each, highlights include: Howlin’ Wolves—prowl ‘n’ growl rock. AJ Woods—Neil Young Harvest-era twang. St. Petersburg—shoegaze neo-psych. The blurts—Lou Reed vs. Lee Hazlewood. Youngsville—addled whiskey dreams. Shoulder Voices—his mini-satanic majesty’s request.