In locations across the world, curves are flattening, lockdowns are loosening, and brave souls are venturing into the open. It’s too soon to know if these are the last of the Strange Days, or the first days of the New Normal.
Will our children’s children roll their eyes when the old folks crank up about the Pandemic of 2020, or will it become fashionable to be married in your grandmother’s wedding mask? Either way, the never-out-of-style janglepop of the musicians featured on “Join A Comp!” will be around, playing in the background as the family gathers closely around the holiday dinner table, or providing the beats for the first dance of the bride and groom as the couple sways at opposite ends of a six-foot social span, their brightly sparkling rings slipped on over blue latex gloves.
“Join A Comp!” is the latest compilation from Fadeawayradiate Records, thirteen songs from thirteen different artists. “Things are still a bit dire for bands because of coronavirus circumstances,” we learn in the liner notes. “Countries are slowly opening up, but there are still no venue events, festivals and gigs.” The compilation provides the featured musicians with some much-missed exposure, and provides the listeners with enough positive vibes to carry us through the current crisis and into the next one.
The album opens with the ringing telegraph tones of “Love” by Cinéma Lumière, a reminder of what really matters in troubled — or untroubled — times. Spoiler Alert: it isn’t the Starbucks grande caffè latte that you once thought was a vital ingredient necessary for sustaining Life.
The artists on “Join A Comp!” converged — virtually — from lands as diverse as Manila, Mexico, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The twists and turns of roads and fates that brought these bands together under a common album cover mirror the personal journeys described in the energetic pop of “Round and Round,” by California’s The Francine Odysseys.
A personal favorite is “She Knows” by Apple Orchard. A blast of pure power pop with grinding guitars leavened by a gentle vocal, the song was custom-designed to be heard through the speakers of vehicle — maybe a ’69 Impala or maybe a soccer mom mini-van — flying fast down an open road.
“Join A Comp!” captures a mood of wistful, forward-looking nostalgia. And The Arctic Flow’s “Dreams You’ll Never Find” reminds us to place the disrupted plans of 2020 in the dustbin of the past, and look to the future with focused eyes.
In addition to the artists highlighted here, “Join A Comp!” features wonderful contributions by theCatherines, Starry Eyed Cadet, The Fisherman and His Soul, The Skating Party, Nah…, Mercvrial, Miserable Chillers, Distant Creatures, and The Death of Pop. The compilation is available for free download on Bandcamp. Each track contains a link to the artist’s own Bandcamp page. Feel free to explore the artists’ music, and please support them — and all other independent musicians — by purchasing your favorite tracks.