When I first heard about this compilation, my heart skipped a beat. A whole bunch of bands, united together to help out a family's medical bills for their dying son. It really is touching, and it shows once again why Asian Man Records is on a superior level compared to most other labels. That being said, here's the lowdown.
This compilation was organized by Julie Wager, who most of us know as the official webmistress of the Alkaline Trio webpage, among other bands. Her friend Lucas Cambra has a brother named Ty who was recently diagnosed with the fatal disease called Adrenoleukodystrophy. The family spent over $350,000 on a bone marrow transplant only to find it unsuccessful. All proceeds from this compilation go directly to the Cambra family to help pay their medical bills. Again, very cool. With a story like this, what band wouldn't give their left arm to be a part of the comp? By taking one look at the track listing, it's a punk rock all-star game. The comp contains unreleased tracks from [just to name a few] Alkaline Trio, Blue Meanies, Hot Water Music, Face To Face, and most amazingly, Tuesday [it's amazing since the band has been broken up for something like 3 years now]. To add to the star-studded gala, Saves The Day, A New Found Glory, Reggie and The Full Effect, Lawrence Arms, and more contribute previously-released material. While I don't neccessarily like every band on this comp, I give them all credit for supporting a cause as noble as this. The previously released tracks are just that, so I'll only waste your time by telling you about the unreleased material.
Sig Transit Gloria - Frontdoor Farewells: A good opening song, a little over 2 minutes long. Very Get Up Kids-ish, in a good way.
Doing Jonas - Mesmerizing: Never heard of the band before, but they have the sappy pop-punk thing down. After reading the liner notes, I'm pretty sure one of Ty's older brothers is in this band.
Blue Meanies - Court Caricature: Technically this song isn't unreleased, as it has been available on their website's online radio. Frankly, it's a dud of a song, being incredibly repetitive and long. I love the Meanies, but this didn't do it for me.
Alkaline Trio - Dead End Road: I'm sure this comp will sell a whole bunch of copies due to the inclusion of an unreleased Alkaline Trio song, even if it isn't very good. This reminds me a lot of "My Friend Peter," in the simplistic punk-rock beats and chords, and the sing-songy choruses. It's not a keeper.
The Travesty Star - We're Not The Impatients: This is another unknown band to me, but they have one hell of a song on here. Very "emo," if you will [even though I hate that term]. I really dig it.
Tom Daily - Throw It Away: This is actually an old Joe Jackson cover, and Tom really punks it out. Very enjoyable by all.
Home Grown - I Love You, NOT: This band wins the award for the stupidest song title ever, I believe. The song itself is pretty pathetic, also. I thought Home Grown used to be good. I guess that was when I was 16.
The Honor System - Witchhunt: This is very Jawbox-esque, and it really rocks. I used to not like this band, but after saw them live, I'm a fan.
Bagheera - Not Chasing Ghosts: Umm... Let's just move on.
Hot Water Music - Jaded Eyes: Not actually a HWM song, but a Government Issue cover. It's got the patented dual-vocal attack, but it's missing any real energy, at least to me.
The Ghost - Groundswell: I dunno, I've never heard of the band before and this track didn't really bowl me over or anything.
Face To Face - Questions Still Remain: Apparently this song isn't technically "unreleased" either, as I guess it was available a long time ago on some short run vinyl release or something. Either way, it's rare and it rocks.
Tuesday - Everybody Was In Love: For those of you who are wondering, there's two types of Tuesday songs. You have your "Early Summer"-era songs, which are [in my opinion] more poorly recorded and have worse vocals, and have more of a punky edge to them. Then you have your "Freewheelin"-era songs, which frankly just sound better. I was hoping for a "Freewheelin" type song, I got a "Early Summer" type song. It's still good, but I would've rather had the other.
Ironically, the biggest bands on this release [Alkaline Trio, Blue Meanies, Hot Water Music] are the ones who fall flat on their faces with their unreleased material. The smaller bands like the Honor System and the Travesty Star really stole the show. As comps go, this one is really hit-and-miss, but in the end, does it really matter? All the money made from it goes directly to the Cambra family, which, in my mind, is so incredibly cool I can't even describe it. So pick this one up, if for nothing else but to support a good cause.