The Better Jacksonville Plan
All that doom’n’gloom stuff about the death of the music industry and, by extension, rawk’n’roll ITSELF, is a sobering thought at times, or it just might be the panicked grousing of record execs, promo types, and various DJs grouchy and forlorn from cocaine withdrawal. Because from where I sit right now in Jacksonville, there is a thriving, vibrant and active music scene around the underground fringes, much of it fiercely independent and DIY and it looks like no one bothered to tell them that music is a dead end street. This particular comp from Infintesmal Records compiles a truly mixed bag of local acts — most from the more rough-hewn freak/punk-folk side of the street — for a sonic taste of indigenous Jacksonville. It’s a limited edition of 1000 with minimal but endearing psychedelic artwork and liner notes that unfold into an attractive mini-poster.
The Jad-Fair-esque baroque pop of Lelyn R. Master’s “Trip to the Zoo” is way more enjoyable than I expected, a good square deal all around. The always-welcome Lazerstar makes two appearances, sounding completely out of place and jarring with his sleek, futurist new wave manifesto. Jon Todd (RIP) do moody soundscapes that conjure up thoughts of the Dirty Three and those outros to latter-day Smiths songs that sound all mysterious and collaged-together. Richeliu’s “Queen of the Underworld” is a lo-fi scramble through gnarled brambles of electric guitar fuzz, galloping drums and the vocalist’s war whoop that’s over too soon. DM Waltz channel the Minutemen (“Chunky”) and then Today is the Day (“2416”). Sure, why not? There are also tracks from Memphibians, Honey Chamber, Tuffy, E.M.A., Mothrawashington, Beach Party, Horse Thieves, and American Bowie. Overall, the quality is scattershot, with enjoyable highs punctuated by dreary lows — it’s the usual compilation roulette. Women seem to be rather under-represented, and if you’re not into punk-infected acoustic guitar music, well, you might want to move on. Though, it should be said, I support the spirit, if not the letter, of what they are doing.