Various Artists: Many Waters: Baton Rouge Flood Relief 2017
Twenty dollars seems like quite a bit for an album in these days but Thrill Jockey and Thou have put together a compilation predominantly made up by sludge acts from Louisiana that is well worth the cost. That goes without even mentioning that the record benefits the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. The album kicks off with Cikada covering the Eyehategod classic “30 Dollar Bag.” It’s a properly skuzzy, lo-fit tribute to the influential Louisiana band. It’s the second track that sets the ceiling for the record as The Body & Full of Hell team up to cover Devo’s “Gates of Steel” in what sounds like a mash up of the Sex Pistols and a terrible industrial accident. Thou follow that up with an their rendition of Neil Young’s “Don’t Let it Bring You Down”. Thou take the grittiness of Young’s classic and throw it into a swampy graveyard. Bassist Mitch Wells grabs the heart of the song and holds it up for all to see–”In Utero” style feedback and dissonance surge through the track making it feel a bit like a Frankenstein’s monster reanimated with a lightning strike, shambling forward, decaying, in disarray but full of life.
Solid Giant pick up Joy Division’s “Dead Souls” and turn it into a hardcore anthem. The disc is full of solid tracks by relatively unknown acts like Thrush and Black Abba. Sumac, the new project from Isis’s Aaron Turner also lends a previously unreleased live tune. Worthwhile compilations are a rare bird but when one arrives with such a cohesive feel it can be consuming and impactful in ways a lot of modern albums fail to be. That is the case with “Many Waters.” Old Albany hardcore scenesters might dig this album like they did local classic compilations like “United We Stand/ Divided We Fall”. This one is hard to stop listening to. You can currently purchase the album at Thrill Jockey’s Bandcamp page.