Saturday, March 15, 2008

Review: Various Artists - Take Action! Volume 7

Label: Hopeless Records/Sub City

Released: March 4, 2008

The seventh installment of the Take Action compilation series is, as usual, a mixed bag of bands, but a pretty good one nonetheless. It dabbles in everything from from hardcore and metal (Every Time I Die) to noise rock (Drop Dead, Gorgeous) to progcore (Chiodos) to straightforward punk (The Matches), but most of the album fits somewhere into the overlapping genres of pop punk, power pop and emo. Some is remarkably well-written like Silverstein and some is quirky and creative like Cute is What We Aim For, but most are just solid examples of what those genres have to offer. The album is long on sappy and short on edge, but whichever end of the spectrum you like, there's still enough to make this worth the price.

The DVD has 20 videos that cover similar ground. Truly good videos are even harder to come by than good songs, but once again, there is enough here for every punk/emo/screamo fan. The Plain White T's "Making a Memory" is one of those feel-good clips, but even though it's geared toward people half my age, it somehow resonated with me. I've had enough of 80s imagery, but Every Time I Die's spoofing of some that decade's cheesiest films is pretty funny. A Life Once Lost has a metal freakout in the "Firewater Joyride" reminiscent of the Butthole Surfers' "Who Was in My Room Last Night." While the DVD is less essential than the CD, it's still some nice bonus material.

A portion of the proceeds from the artists and the label (5% of the suggested retail price) goes to Do Something. Hopeless Records has long been involved in making the world a better place, so it's hard to question them, but what about the bands? Every track on here has been previously released. Why do they need to make anything? The Take Action comp is good exposure for these bands. While compiling and releasing the CD has some cost associated with the release that Hopeless needs to recoup, I don't see what the bands have invested. Maybe I'm off-base here, but it seems to me that this might not be as much of a charity release as it's portrayed to be. I'd like to get other opinions on this though. What do you think?

Ratings: 6/10


Labels: , , ,


Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Well, I personally see both sides of the coin as usual, but from the bands' perspectives, times are so tough that they only money from merch on the road, unless it's a strongly-connected indie label that compensates them accordingly. Take it or leave it as to whether it's proper motivation on a comp CD, but with everyone starving out there, you're going to see and hear of more musicians taking the stance of compensation, not necessarily from a greed standpoint, but just from a survival aspect

Here's something for you: my mom has that Plain White T's CD!

9:27 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I didn't take the hard line on it, because I'm just not sure. I guess I don't mind them getting money from a comp, but I'm questioning it since it's under the guise of charity.

That would be an argument against the Plain White T's with most moms, but not yours. She's cool.

10:39 AM  
Blogger taotechuck said...

Generally speaking, labels will recoup costs before paying bands. (At least that's how it was when I left the biz 7 years ago.) Does it matter whether or not bands donate money that they'll never have?

Also, how much money are the bands getting? If you take the typical earnings that a band makes on a full-length CD, and then split it between 10 or 20 bands, you're not talking a significant amount of money. Every band would have to donate their share for it to really make a difference.

Which brings up another point. I assume these bands are mostly on different labels, right? So each of their individual contracts and/or relationships with their labels could influence how much / if they're able to donate anything.

Finally, Ray, your argument about how tough it is out there doesn't really hold much water. It's always been tough out there, and most bands are more concerned about spending money on beer than doing anything meaningful. The bands who donate shirts to Shirts For A Cure are probably doing a hell of a lot more than they could by donating their share of a comp.

That's just my two cents, and I may be totally off-base. Frankly, Bob, I think you should contact the label and ask them for the gory details of the contracts and what's getting donated. It'd make for a hella interesting article.

8:46 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home