19 Notes on a Broken System is remarkable in more ways than one.
First and foremost, it has, in a very short time, proven extraordinarily effective in raising both the awareness and resources necessary for creating positive change: After generating $2000 in donations for the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund and Amistad Law Project, the next round of funds raised will benefit the work of Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, an organization which seeks to “connect the community of black trans women and non-binary femmes in the arts & to build power among ourselves.”
Second, from a musical standpoint, this thing is just a beast. Not a dud across its substantial track listing, just one killer, enlivening cut after another.
Below, Decibel offers up five can’t miss jams from this digital cauldron of righteous brutality, but first here are a few thoughts from comp curator Janis Chakars:
“[19 Notes on a Broken System] came about, of course, because of George Floyd. Like so many people, I wanted to do something to take a stand against racism and police brutality. Some of the first songs my first band, Citizens Arrest, did were about these issues and here we are years later still facing them.
“It was easy to find other bands who felt the same. The whole underground — hardcore, punk, metal, you name it — seemed to want to do something. We could have put a hundred bands on the comp, but the protests in Philadelphia were really heating up as was the police response and if we wanted to raise money, we knew we had to get it out fast while the maximum number of people would be eager to give, so we stopped at nineteen bands, hence the title.
“The initial response was tremendous. We sold out of the cassettes in a day — we have since made more. However, as I feared, as the protests have died down, donations for the comp have also slowed. That’s important because the issues that brought these bands together are not going away overnight.”
1. Open City — “On the Spit”
Members of Ceremony, Lifetime, and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists pack a lot of post-punk hardcore punk in this concise rager that demands multiple listens.
2. Honey — “Forever Fire”
Uh, did everyone else also sleep on Jay Laughlin of Turning Point going full-on, glorious speed metal with Honey? Seriously, this is amazing and heavy metaldom needs to get into this…like, yesterday.
3. Solarized — “The Engineer”
If you worship at the altar of noise rock — and you most certainly should — the amalgamation of tasty AmRep dissonant groove and anthemic 90s alt rock will almost certainly be your new church.
4. Ungodly Hour — “Remains”
“This is the first released song from an international, improvised, remote project by Gina Gleason (Baroness, Misstallica) and Sara Neidorf.” Need we say more? Sort of reminiscent of latter day Gorguts at moments, compelling and entrancing throughout.
5. Disappearances — “Trust Management Issues”
Massive, ultra-heavy grind infused hardcore. A real punishing standout track in a comp full of ’em.
Pick up the comp here. Cover art by Justin Gray.