(Wyld Stallion Records, CD)
Burlington has seen its fair share of compilation CDs over the years, and more than a few have been made for charitable causes. The tradition continues with Caring Is Knowing, a collection of tunes from a wide variety of local performers. The disc, which benefits local AIDS education and prevention organization Vermont CARES, is enjoyable, if a somewhat uneven collection of music.
If you were at the release party at 135 Pearl a couple weeks ago, you've probably already given this CD a spin. Those of you who missed the show can still pick it up at local retailers.
Caring Is Knowing kicks off with "Sean O'Malley," a quirky pop number from Boston-by-way-of-Burlington rockers Pretty & Nice. Featuring strummed guitars and a wonderfully foppish vocal performance, the tune is wicked fun. Blackthorne Wilderness follow it up with "Carmeline," a woodsy folk song with some particularly haunting harmonies.
Local reggae-pop groovesters The Casual Fiasco serve up the slow-burning "Mint Condition," which sounds a bit like Sublime on Bacardi Breezers. Gregory Douglass steals the spotlight with his passionate "Sail the Sea." His voice and melodic phrasing are stunning as usual.
Madcap rock melodicists The Jazz Guys take things up a notch with "The Saddest Man in Showbiz," a tune already familiar to their loyal fans. "Simple Sonic Waves," by Aquadora, drifts along in an indie-rock haze, while From The Ground Up's "No More Hurt" is an old-school hardcore anthem.
One highlight is the country-pop ditty "Sun Always Shines" by the Middle Eight. Damn, I miss that band. Fire the Cannons donate the extraordinarily catchy "Nowhere Feels Like Home," which combines edgy indie-rock with melodic pop. Later, Jugtown Pirates of Lake Champlain drop by with "Haunted Hippie Mansion Halloween," in which Charlie Manson, Frankenstein and Paula Jones all make appearances.
My favorite cut is "Crumb(ling) Plates (short)" by Nest Material, which unfolds, specter-like, from a gurgle of tones 'n' drones. Antara's "Jolly Friends" is a sprightly acoustic rocker, while Video Pigeon's "Your Downtown Aperture" is a narcotic delight. The high-and-lonesome "Come Back," by Will, is a fine addition, as is album closer "Soft Fireworks" by Swale, which affects an otherworldly glow.
Congrats to organizer/producer Bridget Burns for rallying so many musicians to such an important cause.