Has it really been a year since the BP drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? It doesn't seem that long ago that America experienced the single largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Then again, I am pretty far removed from the whole thing here in the Pennsylvania mountains. Not too far removed that I don't feel a heartbreaking sadness for the devastated wildlife of that area. Nor am I too far removed to realize the cost nature pays for the irresponsible acts and greed of big industry. Certainly, if there is one thing we have learned from the BP oil spill, it is that as long as increased profits, dangerous shortcuts and other corporate interests take precedence over the general public's well-being and the delicate balance of nature, we are all of us in for a very bleak future.
Be that is it may, wherever there are corporate suits and industry leaders to destroy nature and place the masses at risk, there are those concerned individuals and collectives of concerned individuals who will fight against them with protests and boycotts and such. And if not fight against them, then at least do what they can to heal the parts of the earth they so indifferently wound. One such outfit is New Orleans-based independent label and artist collective Community Records, who have just released a digital download compliation to aid the ongoing restoration of the gulf due to the BP drilling disaster.
This very aptly titled comp, Head Above Water, features thirty-six songs by thirty-six of today's more notable artists. These are artists involved in the punk scene, and the many genres and subgenres that branch off of punk, like ska, reggae, folk-punk, and more cores than you can shake a stick at. Some of the bands and singer/songwriters are long time Community Records artists, while others are unassociated artists just pitching in for a good cause. Among both are A Billion Ernies, Dan Potthast, Laura Stevenson, Mike Park, Mustard Plug, The Flaming Tsunamis, The Wild, Imperial Can, The Taxpayers, Bomb the Music Industry!, and a good many others.
Many of the songs have lyrical content directly related to either the BP drilling disaster or other such matters in today's shaky climate. The first song by A Billion Ernes, "Lucky You," has the lines, Drill, baby, drill...we still have more things to kill. In the second song, "Eat the Planet," Dan Potthast sings, Let's eat the planet...start chewin'...we don't need it. And so on. But it's all very fitting for such a release.
Community Records isn't the only independent record label interested in protecting nature and aiding humankind. Recently California punk label Fat Wreck Chords announced a two-song 7" by NOFX to help out in Japan's current nuclear crisis. Japan's situation is the newest in series of disasters in recent history, with the earthquake, the resulting tsunami, the coastal ruin, and then the nuclear crisis. There is a lot to be said for the way our technological progress and industrial practices clash with nature's events, making them doubly worse, sometimes more.
Personally, I applaud Community Records. In fact, I applaud anyone who attempts to make this world a better place for future generations, as there are plenty who are not so much trying to do the opposite but don't care what their decisions do either for the present or in the long run. So...rather than duck and cover, stand tall and do your part. Otherwise, we not only fail nature and each other, we fail as human beings.
If you are concerned with such matters, go to the Community Records website, donate what you can, and download all thirty-six songs, along with different perspectives on the disaster, and images which show the impact it had on the wildlife there.