by Jeremy Probst (@taskbastard)
With the current democratic paradigm of Bandcamp and Soundcloud, it’s easier than ever for any independent artist to record and upload their own music. It’s a beautiful thing, if also overwhelming—music is easier to discover and access than ever before. With such a proliferation of independent music, it’s understandably easy for the public eye of music press and journalism to hone in on regional scenes, especially those of traditionally hip, artistically-rich cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. While exposure and appreciation for the many artists in those areas is fantastic and immeasurably important (most of my favorite bands hail from those areas), it can create an almost myopic scope of the greater American independent music scene; it can sometimes feel like the only bands worth listening to or that anyone cares about are coming from those places, and everywhere else just … doesn’t have much going on!
When you think of “great independent music scenes,” Tallahassee probably doesn’t come to mind, and vice versa. Though it’s a great spot for tour routing, it’s a small city, kind of off on its own, and somewhat isolated from the world at large. It’s a very transient community, as it’s primarily a college town despite also being the state capital. As such, bands and artists come and go every year—I’ve seen dozens over the few years I’ve lived here that aren’t active anymore. In the interest of documenting and promoting the cool things going on here, members of the community have been curating a line of Tallahassee compilations that have been released for free online over the years.
This year’s compilation, It's Not As Bad As You Think: Songs from Tallahassee, FL, 2016, features 29 different artists in a variety of genres, from punk and indie rock to folk, hip-hop, electronic music, and more. These artists include a few acts that have reached some level of national exposure (Look Mexico, Naps, Surface to Air Missive), as well as lesser-known gems (Rob Ohtis, Echo Base, Bat Magic Preservation Society, Nostradogmus) and even a few bands debuting their first recordings (Disguiseworks, Silt, Teen Baby). Some of the tracks are compilation exclusives, while others were culled from 2016 releases.
Concerning the title, the compiler had this to say:
“The title is a bit of a call-back to We Can't Help It If We're From Florida, an influential 1980's Florida punk compilation, but with a more positive bent to it. It's not a reference to anything in particular, but we know that Florida gets a bad rap in the news pretty often, and as with any place, there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. So we wanted to highlight some of the things that are positive here, especially in a year that has felt negative for a lot of people. It's not as bad as you think.”
The compilation features Post-Trash favorites Big Heet, Naps, Sleeper Key, and Night Witch, among others. Stream it below, and grab a free download at http://diytlh.bandcamp.com.