Various Artists
Bring Beer

On the inner sleeve to Bring Beer, the new compilation on his 12XU Records, Gerard Cosloy writes of record stores being “as crucial to the community as a good public library, museum or hospital.” As you might guess, I’m inclined to agree with him, having probably spent much more time flipping through record bins than inside any of those other institutions, which in the case of hospitals, is probably a good thing. Cosloy, who now lives in Austin, takes this belief one step further. He is donating all the proceeds from Bring Beer to his favorite local spot, Trailer Space, which, as describes it, has been much more than a retailer. The store has hosted poker games and shows and has been used as practice space for numerous bands. (His description makes it sound very much like Used Kids, the treasured shop in Agit hometown Columbus.)

Originally released on Record Store Day, Bring Beer is now available through regular means. The album contains 15 cuts, mostly culled from local Austin talent, including a track from Cosloy’s own Air Traffic Controllers recorded live at another great institution, Beerland. As such, the album is similar in its focus to the Casual Victim Pile comps Cosloy’s done with Matador. With a more streamlined scope, though, this one seems more cohesive by comparison.

More importantly, however, Bring Beer gives good reason for good-doing. It’s hard not to like a song like Nazi Gold’s “Stop,” which splits the difference between Mudhoney and GBV, or the lo-fi shoegaze of Carolee’s “Spiral Start.” Perusing the tracklist the name that jumps out is Naw Dude, if for nothing else than the way the moniker rolls off the tongue. They contribute two cuts of their guttural hardcore, the short kick to the head of “Ghost Boner” and the slightly longer pummeling of “Letters Home,” which as far as I can tell is about disappointing one’s parents. Elsewhere, Marriage’s “Godspeed You Jah Emperor” is another good use of words, while musically they conjure something like a post-Jawbox rattle. Chris Brokaw is probably the most recognizable name on the comp, and he delivers a downer in “Winter Song” that’s pretty much what you would expect from the guy (see this week’s Codeine review).

As for Cosloy’s own musical contribution, it’s an instrumental clamor that bursts with just as many melodic fragments as shards of noise. It caps off a record that’s not only a good deed, but a good listen. Hopefully, it fulfills its purpose monetarily as well as it does sonically.
Stephen Slaybaugh