God bless the compilation album.
The majority of my favorite bands were discovered via compilations -- those albums of songs filed at the end of record-store aisles under V for "various artists."
In fact, if it wasn't for the original "Misfits of Ska" album, I wouldn't be a singer in a band. Or, at least not the one I'm in now.
That CD was passed from high-school friend to high-school friend, and the music on it inspired us all.
Only one of the bands on the comp -- Sublime -- ever saw real, mainstream success. Most of the others have long since stopped playing.
But a few, like the Independents, I follow to this day.
Ditto with those bands featured on Bloodshot Records' "For a Life of Sin" compilation, which introduced me to the Handsome Family (possibly my favorite band ever) and to an entire genre of underground country music that was bubbling up in Chicago at the time. It has since become a national phenomenon.
This is the power of the compilation. They are time capsules, perfect little snapshots of a scene or genre, and they can have a far reach.
Fresno has had its share of compilations over the years.
"Hardcore 84" is a collection of local punk bands from the early '80s. There were several volumes of the Cultivation compilation, released in the late 1990s. Radio station KFSR released a 21-band compilation in 2002. The defunct Greytank Records released a double album of 12 bands that were playing in town around 2004.
"Cen Cal Everything" was released in May and features 30-plus tracks from the Valley's young hip-hop scene. Religious Appeal's "Sounds From Below" comp -- on tape -- has 17 of Fresno's louder bands and is standard listening for long trips in my truck.
Add to that list: the Fresno Friendcore compilation, which was released online last week.
Friendcore is the self-given name of a collective group of bands and musicians generally headquartered at C.A.F.E. Infoshop, a community-action public space in Fresno's Chinatown.
These bands range from wall-of-noise loud -- Wallflower and Cabin Fire -- to the quietly acoustic songs of Dovves. But they all operate under a grass-roots, DIY ethos and are putting out some of the most exciting music in the scene right now.
There is also a documentary of the scene in the works. At some point, these will make a nice piece of history.
Other reasons you should download the Fresno Friendcore comp now:
-- It's heavy on the female musicians. More than half of the bands have women in them, a welcome change of pace.
-- It has actual recordings from the band Still Stoked (which is no longer together, sadly), Fatty Cakes and a new recording from I Do Not Exist.
-- There are 20 tracks from 20 bands and it is free, though you really should give them a few bucks if you can.
You can find out more information about Friendcore at fresnofriendcore.bandcamp.com
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, email@example.com or @JoshuaTehee on Twitter. Read his blog at Fresnobeehive.com