V/A Failed States // Creative Reistances 3xLP

This triple LP compilation is truly something to behold! Across the six sides, we are treated to 43 cuts of blistering punk from Belfast in the north of Ireland, Banda Aceh in Indonesia, and Prishtina and Prizren in Kosovo. The impetus behind the project was to bring the three places into dialogue with one another, while providing space for each of the respective scenes to share and celebrate their unique identities within the broader context of global punk. To facilitate this, each record is curated by separate groups from each locale. It’s a massive undertaking that must have taken years to put together. I was immediately struck by the obvious care that went into the production. From the triple gatefold of the jacket with unique art for each record, to the thick slabs of colored wax, it’s clear that no detail was overlooked. The compilations themselves are no exception. Each curatorial group brought their own flavor to the effort. The Belfast record, Trouble Brews, is akin to a condensed retrospective of DIY punk from the region from 1978 to 2023, spanning the gamut of hardcore punk, ska, pop punk, crust, and more. Here again the care is in the quality, with bands like JOBBYKRUST, PINK TURDS IN SPACE, DEJA VU, and PORPHYRIA lending particularly memorable songs. The Banda Aceh record, Aceh Punx, is similar in the breadth of styles represented, but isn’t organized in the same chronological format. This change, while small, helps to achieve one of the aims of the project—the creation of dialogue across time and space. This record has more bands from the 21st century, and has more modern-sounding hardcore bands with metallic influences. Some standouts for me were GANDOE, MILISI KECOA, and ALAKAZAM OI. Punk KS takes yet another tack by skipping over the ’90s entirely and exhibiting bands from Kosovo in the ’80’s juxtaposed with bands from the last 24 years. Similar to the other discs, this album highlights bands across the broadest spectrum of punk, but once again stirs new ingredients into the recipe by pushing into more experimental territory than the other records. I was consistently impressed by many of the bands, but the ’80s groups in particular caught my ear, such as LINDJA, VIVIEN, GJURMET, and BANKROTT. All in all, this is an exceptional compilation. The initial pressing is limited to three hundred copies, and there is a two-year embargo on digital versions to allow the collection to circulate in the real world as a physical, analog artifact. Don’t be a dummy—if you see it, buy it!