The latest political project from Punk Voter and Fat Wreck Chords is one that you really can’t argue with. PROTECT is a compilation to benefit the National Association to Protect Children, and it, like Rock Against Bush I and II, is a mix of mostly unreleased songs from punk and hardcore bands, though this time it’s mostly lesser-known names. Guess protecting kids isn’t as sexy a cause as electing John Kerry was. Don’t really know what that says about us, but still. You can count on support from the usual suspects, and it’s a good way to get new bands out there while throwing some money in the direction of a good cause, rather than just lining the pockets of the record label.
My favorite songs bookend the album, Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio channeling Elvis on an acoustic-spooky number. and Against Me! doing a Bob Dylan song, “Wagon Wheel.” In between, are plenty of lesser-known bands and unreleased songs by well-known ones–Jawbreaker and Teenage Bottlerocket, Anti-Flag (singing “this is what a feminist looks like”!?!? I appreciate the sentiment, guys, but. . .) and The Falcon. NOFX of course tosses in the obligatory political song with a sick sense of humor, this one titled “Leaving Jesusland” and illustrating with wicked jokes that map that made the rounds after the ’04 election showing the blue states joined to Canada on the coasts, and in the middle, the red states all labeled “Jesusland.” The Soviettes contribute one of my favorite songs from their recent album, “Middle of the Night,” as well.
A mostly pop-punk album about protecting children may seem a bit out of place until you think about the fact that many of these bands have an audience that is primarily underage. Plus, the original punks are growing up and having kids, and it’s growing more and more common to see tattooed moms and dads walking around with their kids. They still get shot dirty looks by soccer moms, though, so I guess it’s a good idea to show the world that punks care about kids, too.