Moncton’s Burning – 18 Slabs from the Underground features 18 songs spanning the past seven years of Moncton’s influential music scene.
The compilation album has long been a staple in underground music circles. Whether produced to shop an indie label’s roster or a local scene’s vibrancy to campus radio DJs or local writers and promoters, or to simply document a moment in time for a particular community of music makers, the “comp” has always served an important role in bringing new music to new ears.
While most every city or scene can claim at least one such release documenting a specific era of music, the few that get treated to a vinyl pressing almost always become collector’s items. There are two reasons for this. On one hand, comps are usually limited to a small number of copies. As a result, it doesn’t take long for them to end up in the hands of fans, friends, and members of the bands featured. The other reason has to do with acknowledging the unknown. You never really know where an artist’s music will take them. From a collector’s standpoint, with time, every comp has the potential to earn a value beyond its intended purpose.
Here on the East Coast, we have seen our share of vinyl compilations released. The most recent being the double album from The Capital Project, a release from 2018 that features 26 Fredericton area bands. While that album’s story is still unfolding, there are at least two other vinyl compilations from Atlantic Canada that have gone on to become known for introducing audiences to artists who would later go on to gain international recognition. The Halifax compilation Out of the Fog (1986) captured an emerging music scene that featured future members of The Sadies and the Doughboys, alongside a young Sarah MacLaughlin performing with one of her first bands, The October Game.
Here in New Brunswick, low-fi, indie rockers Eric’s Trip made their vinyl debut on the 10” compilation, Naked in the Marsh. This 1991 debut release from NIM Records introduced listeners to Eric’s Trip, Bad Luck #13, Idée du Nord, Front Porch, Purple Knight, and Syntax Error, six Moncton-area bands that each played an important part in shaping that city’s scene.
Today, 32 years after the release of the first Naked in the Marsh compilation, NIM Records have returned to document a new generation of Moncton music makers. This weekend will see the release of Moncton’s Burning – 18 Slabs from the Underground, a limited edition vinyl compilation featuring several current and recent bands from the city’s well known underground music scene.
“The idea for this comp has been in the works for a few years,” said NIM Records’ Ray Auffrey. “A lack of money and Covid-19 stalled any real progress for a few years.
“The inspiration for this project were all the very cool and influential Canadian scene comps from the 1980’s like Primitive Air-Raid, Out of The Fog, No Pedestrians, Vancouver Complication, and others. In the pre-digital age, a scene compilation was a great way to check out new bands and perhaps discover some new favourites. This is proudly lo-fi and DIY.”
Moncton’s Burning features songs by Yves Bourque, Bruce (The Entertainment), Leather Jackal, The Disasterbaters, Slashdance, Nerve Button, The Follow-Ups, Klackers, Three Speed, Phone Jerks, Impulse Items, Whoregasms, Small package, City Bus Hand Jobs, TJ Cabot, Zero Zero UFO, Another Dose, and The Robins.
“The content on Moncton’s Burning is a mixture of both older and current bands from the past seven years or so that I felt needed to be documented,” said Auffrey. “Many of the bands no longer exist and I wanted to make sure they were archived on a permanent format. 18 artists that I really dig. The limited space available on a record meant that I wasn’t able to include everyone I wanted. There were also a few bands that just didn’t have or could not submit any recordings on time.”
The record features many previously released recordings alongside exclusive releases from The Robins, Another Dose, Zero Zero UFO, Three Speed, Nerve Button and Leather Jackal.
Moncton’s Burning is the first new release from NIM Records since 2018. Founded over 30 years ago by Moncton music fan Sam LeBlanc with help from fellow scene supporter Claude Leger, the label played an influential role in championing independent New Brunswick music with a major focus on the Moncton scene. Between 1991 and 1993, NIM Records released a series of 7” singles focusing primarily on new releases from the bands featured on its debut comp in addition to releasing a single from Saint John’s NFA. Bad Luck #13 frontman Mike Melanson became involved with the label and helped oversee the release of several singles by the band between 1996 and 2007. He later handed the reins to Auffrey who has continued releasing music through the imprint.
The Moncton’s Burning release show takes place December 17 at the Xeroz Arcade/Bar in Moncton. Copies will be available at Spin-It Records in Moncton immediately after the show and will be available at Second Spin and both Backstreet Records locations in the weeks to follow. This one’s limited to 350 copies so grab one while you can.