Alternative Madison bands release benefit album

Seasaw, Wurk, Mile Morkri and 16 others included on compilation
Madison Comp Album Cover
"Madison Relief Compilation, Vol 1" features 19 local bands.

A new digital album bringing together many alternative Madison bands dropped Friday with all proceeds from its sale going to Dane County residents in need of financial and food assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown.

The album, “Madison Relief Compilation, Vol. 1,” includes 19 tracks of garage rock, post-punk, folk-pop and experimental music by as many local bands, including Seasaw, Wurk, Miles Morkri, Norris Court and We Should Have Been DJs.

Project organizers Karl Schultz and John McCracken play in bands Burnidette and ghostar, respectively. Those groups have a song a piece on the album, too. (Schultz and McCracken are also members of the band Casket Gown.)

“Back in March there was a benefit concert planned for the Social Justice Center, but obviously that got cancelled,” McCracken says of what motivated the project. “We wanted to put together an effort that was by Madison bands for a local, grassroots cause.”

Schultz adds, “Community involvement is something we both care about a lot, so we were able to get the ball rolling fairly quickly.”

All the money made from sales of the album will go to the Dane County Community Defense Fund, set up by the Madison IWW General Defense Committee in response to COVID-19 and run through the Social Justice Center on Williamson Street.

“The IWW and SJC have done an amazing job of providing direction action in a time where it is much needed and other systems aren’t providing for people in need,” McCracken says. “We wanted to focus the effort local and cut through a lot of red tape, all while showcasing Madison bands who are currently unable to perform live.”

He says early response to the compilation has been so encouraging “we are hoping to put out a volume 2.”

The first volume can be heard and purchased here.

Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.