Back in May, artists organized to form the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (U.M.A.W.). In its first action, the union got several hundred signatures from performing acts, recording engineers, road crew, and other music workers to lobby Congress for expanded economic relief benefitting artists whose livelihoods are threatened by the ongoing shutdown of the live music industry. Since then, their priorities have expanded to include support for "reparations, families affected by police and white supremacy, and BIPOC organizations such as Black Quantum Futurism, As They Lay, and Black musicians on Bandcamp." Now, as their ranks grow, they're putting out a new compilation called Exitos Varios.
Compiled by Julia Holter, Agua Viva's Josi Arias, Algiers' Ryan Mahan, Downtown Boys' Mary j. Regalado, and Cruisin' Records' Clyde Peterson, the 15-track LP is exclusively available on Bandcamp starting today. Proceeds will raise money for "undocumented workers who have been viciously overlooked by The United State’s pandemic relief program." The U.M.A.W. will work with United We Dream, the youth-led immigrant activist network, to allocate the funds. The release date coincides with another Bandcamp Friday, in which the platform waives its revenue share to give 100 percent profits to artists and labels, so the $5 you'd spend on this LP will go directly to the cause.
"This pandemic made the holes in the system more visible to us. Our compilation is an attempt to help repair one of the many damages caused by capitalism, by giving and sharing what we love the most: music," said organizer Josi Arias told VICE. "We hope to continue sharing more music in the future, and exploring musical and cultural diversity." The compilation boasts contributions from underground and experimental acts like ONO, Jackie Mendoza, P.E., Drill, Mourning [A] BLKstar, Too Free, Jackie Grier, and many more.
One standout contribution is "Goodnight Moon," from Washington, D.C., electronic trio Too Free. Backed by a kinetic and swirling beat, it showcases singer Awad Bilal's rich croon. "Goodnight Moon" is an act of love that we finished during the pandemic as a balm against the terrors of white supremacy in our lives," the band told VICE. "It has been an honor to be included on this compilation, standing in solidarity with the other musicians and workers in U.M.A.W. to direct our focus to providing relief for undocumented workers with assistance from United We Stand."
Listen to the comp below and be sure to check out a livestream performance tonight at 8:30 EST on U.M.A.W's Instagram, featuring sets from Too Free, Agua Viva, L.uxe, Jackie Mendoza, Algiers, and Mia Joy as well as a presentation by United We Stand.