Originally passed around 20 years ago on burned CDs … – NOLA.com

Community holding the new vinyl reissue of their self-titled full-length album.
Community in the early 2000s

Gambit staff writer
Community holding the new vinyl reissue of their self-titled full-length album.
Community’s self-titled, full-length album never had what some might consider an “official” release, with packaging, a record label attached or wide distribution. But that didn’t really matter.
The band in 2001 distributed its seven-song album on burned CD-Rs, passing “Community” out at shows, to friends in the DIY music community and swapping with other bands while on tour. And for those who got their hands on the Sharpie-labeled CDs and cassettes and mp3s, the album had a lasting impact.
“It’s one of those lightning-in-a-bottle-type records,” says musician Greg Rodrigue, who runs Community Records with Daniel Ray. It isn’t a coincidence that their label shares the band’s name.
“There was such a moment in time that was happening with that album with those musicians,” Rodrigue adds. “There’s something very special about it.”
Community Records and Strange Daisy Records are now reissuing Community’s self-titled album, giving the record a full release with new cover art, a vinyl run and digital release. And Community will play a reunion show — their first in close to 20 years — to celebrate the album release at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at Siberia. Mesopeak also is on the bill.
“When I started [Strange Daisy] six years ago, I was like, ‘Man, one day I hope to put this record out on vinyl,” says Patrick Bailey. “It’s just a record that’s meant so much to me and, I know, to Greg. Because growing up in New Orleans, it was just being passed around through friends, listening to it on tour. It’s been this influential album to us.”

Community grew out of New Orleans ska band the Supaflies, which had its own impact on the DIY community in the ‘90s. Record label Fueled By Ramen released its full-length album, “Rambarded,” in 1997, and the band recorded a second album, but it was shelved by the label.
“At that point, we were already sort of transitioning into something else,” says bassist Kevin Comarda. “We weren’t even sure what that was, but we were getting a little bit older-ish, listening to different things, experiencing new things, and so the music just evolved.”
Comarda, drummer Ryan Iriarte and guitarists Kirk Estopinal and Travis Thompson — the four share vocals — felt their music was becoming more mature and a fresh start was needed. They landed on the name Community and pulled together four songs from the shelved record for an EP (also passed around on CD-R).
Community in the early 2000s
Community played frequently around New Orleans, at spots like the Faubourg Center, Dixie Taverne and the Mermaid, and toured. Between 1999 and 2001, the band recorded their full-length with Chris George at his studio.
The band would jam on pieces for hours — “conversations,” Comarda calls them — writing textured alternative and indie rock that dips into the progressive. The musicians were game to test the waters and experiment while recording, and “we were all on each other’s side,” says Comarda.
“It’s this great snapshot, where we were just happening. Whatever was sounding good, we were on it,” he adds.

Community continued on as a band for a few more years — and recorded a second, unfinished EP — but things came to an end in the mid-aughts. The band members continued to play in different projects, like Comarda’s The Self-Help Tapes and The Blackbelt Band, which included Comarda, Irarte and Thompson. A couple of people briefly moved away, but now all four members live on the West Bank, where they grew up.
In a review for Antigravity, Thou vocalist and Sisters in Christ co-owner Bryan Funck wrote, Community “taught me a lot of important lessons in keeping a courteous and amiable attitude as a musician.” He also remarked the LP “is without a doubt the most important album either [Community and Strange Daisy] has released, an essential record, both in the quality of the music and its place in the history of punk in New Orleans.”
Rodrigue says he sought to record his own music with George because of his work with the Supaflies and Community. And for Rodrigue and Bailey, who both grew up on the West Bank, seeing older musicians from their own neighborhood record and tour gave them a “road map” to do the same.
“If we’re able to shine a light on this little piece of recorded history,” Bailey says, “and someone who never heard it before in a whole different community, a whole different city or scene, can take something from this, then that would be awesome. It’s what I hope happens.”
Community plays at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at Siberia. Tickets to Wednesday’s show are $10 advance and $15 at the door. Find more info at siberianola.com. And find the “Community” reissue at strangedaisy.com and communityrecords.org.
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Email Jake Clapp at jclapp@gambitweekly.com

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