In the internet era, it's gotten much easier. Anyone can, with effort, find out what;s going on in Europe, the States and really anywhere in the western world. But still, many countries have punk scenes that are difficult for outsiders to access. With political repression of punks in nations like Burma and Indonesia, punk bands are underground by necessity, and economics often prevents them from releasing much of anything.
This is a situation that punks from the outside are trying to alleviate, as technology allows us to expand the idea of the scene into something wide reaching and global. Mike Virus released Aceh Calling to send aid to the punks in Aceh, and Shaun of tenzenmen records is approaching the issue from the other direction, releasing Stay Together Volume 5, an Indonesian hardcore punk compilation, in order to aid Indonesia's hardcore scene in getting exposure outside its homeland.
While for much of the world punk is often a simple form of youthful rebellion, intent on bringing a scene together and to vent frustrations, in many nations in Asia and the Middle East, punk rock is genuine rebellion, and viewed by the authorities as so. In this way, an added element of anger is ever present - many of these musicians are viewed as criminals by local governments for what they do, and this justifiably pisses them off.
What amazes me most is how instantly accessible the music is; fast, aggressive hardcore served up with blistering vitriol and rhythms both complex and aggressive. In fact, for much of the record, there is nothing that immediately says this is not a Western compilation. As a result, it's ready to be embraced. It takes no work to listen to, and immediate recognition of this allows one to realize how similar the hardcore scenes are, no matter where you are.
It's amazing how varied the sounds are as well. Bands like Gerbanga Singa, Strong To Hold and Pergangkai Kembang Seroja bring it with heavy metal-influenced hardcore, while other bands like Sick People, Roarr!! and Hold It Down deliver old school three-chord hardcore the way it was first intended by bands like 7Seconds and Circle Jerks, and Reject Chaos even drops in a hint of Bad Religion to their riffs. Their is raw, heavy experimental noise from Nervous Breakdown, and fast furious sample-laden weirdness from PROxAKTIF. It's even readily apparent that there is a death metal influence on the scene, as presented by bands like Instruction Killers and Wolfdeath.
Taking a similar path to Aceh Calling the record has a charitable component, with tenzenmen offering 50 percent of physical and 100 percent of digital sales going to help the punks in Aceh. Even on its own though, it's a powerful compilation with a big purpose - to spread the word about Indonesian hardcore, and to make the world seem a little bigger and a little smaller at the same time. We're not that much different, and hearing that makes it easier to work to find ways to help one another.