I love a good soup. Something about a warm bowl of fresh veggies, spices, proteins, and carbs leaking their essence into a beautiful broth each making the other better, it’s just magical. Maybe I was just blessed to be around great soups growing up, as Pizza Bagel Records was able to get 23 artists from my native New Jersey to come together to create a track each for their Songs About Soup compilation tape, now available for purchase on BandCamp. Pizza Bagel Records’ passion for great soup is longstanding and well documented. The idea for the comp tape was born out of a Facebook group PBR cofounder Max Rauch created a few years back called “NJ Soup Group” that took off in a way he didn’t really anticipate. People just started sharing pictures of their favorite soups at diners across the Garden State and shared recipes, it became a real community. He and co-founder John Cozz had always conceived of their record label as a way of spotlighting the best artists making amazing music right in their backyard, and figured if there was that much passion for soup from people all around them surely there were people able and willing to channel that passion into a song. And they were right! Twenty three in fact, who each grabbed their instrument and wrote some lyrics about a soup of their choice. To boot the tape is donating all proceeds from their BandCamp sales of CDs and digital copies of the album to the Community Food Bank of NJ, contributing over $300 to the cause already.
One of the most entertaining things about the tape is how literal most contributors were in writing a song about soup. The comp starts off strong with Roe Knows Best’s “Ministrone Zone” where she sings about her potion, her elixir, her minestrone, that lovely liquid that warms her bones. She even goes as far as to warning against trying to call when she’s in the titular minestrone zone, cuz you’ll get the voicemail. In his song “Fuck New England” the One Man Punk Rock Band desecrates their regional clam chowder going, “Its a bowl of hot dairy and shellfish // its fucking nasty!” in between some heavy guitar breakdowns. The next song “Bone Broth” is a kickass minute of ska from Thirsty Guys who also plays as Choke Artist, about the titular brew and how it is, “kinda sad that all it takes to make it is a bunch of fuckin dead animal bones”. Max Rauch and John Cozz even teamed up as the super-group The Schmutzadells to write “Matzina” about their love for Motza Ball soup. Madison, the lead singer of Ogbert the Nerd, contributed a lofi hyperpop track about wanting soup, as they throw some vegetables and noodles in there too, while bragging about how it’s so easy to put soup together. The song really kicks into overdrive with a sonic shift in intensity halfway through, if you only knew!
As Offset sang and Takeoff confirmed in a Pitchfork Over/Under that gets funner every time I revisit it, everybody loves soup. That is especially true in New Jersey where there seems to be a special collection of diners and passed down recipes that satiates residents of the Garden State of their hunger and their thirst. Kudos to the good people at Pizza Bagel Records for getting twenty three amazing musicians to channel that appreciation into beautiful music. All the while that passion is helping money get raised for food banks all across New Jersey, helping many a soup kitchen in the process.