February 16, 2016 | by Bryne Yancey

For the past couple of years, Chris DeFusco’s Negative Fun Records has been an impressive little engine that could, churning out quality release after quality release that do a damn good job of showcasing the excitingly eclectic nature of the modern punk scene.

DeFusco and his partner with Negative Fun, Jon Whitney, have achieved success, at least relative to running a label freely and creatively, by embracing that eclecticism instead of darting away from it. No one band really embodies a “Negative Fun sound”—it’s more of an idea, or a set of ideals, than anything else. The duo have also made a point to focus heavily on bands and releases prominently featuring female and/or gender-neutral musicians, an initiative that’s still so sorely needed, even as the overt whiteness and maleness of the underground punk scene has begun to slowly erode.

That curated reach for diversity is an important angle for a label like Negative Fun to approach, and their new release, Sugar Rush, is another step in that direction. The compilation, out Feb. 29 in collaboration with music blog The Grey Estates, exclusively features covers by bands with female and/or gender-neutral members. (The super sweet artwork was done by Claire Morales and Trey Wright.) There’s a fun familiarity to most of the covers, but there’s also an excitingly new perspective to many of them. Listen to Alright’s cover of the Bouncing Souls’ “Hopeless Romantic” below and order the cassette here.

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