Featuring 11 tracks from Eastside artists, the compilation offers a quick introduction to the venue's current rotation of bands and solo performers. It is available to stream or download for free by following this link.
The album also serves as somewhat of a milemarker for the Old Fire House's upcoming 20th anniversary. Built in 1950 as Redmond's first fire station and city hall, the fire house began offering teen programs in 1992, when it also housed the YMCA, said Ken Wong, the City of Redmond's teen programs administrator. In 1994, the YMCA moved out, and the Old Fire House Teen Center took over the entire space.
As Seattle Weekly noted in its review of the album, the Old Fire House has long been known as a jumping off point for some of the region's best-known musical artists, and Head East looks ahead to the role of new talent in carrying on that tradition.
"The Old Fire House Teen Center in Redmond has a long history of nurturing up-and-coming Eastside acts, from Modest Mouse (from Issaquah) to the Blood Brothers (Kirkland/Redmond)," Seattle Weekly's Eric Grandy writes. "If no longer the destination for touring bands that it was during Seattle's odious Teen Dance Ordinance days, it remains a vital incubator for suburb-bred talent destined for Seattle and the wider world."
Dylan Wall, coordinator of the Old Fire House's media lab, said the album took about six months to record. Local teens were involved in the production process "from beginning to end," he said.
Although the Old Fire House has issued compilation albums before, Wall said the teen center's upcoming milestones definitely make this one special.
"The Fire House has been a really supportive force for all-ages music since it opened," he said. "We really just wanted to highlight the message that the facility’s been championing (since then)."
To listen to Head East or learn more about the project, click here.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story contained incomplete details about the Old Fire House's origins.