Rollerderby Records is a new shoegaze/dreampop label out of Austin, TX that is, i believe, associated with Rachel Staggs (aka, Rachel Goldstar) of Austin shoegazers Experimental Aircraft. At least, that is the impression i get from reading the archives of their mailing list. Anyway, Ms. Staggs put together a wonderful compilation for the first release on her new label. Hey, who better to release a collection of shoegaze/dreampop than someone who has spent years in the scene and knows many of the important people? This compilation nicely fills the hole in my listening schedule left by the departure of Mass Transfer (which, while not officially dead, really hasn't done anything in a couple of years).
The music here runs the gamut of the diverse shoegaze/dreampop world, from droning stoner rock a la Landing's Solstice to the synth and drum machine We're Not Really Here from Masculine Feminine. There are many great tunes in the 68 minutes (and 14 tracks) on the CD. I will only go over a few of my favorites.
Printing House starts the compilation with a long, slow, beautiful tune of tinkling keys, light string synths, and mellow male voice. It's called The Treachery, and almost sounds like Mahogany with Ian McCulloch singing for them, which is actually a pretty cool combination. Printing House get the compilation started right.
A few tracks later Air Formation drone onto the scene with The Sound Will Come To You, a simply lovely tune of rapid guitar arpeggios and echoed voice. This is a lengthy tune that is both droning and jammy.
We're Not Really Here, the afore mentioned Masculine Feminine song, features strong rhythms and a lovely krautrock breakdown in the middle that reminds me of the work of Ova Looven. This is a really strong song with, as you might expect, nice dueling male and female vocals. I have never heard of this band before, but i will be on the lookout for more from them, based on the strength of this one track!
My Education, who i have barely heard of before, contribute a song called Thanksgiving which features some really beautiful guitar riffage backed by lightly tapped drums for an almost Red House Painters feel.
The compilation ends on another really strong note with the Flowchart tune In Your Iron Maiden Kiss. In this song, drones grow in slowly cascading layers over an insanely catchy beat. Another fine tune from these Psychedelphia electro rockers.
Now, those tunes are just the ones that really stand out to me, but on repeated listens i have not been bored with a single moment of the CD. On the whole, this is a wonderful little compilation, and shows a lot of promise, which Rollerderby Records is going to have to live up to. I think that Ms. Staggs is up to the task though, and i will keep an eye out for future Rollerderby Records releases.