Now that's a compilation! 25 tracks on 2 cds, along with a total of 120 other mp3 tracks! Holy Moley! That is a TON of music!
For the most part, this is Safe as Soda-pop punk rock, with a little bit of other sounds here and there. There's nothing really new here. Overall, I did notice a very good general sound. These are all fairly well produced recordings, albeit not earth shattering or mind blowing, but consistent and tight. Here's a review of every song on the 2 CD set. Really, if you want to hear the MP3's, I'm pretty sure they're available free from the website. It's all just more of the same.
Tie the Rope by The Format
Poppy radio friendly rock, like that song by those guys in the early 90s. Um…the something flowers…something about "we can drive around this town- let the cops chase us around." The Gin Blossoms! That's it! This sounds just like that song!
Exit, Emergency by Houston Calls
Anyone who evokes Survivor within the first 30 seconds of a song is A-OK in my book. Throw in some synth and some tight, power punch, chugga chugga guitar stomp chord muting.
Sesame Smeshame by The Early November
I guess this is about childhood, or Sesame Street, or something. Very bland punky rocky- muted chording. Screeching Weasel-style soloing. What's different? They have a tambourine, and they sound kinda sad. I guess this is a ballad?
Can't suspend It by The Juliana Theory
Cool intro with a weepy guitar sound. That is, until the silly vocals show up. Then they throw in a generic guitar chop-suey. Me now no likey.
Rushmore by Echo Screen *
(*these guys are noted as unsigned)
Cool intro with quiet slightly distorted guitar, and what sounds like strings? WTF? Then a cool muted power chord progression takes yet another song into power punk oblivion. It sounded cool for a minute. Now I'm bored. NEXT TRACK!
Saturday by Fallout Boy
Vocal intro, so it's a little different for about .5 seconds. Then more drivel. (Watch me get more and more jaded as I progress through these reviews.) Ok, then they throw in some jackass, over the top, hardcore screaming. I mean that shit where they scream at the top of their prepubescent lungs. Come on guys: are you sugar or granola?
The Blame Anxiety by Day at the Fair
Sounds like freaking Jawbox for a second. Then it's back to more Vanilla Coke.
Sydney by Halifax
Cool intro with dueling guitar single stroking melody notation. So far, this is probably the most difficult song to play on this compilation. These guys are obviously more skilled at their instruments than anyone else so far. Stillsweetpoppypowerpunk.
Once Again by The Hanks *
Neat-o intro, kinda 80's rock sounding like The Cars, then more musical candy. This one is a little heavier than the others. They might have a stack or two. I hear someone throwing a metal solo lick here and there…silly Billy!
Caroline London 1940 by Sleep Station
I hear Belle & Sebastian here, with stronger singing and not a little British boy. There's some neat sounds on here. Interesting, distorted acoustic guitar sound, but very curious. The only reason this stands out is because it's on this compilation.
Woe by Say Anything
Herman's Hermits? Anyone? I swear this is such a rip off. And then the singer acts like a lounge singer. Throw in some Green Jelly style, Bad Vocal Approach theory, then add a synth, and then more of the same drivel. Come ON!
Talk Radio by The Track Record
This song just makes me think of high school. Not the high school I went to, but the one I watch on The OC. And Hot Chicks. And Ferraris. And cokin.' And then I realize it's more of the same.
Can't Break What's Already Broken by The Goodbye Celebration *
It's funny you should say that, guys, but, in reference to your song title, I'm afraid it wasn't broken to begin with. You are, however, flogging what's referred to as a Dead Horse. Hey! These guys are unsigned!
3 months by Abbott Hayes *
Who's this guy? And when did crap like this invoke enough of an emotion for a soloist to put out music simply under the name of some guy named "Abbott Hayes." This is more of the same. It's a little less produced than the rest, which leads me to believe this guy is in good with the label.
Homewrecker by HelloGoodbye
Named after a burrito? Or a phrase that denotes one who is a wrecker of homes? You decide! Ok, this one's alright. Quick sounding synth and guitars. The drums are tight. The vocals sound girlish and the song is kind of dancy. I hear a little Blondie influence in there. It's cool though.
His Midas Touch by Firescape
This one starts out kind of cool: subtle muted guitar chords, monotone singing a la Jawbox. Then the chorus comes along and I'm asleep.
Ashes, Ashes by Hidden in Plain View
Kinda Jazzy beginning, then sceamy-meany vocals kick in, and I'm in hell again. This group has harmony background vocals, Samiam style rhythm, and the bass player in particular stands out a little for me.
Nice Night for a Fist Fight by Park
This guy really sounds like someone else. Who is it? Oh Yeah. EVERY OTHER BAND ON THIS COMPILATION! More Power chord progression and stop start choruses. I'm so bored. There was a pretty cool jam out on a couple of chords at the end.
Kill the Messenger by Jack's Mannequin
Points added for the band name! Points deducted for ripping off an Elliot Smith Song. No, these guys are ok. However, adding a piano does not make you a virtuoso. This is a pretty song, with obvious songwriting skills displayed. The Elliot Smith joke should be considered a compliment. This guy (as the band is irrelevant) will probably go on to bigger and better things.
Better Love by Steel Train
What the Hell? This is a real, low energy minimalist Harvest-era Neil Young Country tinged slow rocker. Got it? A nice change of pace for the comp.
Speechless by Self Against City
Uh Oh- Synth Lead in! Then, once again, more of the same. SAG has the same sound as the rest of the bands on this compilation, but they don't use as much distortion, and they have a synth integrated into the group. So, I guess they're a little different.
My Eyes Burn by Matchbook Romance
My Ears Hurt.
Let's go All The Way by Never Heard Of It *
No, Let's not! Who said covering Sly Fox was a good idea? I've never heard of it.
Too Sad For Hollywood by For Felix *
Sounds kind of twinkly at first, with a real pretty intro and an acoustic and nice steady heartbeatish drumbeat, then I'm asleep again.
Kensington Parc by Madelyn *
I'm not going to even review this. I've gone into the rapid eye movement of my sleep pattern at this point.
In summary, I say that recording has gotten to the point that decent sounding output has become so affordable that everyone can do it now. Granted, we won't be hearing homebrew Throbbing Gristle style productions coming out of these basements. This is what most kids these days start off doing. And if you're not a kid, you need to stop it, right now. Grow Up! I'm serious.
I remember liking some of the stuff these kids are playing when I was getting into punk rock, but this shit is now the status quo. Watch an episode of whatever is on Thursday nights on FOX and I guarantee you will hear some of this shit in several scenes. It makes me feel like punk rock is dead, and Drive-Thru Records and PureVolume.com are holding the smoking gun.
The liner notes claim a humble underdog aesthetic, but this compilation is dripping with saccharine. It just reeks of commercially acceptable radio friendly power punk. I'm not really a fan, so it's not for me. However, if you're into monotony and headaches, give this one a whirl.
Still, I think this comp serves its purpose of exposing a label and what they're about. What I do wonder, however, is who would really want to buy this? The record companies probably gives the MP3s away on the websites, as well as the individual bands sites. And I'm willing to bet all of the band members have Ipods and download MP3s all the time. My point is to note how futile this compilation is. It's really for a very specific audience: most kids starting to play punk rock. But kids, you don't have to sound like this! Take some mind-altering drugs! Drink a little! Take a look at Satanism, for Christ sakes!