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"Love and Circuits"

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Anyone who has ever run a label, booked a venue, or reviewed a record knows what its like to be overwhelmed the volume of music vying for your attention. Between day-jobs, time-out, and catching some shut-eye, there isn’t enough time in the day to give every artist out there exposure, regardless of whether they deserve it or not. Faced with that dilemma, Cardboard Records decided to err on the side of generosity in the process of compiling this double CD.



Billing scene-makers alongside basement-dwellers, this compilation aims at representing the current music underground as whole. A quixotic goal perhaps, but the sheer volume of artists (57 in total) gives a good overview current experimental rock. Though most of the songs on the compilation are previously unreleased, many of the more familiar bands opted to throw an album track. For instance, the Fuck Buttons contribution is just a truncated version of "Ribs Out" which appeared on Street Horrrsing.  Yet for those small disappointments, completists looking for and exclusive track by their favorite band won't all be disappointed. My highlights include Gowns' mournful ode "What if not You" or Shooting Spires' cover of the Bad Brains tune "Sailn' On."

Thrown in with these prominent names are dozens of groups seemingly pulled at random from anonymity. Nice as the gesture is, the unknown bands contribute most of the weak tracks on the compilation. Whether Fat Day or Mr. Baby deserve obscurity is a decision that Cardboard has handed over to the listener. I'm flattered that they assume so much patience on my part, but some editorial restraint would have made the compilation flow a lot better. Listening through the whole thing can be a frustrating exercise, depending on your ability to take wild jumps in genre and recording fidelity. Over just a few tracks, the CDs will cycle between atonal drone music to political punk to folk music to noise rock.  The songs are arranged alphabetically by artist name, preventing any sort of thematic cohesion. While listening to the completion, I often skipped forward in search of something better.

Though the intention behind Love and Circuits is good natured, the quality of the tracks varies too wildly. Camaraderie is great behind the scenes, but hard choices need to be made once you think about an audience. As much as I like Cardboard Records, I think some thinning would have made this compilation a lot better.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 17:43  


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