The Lower Class Revolt is a collective "committed to bringing to the forefront the gifted and the talented via an organization that provides the physical and digital distribution of music related projects, the organizing of live performances and the production of merchandise that helps promote an artist’s ambitions." Or at least that's what they say on their website. Part of this light-shining on gifted artists is the release of a series of compilations showcasing those that fit this group's idea of blast-your-sock-off awesome. Thankfully for those of us on a budget, these compilations are given away as free downloads, presumably so we can go wild with what we're hearing and rush out to purchase the entire discographies of the bands showcased therein.
Unfortunately, I once again have the terrible sensation of picking on the wheelchair-bound leprous retard as I proceed to picking this freebie apart. I hate jumping up and down on free downloads with criticisms, but being free shouldn't absolve anyone from not putting forth the best effort.
Apparently, the people at Lower Class Revolt take the notion of "compilation" quite literally since all the tracks are combined back to back in the form of one huge mp3 instead of giving us a folder with a pack of separate music files to arrange as needed in our media players. This causes a problem in that those of us who zone out for a few moments and loose track of where we are in this audio file, thus having no clue as to who we are listening to when we finally prick up our ears and take notice of what is being fed into our headphones. This also makes it a tad difficult to cut up your own mix from these songs since you'd have to first download a song editor and then laboriously hack this thing up into its separate songs; no one has the patience for that.
The picture file that can be snagged from their website doesn't feature handy runtimes, so you get to play that old game of "Guess What Song You're Listening To" that I thought died with the era of cassette mixes and smudged handwritten labels. This also makes it difficult to skip to favorites since you have no idea when a song ends and the next begins. If I'm listening to music on my computer, I would like to at least pretend I'm in the 21st century and be able to skip directly to a desired song at a moment's notice instead of having to scan through the whole damn thing.
Also of concern is the errors on the "back cover" image. Ignoring the one spelling error, there's also a factual error. Carcrashlander, one of the standouts on this release, is stated as to having their contribution "Killingsworth Frost" originating from a self-titled EP. After some brief research, I find they have released no EPs at all. They have one eponymous album, but the song featured here isn't on that album; instead, the song comes from their second album, titled Mountains On Our Backs. Factual issues don't instill much confidence in me.
The other standout from this release is the song from Rykarda Parasol, "Of Thunder and Light." However, to be completely frank with you, it's not even her strongest work. Songs she has on her myspace page are better. I was already interested in what she's doing, so this compilation has done nothing to further my fascination with Ms. Parasol's art.
Otherwise, I found a number of these songs to be alright, but nothing so spectacular as to blow me down the hall. A compilation is intended to get people interested in new bands they may have not heard otherwise, and you do so by offering up at least their good songs, if not their best. Few things here grabbed me, and the aforementioned annoyances with the formatting drive this down to an unrecommended release.
I'm going to put in more work than I should have to, and list each band featured here, a brief pithy comment on their contributed song, links to their myspace pages, as well as a quick assessment of whether I think they should be pursued or not. Unless otherwise noted, pretty much everything was fairly standard indie rock.
Citay, "First Fantasy": why do I feel like I'm being smacked about the head by Square Enix's collective music department's giant wang? Maybe a subtle association of song title to video game series, but they've got that spacey J-RPG sound to a fine art. Goes on too long. Recommended if you like sprawling atmospheric tripped-out guitar.
Rykarda Parasol, "Of Thunder and Light": Not her best song, but still quite good. Dark and seductive. Recommended for fans of PJ Harvey, Nick Cave. I'd probably kick down many doors to see a live performance.
All Smiles, "Tired Jaws": What the hell is that slapping noise in the background? Nice acoustic opening, but not exactly knocking me out overall. Point in fact, more putting me to sleep, but that might be the desired effect. I'm not going to follow this one.
Shuteye Unison, "Tomorrow's Five Horizons": Not bad indie/shoegaze, but not exactly cooking me up. I like the distortion to it, but it's only mildly grabbing my interest. No opinion at this time.
Carcrashlander, "Killingsworth Frost": A bit heavier than the rest of this compilation. Mildly interested; would probably check them out at a live venue.
Evacuee, "Oneononeness": More indie rock that doesn't blow me away, but with the addition of a voice that is slightly annoying. Not interested.
Harbours, "No Souvenirs": I like the organs on this track; strong 60s psychedelic feel to these guys. The jury's still out, but I'll consider them in the future.
Kelly Blair Bauman, "I See Stars": Light-hearted, bouncy, and breezy. I kind of like this one, and would consider seeing him (yes, it's a he) live.
Kid Mud, "Joey Crown": Kind of like it, I think... maybe? Can't come to a conclusion. Actually, yes I can come to a conclusion: they sound like Modest Mouse. "Nuff said.
Form and Fate, "Tracking, south of 60 degrees latitude": Instrumental, moody, sprawling. Good counterpoint to the comp's opening instrumental. Very post-rock feeling. Like the opening track, this goes on for bloody forever, or at least feels like it. Considered for further investigation.
Maybe this particular brand of indie rock isn't my thing, but most of this compilation just bored me. Only half was mildy interesting, with one that rose above, but I was already interested in that artist to begin with. Net change of zero. And I'm not hanging on to an mp3 that I have to scan through trying to avoid the songs that I don't like to get to the ones I have a passing interest in.
While I'm all for getting exposure for the smaller bands, this compilation doesn't succeed. I wish the best for all these groups, but this release is just flat-out a pain in the neck. You'd be better off just listening to the handfuls they throw up on their myspace pages rather than wasting hard drive space with this. In short: good idea, mediocre execution. I might look into the next Lower Class Revolt compilation, but this hasn't exactly grabbed my attention that well.
Lower Class Revolt's website where you can download this compilation, form your own opinions, and come back here and call me a cheap and opinionated bastard.
Also of important note: due to all problems I've babbled on about in the past (negative cashflow, lack of interesting music coming out, chimpanzees falling from the sky), I'm considering shifting to a once weekly format until such time as things improve. Expect posts to be moved to Wednesday until further notice. Special posts may appear on an irregular schedule.