steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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Various Artists


Teen Action Records

Genre: more than I can muster

April 2010

Eclectic comp's worth of synth-pop, wacked-out garage, digigrind, electro-hop, brou-ha-rock, lo-fi grumble, freaky improv, and indefinable ephemera. Well, that covers some of it. Seriously, D;O;UXF? is out there, but what might be labelled a lack of cohesion actually makes for an appealingly unpredictable grab-bag of sonic lunacy. As one might expect from a gallery of unknowns (I didn't recognize a single name upon cracking this baby open), the quality level fluctuates, though there are several gems and a few promising finds. For me, one of the biggest treats was Columbus, Ohio's Anna Ranger, an eighties-obsessed dinky synth-pop trio that designs swell pop songs out of tinny drum machines & keys. "They Don't Bury Their Dead in Columbus" is brilliant and infuriatingly catchy, whereas the macabre juxtaposition on "Mutant Beast" is tongue-in-cheek goodness. Elsewhere, The Judy Experience's jazzy dub gracefully bonks, The Shudders' scuzz-rock gracelessly ferments, and Mystic Defender's deformed groove-funk exuberantly bounces along. Not every experiment pays off (I like no-wave and noise, but Eliyas is just annoying), but then you have tongue-in-cheek treasures like Hugs and Kisses' "Condoms Make My Dick Go Limp," which somehow don't disappoint. Anyway, to summarize -- a solid, bizarre, hopelessly eclectic comp. Just how I like 'em.

One of Anna Ranger's tracks (live):

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 19 tracks, limited to 100 copies, distributed by the label, released 2010]