steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"A Map of the Woods" CD

Shmat Records

Genres: indie pop

Shmat Records
PO Box 1191
Alahambra, CA 91802

Jul 19 - 25 2004

In true Shmat Records tradition, A Map of the Woods is a fine pop compilation collecting fifteen charming tunes from the label's roster members.  The likes of Carte Blanche, Avoidance Theory, Hrududu Factory, Tigerella, and Awestruck Dumbfounded are all represented here.

Upon my initial run through Map, Hrududu Factory's lovely, dramatic "Garfield and Valley" caught my attention especially, although it is in Shmat's nature that every listener will find their own favourite song on this comp.  Every tune is special in its own way, and it is up to the audience to single out those that speak to them best.  Awestruck Dumbfounded give us a couple of tracks, one soft and one more peppy.  Light Sleeper, Tigerella, and Carte Blanche occupy similar territory, creating simple, guitar-led pop tunes ("Pop Song" and "Don't Forget Love" are highlights.)

Although A Map of the Woods rarely diverges from a simple formula - soft, cozy indie pop - its melodic variety never becomes old and stale.  This is worth your time and money, and you'll be happy to learn that it doesn't require much of either.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 15 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]