steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"Build Your Own Radio" CD

bumbleBEAR Records

Genres: indie pop, indie rock, twee

Apr 19 - 25 2004

It is no secret that I like indie pop.  When a compilation like Build Your Own Radio falls into my hands, I can't help but be overjoyed.  Twenty-four songs created with a lo-fi, pop-based ethic - who couldn't like this?  Even considering the few less-amazing tunes, this comp is really, really good.

Though there is a pretty basic DIY ideology behind all of Build Your Own Radio's songs, this is still a very stylistically varied and unconventional release.  First you have the hook-filled indie pop numbers (Kisswhistle's "Reading Your Face Like Braille," Fabu's "Sorry.")  Then there are the dream-pop tunes, with slight layers of feedback and drifting, lush melodies (My Favorite's "The Truth About Lake Ronkonkoma," Miika Grady's "Faith").  Another nice commodity are the folk-y pop tracks - Mike Uva's amazing "Reunion" and Saturnine's Byrds-like "Neither Lost Nor Stayed."  Finally, of course, you've got the electronic-based instrumentals, including I Am The World Trade Center's playful "The Dream Machine for Long Distance Travel" and The Phones' cutesy "Return to Tippy Toe."  In addition, there are a few rock and country influenced songs.  The variety is quite impressive, and  not disjointed at all.

All in all, Build Your Own Radio is a solid, incredibly listenable collection of underground pop music.  Everything here is melodic, in some form or another, and - as you may have figured out from my enthusiasm - everything is good, good fun.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 27 tracks [3 of them clips], distributed by the label, released 2000]