steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"We're Twins Records 2003 Sampler" CDR

We're Twins Records

Genres: lo-fi, diy, experimental pop

We're Twins
PO Box 427
Greenpoint Station
Brooklyn, NY

Aug 11 - 17 2003

First off, the We're Twins sampler does not cost money. You go to the We're Twins website, and there you can either download its entirety on mp3 or e-mail them asking to be sent a copy. You can't lose on this deal!

Now, onto the compilation itself. Aesthetically, this is a very DIY affair. The sampler is a CDR packaged inside cardboard with paper glued to it. It's a minimal, yet oddly compelling package. The music shares this lo-fi appreciation. The songs are home recorded, tape fuzz and all, and typically rely on simple instrumentation and vocals.

The most notable tracks here fall under the lo-fi and anti-folk banners, although there's also plenty of electronic tomfoolery and blatant goofiness to go around. The entire disc starts with an And Spiders track, "The Lonesome Fugitive," that sounds like country-folk filtered through a really old four-track. It's a delicous slice of lo-fi wizardry; the drum machine takes care of percussion duties, but sounds significantly less shoddy than usual. Melting Moments then treats us to a less poppy Deerhoof-esque tune. Strikeforce: Euler produces moody electro that is more melodic than most homemade electronica outings. And then a band by the name of The New Sound of My Bossa Nova (an Os Mutantes reference?) plays a beautiful pop tune called "Way Too Fast"; its delicate melody is wonderfully pillowed by a guitar and casio backing. While the recording quality is low, and the melody is perhaps a bit too simple, it somehow shines as a very infectious and touching tune. It alone is worth the price of admission. Yet it's free!

But those were only the first four tunes. Believe it or not, there are 27 tracks on this disc, plus 2 hidden tunes.  And many of them are real gems.  The Rants' moody minor-key "Off Axis June" will make you want to go out and give their recent album a spin. Ice Cream Socialists UK's "History" is a hushed, infectiously endearing tune. K. Linden's "Chris Tusciuk", meanwhile, is a starkly moving piece of experimental electronic music that sounds as if it could be the score for a really dark film. I also enjoy the more jokey songs here, including Chicken/Mechanic's "Fight Song!" (a duel between a girl shouting "chicken!" and a guy shouting "mechanic!"), Dawgz' mysteriously confused "Cover" of "Heart and Soul", and the Dope-Assed Booty Dominataz' mockery of rap music, "Oh My God (Issa Booty in my Face)".

And all that isn't even the least of it. If you're up for new and different music, get this sampler. You have no excuse.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 27 tracks + 1 hidden, distributed by the label, released 2003]