Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Various Artists – The State of Music, Vol. 1
Firstly, you’ve got to consider that this is the first album by a newly formed indie label. The founder (reasonably well known for his music blog www.choosemymusic.org) has scoured America for the best unsigned and indie label bands he feels deserve more recognition in the UK (and Europe). Rather than trying to edge his way into the corporate machine which the music industry has become, the album is available for download (from www.stateofmusicalbum.com – including a sizeable PDF with project and band information) for only £3 and all profits go to the charity Camden Calling.
The concept of the project is to release five albums of ten tracks, each covering a state of America (hence being called the State of Music). During the project each band are interviewed for the previous mentioned website, and are given the chance to describe their local music scene, influences and a little more about themselves. As you can tell I have been following the project from the start, and am thrilled that it has been so well received, not least because of the hard work I know has gone into it.
And so to the music. From the opening drum riff of ‘Junior Astronomers’ you are made aware that this will not be your usual run-of-the-mill compilation. With a vast array of musical styles – acoustic through to hip-hop – this album will certainly provide something for everyone.
‘Kendall Elijah’ provides some beautifully original and well crafted hip-hop with touchingly deep lyrics.
‘Deerpeople’ have an instant appeal, managing to sound very mainstream but having enough musical depth to suddenly surprise with the direction the track takes you in.
‘Dads’ bring something fresh to the table. They have a unique style and almost seem to slip ideas for three or four song into one. This is certainly the most original band on the compilation.
‘Lady Lamb The Beekeeper’ provides an acoustic track (just vocals and banjo), and while this tune has a sound not dissimilar to so many of my favourite artists, it manages to sound as fresh as any on the album. The ability to change the pace of the song and the depth of emotion alongside is truly stunning.
And so the album finishes with ‘Earth House’ (who have a slight hint of Spiritulized about them). This track concludes the album perfectly, and leaves you wanting more (which of course is what an album should do).
Three cheers for Choose My Music Records. Let’s hope the standard remains as high as this over the next four album of the project, and that the second album will be ready soon...