Little Darla Has a Treat For You
I must say that my taste in music can only be described as annoyingly eclectic. While I probably intersect a little bit with just about anyone’s preferences, the amount of music that I like outside that area will usually be larger than within. Which is why I’m head-over-heels in love with this anthology of eighteen tracks. The uniting characteristic here is that the music is subtle and for the most part relaxed. Still, that leaves plenty of room for variation, and each artist brings a unique set of sensibilities to the table.
Let’s start (like the album) with My Morning Jacket. “They Ran” is a brief song that expresses in its less than three minutes an immeasurable amount of doleful melancholy. Sisterhood of Convoluted Thinkers give us a lesson in circular irony in “Sable” — which starts in a very exciting manner but quickly dissipates into a depressing and hilarious litany of working to pay for a car to get to your job in order to pay for the car… you get the idea. Wussom*Pow!’s “Since Yesterday” strats out exactly like the Jazz Butcher’s “Daycare Nation,” but all is forgiven once the gears shift and the swirly girly pop pours out. The Lilys give us an instrumental, “The Berated Escape,” which sounds like what an electron goes through as it makes its way across the circuit. Isan’s “Don’t Bounce It” is a disjointed bamboo circus. Closing out the record is Flowchart/Technicolor’s nine-minute minimalist masterpiece, “Casio Jawn.” Usually I’m the first to make fun of repetitive beeps and boops, but these lads manage to make those nine minutes go by like one. And there’s much more, all of it good to excellent
Not all is perfect, however. Liner notes are skimpy to say the least. The tray card tells us the place of origin and label for each band (only a third are Darla acts, and almost half are exclusive to this compilation), but the only information other than that is a listing of Darla’s catalog. Nitpicking, I know — the music more than speaks for itself.
Darla Records, 625 Scott #303, San Francisco, CA 94117