The Unreleased series from Deep Elm Records gets off to a fine start with this kick-off release, gathering ten exclusive tracks from some of the finest bands on that label. “Emo” is a dubious little term, but Deep Elm isn’t running with the pack, and every one of their bands has a unique sound and a different approach from the others. And so, this is an exciting compilation of some of the best post-hardcore you’re likely to hear this year.
It may be unfair to single out any particular track on here, what with the immense talents on display, but what the hell. The complex punk rush of Starmarket’s “Hated” is stunning, and Triple Fast Action’s “All Better Now” does a fantastic job of blending The Jesus & Mary Chain with DIY hardcore. Red Animal War is one of the many bands on here that can’t hide their debt to Husker Du and Bad Religion, and why on earth would they want to do that anyway? And Pop Unknown ready themselves for the stadiums with “New Found Friends,” a subtle ballad with sweet and almost naive, children’s book-like lyrics.
Unreleased No. 1 is a brilliant compilation from one of the most exciting, completely independent labels out there today. If the next installments prove to be as fine and thorough as this first one, this has all the marks of a landmark series in the making. Better sign up before it’s too late, then.
Deep Elm Records: http://www.deepelm.com