Parasol’s Sweet Sixteen

Parasol’s Sweet Sixteen

Volume Six

Parasol

In reviewing this latest in the compilation series of Parasol (and related labels) artists, I’ve decided to go down the list line by line.

1. Bettie Seveert, “Smack.”

Damn, I wish I knew when that new Laptop LP was coming out…

2. Thirddimension, “Other Side Of Town.”

Liner notes have it that this quartet released one of the best albums of 1998. Sounds awfully old wave to me, but certainly inoffensive.

3. The Action, “Brain.”

Unmemorable Nuggets II contributors from 1967/68.

4. John Cunningham, “You Shine.”

The Beatles and “pastoral pop” comparisons are too obvious to belabor. Though these affectations might wear a little thin on a disc of 10, for one song they’re quite agreeable. This is the first artist on the comp to pass the “let me hear more” test.

5. Orwell, “Toutes les Nouvelles Parlent d’Hier.”

Despite having played this album more times than usual before a review, I can remember very little about this song except that it’s sung in French. Which, given the current world situation, I have no choice but to declare it my favorite song of the year. (“Freedom fries”… who are we kidding?)

6. Ronderlin, “Reflected.”

Y’ever hear one of those groups that by all rights you should like, because they’re compared to a couple of others which you do (like, say, The Lightning Seeds and Club 8)…but you just don’t?

Me, too.

7. Menthol, “Danger: Rock Science!”

Menthol are giving me a heck of a time these days. I reviewed the album from which this song is taken last year and found it deeply flawed if promising, with less than a handful of really good songs. Since then, while I have not gained any new appreciation for the songs I didn’t like, those I did (like this one) I’ve been liking more and more.

8. Bikeride, “Faking Amnesia.”

Great hook, but every single time I hear this, I think they are singing “Blanket amnesia.” And I’m not faking.

9. Club 8, “Saturday Night Engine.”

Club 8 released one of my favorite albums of 2002, but this previously unreleased track has “B-side” written all over it.

10. Permer, “Summerdays Attract The Pain.”

The great discovery of this compilation. Electro-pop with hooks that should make Bikeride fall down, this sounds like one of those great obscure synth-pop singles they used to play on KITS in San Francisco in the ’80s and early ’90s…what, too obscure a reference?

11. Folksongs For the Afterlife, “Did I Let You Down?”

Great name for a band, and sonically somewhat interesting, but nothing to write home about.

12. Fonda, “Loving You Makes Me Sad.”

Almost too obvious an idea for a song title, and see 11.

13. Steve Almaas & Ali Smith, “Shrunken Head.”

I’m reminded of something Cindy Crawford said in an open statement to Madonna: “Look, if you have issues to work out with your father, do it on your own time, not ours.”

14. Chitlin’ Fooks, “Did It Again.”

Good hook, probably a good band, but not so much my thing.

15. Mans Wieslander, “Unsound.”

The best lyric of any on the set, and another candidate for further examination.

16. The Possibilities, “Now and Then You Appear.”

This is a total snap judgment, but the Possibilities sound to me like one of those local-hero bands that no one can understand why they never made it bigger…except for those who don’t live in their hometown.

17. Shimmer Kids UnderPop Association, “Model Kit.”

See 11. Fucking great name for a band, and I want to like them because they’re from San Francisco, but…

18. The Violents, “Three Fifty Nine”

There are so… many… bands… doing exactly the same thing as this. On any given night, you can see one somewhere on your local music scene. Unless you’re a friend or family member of the band, there’s no particular reason you need this version.

19. Absinthe Blind, “Shields”

Unlike Menthol, my opinion of Absinthe Blind has not evolved in the slightest since I reviewed their album Rings a few months ago. They still sound to me like a band badly in need of an imaginative producer to help better realize their work and keep a tighter reign on their excesses. I still have no use for them.

20. Scenic, “Lightspeed.”

And here is the fourth and last of the offerings on this platter that penetrated my jaded palate, and made me want to hear the band again. I haven’t heard a guitar-dominated instrumental psychedelic piece that sounded this good since the Mermen’s Amazing California Health and Happiness Road Show, the second-best album of 2000.

21. Doleful Lions, “Texas Is Beautiful.”

See 17 (minus the San Francisco thing).

Parasol Records: http://www.parasol.com/

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