Don’t you hate it when you buy a compilation because of one or two artists and the rest of it sucks? Or worse yet, you get a CD and think it looks interesting only to discover that it falls flat on its face? Even worse is when you get a compilation of bands from one “scene” and it all is utter crap.
Rest assured that MR 10.0 (Volume 2) is not one of those compilations. For starters, it collects the underground and undiscovered turf of Boston, an east coast city known for its roughness and eclectic musical heritage. Second, although Beantown is the city that gave us The Cars, the Wahlbergs, Fenway Park and John Adams, it also is home to Mister Records, a gritty label with an eye on the future and an ear for the new and interesting.
This collection takes eighteen of Boston’s noisiest, trippiest, sweetest, darkest and most melodic artists and shoves them into a blender, creating a fascinating representation of the city’s diverse soundscape.
It begins with “The Cadillac Song,” a catchy ditty by the Morphine-esque Gabriel Boyer & the Thousand Eyes. Boyer knows how to hold a melody and place it next to fuzzy and warm guitars. The Faux contribute the festive and feisty “Instrumental,” a frenzied spasm of electronic noise that sounds like Devo on speed. Plunge Into Death’s “Pulse” is magnificent. It begins with a New Order sounding riff, then plunges into something much more expansive and pretty. “One Night” finds the snarling Cathy Cathodic in perfect form, laying down beats and femme-hop jams ala Northern State. Those who love, big metallic, clunky mayhem will find this compilation worthwhile. Pornbelt’s “Covered Girl” is a breakneck dose of screaming-your-ass-off fem-punk mixed with abrasive percussions and electrics. No Ag’s “By Rum, By Gum” is evidence that a band that is clearly disturbed can rock ass. “Trapped, Entwined” is very metal. It is performed by Gut, a band that exudes pure unadulterated metal. Not bad glam metal, or ’80s pussy metal, but heavy fuckin’ metal. Jessica Rylan is Can’t. She makes her own instruments, and she definitely makes her own noise. Her “Raver Costume” conjures up the best bedroom techno sounds and melds it with a smart attitude. The liner notes say she is a scientist, which is so sexy. Those who enjoy the sparse and esoteric will find Devil Music’s blippy space trip “Arirang” compelling.
Of all the artists on this compilation, none have garnered as much national attention as the Dresden Dolls. Vocalist Amanda Palmer meshes keyboards with her sexy catlike friskiness and Brian Viglione’s masterful percussion. They make cabaret pop that is part Siouxsie, part Vaudeville sprinkled with dashes of Laurie Anderson and Tori Amos. “Missed Me” is lifted from their self-titled debut album. The Dresden Dolls are living proof that Jacques Brel is alive and well, and living in Boston.
Not everything on the second MR 10.0 installment is peachy. Tracks by the Mary Reillys, Scrapple and Tunnel of Love show potential, but somehow remain uninteresting and hardly innovative.
It is always good to see people in a city working together to create something fresh and divine. When that city is Boston, a city steeped in attitude and innovation, this process becomes even more intriguing. The folks at Mister Records are clearly working hard to accomplish this. They are trying to make a difference by launching a preemptive strike against those who casually dismiss Boston sonically. With MR 10.0 (Volume 2), they have found their niche. They have banded a unique gallery of scientists, artists, punks, musicians, thugs, roustabouts and metalheads to create a rich compilation that is representative of Boston’s diverse and burgeoning music scene.
Mister Records: www.misterrecords.com