Yep Roc Records has got to be one of the coolest indie labels around. With a roster that includes near legendary old-timers (Paul Weller, Bob Mould, John Doe, Robyn Hitchcock) and relatively young Turks (Marah, Caitlin Cary, Robbie Fulks), the label seems intent on putting out quality music, wherever it might be found. This compilation brings together sixteen tracks from eight of the label’s bands. The results are never less than listenable; more often than not, it’s a highly enjoyable listen.
The Chapel Hill-based Comas showcase inventive fuzzy guitar pop with female-male vocal harmonies. “Moonrainbow” and the more acoustic “Falling” are taken from their 2004 album, Conductor, which was voted one of the “best albums you didn’t hear last year” by both Spin and Rolling Stone. I plan to hear more in the very near future. That can also be said for Dolorean, an Oregon band with terrific harmonies that bring to mind The Jayhawks. Shades of The Band, Nick Drake and Neil Young can also be heard on the two tracks here from last year’s Violence in the Snowy Fields.
A member of both The Posies and Big Star, Ken Stringfellow offers two tracks from his most recent solo release, the somewhat underwhelming Soft Commands. The Beach Boys-like “When U Find Someone” is the keeper here. Speaking of Big Star, Philadelphia’s Bigger Lovers often cite that band as an influence. But the springy ’80s sound of bands like XTC can also be heard on “You, You, You,” from last year’s This Affair Never Happened.
Canada’s Sadies offer a pair of tracks from their terrific recent release, Favourite Colours. “A Good Day Flying” and “Translucent Sparrow” bring to mind The Byrds during the Clarence White era. Texas guitar slinger turned introspective singer-songwriter Ian Moore put out a wonderful record last year called Luminaria. Included here are “April,” one of the album’s best, breeziest songs, and “New Day,” a showcase for Moore’s remarkable, Jeff Buckley-like vocal range.
Throw in a couple of tracks from lesbian punk-poppers The Butchies and two from the weird, Tragically Hip-like guitar rockers The Standard, and you’ve got a pretty interesting collection. If you can find Flip Flop in the used bin and you’re interested in sampling any of these artists, it’s worth picking up.
Yep Roc: www.yeproc.com