Kittridge Records Presents Homemade Hits
Even though my ears should be fastened to nothing but the never-ending stream of CDs I’m set to review, lately I’ve been spending some time getting into The Clientele’s A Summer Fading, a gloriously lo-fi EP where tape hiss acts as the group’s fourth major instrument — after guitar, bass and drums. This kind of 4-track authenticity was what I had at the back of my mind when I sought out Kittridge Records’ Homemade Hits Vol. 2.
With 28 tracks and whole slew of genres to pack together on one disc, Kittridge Records did an admirable job of creating a sense of flow. The compilation begins with slacker indie rock and wends its way through pop, electro and hip-hop. While most of the material is pretty standard/solid fare, there are a number of bright moments. Warbler and Chika Chika both turn in shouty dark wave with a sharper edge than the acts at GSL have brandished recently. Tara Sappart and The Hit Machine draw the sound into the bedroom for some gorgeous down-beat twee. The latter scores points for the string section. Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! lay out some stripped-down hybrid of bossa nova and Sonic Youth. Stockholm’s The State of Samuel gets more mileage out of a catchy melody and bah-bahs than most groups do with entire albums. Bedroom Walls’ rubbery dance track “Kathy In Her Bedroom” plays like New Order minus the multi-million dollar production gloss. All of this is gold; where the compilation truly goes awry is in the overly Casio-ed and electronic sections. The breakbeat track from Captain Ahab, the worst offender, feels completely out of place.
In an age where Protools, or even Garage Band, on any Mac can yield an almost professional-sounding recording, it’s probably too much to ask for tape hiss, fuzzy, muffled vocals and the other trappings of the analog age to find their way back into regular album releases. At least Kittridge Records seems to be one of the last bastions promoting that particular indie aesthetic.
Kittridge Records: www.kittnet.com