Casual Victim Pile
Various Artists / Austin 2010
Texas, man, it’s got problems. However, good fucking god, the city of Austin is almost enough to redeem the whole godfersaken state. It just might be my favorite city in the country, in point of fact. Waterloo Records, Alamo Drafthouse, cheapo Mexican food on every corner, thrift stores and bookstores and arts and culture by the armload, and a kinda unpretentious artistic sensibility — it’s a great place to live cheaply and concentrate on the important things in life, like getting that band of yers off the ground.
It’s no surprise then that Austin has a thriving and diverse local music scene. To that end, Matador Records has taken the plunge and collected their cream of the local crop together for this regional comp, in the vein of such albums as Flex Your Head, Hell Comes To Your House<, and This is Boston, Not L.A.. Now I’m not suggesting that Casual Victim Pile has either the historical value or thematic unity of the aforementioned comps, but just that it’s good to see a solid regional comp released on a national indie. Speaking of indie, that’s the type of music that this comp focuses on — there’s not much in the way of hip hop, experimental, or just plain non-guitar oriented music. Which, at times, makes Casual Victim Pile tough going. Indeed, things don’t really get cooking until Kingdom of Suicide Lovers channels the boy-girl blues/punk roar of X on “Hoboken Snow.” I also really dig the Crampsian rockabilly-dirge swagger of Elvis’ (not THE) Mommy’s Little Soldiers. Woven Bones do a pretty goddamn great job of channeling Darklands-era Jesus and Mary Chain. The No No No Hopes turn in a track of wildman grungy blues. The Teeners whip up a hardcore hurricane, and the Persimmons whip us some crazy, phased-out outer space surf music — yowza. And of course there’s the eternally frazzled and fried Harlem, smiling like the Manson girls outside the courtroom. There’s some future fer ya. It’s only midway through the Stuffies’ “No One’s Gonna Miss You” that I realize the whole album does have an admirable brio and energy running throughout like a crackle of electricity.
In fact, if anything, the compilers could have expanded this release to include another disc (or two). If I may be so bold, may I suggest including Night Viking, No Mas Bodas, Christina Carter, Telepathik Friend, and Cry Blood Apache to the next volume? (I think I may.)