various artists – four for fall

i guess i had never really thought about the role of label samplers before. if they ever worked on me, it was once only. they sit here in the collection, largely lost in time. and the label or artist has not financially benefited from the investment.

but this doesn’t reflect on the bands. or even the label. in this case it’s yep roc which i found when i first bought a heavy trash album some years ago.

it’s hard not to be somewhat enamoured the moment this eight-track disc starts. conceptually, it’s similar to the live & direct release i listened to a month or two ago. four bands with two songs each (none of which i know). the difference is that these are direct album extracts rather than any reimagining.

kingsbury manx beings with the energetic movement of ruins; and that it comes from an album called the fast rise and fall of the south seems wrong. it sounds more like the lemonheads than something that should be telling a quite distinctive musical history. but perhaps i’m taking that too literally. it doesn’t change that the songs are actually rather enjoyable.

they give-way into american princes who are more like (though not near) the band i know from the label, heavy trash. some clear-cut rock. again, not half bad.

the third artist, robert skoro, comes across a little bit too adult contemporary for my liking. i hear aspects of many artists and forms that i like, including even pernice brothers, but this ends up with a very different feel.

the fourth and final band, the standard, seem to be the stand-outs. they have created something (at least in two songs) that is more of its own style and life, though still borrows (in fact, the last song has singing style of lou barlow and another bit of lemonheads band work).

the thing about yep roc is that it has such a remarkable collection of bands, including several excellent australian bands. if a person were to attempt to judge the quality of their releases from this sampler, it would be a vain attempt and not representative. but i think that’s where the label expresses itself so well, and unlike most others that stake some kind of ground that sounds the same. the image is more important than the quality, but not for yep roc.

and yet, were it to have worked as a sampler, maybe i would have bought three albums by now. i get the feeling that, if i looked for them now, they would be unfound.


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