Various Artists

John Peel Sub Pop Sessions

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AllMusic Review by

Radio show host John Peel is known for his great taste in music and open forum for musicians to showcase their music. This compilation of Sub Pop artists performing songs on his British radio program is a great example of the strong performances he can get in his studio setting. Mudhoney starts with the magnificent "By Her Own Hand," a dark suicide anthem performed powerfully under the live setting. After two more strong tracks from Mudhoney, Tad makes a brief appearance with the angry "Helot." Although Tad Doyle's voice comes off as weak, the performance is very short and energetic. Seaweed offers an impressive original and a more impressive Jonathan Richman cover. Pond starts off the second half of the album with a more textured pop sound than the first few bands. "Cinders," in particular, is quite charming with its memorable chorus and shy vocals. Velocity Girl offers three strong, lush tracks that are much more assertive than their original forms on their debut album. Finally, Codeine chimes in with the sad, melancholy "Broken-Hearted Wine," possibly the best song on the entire album. Dripping with heartbreak, the delicate ballad bring a surprisingly wonderful album to a close. Sub Pop had a fantastic stable of bands at the time, and some of their strongest performances were captured on this compilation. This is highly recommended for fans of any of the bands featured, as well as those curious about the post-grunge bands that the label had to offer.

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