Various Artists

Labrador 100: A Complete History of Popular Music

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At a time when it seems like indie labels are fading out of view as more and more bands at this minor level of fame opt to either release their albums themselves without label backing or just put songs up on their MySpace pages, the elaborate Labrador 100: A Complete History of Popular Music is a complete delight. A simply lovely box set that includes four discs and a thick, detailed book with a complete oral history of the label, this is the sort of gift for pop geeks that labels like Sarah Records used to do back in the day. That's a good touchstone musically as well, because this Swedish label's blend of acoustic tweeness, minimalist electronica, and occasional blasts of brash guitar pop owes a lot to the Sarah aesthetic, as does their uniformly excellent design work. Rather than use this as an opportunity to selectively refashion the label's history, Labrador 100: A Complete History Of Popular Music takes the admirable step of simply taking one song, in chronological order, from each of the label's first 100 releases, including favorites and rarities by the wispy electronic duo Club 8, long-running power poppers the Leslies, perhaps the label's best-known act, the Acid House Kings, and former Edson frontman Pelle Carlberg. Anyone who owns more than two or three previous Labrador releases will want this.

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