Various Artists

Mollie's Mix

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Intended as an introduction to the label, Mollie's Mix collects representative tracks from each Kill Rock Stars artist and presents them in an economical format -- in this case, for the low price of five dollars. Included in the collection are current and recent Kill Rock Stars artists, as well as new additions to the label family. From the latter category, most interesting might be Jeff Hanson, a Minneapolis songwriter who started the band m.I.J. before embarking on a solo career. Hanson was signed to Kill Rock Stars solely on the strength of his demo, which rarely happens at the tastemaking Olympia, WA, label. And the music? Hanson's pleasant "Just Like Me" suggests Elliott Smith on a helium jag. Elsewhere, there's a double shot of electro-pop in the form of Berlin-based Stereo Total (the robotic, bopping "Kleptomane") and a demo version of Gravy Train!!!!'s "Titties Bounce." Owl & the Pussycat is a collaboration between Greg Moore and Lois; "Blinds," their sparkling duet, is perfect for romantic mix tapes. Bangs' trashy "I Want More" is sequenced next to Sleater-Kinney's "Oh!," which is funny, because Bangs bash out a similar racket to early incarnations of Sleater-Kinney themselves. "777595577@!!!" is a previously unreleased track from the bratty, lo-fi punks in the Gossip; Mollie's Mix also includes previously unreleased material from Sport Murphy ("Beatles, Stepping off the Plane") and ex-Geraldine Fibber Carla Bozulich ("Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"). Despite its penchant for outsider music that is underground or extreme, Kill Rock Stars has always kept the rock & roll lamps burning, and this particular compilation is no different. There's nitro-burning rock from Tight Bros From Way Back When and epic stoner-core from Olympia's C Average. Mollie's Mix is rounded out by an exclusive track from the bizarre sonic tricksters of Men's Recovery Project and two selections of post-punk whimsy from Deerhoof. All in all, the compilation is as great a sonic investment as it is an economic one.

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