Various Artists

Adult Atlernative Collection, Vol. 1

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As the airwaves get even more fragmented and acts find it harder to obtain play, independent labels remain the arena where exciting and important stuff can be found. Volume one of this compilation series is an extraordinary collection of music which should have an easy time getting on triple-A radio. If only it were that simple! Dean Sciarra of has put together a very listenable "alternative" to radio. For those who remember when Warner/Reprise issued inexpensive samplers like the Troublemakers double LP and a creative bunch of others, this collection of 15 tracks will be a welcome sight -- a bevy of non-stop entertainment and, like those old discs, quite a find. Katy Mac backed up Buzzy Linhart and Moogy Klingman on The Buzzy/Moogy Sessions, and here as frontwoman she's just tremendous. Her "Einstein's Dream" is a treat, but then again so is Scott Bricklin's "Mercy Blue." Don't let the little flavors of John Cougar scare you away from him; Bricklin keeps it poppy and underground enough to please. It could be Lou Gramm's "Midnight Blue" gone folk-rock. Bricklin also appears on Ben Arnold's smooth "World's Away" as well as recording some of Jim Boggia's "Several Thousand." Tycoon's "The River" is a 1993 track, as is "Shattered" by Huffamoose. They blend in nicely with material culled from the late '90s and the new millennium, an interesting combination of acts that works well -- the way good radio used to feel. It's a lot of music to take in one sitting, and with so many personalities it takes some attention to figure out who is who, but that adds to the sense of discovery, and volume one of this series gets high marks indeed.