Various Artists

All Tomorrow's Parties 2.0: Shellac Curated

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Due to the overwhelming number of various-artists compilations rolling out of CD manufacturing plants these days, it's hard to rely on them as anything other than truck-stop spinner-rack material or vanity pieces for labels trying to hawk the rest of their catalogs. There are certainly exceptions, but none come close to the franchise of quality that the All Tomorrow's Parties comps are starting to cement in place. Three deep at this point, they have progressively opened up the world of fine music that is being tooled outside the glare of the MTV and Entertainment Tonight cameras. Like All Tomorrow's Parties 1.1 (actually number two in the series), which was curated by Sonic Youth, 2.0 finds Shellac crafting the lineup and, also like the previous one, the progenitors leave their marks all over the place. Moving from angular and aggressive to cerebral and moody, an accurate picture of Shellac (and moreover, Steve Albini) can be drawn. Song highlights include Shellac's rockin' "Watch Song" and a dramatic chamber piece by the Threnody Ensemble entitled "Groups." All are emotive and lively in their own respective ways and depict the shifting qualities of the entire track list. In the meantime, "Trem Two," which was released in 1982, tows the line for the highly respectable Mission of Burma, which is enjoying a resurgence of sorts. As is the Fall (who haven't really disappeared, but have been silenced in the modern rock overthrow of the general consciousness), here represented by their 2000 release "Two Librans." Top to bottom, 2.0 is a fine compilation and a fine addition to the series; additionally, it creates a high level of anticipation for the next ATP comp -- which is scheduled to be curated by Autechre.

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