Various Artists

Empress Pop Weekend

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Arizona's Red Square Records paired up with 555 Records to release this commemorative disc of indie pop from Australia. The labels had hosted an indie pop festival of sorts at the Empress Hotel in Melbourne, Australia, in May 2002. The disc includes 16 exclusive tracks from bands who played the festival, including a rare, chaotic version of Boyracer's "They're Making Money off of You," the piano-laced "Seahorses" by Origami, and Huon's playful "Killer Pies." Even As We Speak offers up twee harmonies on "Stay With Me," while Red Square Records owner Jen Turrell chimes in with the simple and graceful "Dreams of Drowning." The Lucksmiths appear with a live rendition of "The Year of Living Languorously," performed in the studios of California's KFJC radio, while 555 owner Steward is featured on the charming and eclectic "I Love a Good Time." The disc ends with the lo-fi sounds of Julian Teakle on "Harrington Street" and Driving Past's steady and feverish "Throws Me Over." The collection serves as a time capsule of some of indie pop's most engaging and diverse acts. Empress Pop Weekend was mastered by Greg Wadley and released in mid-2002.