Various Artists

Fortune Cookie Prize: A Tribute to Beat Happening

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Other bands sold more records, earned greater media attention, and enjoyed more fanatical followings, but anyone doubting the massive impact and influence of Olympia, WA, love rock pioneers Beat Happening need look no further than the excellent Fortune Cookie Prize, a tribute album organized by the Simple Machines label boasting contributions from many of the premier Amerindie acts of the early '90s. A benefit for the Sasha Bruce Youthwork agency for troubled teens, the disc captures its moment in time to perfection -- Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon and Sebadoh's Lou Barlow are the marquee names, but it's the inclusion of unsung heroes like the Cannanes, Scrawl, Love Child, and Fish & Roses which truly evoke the uncompromising indie spirit that Beat Happening so utterly embodied. The songs are all well-chosen, among them underground classics like "Bad Seeds," "Black Candy," and "Nancy Sin," although it's surprising that "Indian Summer," which has since emerged as something of an indie pop standard, wasn't targeted. It's also worth noting the breadth of the band's influence outside of the musical sphere -- no doubt inspired by Calvin Johnson's K Records imprint, many of the artists spotlighted on Fortune Cookie Prize launched their own D.I.Y. labels, among them concerns like Superchunk's Merge, Unrest's Teenbeat, and, of course, Simple Machines itself.

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