Various Artists

Indie Rock Unites, Vol. 1

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Comprised mostly of Midwest and East Coast indie rock bands (with a few Californians and one outfit from Arizona thrown in for balance), Firetone Records Presents Indie Rock Unites, Vol. 1 is a benefit compilation that appears to have been put together with an ear for quality superceding any specific thematic or creative agenda. (Of course, a chance to do something positive doubtless figured in as well, since a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.) Featuring 21 tunes from as many bands (12 previously unreleased), the selections veer from brittle, guitar-based pop (Poster Children), energetic power pop (the Figgs, Frisbe, Kitty in the Tree), moody indie rock (Brain Rakes, the Push Stars), punk-leaning pop (Team Rock-It), funk-accented melodic rock (Mike Fuji), prog-influenced smart pop (the Negro Problem), angst-y college rock (the Waxwings), hip-hop-influenced hardness (Milkplow), swaggering hard rock (Third Grade Teacher), acoustic anger sessions (Sister Child), and metal-derived indie rock (Tolerance, I-Decline). Given the broad range of styles and approaches, this comp at once offers something for practically everyone, and not enough of any one thing to please most folks from beginning to end. But with the exception of the Sister Child's pallid "Tired Not Dead" and the nu-metal-derivatives of Tolerance and I-Decline (the folks at Firetone are advised to stay away from metal, where their taste betrays them), most of what's here is pretty good, and a few tracks -- most notably the Poster Children, the Figgs, and Kitty in the Tree -- are pretty great. In short, plenty of good music from a handful of good bands, and some of your money even goes towards a good cause, so you could do a lot worse than to pick this up.

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