Various Artists

Little Darla Has a Treat for You, Vol. 13: Fall 1999

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San Francisco-based indie Darla Records, like no other label, bridges the divide between electronica and semi-naïve indie pop. The baker's dozen edition of its long-running, budget-priced sampler series Little Darla Has a Treat for You, for the most part, simply alternates between the two styles, putting an instrumental synth-dance sonic exploration like Lali Puna's bouncy "Rapariga de Banheira" next to a lo-fi bedroom recording like the California Oranges' "Roller King." Given that, by the end of the '90s, many indie guitar bands had pretty much run out of ideas, the more electronic tracks tend to be the more interesting entries. Steward's psychedelically hazy "Land Run Descendents" is the peak, though GNAC's lovely bossa nova-style vibes-led instrumental "The Plimsoll Line" and Orange Cake Mix's dreamy snatch of ambience "Her Mellowness" are nearly its equal. As always with this sort of compilation, there are a couple of real stinkers here -- My Morning Jacket's "Death Is the Easy Way" makes the Mountain Goats sound like Phil Spector -- but, overall, Little Darla Has a Treat for You, Vol. 13 is certainly worth the $5.98 price listed on the cover.

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