Various Artists

Loverly Music: The Singles 1997-1999

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Loverly Music: The Singles 1997-1999 Review

by Richie Unterberger

The independent Memphis label Loverly put out singles, in a commendably eclectic variety of indie-friendly styles, throughout the 1990s. This double CD is the third of a series (previous ones covered the years 1993-1994 and 1995-1996) collecting those singles for compilation form. Like many such anthologies of local indie music (mostly, though not solely, rock), it's uneven, erratic, and probably mostly of interest to inhabitants of the region who want a keepsake of the subterranean activity in the area. It should be noted, though, that it's more interesting than most such compilations that fade into the used bins shortly after release. There's the sheer range of sounds, for one thing: forlorn singer/songwriting by Lucynell Carter, bad fake reggae comedy, wispy electro-pop by Mouserocket and Alicja, middling grungy indie rock, a pretty witty Otis Redding takeoff by Al X. Greene, quirky covers of British '70s glam-pop by Lorette Velvette, and Lamar Sorrento's "Lawnmower Song," opening with the couplet "If I was a lawnmower, tell you what I'd do/I'd ride around your yard till I could run over you" (it goes downhill from there). Out-of-towners are unlikely to have heard of any of the artists save Jim Dickinson, who adds piano to a trio of cuts, and Robert Gordon (known primarily as an author and filmmaker), who speaks his "Taking the Blues Home (In a Brown Paper Bag)" with accompaniment by Dickinson. If nothing else, this release is evidence of the continuing production of quirky music, most of it not of the roots variety, from a region not known for its post-1970s indie rock and experimental sounds.

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