Various Artists

Mai Pen Rai

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Housed in a typically beautiful letterpress sleeve designed and printed by Independent Project Records' Bruce Licher, the second 4AD retail sampler Mai Pen Rai (Thai for "nevermind") captures the label at the peak of its American commercial success, when the rising tide of the alt rock boom lifted all boats -- Belly's leadoff track "Feed the Tree" was probably 4AD's biggest U.S. pop radio hit, even earning the group a Grammy nomination, while acts like Frank Black ("Los Angeles"), Red House Painters ("Rollercoaster"), and Unrest ("Teenage Suicide") dominated CMJ play lists. Even minus contributions from 4AD superstars like the Breeders, Throwing Muses and Lush, Mai Pen Rai nevertheless captures the scope of what the label was about during the early '90s, documenting some of the finest and most enduring music of its era.