Various Artists

Monstercat 018: Frontier

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An EDM and D.I.Y. label that's also a bright, beat-driven blow against the empire, Monstercat's policy of signing artists on a per-track basis, and allowing them to retain their own copyright, has still paid dividends, including a loyal and sizeable fan base. Sizeable especially in 2014 as Monstercat 018: Frontier is the first label compilation to place on the Billboard 200 album chart, and even if Krewella went from Monstercat to Columbia/Sony, the EDM here is much less song-based and more representative of the label's love of clubby, less poppy tracks. Grabbitz "Here with You Know" comes with pretty, wistful singing, but the reason to cue it up are the drops and the breaks, while Nitro Fun's "Soldiers" is Avicii-bright and Deadmau5-big. Label regulars Pegboard Nerds are a "name" because of brilliant, Beastie Boys-sampling break numbers like the included "New Style," and after 30 cuts with only a couple clunkers, two mega-mixes are added to the set, because Monstercat are into abundance. Great stuff, and almost too much of it.

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