Various Artists

Mostly Midwest

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Mostly Midwest includes the work of 16 relatively unknown bands, yet it's crammed with ear-grabbing invention. Compiled by Bottlefed, a fierce, shadowy indie based in Milwaukee, the compilation segues effortlessly from the charred, Come-esque punk of Wrecker's "Time to Kill" to the bedroom-rocking electro twee of Competitorr. It's equally comfortable with alternative hip-hop (Def Harmonic) and straightforward indie pop (Crime & Judy). Many of the groups here owe a considerable debt to those that have come before -- Excuse 17, Velocity Girl, and Yeastie Girlz, to name only a few. But the songwriting remains strong throughout, proving that this isn't just a case of copping your influences' moves. In fact, its Mostly Midwest's sonic similarity to so much established music that makes each track like a newly discovered scenic turnpike to a country you already knew existed. There's nary a rocky stretch in the bunch.

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