Various Artists

Neapolitan Metropolitan

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Few releases sum up the sound and spirit of American indie rock in the early '90s better than the singles box set Neapolitan Metropolitan. Issued on the celebrated Simple Machines label, these three 7"s (on white, pink, and aqua vinyl, respectively) not only compile music from indie icons like the Lilys, Bratmobile, and Slack, but they also champion causes like Washington's Innercity Self-Help (WISH) and the Alexandria Tenants' Support Committee; hard to believe now, but back then making music was about something far more important than choreographed dance steps and belly shirts. The brainchild of Simple Machines co-founder and Slack/Tsunami frontwoman Jenny Toomey, Neapolitan Metropolitan captures a singular moment in time; granted, many of the 12 bands documented here made little or no lasting impact on the underground rock community, but all were crucial in cementing the D.C./Arlington region as one of the epicenters of the indie rock boom. And regardless of your interests in politics or history, the music here kicks ass.