Various Artists

Public Display of Affection: The Sounds of Independent Radio

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Nettwerk Records asked four tastemaking public radio hosts for three contributions each to a compilation of underrated/up-and-coming artists. The result is Public Display of Affection, a collection that's somewhat typical in sound -- there's plenty of literate, left-of-dial stuff here, ranging from rootsy to archly rocking -- but never short of impressive. Rita Houston of N.Y.C.'s WFUV offers the gorgeous orchestral pop flourishes of the Sharp Things' "Demon of Love"; her highlighting of whip-smart New York songwriter Willy Mason allows us all to hear him sing the fabulous couplet "I wanna be/Better than oxygen/So you can breath when you're drowning and weak in the knees/I wanna speak/Louder than Ritalin/For all the children who think that they've got a disease." Cincinnati's Ruby Vileos gets props from WFPK Louisville's Dan Reed -- their "Let's Go" is a quietly cool indie pop gem reminiscent of Abra Moore. Boston's Passenger does Coldplay better than Chris Martin, and figures out how to work a Beachwood Sparks reference into "Driving You Home" without sounding pretentious, while San Francisco-based Film School is the noisiest, dream poppiest thing on PDA. Both acts are endorsed by John Richards of Seattle's KEXP. Meanwhile, WXPN Philadelphia's Bruce Warren offers the austere indie folk of Amy Correia ("Hold On [The Prison Song]"), the perpetually, criminally underrated Eleni Mandell ("Can't You See I'm Soulful"), and David Berkeley's vaguely yet totally addictive "Red."

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