Various Artists

The Fold Compilation

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This two-CD, 29-track 2003 release documents acts that have passed through the Los Angeles club the Fold, though not every one was Los Angeles-based. Too, these were not recorded in the Fold itself. They're tracks licensed specifically for this compilation, some of them previously unreleased, but most of them available elsewhere as well, though some of them were released in relatively hard to find spots, on import B-sides and the like. There's nothing specific linking these artists except their appearances at the Fold, though virtually all of them have an indie rock guitar orientation. Although a few of them had some recognition outside of L.A. by the time of this release, like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Gwendolyn, and the Warlocks, most of the acts had a pretty low international profile (if they had one at all). Consequently, it's like many indie rock compilations in that it's too diverse to detail fully in a single-paragraph review, and will probably only be of value to future generations if one or more of the obscure artists eventually become a lot more famous. As such comps go, however, it's a little above average, presenting varying competent approaches by early-21st century indie rockers and alternative singer/songwriters, though few of the individual tracks are too noteworthy. Some of the tracks more apt to make you look up from what you're doing include Dengue Fever's "New Year's Eve," which has an authentic touch of Asian bubblegum courtesy of their Cambodian lead singer, Chhom Nimol; Devendra Banhart's creepy "Cada Casa Que Crece," which sounds like a lo-fi folk field recording; the updated '50s rock ballad sound of Bedroom Walls' "Do the Buildings & Cops Make You Smile?"; the blissed-out pop-psych of Alaska!'s "In My Time"; and the Polyphonic Spree's quite late-'60s Beatles-ish "It's the Sun." It also includes bonus MPEG videos of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (playing live) and Midnight Movies.

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