Various Artists

The Sounds of Monsterism Island, Vol. 1

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Assembled by Monsterism toy and sleeve designer Pete Fowler and envisioned as the soundtrack to an imaginary tropical paradise, The Sounds of Monsterism Island, Vol. 1 is an uncommonly exemplary compilation, recalling Toru Hashimoto's endlessly inventive Café Apres-midi series in both sound and spirit. As might be expected given the DayGlo kitsch of Fowler's creepy-cute characters, his musical tastes skew toward the offbeat, embracing the pastel tones of psychedelia, exotica, and sunshine pop. He likes his electric Kool-Aid with as much sugar as acid, and understands that too much exposure to the sun can fry your brain like bacon in a pan. These 20 songs originate from a record collection hipper and bigger than yours, and they fit together like pieces of a child's puzzle. Highlights include Clarence "Frogman" Henry's "Ain't Got No Home," the United States of America's "The Garden of Earthly Delights," the Rattles' "The Witch," and Dead Meadow's "Indian Bones."

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