Various Artists

Troubleman Mix-Tape

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The word from the Troubleman Unlimited label is that this two-disc, 52-track compilation has been in the works for over four years. According to the liner notes, it consists of tracks by label head Mike Simonetti's "favorite bands at the moment," or presumably, his favorite bands of several moments, spanning a period of about four years. Simonetti's favorite bands, as it turns out, are pretty obscure, and there's nothing wrong with that; the fact that no one has ever heard of Pixeltan just makes the avant-grunge funk of "Itchy Cable" that much more fun and the Throwing Muses tribute band Subtonix that much cuter. Then there's Erase Errata, an all-woman band who combines Gang of Four with Bikini Kill to very nice effect (and whose debut full-length was released on Troubleman Unlimited simultaneously with this compilation). But as one might expect, the material is incredibly uneven and the sound is often atrocious. (Simonetti is aware of this, and the Troubleman Unlimited website features a strangely ambivalent apology and a promise that the sound will be improved on the next pressing.) The highly adventurous will find some gems here, but only the most intrepid will have the stoutness of heart needed to slog through the detritus to find them.

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