Various Artists

Under the Weight of Light

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The early 2010 entry in Projekt's label sampler series fits well in the tradition of their best entries from earlier years -- it functions as a good portrait of where founder Sam Rosenthal's current sonic interests lie, as well as providing a slew of unreleased or unavailable tracks to interest regulars and newcomers alike. Unsurprisingly, Rosenthal's chief band, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, bookends the collection with the sea shanty dramatics of "Sailor Boy" from the band's latest release, 10 Neurotics, and a new version of "Halo Star" closing the disc. In between are selections ranging from the bluegrass-tinged "Sugar in My Coffin" by Curtis Eller to the electronic-driven mood of Rome's "We Who Fell in Love with the Sea." It's good stuff, but it's the unreleased songs that hold more interest. The "Nov. Mix" of "Ever Shy" by Weep is a nice bit of romantically sweeping dramatics that sounds like what Flesh for Lulu would have done if they'd stayed off John Hughes soundtracks, while Makares Pen's "Currents," from their then-forthcoming self-titled debut, is a nice instance of guitar richness and tension that's as much Chameleons/Sound-derived as it is shoegaze. An out and out rarity surfaces from the excellent Unto Ashes -- "She Binds Away the Night" finds bandleader Michael Laird creating another elegant arrangement of acoustic guitar, softly echoed vocals, and gentle chimes to create something at once beautiful and darkly dramatic (in what could almost be a nod to Burning from the Inside-era Bauhaus.)

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