Various Artists


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The recording industry version of those old "Future Stars" baseball cards that spotlighted promising rookies, Epic Presents the Unsigned was released in 1985 as an outgrowth of a CMJ contest to find the ten best unsigned bands in America. Just like the Topps cards, which often grouped hall of famers like Cal Ripken, Jr. with nobodies like Bob Bonner, the album contains bands that went on to record for the majors, as well as bands who sunk into obscurity. The successful New Orleans group the Radiators, for example, are followed by an unheard of band from Alabama called the Crime, yet both turn in great performances. The best thing about Presents is its eclecticism. Catchy pop (the Rothchilds' "Long After Summer") appears next to disco funk (the Visions' "Love Potion"), which appears next to avant-garde (Free World's "Supply & Demand").

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