Various Artists

Working Holiday!

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During 1993, Jenny Toomey and Kristin Thomson decided to try a project with their Simple Machines label; they formed a record club, putting out a seasonally themed 7" single each month featuring two bands, and then wrapping the year up with a three-day concert festival featuring most of the involved bands. Thankfully, the majority of the music lived up to the inspired concept -- the singles featured tracks from lauded independent acts like Versus, Scrawl, the Coctails, Eggs, Veronica Lake, My Dad Is Dead, Nothing Painted Blue, Lois, Small Factory, Superchunk, and Tsunami, among many others. As such, the two-disc Working Holiday! collection serves as a sort of time capsule of indie rock in the early to mid-'90s, before electronica, post-rock, and Pet Sounds imitation took the focus away from this vein of music. The collection's second disc compiles 17 performances from the year-ending concert festival, including excellent tracks from Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, Franklin Bruno and Versus -- even better, the concert material and extensive liner notes document the year-long, shoestring-budget process of getting the records out, and the indie scene they were aimed at. Toomey and Thomson certainly deserved some sort of medal for putting together such a project, and for tapping in to everything that was appealing about the indie scene of this period -- the Working Holiday! collection, more than a lot of "seminal" albums, documents the entire scene, attitude, and aesthetic that made an initially underground phenomenon such an important force and influence in music.

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