And guess what? Deerhoof are as engagingly mad as ever (if Matchbox Seeks Maniac's remix is anything to go by).
Tomlab Records - Puppy Love; 10 Years of Tomlab
I like Tomlab, it's a very entertaining label to say the least and one not afraid to stick its neck out and try something new. This release is worth having for the "big names" alone, certainly worth buying for a friend - just in case they haven't ever connected with the delights of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Patrick Wolf, Deerhoof, Les Georges Leningrad or Final Fantasy. The great thing about this particular compilation though are those "hidden gems", of which there are a surprising amount (as all compilations have duff tracks do they not?) One other thing, there are very few tracks from way back when, virtually all the material is culled from the last year or so, a very forward thinking gambit but I'd love to know how this label has developed over the years... just a thought.
The Blow's opener In Parentheses is a nice gentle beginning, one of the best songs but not exactly representative of the Paper Television LP; a good intro nonetheless. Hey Willpower's track Hundredaire continues in the same "cute" vein, but it's still quirky enough - and again the LP is more diverse than this sampler suggests – to merit our interest. No Kid's Old Iron Gate could be a theme from a 1960s cartoon with so many whimsical minor chords on show. Misha's great track Scars is here, keeping that pop vibe intact. Khan's pomp-dance is represented with Favor after Favor, it's slightly ridiculous, but fun. Ninja High School's tremendous rap Catholic Fashion is one of the oldest tracks here (from 2005) and one of the more outre...
Now its time for the big guns to contribute some music; Casiotone's It Wasn't the Same Somehow is brilliant, as is Les Georges Leningrad's Skulls in the Closet (indeed their LP, Sangue Puro from which this is taken, is a right royal headfuck). Simon Bookish is as erudite as ever with Prince of Wales and Patrick Wolf's Wind in the Wires is arguably the best song of his career thus far. And guess what? Deerhoof are as engagingly mad as ever (if Matchbox Seeks Maniac's remix is anything to go by).
In the hidden gems category go Dog Day's Night Group. Underrated, Dog Day... Urlaub in Polen are also a great band, and A Case Of Getting from B to C is one of the better tracks from Health and Welfare. Erase Errata's single Pass the Crimson is strident fun, and Final Fantasy's Hey Dad is lovely too. Xiu Xiu's Suha is a cracking end, full of passion and edge.
There, given you enough reasons to buy this haven't I?
Words: Richard Foster