Various Artists - Topshelf Records 2008 North East Sampler
Record Label: Topshelf Records
Release Date: June 20, 2008
Is anyone else absolutely fatigued from compilation records in this decade? We have the constant deteriorating value of the Punk Goes... series, the Now That’s What We Call Music garbage, and the constant recollections of older artists that are strung together in a nice cohesive package. These have all worn on us as money grabbing methods transformed into weak packages or collections of artists that sit on Wal-Mart shelves for months at a time.
There are a few exceptions to this constant wear and tear on the idea of Various Artist CDs, and label promotional discs are the most welcome exception of all. Typically used to simply provide samples of their artists at a cheap price, Topshelf Records has chosen to use their Northeast sampler for something of a service to artists that they believe deserve the spotlight to show off their talents in a provided track for the label. This is a not only a great thing to do, but it provides extra variety for what could be a very tedious listen if the label itself contains all similar sounding artists.
Lucky for us, that's not an issue either. Right off the bat the 2008 Northeast Sampler features several diverse tracks that are provided by Topshelf artists. Beginning with the atmospheric "We Found a Home", Feels Like July is presented well and proper with goose bump-inducing vocals and clashing drums that will in any case, keep the rapt attention of the casual listener. Along with Baker, Us Against The Archers, and Aeroplane, 1929 Topshelf represents its roster pretty well. Those looking for a little on the rough side will find plenty to enjoy in Defeater’s "Blessed Burden" and Crime in Stereo's brilliantly crafted "Small Skeletal". It's good to see the balance between acts like Have Heart’s harsh and unrelenting vocals to the inclusion of poppy acts like Valencia’s sing-along of "The Space Between" and the charming vocals of The Minus Scale’s “Hearts and Arrows” come together into a package that aims to please everyone.
Including peaceful acoustic tracks such as Aloha's "Body Buzz" and the foot-tapping goodness of Baker's feel good track "Gotta Get Out Of This City" gives the album a relaxing break from some of the aforementioned hardcore tracks. It ensures everyone's having at least a taste of what they enjoy out of this and it’s a commendable effort when compared to something like the streaming pile of stereotypical mess the latest Warped Tour CD series has been offering the past few years.
In short, the Topshelf Records 2008 Northeast Sampler does exactly what every sampler should do. It gives you a generous selection from twenty songs, a good opportunity for other bands to get promotion, and leaves you really craving to hear more from the artists that appealed to you. The Topshelf Records 2008 Northeast Sampler may be a little aged by this review, but it is still every bit as appealing and each band featured is worth your attention.
Was doing it for one of the ap.net lists and it kind of got pushed back with a load of school work and other CDs I reviewed so I was sort of delayed in writing it. Bad move on my part, but it's still a good sampler.