Thursday, February 18, 2010

V/A - Peeling (Gaarden, 2010)


Dustin Wong - Breezy Comfort








Compilations only interest me if they do 1 or more of the following: A) Introduce me to new bands while incorporating bands I already know and like, B) Have exclusive songs by great bands that I won't find elsewhere, or C) Generally have a cool "mixtape" feeling. GREAT NEWS. Peeling accomplishes all 3 in spades.

Before I go any further, I need to press upon you just how fucking PUMPED I am that there is a new (and exclusive) Et Ret track on this comp. Et Ret was the genius behind the unheard masterwork Gasworks and then he kinda fell off the face of the Earth. Never heard from him again. Apparently he's been hiding in Germany waiting for Gaarden to put out a comp that he could contribute to. His piece "Today's Cake" starts Peeling off with a subdued acoustic guitar with minimal processing and lots of resonance. It's a damn shame that it's not even 3 minutes long. Maybe it's just a diving board for his second album?

Ok, so, here are names you should already know and love on Peeling: Matthew Robert Cooper (aka Eluvium), Jason Urick, and Holy Sons, all of whose songs are fucking fantastic. That should be enough to get you jonesin for the other 10 tracks of magnificence. Like Tests' (don't say that out loud) skittering river of synth static. Or the Lexie Mountain Boys and their basement cult wall of trash can chants. One of my favorite tracks is Dustin Wong's (of Ponytail) "Breezy Comfort" which in two words is able to capture everything perfect about the song, something I probably couldn't do in 20.

The sequencing on Peeling is impeccable, too. Not only does it have ridiculous flow from one song to the next (the first 5 tracks, especially) but the album as a whole retains a general mood of joyful ease even while jumping from genre to genre. The transition of electronics to acoustics and back again is refreshing and seamless.

However, I have one singular problem with Peeling. Electric Kastle's (Martyn Leaper of The Minders) "Jubilee." UGH. It's not that it doesn't fit, because it kinda does, I guess, but I just can't get into it. Guy's voice just gets on my nerves. I think I wouldn't like Electric Kastle in any circumstance, but it makes it all the worse with him popping up in the middle of this otherwise totally fucking awesome compilation. Sorry dude. I bet plenty of people will appreciate "Jubilee." It just won't be me.

As if you needed any other reasons to buy Peeling, the Holy Sons song is only available on the CD version and completely absent from the digital download version (licensing issues or something, don't ask). And the artwork is fucking sweet: 4 color screen printed bi-fold cardstock (find the gnome!) and a letterpressed track listing insert. 150 hand numbered copies britches. ACT FAST.

P.S. I've got two sets of relatives visiting and my birthday on Saturday so things are going to be a little quiet on AGB for about a week or so. Make me proud and learn the words to this while I'm away.

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