Listen Up: Wednedday, June 13, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Various

Already Gone: A Compilation of Texas Bands (Already Gone Records)

By Matthew Smith

Such a deal. Two measly bucks gets you 21 rock-and-rollin’ cuts by 19 Texas bands, hailing from Denton, Dallas, and Austin. Even the cover — three weird, primitive-art-ish, blue birds wearing halos (or Frisbees?), printed on brown, grocery-bag paper — looks cool. But the main reason to care about this disc is that it overcomes the usual comp jinx of three good tracks surrounded by filler. The bad news? There really isn’t any.

There are a few ordinary cuts and songs that require a few listens to sink in, but they’re still thoroughly enjoyable. (Some songs sound more like raw demos than pristine, finished tracks.) It’s simply amazing that there aren’t any dogs here.

Space prohibits discussing all 19 bands, so I’ll just mention a few of the best. Dallas’ El Gato is relentless exuberance personified; they funnel the Polyphonic Spree and the Beach Boys through the musical prism of a ’60s garage act and a roller-rink organ. Denton’s Faceless Werewolves pound messy lo-fi fuzz. Both of these bands’ tracks are artistically perfect, despite sounding like they may actually have been recorded in a garage and from a microphone far, far away. And Austin’s Spoon shows what all those drab, mid-tempo alternative bands the Edge is so fond of might sound like if they actually had some talent. Their “Lines in the Suit” is pop the way it should be.

Already Gone — as every good comp should — offers musical adventure to be explored. The first listen means loving some cuts while discarding others. Subsequent spins will find you falling for tracks you initially dismissed, leaving you unable, from listen to listen, to settle on a favorite. I have no idea whether the next White Stripes lurks here, but several of these bands seem poised to make some noise. For ordering information visit www.alreadygonerecords.com. The site also contains bio information on the bands and links to individual sites.


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