Various Artists 

Troubleman Mix-Tape (Troubleman Unlimited)

Mix tapes used to rock. They were the ultimate test of whether someone's music collection sucked ass or ruled, all based on the creator's lineup. These days, mix tapes are a lost art, condemned to the few people who actually still have tape recorders, and the things usually end up piled in one's car anyway. Some dude named Mike from indie label Troubleman Unlimited has created the perfect mix "tape," though -- on CD. Troubleman is a two-disc collection of exclusive songs from a killer lineup (that's fifty bands plus some brilliant clips of Miles Davis and Barry White swearing). Mike's got acts on here that'll split your skull open (the Locust, Lightening Bolt, Black Dice) and others that just kinda pad it with cotton (Sea Tiger, Cuttituck Country, the Six Parts Seven). There's no theme to this stuff -- post punk, hardcore, art rock, indie, emo, the hard stuff, the wimpy stuff, the good stuff, and absolute shit, it's all here like some musical tornado that ripped through Aquarius Records and landed on these two CDs. Although this label's out in Jersey, there are a ton of local bands represented (the Fucking Champs, Pink & Brown, Erase Errata), proving we've got some fertile soil for rock in the Bay Area. None of the songs last more than a couple minutes -- but even the fast pace doesn't detract from the fact that this is an excellent overview of the wide variety of DIY noise you can find if you just get off your ass and find it.

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