Various Artists 

Fields And Streams

What do you think of the three words: Kill Rock Stars? Do you picture punks spitting on mainstream, money-mongering rock 'n' roll? Or do you think of dissonance and rebelliousness, art and politics -- an indie rocker's wet dream? The independent label from Olympia has always been known to evoke an opinionated response. The smarty-pants folks at KRS have known where it's at for more than a decade, and now they're giving it all to us in one handy 2 CD package. With 43-plus tracks, the disc includes cuts by long-standing bands (the Bangs, the Butchies, Quasi), upcoming lesser-known acts (Erase Errata, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and a few unexpected appearances (Beehive and the Barracudas, Neko Case, the Mooney Suzuki).

The Quails' "Memo From The Desk Of The Quails" is spastic, jarring punk rock led by excellent strained yelps. "Noon Under The Trees" by the Rock-A-Teens has a bluegrass feel with its liquor-soaked singing, acoustic strums, and sad folk melodies. Gene Defcon's "Caesar's Planet" contributes a fun, Pet Shop Boys-like gay-disco twist with synthesizer and heavy bass, while Mecca Normal's "Blame the Glass Man" is stripped-down, repetitive, and even tribal. Disc Two, "Streams," is designed to showcase emerging female artists. The poppy opener "That Girl" by Tender Trap is jangly and catchy, led by sensual singing. Deerhoof's quirky "Song of Sorn" feels like a stampeding parade with thumping beats and a high-pitched piano that seems to halt completely before the music crashes back in and the march goes on. Two Ton Boa closes the record with "Porcelain Throne" -- a sinister, pulsating track led by grave vocals. Although mostly dominated by punk rock, Fields and Streams delivers the electronic, post-punk, and art-rock offerings with aplomb, and is an excellent KRS primer.


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