May 06, 2005

Various Artists "Homemade Hits, Volume 2"

A couple of years ago, tiny little Kittridge Records released a rather excellet collection of lo-fi bands called Homemade Hits. The only requirement for the artists involved was that their selection had to be recorded at home. Suffice to say, it was jam-packed with all kinds of artists making everything from noise to twee pop to hip-hop to electronica to new wave to stuff that just has no proper name. For a record containing two dozen artists you've never heard of, it was a very strong collection.

It's no surprise, then, that Kittridge decided to release a sequel, and it's no surprise that the sequel is equally as good as volume 2. Overall, the theme is the same, and the genre-switching is the same, though there's not quite as much hip-hop this time around, and once again, there are a lot of side projects going on here, too. (We won't mention who, because discovering who these bands are...well, that's part of the joy of this collection.) With twenty-eight tracks, there's simply no way to possibly cover the entire record, but there are a few high points. Okay, I take that back, there are twenty-eight high points, but I'll just give you the top five, so that you'll have the incentive to actually check this record out.

1. A Boy Named Thor's "Paper Thin Girl." A Boy Named Jason Corace has always made music that's fascinating and enjoyable, and this cute li'l casio new-wave number will make you smile.

2. Scrabbel's cute, heartfelt ukelele and bass-clarinet driven "Melody for Melanie" makes us wish we were Melanie or that we knew a single girl named Melanie, because this song is just so adorable and sweet.

3. Boyracer's "Wholly Generic" is clearly one of Stewart Anderson's best songs, period.

4. The ever-elusive Rocketship's "Rocketship's Got Something" is a great blend of shoegaze and electronica and dance beats and it will make you wish they would do something more substantial.

5. "Let's Just Not Be Friends" by The Hit Machine is a great little song that's about things not working out, and I'm a believer in negative songs like that, especially negative songs that sound so positive and sunny and upbeat.

But I gotta be honest about something...I feel like I've just neglected the twenty-three other artists, and that says a lot about the qualtiy of Homemade Hits Volume 2. Just go get it and enjoy two baker's dozen plus two of some of today's best lo-fi bands, okay?

--Joseph Kyle

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