January 26, 2006

Various Artists "Otis' Opuses"

You want proof that Kill Rock Stars has quickly become one of America’s premiere independent record labels? That’s not a very hard thing to prove; just take one listen to the label’s new sampler, Otis’ Opuses. Collecting songs from each of the label’s current roster (not including their experimental imprint 5 Rue Christine), this little sampler is jam-packed with some really impressive music. Even more impressive is the fact that this label no longer has an identifiable sound--always a very, very good thing.

You want a little bit of that classic Riot-Grrrl style? Well, check out The Gossip! You like folkier numbers? There’s plenty of folk to be found in the works of Jeff Hanson, Nedelle, and, of course, the indie-rock rock stars The Decemberists. You dig balls-out rock and roll? The Makers and Shoplifting will give you your fill, and check out the literary-minded intelligent new-wave stylings of former one-hit-wonders Harvey Danger. Deeper, introspective rock can be found in the works of Linda Perry, while experimentation can be found coming from the mouths and minds of Wrangler Brutes, Deerhoof, and the pAper chAse. Heck, the label even has some hip-hop courtesy of Gold Chains and euro-pop thanks to Stereo Total.

2005 was a banner year for Kill Rock Stars, and guess what? From the looks of it, 2006 is only going to be better. This little collection is not only proof that this little label is a force to be reckoned with, it’s just a straight-up great record, period.

--Joseph Kyle

Label Website: http://www.killrockstars.com

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