May 22, 2002

Various Artists "Location Is Everything, Volume One"

Quietly, over the last decade, Jade Tree has become a most distinctive record label, building up a diverse roster of artists from different genres of indie-rock. What makes Jade Tree even better, though, is the fact that it's becoming quite obvious that when you pick up a record with a Jade Tree label, you can pretty much trust that the music's gonna be good. It's rare these days for labels to fire off records with such consistency, but these fellows manage to do so.

For a label who vaguely defined "emo" via one or two of their bands, the label is home to many other bands and artists who not only defy the "emo" tag, but in fact help to free the label from such ridiculous, imposed-by-fools limits. In fact, listening to Location is Everything, Volume One, it's quite clear that anyone who would label Jade Tree an emo label either hasn't paid attention to what the label's done over the past few years or is simply listening with prejudice, if they're even bothering to listen at all. It's a shame, really, because those who turn their noses up to the label on such vain grounds are really missing out on some good music.

Location is Everything, Volume One isn't really a compilation so much as it is a sampler. For the most part, everything on here is previously released, focusing on the "hits" from each record. While there are tinges of "emo" on here, from tracks by The Promise Ring and New End Original, there's also some pretty traditional rock and roll via Jets to Brazil, some lo-fi experimental music from Denali, Euphone, and Owls, some pretty hot punk rock via the Explosion, Strike Anywhere, and Trial by Fire, some electronic punk-funk insanity via Zero Zero, Milemarker and Girls against Boys, as well as some pretty, beautiful, heart-rendering music from Pedro the Lion, Onelinedrawing, and Cub County.

For those who may have many of these releases, there's also a few unreleased tracks. Girls Against Boys offer "Super Slow," which sounds like a variation of New Wet Kojak's "Livin' Too Low." Milemarker offer up a jam-session entitled "New Lexicon." Pedro the Lion do some preaching via "Backwoods Nation." There's a track from Jets to Brazil's demo tape, "I've Got All the Words..." New signees Paint it Black offer up "Another Beautiful 'Fuck You' Song." Mighty Flashlight offer up a track, "Thickened Light." The final song is from former Jade Tree superstars the Promise Ring, entitled "Easy," from sessions from their last Jade Tree album, Very Emergency. Emo? Nope. It's kind of countryish and it really really reminds me of the Old 97s.

It's summertime, and it's time for good rock and roll. Location is Everything, Volume One is certainly a record that's made for playing in the car stereo on those road trips to livejournal and Make-Out Club parties. So shut up with your preconceived notions of this very fine record label, why don't you?

--Joseph Kyle

No comments: