November 22, 2003

Various Artists "Greater Southbridge Soundtrack:"

Now this is odd...this is the soundtrack to Greater Southbridge, a documentary film about the town of Southbridge, Massachusettes, yet almost all of the bands on the record are from Texas--Austin, specifically. It seems a bit of an odd way to go about things, for sure. The film itself looks quite interesting; it's about a small town and all of the unique personalities that live in the town. Though I haven't seen the film, it sounds as if it has a weird kind of Slacker vibe to it. You can get a hint of what it's like by listening to the soundtrack; each song on the album is prefaced by a clip of conversation; some of them are funny, some of them aren't.

As for the soundtrack, it almost serves as a greatest hits sampler of the Austin indie scene. There are some well-known names on here (American Analog Set, Spoon, Drums & Tuba), and there are more than a few unknown acts on here as well. Some of them--like Tiara and Centro-matic's Will Johnson--aren't from Austin, and some of them are local bands who moved away. Many of these songs are previously released as album tracks or B-sides, too, but there's a few unreleased tracks I believe, such as Drums & Tuba's "Dr Small." There's not a lot of information on the bands, too, which is a bit annoying because some of the unknown acts--like Sin Pelo, My Brother Zebulon and Dan Cray (who, erm, sounds just like Britt Daniel) are excellent. Overall, the bands are mellowed-out indie rock, nothing too loud, nothing too raucious; they all have a lo-fi/stoned folk sound in common, too.

This is an interesting record, though if you're from Austin, you might have a number of these songs already. Still, I have to admit I've enjoyed the Greater Southbridge soundtrack, even if it is a bit confusing as to why Austin bands were chosen for the soundtrack, but that's no biggie. If you like indie-rock, you're sure to find some good stuff on here, and though many of the current cream-of-the-crop Austin indierock bands aren't included, there's still plenty of music on here for you to enjoy.

--Joseph Kyle

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