Various Artists: Company Compilations

Really Like It American Song-Poem: The American Song-Poem Anthology--Do You Know the Difference Between Big Wood and Brush? (2003) -- A company puts out ads looking for "song-poems" (better known as lyrics), regular people submit them, musicians put them to song, the writer gets their song on a 45, the musician gets the money, the song goes unnoticed.  But the American Song-Poem guys, fortunately, tracked down many of the best of these songs and put out this anthology.  (There have been previous anthologies, but this is the most widely-distributed yet.)  Most of these are pretty great, including the title song, "Human Breakdown of Absurdity," "Jimmy Carter Says 'Yes,'" "Little Rug Bug," and of course "Blind Man's Penis."  (You can also easily find online some downloadable compilations, such as the "MSR Madness" series.)

Love It American Song-Poem: The American Song-Poem Christmas--Daddy, Is Santa Really Six Foot Four? (2003) -- A really good Christmas collection from the American Song-Poem guys, people who take people's poetry and, for a fee, set them to music.  Fans of Christmas music will be happy to have 21 brand new, never-heard-by-anyone-in-any-version Christmas songs to enjoy.  At first, it seems like something to laugh at, but eventually you realize the songs are quite good and really, really catchy.  This might be my favorite Christmas collection ever.  You'll be humming and singing these as much as "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night" around Christmas if you get this.  All the songs are good, but my favorites are "Santa Came On a Nuclear Missile," "Santa Claus Goes Modern," "Christmas Time Philosophy," "A New Year's Dawning," and "Ole Year Christmas."  When old Christmas traditions have been sucked dry, this will give you some new ones to cling to for years to come.  Seriously.

Indifferent or Mixed Absolutely Kosher Records: Kvelling. (2002) -- Not the greatest thing ever, but it's free.

Really Like It Billboard: Greatest Christmas Hits (1935-1954) (1989) -- If you're interested in classic popular Christmas music, this is maybe the best one thing to have. The collection includes Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," Gene Autry's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song," Spike Jones' "All I Want for Christmas," Gene Autry's "Here Comes Santa Claus," and Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby."

Really Like It Chickfactor: All's Fair in Love and Chickfactor (2002) -- A pretty cool compilation from Chickfactor (the magazine/semi-label), featuring stuff from The Magnetic Fields, Low, Flare, Stuart Moxham, Marine Research, and others.

Really Like It DGC: Rarities Vol. 1 (1994) -- A very good collection of songs by pretty good bands, including Teenage Fanclub, Weezer (the famous "Jamie"), Beck's hilarious "Bogusflow," Sonic Youth, that dog., an actually good song by The Counting Crows, and Sloan among others.

Love It Harriet Records: The Long Secret (1995) -- One of the best label compilations out there from a tiny (now nonexistent) label that got a hold of some good folks, including Vehicle Flips, Twig, The Mountain Goats, Six Cents and Natalie, The Gothic Archies, The Cat's Miaow, Tully Craft, Lotus Eaters, Prickly, and The Magnetic Fields.

Like It It Takes a Village: First-Hand Accounts, Theories, and Their Repercussions (2006) -- A collection of musicians (including my bands The Mnemonic Devices and The Strawberry Explosion) put together by It Takes a Village, though the artists are not necessarily on that label.  Pretty good, underground stuff.

Really Like It Love and Letters Music: Stick It Somewhere (2002) -- Rather than putting out some sort of retrospective (though it would only be for a seven year anniversary), Love and Letters Music puts out a collection of rarities from all of their artists: Rusty Spell, The Mnemonic Devices, Tommy Burton, and The Immaculate Conceptions. Almost every track on this two disc set is interesting in its own way, and the collection works more as a legitimate album than a compilation (a very expansive one, but one which by no means wears you out). Oh, and Rusty Spell has made the very first audio CD commentary track as a bonus!

Really Like It Love and Letters Music: Love and Letters 10 (2005) -- For the ten year anniversary of this label, every artist is represented in this two-disc set that is a perfect intro to the world of Rusty Spell and his musical legacy.  Only the best songs are here.

Really Like It March Records: Pop American Style (1996) -- A good two CD collection of mid-90s indie pop, twee, lo-fi, and bubblegum.  Features Holiday, Sissy Bar, Elf Power, Vehicle Flips, Tully Craft, the Lefties, and many more.

Indifferent or Mixed Matador Records: What's Up Matador (1997) -- Not as good as you might think it would be, especially from a two disc set. But it's almost worth having for its budget price and for all the bands you know and love.

Indifferent or Mixed Matador Records: Matador at 15 (2004) -- A three CD set and a DVD (of music videos) chronicling some of the newer stuff from the past fifteen years.  Most of it is pretty listenable stuff.

Indifferent or Mixed Merge Records: Rows of Teeth (1994) -- Celebrating Merge's five year anniversary, the collection isn't completely solid since I don't enjoy all Merge artists, but the tracks from Lambchop, The Renderers, Bricks, The Magnetic Fields, and Squirrel Nut Zippers make it worth having.

Indifferent or Mixed Merge Records: MRG100 (1997) -- Celebrating the 100th release of Merge, this album is remixes of songs by Mark Robinson. Most are only mildly interesting. Features The Magnetic Fields.

Indifferent or Mixed Merge Records: Oh, Merge (1999) -- The tenth year anniversary disc, another collection where just a tad of the bands and songs are good, in this case East River Pipe, Guv'ner's wonderful cover of "Lucky Ladybug," The Magnetic Fields' priceless Susan Anway version of "Take Ecstasy with Me," Neutral Milk Hotel, and Shark Quest.

Really Like It Merge Records: Survive and Advance Vol. 1 (2002) -- The best Merge compilation so far, with every song being very listenable even for those who aren't exactly familiar with them, the highlights including tracks from Imperial Teen, Radar Bros., Lambchop (one of their prettiest songs, even for them), Crooked Fingers, and The Gothic Archies.

Indifferent or Mixed Merge Records: Survive and Advance Vol. 2 (2003) -- Not quite as good as the first one (you know sequels), but still a good representation of artists putting out stuff on the label at this time.

Indifferent or Mixed Merge Records: Survive and Advance Vol. 3 (2003) -- Another one. All these are worth having as a nice collection and intro to various bands, even if Merge isn't completely consistent.

Indifferent or Mixed Merge Records: Old Enough 2 Know Better--15 Years of Merge Records (2004) -- Worth having for the bands you like. Three discs is a lot to absorb, of course, which is why this collection is both good and bad.

Like It Narada: The Narada Nutcracker (1990) -- A great re-visiting of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, done by new age composers (but not to worry: the Narada team of new age artists are the best of new age, not the crappy kind you often hear).

Really Like It Radiant Radish: Somebody Spiked the Egg Nog (2002) -- One of the Radiant Radish Christmas releases, and a pretty good and funny one. The artists are mostly from the Radiant Radish and 'nikcuS Productions camps, and the rap content is about 50%.

Like It Radiant Radish: I Heard It Was Good! (2003) -- A collection of bands that played with the Radiant Radish crowd.

Love It Red Hot + Bothered: The Indie Rock Guide to Dating (1995) -- One of my personal favorite indie rock compilations, along with Harriet's The Long Secret, this one introduced me to such greats as Built To Spill, Noise Addict, The Folk Implosion, The Sea and Cake, and East River Pipe, not to mention containing great tracks from Freedom Cruise, Lisa Germano, The Verlaines, Heavenly, Future Bible Heroes, and Flying Nuns. Even the not-as-good tracks are pretty good.

Really Like It Sun Records: The Sun Records Collection (1994) -- A really great three CD set that of course is historical, but also just fun to listen to.  Every song is good in a unique way, the famous ones by Elvis, Jerry Lee, Johnny Cash, etc., as well as the lesser-known tracks.

Like It Yo Yo Records: Yo Yo A Go Go '97--Another Live Compilation (1999) -- In a series of Yo Yo a Go Go compilations of what seems to be Calvin Johnson's indie rock friends. Pretty interesting recordings of selections from this live show if you like even a few of these bands.

Copyright (c) Jul 2002 - Feb 2008 by Rusty Likes Music