Various Artists – Mr. Hyde Records
Hyde Park No. 5 (2005, Mr. Hyde Records)
Mr. Hyde Records has spent the last 5 years chronicling the local Chicago scene, more specifically the Hyde Park area. This compilation being their 5th installment (duh) in a series of cd-r releases with crafty artwork. I will take the easy, yet wordy way out of this one. Please forgive me but it seems the most appropriate manner in which to describe the wide variety of sounds found within.
1. The Goddamn Shame – a nice mix of new-wave and gaze, like a fuller sounding Chameleons with organ splashes. I like.
2. The Passerines – smooth indie pop with female vocals, comes equipped with a shuffling beat and horn section, would fit nicely on the Matinee or Magic Marker rosters. Mm mm good.
3. First Coat – a warm fragile ballad in the key of Jackson Browne, pleasant guitar tone (and nice feedback midway through)
4. P1xel and The Chronic Network – song structures remind me a lot of Jellyfish, now add a bit of glam = pretty fabulous
5. Starlister – hands down the best track on the comp, has a splendid dreamgazer feel to it with its occasional wall-of-sound guitars and sweet vocal melody/harmonies. Most impressive.
6. Chokejackers – rowdy art punk noise, not unlike Erase Errata or Cato Salsa Experience, features hot shit guitar riffs. Ace.
7. Zinc Fingers and The Major Groove – oh damn, this reminds me of the overly humorous side of Del tha Funky Homosapien or um, MC 900 Ft. Jesus (remember him?), basic old-school delivery & rhymes overtop Latin flavored beats and samples. A bit out of place but slightly entertaining nonetheless.
8. Health and Beauty – mid-tempo slowcore, vocalist reminds me a ton of the fella from Summer At Shatter Creek (compliment of the highest order in this household), equal parts Low and Seam. Yep, good.
9. Becky Stark – affecting and rustic vocals, uplifting cello and winds. Recipe for success.
10. Millimeters Mercury – reminds me a lot of 90’s semi-indie rock band Dada especially in the guitar, vocals seem a little bit forced but it’s a small beef as it plays to the tune of the music. I can dig it.
11. Nora Wake – ethereal Radiohead-esque rock with lots of squealing guitar
12. Plastic Faces – a bouncy Femmes-inine rock number with strings
13. Lixian Hantover – sweet little folky number, Lixian reminds me a whole lot of Julie Doiron, gorgeous vocals and sparse guitar accompaniment
14. Wummin – a dark, dreamy Gothic offering, with haunting cello and affecting vocals, a most interesting Projekt. More, please.
15. Sallah – metal has not been a forte of mine but I am going to guess from what little I have heard in the past 5 years this would qualify as death or black metal. Mean riffage, speed guitar heroics and throaty vocals, not unlike Cradle Of Filth. I could be wrong. Good for what it is I imagine but not my cup of tea anymore.
16. Dead Superheroes – the vocals annoyed me on this one, over-the-top is an understatement, but the cello and violin interplay was swell
17. Animate – this had an emocore feel to it, vocals were kind of flat and the production suffered, had potential but unfulfilling in its current state
18. Silver Springs – bare-bones acoustic number with cracked heart-on-sleeve vocals and lyrics
19. Bitter Tea For Breakfast – a pleasant, mostly acoustic ditty that builds up a bit of steam towards the end, would fit nicely between your Red House Painters and Galaxie 500 albums. Righteous.
As far as compilations go this is top-notch. Usually the sole purpose of a comp is to share a variety of goods with a seemingly unknowing audience. This made me want to seek out more output from at least 60% of the bands and I can’t say that happens frequently. A shining example of the amount of unheard talent out there right now that most will never hear. I see absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t haul ass over to the Mr. Hyde website and grab yourself a copy for a mere $5. And oh, lest I forget, the comp comes packaged in a nifty hand-numbered paper foldout with various cohorts fingerprints smudged all over it. I wonder if I checked them against the indie rock criminal database would I find past charges of awesomeness? Great job!