Various Artists – Deep Elm Sampler No. 2

Various Artists
Deep Elm Sampler No. 2

First, a little nostalgia. Way back when DOA was just getting started, the first record label to have faith and start sending releases to this brand new e-zine was Deep Elm. Ok, so it wasn’t that long ago, but Deep Elm had faith and sent in some mighty fine releases. It was already one of my favorite record labels, but the opportunity to hear more convinced me of it. With a line-up almost impeccable and varying in style more than many people think, Deep Elm just continues to pump out album after album of fine material. And there’s plenty more planned, thankfully. Call it emo if you want. I think much of it is. But it’s fine rock with a post-hardcore edge, every album worth listening.
Now on to the label’s second “Records for the Working Class” sampler. It kicks off with a much-anticipated new song from Seven Storey Mountain. I’ve been waiting years for new music from this former Art Monk Construction band, and I’m thrilled that Deep Elm has signed them. “So Soon” is a teaser from their upcoming seven-song EP, and it picks up in the band’s traditional hardcore style, fast and loud with amazing vocals and guitar work that’s amazing. Think a cleaner, less edgy Hot Water Music. Skipping around to new music, Imbroco is a new Deep Elm band with a member of Mineral and contributes a catchy track that really drives, from slow and poppy to fast and edgy. “She’s Sleeping” from Five Eight has a slow, complex melody and vocals that are vaguely Nick Drake-ish. And finally there’s a new, unreleased track from Cross My Heart entitled “Infinity Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” that rocks, alternatingly slow and moody and then faster and intense, proving how mature of a sound this band can make.
The sampler also includes some of the best tracks from already released albums by Appleseed Cast, Camber, Starmarket, Brandtson, Pave the Rocket, Pop Unknown, Planes Mistaken for Stars, and Cross My Heart. The only band on Deep Elm’s roster that I don’t care much for, Muckafurgason, also contributes a faux-Spanish song that’s mildly entertaining.
The only complaint that I, owner of most of the Deep Elm albums, has is that some songs from the label’s first sampler appear again here, such as Brandtson’s amazing “Blind Spot,” and the edgy Camber track “Hollowed-Out,” as well as the now-defunct Triplefastaction’s “Cattlemen Don’t.” But these are excellent tracks from these bands’ albums, and new tracks from the bands are here as well. Looking at this as if I was a first time listener, I could see how this would provide the perfect mix of great songs from some great albums. Of course, if you’re like me and already own these albums, it would be worth getting the sampler just to hear the new Seven Storey Mountain song and the unreleased Cross My Heart track.