Various Artists – Tea For 2000

Various Artists
Tea For 2000

You’ve probably heard a hundred albums off Beggar’s Banquet throughout the years. They’re one of those labels that has a million little offshoots and a hundred different styles of bands, so you can always find one that you like. This Y2K compilation has a good mix of the label’s offerings. Unfortunately, what works so strong for me at the beginning of this comp. – a great mix of indie rock – doesn’t at the end where you get a bunch of sound-alike techno offshoot projects.
Six By Seven starts things off sounding very 80’s anthemic punk-rock with “Slab Square,” a good track that has some high rock qualities but still sounds like it’s been done before. The Llama Farmers’ amazing song, “Yellow” is probably my highlight on this comp., a mellow but lofty indie rock track that’s both beautiful and strong with a wash of feedbacky guitars. You’ve got a great, sultry loungy track from New Wet Kojak, reviewed here recently, and then riotous and unusual “Poodle Rockin'” from Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Groop Dogdrill come on with a power-rock number called “Head of Safety” that is another impressive track I can’t help but like (reminds me of Local H, perhaps). Liberty 37 have a nice, radio-friendly rock track, but Brassy follows it up with another stand-out, the odd, Beckish, quasi-electronic rock song, “Can’t Wait.” Then you’ve got Hefner, who I would like better if his voice didn’t grate on me so much. Bowery Electric turn out a low-dub Beta Band meets Portishead song that has a nice, soft groove to it, another strong track. The Delgados’ “13 Gliding” is a subtle and sweet little pop song that is very endearing.
And that’s the first half, 10 songs. The remainder never quite manage to make much of a ripple as BB gets into their more electronic side of things. Gus Gus’s “Sleepytime” is aptly named, so repetitious and low-key it puts me to sleep. Billy Mahonie, while at least in the progressive, instrumental rock area, don’t sound different to me from the dozens of similar bands. And the DJ Spooky Vs. Scanner song is almost unbearable. A welcome break, Mojave 3 have a sort of alt.country, lo-core track that flows nicely and sincerely. S.O.L.O. is electronic trip-hop, and Sgt. Rock, while not bad, sounds like Fatboy Slim. Stephen Vittiello throws in a terrible track that sounds like it mixes in the sound of a door opening on Star Trek. Michael Sheehy has a kind of 80’s-inspired love song that isn’t bad but is too slow to save these last songs. And Bows’ “Blush” finishes things off, a kind of spacey, Space-like trip-lounge song that is fairly nice but loses way too much stuck here at the end. Honestly, I almost never make it to that track.
Fans of the unique and quirky indie rock and pop will like the first half of this compilation but, like me, probably skip the entire second half, except for the Mojave 3 song. Fans of the more electronic/dub side might enjoy the second half but never make it through the first 10 songs. I suppose this is meant as a true label sampler, with no one completely satisfied but a nice glimpse of everything the label has to offer.