Various Artists – Flag: A Hush Records Compilation

Various Artists
Flag: A Hush Records Compilation

“There is no revolution here. Just something that has been going on for a while quietly.” Those are fitting words to adorn the back of this compilation CD, and Hush is a fitting label name to represent these artists. Because this music is hushed, soft, contemplative, and entirely non-offensive. And I believe that’s the goal, to create just pretty, primarily acoustic but not folk, soft pop songs.

Kaitlyn ni Donovan starts things off with “Yves Montand,” a soft track with a bit of a Spanish or Latin American feel behind the soft acoustic guitar and the beat. Donovan’s soft voice could accompany mall muzak without you ever noticing, not to say it’s bad, but just that it’s so subtle and soft. She picks things up a bit with “2000,” sounding like some of the sweet, soft 10,000 Maniacs songs, her voice remarkably similar to Natalie Merchant.

I swear Hush label head Chad Crouch sounds like what Joan of Arc’s music would sound like if it wasn’t so experimental and if Kinsella could sing. His music is soft but bouncy, a bit more upbeat that the rest, and his vocals are mixed far to the front, and you can hear all the acoustic guitar slides. “Devotion” is especially pretty with especially nice vocals. These two songs are my favorite here and probably the most accessible to the indie rock kids.

Amy Annelle sounds a bit Sarah McLaughlin-y. Her two songs here are almost lullabies, her voice so soft, the music so softly flowing. Paul Hixon Pittman has a few Neil Young-style songs that are heavier on the drums and have just hints of a country-ish flare. These songs are a nice change-up, a little more loud and lively, especially “Honey,” although “Accordion” has a nice, down-home rhythm and feel to it.

Corrina Repp sounds very adult contemporary, until she sings, “I should have told you to fuck off,” which tends to bring you back to what you’re listening to. Kind of Like Spitting, the one band I’ve heard of on here before, have two very nice, Idaho- or Low-like low-core songs, with some male and female vocals and soft acoustic guitar. These are very nice songs, although the singing is off-key on “Trials of the Spiky Belt Collective.”

I like Kim Norlen’s voice, sounding somewhere between Kristen Hersh and the singer for the Cranberries. Her songs are a bit more up-beat, and the use of strings and keyboards is a nice touch. Then Jeff London comes off much more folk, focusing almost entirely on the acoustic guitar and folk-singer vocals. And Reclinerland finishes things up with two songs, both which have some nice depth and nice vocals, and the electric guitars finally get turned on for “Miss Haze,” although “So It Goes” ends things folked out completely.

Maybe you won’t buy anything from Hush Records if I tell you your parents would probably like these songs. But that’s ok, because you’re old enough to accept your parents’ taste, right? These songs are good, but taken together, it’s a bit too much for me. I find myself getting easily distracted or falling asleep. Best taken in small doses and not with alcohol.