Various Artists – Sell Out with the In Crowd

Various Artists
Sell Out with the In Crowd

Pinch Hit says that they are attempting to keep their finger on the pulse of the underground music scene in cities throughout the country. With the number of bands out there, that’s quite a daunting task. This compilation alone has only 12 bands from the San Francisco area, and you know there’s got to be at least a few hundred. But then, as with any compilation, it really comes down to what bands the label likes when they put this project together. Does it represent the underground of San Francisco? Doubtful, but it does highlight a dozen bands I had never heard of before, many of which are definitely worth finding out more.

And so we start with the Hairdressers playing some Matchbox 20 style rock, complete with those slightly drawly vocals. Vegas DeMilo’s “Radio” is one of my favorite tracks here. With the 80’s style keyboards and an up-beat poppy beat, it reminds me a little bit of Fig Dish and a little bit of a male Suddenly, Tammy! Adam Elk’s “Maybe You Faked It” is somewhat schizophrenic, at times reminding me of Jeff Buckley style pop and at others having a more gritty rock feel. And The Brodys somehow reminds me of what the Beach Boys would sound like if they went more punk, and it oddly works.

The Fingers’ “I Can See You Clearly” reminds me somewhat of XTC-style pop-rock perhaps with the Ben Folds Five singer. Very cool song. Red Planet have a very loud rock sound with just a slight poppy influence and a lot of bass, kinda similar to the New Radicals style of music. There’s a lot of piano and bluesy style guitar on the slightly bluesy rock of Applesaucer’s “Bar.” I really like Glitter Mini 9’s “Ronnie’s Racing School.” It reminds me of some of the female-fronted pop-rock bands from the mid-90’s, like a gentler Veruca Salt perhaps.

Ultra Velvet doesn’t especially thrill me with the tambourine-flavored rock song, “The Breakup Song.” Petrol’s “Canvas Tongue” grew on me with repeated listens. What started off sounding slightly western bar rock-ish now sounds a bit more inspired, and the use of some killer guitar licks and female backing vocals is a nice touch. Them There have another stellar track. It starts off totally reminding me of old Sugar but ends up with a more poppy rock feel that’s quite cool. And Munkafust finish things up slightly soulful, slightly funky, slightly rocking for an interesting and often pretty hodge-podge of influences.

Trying to sum up the underground scene of a city the size of San Francisco is damn near impossible, but suffice it to say there are 12 new bands on this compilation that you likely haven’t heard of, and many of them – namely Vegas DeMilo, The Fingers, Glitter Mini 9, and Them There – you should. Pinch Hit hopes to continue nailing the underground scenes of cities throughout the country, and I’m sure they’re looking for help.