Various Artists – This Changes Everything – A Second Nature Recordings Sampler

Various Artists
This Changes Everything – A Second Nature Recordings Sampler

Released some time ago with barely a peep (never mind a buzz), the Second Nature Recordings Sampler This Changes Everything may just keep its titled promise. Kid Kilowatt’s opening track alone is reason enough for me to welcome this semi-regional sampler from the Kansas City-based record label. Since Boston’s Cave In released their critically acclaimed Jupiter album, many (including myself) have been waiting long for singer Stephan Brodsky’s Kid Kilowatt side project to release their double LP/CD Guitar Method, which also includes members from Converge and Eulcid. A record that should have been released around the time this sampler came out, if not sooner, “The Scope” from that record and contributed to this sampler should play well to Cave In fans everywhere that jumped on the Jupiter-bound bandwagon.

The already mentioned Eulcid and other Boston notable Isis (having recently played with Shellac and Neurosis at the Beyond the Pale Festival) are also featured on the sampler with their respective and collectible singles. Eulcid contribute the unreleased punk single “Reaction Impulse Theory,” featuring members of New Idea Society. Isis, a band that Second Nature calls “Boston’s answer to doomsday,” contribute the very heavy cut “Red Sea.” Similar to how Cave In use to be, prior to their “Big Riff” and melodic vocal sense, Isis’ heavy indie-metal and vocal delivery is dark and, well, doom-like.

With about as many featured Boston bands, This Changes Everything equally highlights the locally recognized and continuing regional Midwest and West Coast influence on emo-and indie-rock today. The Casket Lottery and Reggie and the Full Effect keep it on the up and up as only those kids from Kansas City can. The Casket Lottery, featuring members of Coalesce, contribute the track “Keep Searching” from their album Moving Mountains: an almost genre-defining song of many bands from that area. From legend and lore (or Heroes & Villains), Reggie and the Full Effect contribute “Thanks for Staying” from the mysterious Promotional Copy and, well … pull together some catchy Moog riffs, poppy guitars, and anthemic verses about your girlfriends and the kids just go god-damn nuts. Preferring to just kick the kids in the nuts with a song from their Functioning On Impatience, Kansas City’s Coalesce drive “Measured in Grey” pounding measures and vocal (again) doom right through the listener. Just down the highway from Second Nature Recordings in Lawrence, Ks. is where you’ll find roster bands The Higher Burning Fire and Kill Creek. Featuring Boys Life drummer and others, The Higher Burning Fire offers up “Aren’t All Parades Free:” an unreleased single that is quietly serene compared to other tracks on this sampler. Kill Creek, from their now available LP Colors of Home, contributed “Hardly Accounted For:” an indie/alt-country number that sounds like it could have been inspired by former St. Louis, MO neighbors Uncle Tupelo.

Seattle, Wash. finds itself home to members of Waxwing, The Blood Brothers, and Shark’s Keep Moving. Like their Boston labelmates, the three bands are connected in one way or another and often share duties in more than one band. Waxwing, a more rocking version of singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato’s solo efforts, contribute “Laboratory” from the Waxwing/The Casket Lottery split 7″: a song that has me strongly anticipating future Second Nature releases from both. The Blood Brothers includes members of Waxwing, Sharks Keep Moving, The Vogue, and Vade, and their song, “Face in the Embryo,” definitely recalls some of what I didn’t like about The Vogue’s bratty, defiant vocals trying a little too hard to capture what only Iggy Pop will ever have. From Desert Strings and Drifters, and also sharing members from The Blood Brothers, Sharks Keep Moving close the compilation with “Try to Sleep:” a relatively pleasant post-rock number that sounds more like Boston’s Helms or Karate than any of their Second Nature label mates.

Outside of these regions, Toronto’s Grade, Minneapolis’ Krakatoa, and D.C. natives Anasarca contribute their own unique singles. With their song “Conceptualizing Theories in Motion,” Grade is equal parts screaming verse, emotionally charged chorus, with awash guitars. Krakatoa’s “Never and Ever,” a combination of fingernails-across-a-chalkboard vocals and extended progressive indie-metal, is a surprising favorite of mine on this sampler considering that I usually can’t stand vocals that are incomprehensible. Anasarca supplies “Eugene Debs” to the mix and represents the D.C. area well and everything good that has come out of it.

With an equally impressive and varied roster, Second Nature Recordings’ This Changes Everything still has as much potential today as it did when it was first released. Don’t believe me? Be the first to e-mail me and I’ll send you a copy, free, and you can decide for yourself!