Various Artists – Deep Elm Sampler No. 4: Hearts Bleed Blue

Various Artists
Deep Elm Sampler No. 4: Hearts Bleed Blue

Sampler albums are tough to review, since you’re seldom going to find anything new or rare on the release that makes it essential. Basically, the purpose of a sampler is to introduce someone new to the label to the many bands the label has to offer. A good sampler should feature new songs plus a few back-catalog goodies, and Deep Elm has always maintained that ratio quite well.
The highlights of this release are a couple tracks from albums not yet released by the label. Desert City Soundtrack features ex-members of Edaline, one of the most tragically overlooked emo bands I can think of, and their song, “What to Do in Case of Fire,” is fantastic – tight, powerful, and featuring some stellar piano work. “E to W,” a new Appleseed Cast song – to be released on Lost Songs, which bridges the gap between their stellar releases Mare Vitalis and Low Level Owl – shows the band a tad more rocking than their recent releases yet just as tight and quite melodic. Settlefish‘s “Breeze” is another strong track, long and intricate, at times harsh, at others melodic. And Drive Til Morning‘s “Palm Trees Sway” brings to mind the classic days of emo in the mid- to late-90s.
The label picked out some strong tracks to feature. There’s songs from recently released albums from Red Animal War, Benton Falls, Lewis, Slowride, Camber, David Singer, This Beautiful Mess, and Logh. The label does go to the well a few too many times, featuring songs from Brandtson and Planes Mistaken for Stars from the same albums that were featured on their other samplers, and in truth the Planes album is quite old now.
In short, this compilation will accomplish its goal. Any fan who gets this one cheap will find some amazing bands that will send them, drooling, to order more albums from everyone’s famous emo-rock label. If you’re a Deep Elm fan in long standing, however, this is really just a friendly reminder of your favorite albums, a tease of a few new tracks, and – most importantly – a fine mix CD. There’s 19 songs here, and for the price, you can’t go wrong.