Various Artists – Patchwork: A Compilation

Various Artists
Patchwork: A Compilation

A zine making its first entry into the world of record labels, Mere Exposure has put together these 14 previously unreleased songs from bands largely from Chapel Hill and Seattle. There is an interesting blend of brand new bands, bands that have been doing this for ages, as well as bands that no longer exist, and if it weren’t for this compilation, you probably never would have had the chance to here these rarities.
Starting things off is the aggressiveness of “Constant Change” from Bodi-Gram, what was once just a recording project but has developed into a full-on rock band with a huge guitar-based sound. Following up nicely is Kittitas with “Halfway to the Other Side,” giving off a vibe that feels as though it could have come from the Seattle scene everyone loved a few years back. With the pounding drums, crunchy guitars, and raspy vocals at times reminiscent of Greg Dulli, this one is a certain highlight. Offering a nice bit of contrast is the blazing pop-punk of “Autumn” by the Scaries, recently signed to Law of Inertia, making themselves known here with some highly melodic vocals and catchy guitar hooks. “Days Missed Dearly” is one of the last tracks recorded by Seaweed, and it’s followed by former Seaweed singer Aaron Stauffer’s current project Gardener doing “Saddle Ridge,” a more breezy and acoustic-tinged pop song with adorable female backing vocals. And for those of you who thought pop instrumentals were boring, take a listen to Disband‘s “Machine Song.”
Superchunk offers a peppy live version of “Low Branches,” originally released on their album Come Pick Me Up, while the now defunct White Octave dish out “Sorry to Disenchant,” originally recorded as part of the demo that got the band signed to Deep Elm. Dynamite Brothers offer the grittiest, dirtiest rock track of the bunch with “Whatcha Gonna Do?,” shouting about women, forcing you out of your chair to dance, and pummeling guitars without mercy. Sorry About Dresden chime in with “An Unmade Bed,” one of the band’s more mid-tempo numbers, easing you into the slightly more upbeat “Let It Out” from Transportation, a new Southern-tinged rock three-piece that just completed work on a debut full-length. Cold Sides, featuring former White Octave drummer Robert Biggers, contributes a bit of edgy rock with “Product’s Path,” a darkly textured numbered that seems perfect for these wintry days. Youngsters Vroom add “Bored with Overindulgence, Poverty Became Fashionable,” a polished melodic rock number that sounds more sophisticated in terms of production and such than anything else here, which is saying a great deal. And finally, closing things out is the Silent Seas with “Celestial,” a pretty acoustic number that wraps things up quite nicely.