Much to the dismay of vinyl addicts worldwide, it appears the 7-inch is slowly but surely losing favor to the almighty $5 compilation. It should come as no surprise that even indie labels prefer to promote a product that showcases their entire portfolio of acts, rather than distributing a split single for the two bands who party and gig together the most.
To the extent that a compilation of this nature whets the listener’s appetite and leaves them wanting more, “Playing 4 Square 2” does its job without question. Billed as “A Compilation of Four of the Best Independent Record Labels,” the 24-track disc ploughs through a fairly homogenous mix of tunes from Drive-Thru Records, Fueled By Ramen, Polyvinyl Records and Denver-based Suburban Home Records.
Those familiar with the groups representing the Mile High city will no doubt recognize The Gamits, The Fairlanes and Contender, among others. Also worth noting are the sounds of Home Grown, Finch and Paris, Texas. While most tracks don’t stray far from the pop punk and emo environs, listeners are treated to a few offbeat gems, including RxBandits’ third-wave ska sound, Blueline Medic’s nod to Richard Butler-esque modern rock, and the purist pop vibe of Sunday’s Best.
Highlights include Counterfit’s “This Dance,” Discount’s “Harder to Tell” and Finch’s “Untitled.” Hats off to “four of the best independent record labels” for a solid, end-to-end effort. Sure beats the hell out of the Warped Tour Compilation Du Jour.