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Various Artists – The Sensitive Guy’s Guide to Groovy Music – Paisley Pop

Sensitive Guy's Guide to Groovy Music

With perhaps the exception of the Now That’s What I Call Music series of ‘various artists’ (V/A) compilations, you don’t usually see a lot of V/A material topping the charts. The latest offering from Paisley Pop entitled The Sensitive Guy’s Guide to Groovy Music probably won’t be topping the charts any time soon. Chart ratings aren’t everything, though; if you weren’t fortunate enough to find a copy of Matthew Sweet’s latest release–technically only released in Japan–you are bound to find something here to ease your pain.

The disc kicks-off with Jamie Hoover and Bill Lloyd, which virtually sums-up the theme and mood for the entire disc; a homage to tried and true chord progressions that often pre date their executors. TSGGGM is a complete return to the post-punk movement in America that spawned the likes of Big Star, Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub and Joe Jackson. Virtually none of the songs are over three minutes, and each piece evokes the carefree mood of an indie-rock sock-hop. Each track wafts through your speakers from a middle America of the past, complete with neon signs on diners, songs about girls who give it away too soon, and roller-skate service; certainly not what one would expect from the hipster capital of the world. (Come on, everyone knows at least two people that have moved to Portland, or are moving there soon.)

The music certainly comes from a time of musical innovation, but hardly any of the artists here are breaking any sonic ground. Their collective commitment to capturing the post-punk sound often reduces most of the artists on TSGGTGM to slavish imitators. Despite this, there are certainly some diamonds to be found.

Of particular interest is a track by the band Trolleyvox, who puts a nice over-driven twist on things. The track by Brown Mountain Lights could very well fool you as an early R.E.M. song, while Huw Gower’s offering partakes in a pseudo-ethnic rhythm. Probably the most unique track on the record was the psychedelic offering from Stephen Lawrenson entitled “Town.” There’s plenty of White-Album-era force backed by an ominous wall of sound to kick that track over the top of the rest of the compilation.

If you’re into the jangle-pop thing, you really can’t go wrong with this compilation–it’s hard to say no to a suggested retail price of $3.99. You will at least find something here to tide you over until you locate your Elvis Costello recordings.


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