erasing clouds

Little Darla Has a Treat for You v. 24 Summer 2006

reviewed by dave heaton

Indie-label compilations aren't generally the hottest, most-talked-about albums of the season. But this one deserves to be.

Darla Records' seasonal Little Darla Has a Treat for You compilations are always worthwhile, pulling together an a eclectic array of modern pop sounds from Darla and other independent labels. This time around, though, it's a 2-disc set, with 36 tracks, and 34 of them are exclusive to this release (the other two are from albums reissued by LTM). That's remarkable in itself, but only a selling point because the quality of the music here is so high. These aren't throwaway tracks and they aren't run-of-the-mill bands or trend-followers. Instead it's a treasure trove of fresh pop music.

Sleek electronic pop, expansive dream-like soundscapes, spunky melodic songs…the compilation travels across stylistic worlds, yet it's all sequenced impeccably, like your favorite well-worn mix tape.

There's too much here to summarize very well, too many true gems to even begin to list them. But I'll give a brief run-through anyway. I can't stop listening to Voxtrot's sparkling ballad "Warmest Part of the Winter," another reason why they're one of the most exciting new American bands. Sprites' "George Romero" is catchy as hell, plus a cute run-through of zombie-movie references. Aakrtica's compilation-opening instrumental "Summer Tunneling" is quite enticing, as is the ambient track from Manual that closes the first disc. Alsace is back with an excellent pop song. Mahogany offers a really beautiful song that has me looking even more forward to their upcoming new album. And there's so much more here – from Fax, Robin Guthrie, Saloon, Melodium, Yellow6, New Radiant Storm King, The Kallikak Family, and many more. Pulling out a few highlights seems completely unfair to the rest, though. Please don't take those 'highlights' as all that's significant on the CDs, because it's all significant.


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