VARIOUS ARTISTS – Sector Five Records Compilation 2006
(2006 Sector Five Records)
Sector Five Records has always been the home of some of Madison’s loudest rock and punk bands. You know, the kind of bands that keep their chorus-verse-chorus songs under three minutes. So perhaps the biggest surprise about their ’06 compilation is the presence of two monolithic instrumental tracks. The first, “Floating Holiday” by This House is a Castle, tops six minutes with pretty piano and drums leading the way. The second, “Alya” by similar thinkers Wood and Wires, goes them a minute better while also leaning heavily on the percussion. Even the Bracelets get into the wordless act, though their selection “Future Be Mine” stops at a relatively brief two minutes of brushed drums, acoustic guitar and crystal-clear glockenspiel. It’s lovely, but much of the Bracelets’ charm lies in their quirky lyrics and Ian Purvis’s offbeat delivery. It also does little to satisfy those of us anxiously awaiting a follow-up to their terrific self-titled EP from last year. Wait, there’s more. Proggers Czarbles contribute their instrumental “Impossum Flight.”
Don’t worry, there’s still plenty here for those about to rock. Sector Five vets the Hat Party offer “Neo Geo,” a sparkly blast of keys and guitar with moments of angst (“Tell me things I never wanted know”) that exist somewhere between Interpol and Spoon. The Cummies clock in under two minutes with their screamer “Automatic Honey,” while Colony of Watts and their “Tin Hat, Tin Blouse” certainly pound harder than any song with the word “blouse” in the title should. And I’m not sure what exactly the Suit are talking about with their song’s sole intelligible line, “Come to the bathroom” (repeatedly shouted in “Kate Moss (Goin’ Christian).” I’m not sure I want to know.
The disc closes with the two strongest offerings. The final track, and the only one previously released, comes from Driftless Pony Club’s excellent Cholera (which I drooled all over last month, calling it “quite simply awesome”). Standout track “Mountains and Ruins” has lost none of its power over me. The jittery drums and charmed guitars lighten lyrics like, “If every single person died today / What would they leave behind to say?” and even make the insistence of “la dee dah dee dah dee dah dah dah” sound smart. Penultimate track “Cold April Blossoms” is another of Dietrich Gosser’s staggeringly beautiful compositions. A hushed waltz that also features Zach Parker on guitar and backing vocals, it’s a heartbreaker.
Even though this is only Sector Five’s not-at-all-unlucky thirteenth release, with its all-over-the-musical-map content they show a commitment to increasing the variety of their stable of artists. Good for them.