Review by Tony Rounce
…The compilation album. What a fabulous concept.
Saves all that mucking around on Spotify (or whichever digital medium you prefer) making playlists. Puts a wealth of music by a host of DIY stars of today and tomorrow at your fingertips at a stroke. Helps you get to know singers and bands that might otherwise have passed you by. An entertainment that also serves as an education.
I love compilations, so I do. For me they are still the best way to digest and appreciate new music. Let’s face it, a compilation is a boon to everyone who doesn’t have time/can’t be bothered to make his or her own playlists, and who simply wants to be served with an instant cross section of what’s currently happening musically. I can’t be the only one to feel this way, as compilations keep cropping up with pleasing regularity. Long may they continue to do so! There are four new examples to put under the musical microscope today, and of course there will be some blowing of LOUD WOMEN’s own trumpet involved. Let us therefore kick off with…
LOUD WOMEN Volume 3
Despite the fact that LOUD WOMEN Fest 5 has had to be delayed and rescheduled (hopefully only) twice due to you-know-what, the exhilarating and inspiring contents of LOUD WOMEN Volume 3 give you a taste of the bands and singers you might well expect to see on stage when it does take place (hopefully) later in 2021. Collectively they show why – as I never tire of saying – we truly are living in a New Golden Age for music, and even if we can’t enjoy it in person at the moment there’s plenty here to keep us excited about the prospect of doing so again, as soon as we can.
LW3 is available both physically and digitally, and for many of the tracks here such as – for example – Brighton bands ARXX and Genn’s melancholic ‘Call Me Crazy’ and coruscating ‘23rd’ respectively, it’s the first time they have appeared physically as opposed to digitally. Both of these fine acts have been championed by LW since they first emerged a few years ago (in Genn’s case, originally as Cryptic Street) and that’s also the case for several other featured LW (and hopefully some of your) favourites like Jelly Cleaver, Bugeye, Lilith Ai, Hagar The Womb, Naz and Ella, Miss Eaves, I Am HER and LibraLibra.
Volume the third also brings you some blimmin’ good up-and-comers that you might not yet have connected with, for one pandemic-related reason or another. The wonderful Hotwax from the south coast, the Empty Page from Manchester and the four pesky kids of London’s adorable Breakup Haircut are all household names in the making as soon as we can all see them live again. All this (and more) and I haven’t even mentioned the altogether splendid Bang Bang Romeo and I, Doris yet. It goes without saying that their tracks are among the highlights in a collection that’s overflowing with such things. (You can slip me that tenner next time I see you, Doris…)
Chucking another entirely appropriate superlative in its direction, LOUD WOMEN Volume 3 is very much your actual essential collection. Whether you want to download it or, like Olivia Newton-John all those years ago, you ‘wanna get physical’, you should definitely make a point of owning it – an opinion that you can take from me is assuredly honest, and without bias.
LW3 is due for release on April 2nd and you will find it, as you can any and all LW goodies, over on LW’s Bandcamp page. It’s also available to pre-order now if you want to get your marker down upfront of release.
21 FOR 21 – Raising Funds for Resonance FM
You’ll have to be a bit quick off the mark if you want to check this one out – and you should – as it’s only available until February 28th. It’s a worthy project to raise much needed funds for quality broadcasters Resonance FM, curated by the stations chief in-house DIY champions Artrocker Radio who, like the station itself, have always been strong on support for the music that comes under the LW umbrella.
Paul Artrocker has put together a 21 track, digital only album that embraces many bands that the show has given exposure to over a period of time. Most of them are still up and comers, although the likes of War On Women, the Lovely Eggs and the wondrous Pet Crow are high profile enough to bring to the table anyone who’s not ready to face a whole trailer load of unknown pleasures. All the bands have donated their music for free, and thus all monies raised from this 84 invigorating minutes of music (apart from Bandcamp’s percentage) will go straight to Resonance FM. You can pay what you like or can afford to download it, and a not unreasonable minimum donation of a fiver is suggested.
You can find out more about it today while you are purchasing it on bandcamp.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Volume 3
The latest offering in Anthrax (UK)’s now established occasional series brings you what their Bandcamp page itself describes as “25 tracks from the abundance of talent that’s out there at the moment”. ‘Abundance’ is the right word too, as there is no overlap of bands and singers between this collection (which like LW3 is available in both physical and downloadable formats) and any of the others under the microscope today. Staggering to think, really, just how much talent there is out there that’s currently grounded due to circumstances beyond anyone but the government’s control. It’s to be hoped that most of it will still be here when the lights go on again all over the world…
Anyway, if you’re familiar with Anthrax UK’s catalogue you will be expecting plenty of noise here and if you are you will not be disappointed’. Time did not permit me to play all the tracks, but all of those I did play obviously employed amps turned up to 11 and were all the better for it. You might spot long time friends of LW T-Bitch and Rabies Babies among those who have contributed, and if I tell you that they are among the more laid back artists included herein it will ready you for the joyful overall noise you can expect from ‘Birds 3’
Heaven only knows what Sharon, Tracey and Dorien would make of it, but you can find out more about it and, should you so desire, buy it on bandcamp.
‘And In the End...’ Help Musicians UK Charity Compilation
‘And in the end’ of this survey of current credible compilations we have another charitable collection, this one assembled and curated by Simon Tucker in order to raise funds for a further highly worthwhile cause in Help Musicians UK. Actually it somewhat undersells this one to call it a mere ‘collection’. For an eight quid outlay at Bandcamp you get a staggering 81 tracks – not all of it by loud or even quiet women, but enough of it to make AITE a worthwhile investment for anyone who’s feeling charitable enough to do so.
Just how fertile the DIY music scene truly is can be seen from the fact that only one of the turns here is also featured on any of the other compilations above, the splendidly named Big Lad. A few of the names will jump out at the LW faithful such as the Feral Five, Blom and our lovely friend Helen McCookerybook but otherwise it’s pretty much a voyage of discovery through uncharted musical waters for most of us, your correspondent included. Most of the audio is not yet available on the album’s Bandcamp page – and won’t be until it’s released on February 26th – but the four tracks that are, are all very good in their individual ways and of the 77 that aren’t, the level of aural anticipation inspired by – for example – Blokeacola, Vinna Bee The Apiary, the Flying Pyjamas, UCNT and the Santa Sprees (who, according to their own Bandcamp page have been ‘advancing the art of unpopular song since 1994’, so where have I been all their lives?) whose title ‘Nothing Says You Care Like Hand Picked Emoji’ immediately elevates it to the level of ‘must hear at all costs’ – is very high indeed.
Judging by a list of titles that includes several with minimal use of vowels, there are some songs here by Welsh or possibly Polish aritsts, or maybe Simon’s fingers just started to ache after typing the 55th entry in the massive list of titles and he missed a few out…joking aside, this marathon undertaking for a marvellous cause is well worth investigating and if you have the funds to spare, it’s an instant all day long playlist , given its inordinately generous running time of just 13 minutes short of SIX hours! Check it out on bandcamp.