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Various Artists

Free Yr Radio

(US: 20 Oct 2007; UK: Unavailable)

Designed, as press material states, to be a “boost to non-commercial” radio stations, Free Yr Radio is the product of a joint effort between Toyota and Urban Outfitters, the profits of which are to be divided between a dozen or so independent broadcast outfits across the country. With its declared goal at the forefront, the project is free from the usual slick and trendy compiling that cross-promotional efforts usually see. The 14-track disc is a mix of “live music, b-side tracks and previously unreleased material from the campaign’s participating bands.” The album’s strongest cuts come from artists like Voxtrot (with the effervescent and soulful “Stephen”), the Long Winters (the Beatle-esque “Commander Thinks Aloud”), Rogue Wave (with the strong, atmospheric “Publish My Love”), and Annuals (who provide possibly the most innovative and fresh approach to the old spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” in recent memory). Free Yr Radio also features cuts from such notables as Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Klaxons, and Tapes ‘N Tapes. With the exception of a weak track or two, the collection is of consistent quality throughout and does a nice job of showcasing the types of artists that can flourish on independent radio.

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