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Various Artists

Shifted Sounds Volume 1

(self released; US: 2007; UK: Available as import)

Shifted Sound, a weekly podcast show out of Dallas, Texas, is a kind of one-man rail against mainstream radio. A noble quest, you say, and true. But the proof, of course, is in the songs themselves, of which this compilation shows us a representative sample. In the main, this means acoustic or indie pop, full of acoustic guitars and tenor melodics. Somehow the curator of the podcast, Shelby Miller, has corralled a bunch of remarkably similar-sounding artists from places as diverse as Winnipieg and Denmark; and this does a disservice to each band, in that we don’t really have enough means of differentiation. The easy melody of Huma’s “Given the Reasons” blends into Wolfy’s Coldplay imitation and Wintergreen’s Shins imitation. Still, a few tracks stand out: Judah Johnson’s beautiful, static pop song “Loop Hymn”; Pela’s American rock anthem “Lost to the Lonesome”; and Arizona’s sweet “Some Kind of Chill”. Best of all is Brooklyn’s Dirty on Purpose, whose additional hint of post-punk echo is a welcome departure from the same old pop timbre. There’s nothing wrong with most of these songs; unfortunately not enough of them really grab the listener to make this a must-hear compilation.

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Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


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