The only thing better than discovering great new music is doing it for FREE. San Francisco’s Queer Control Records has released a completely gratis digital 2010 compilation album called Operation Download: Mixin’ It Up. QCR is home of one of last year’s best albums, Pariah Piranha’s People People, and boasts a superlative roster of queer-identified artists who run the gamut from Harlequin Baby’s electro-DIY to the one-man phenomenon known as Ste McCabe. With his close-cropped hair and skinny t-shirts, Manchester’s McCabe is like a gay Ted Leo channeling Pete Shelley circa ’77, and even Boy George can’t stop singing his praises. “Murder Music” will make you laugh and make you think, all the way to your next marriage equality rally.
Pound for pound, I can’t think of another indie label with a more vibrant stable of artists. Pariah Piranha led me to QCR, and the more I listen, the less I can decide who is my new favorite. The Glaswegian lo-fi stomp of charismatic frontwoman Roz Davies and Miss The Occupier? Nancy FullForce, who remind me of Prison Bound-era Social Distortion with more horns and pop sensibility? Shenandoah Davis, who should make any Joanna Newsom fan flip her harp? Luckily we don’t have to choose, because they are all here on Operation Download: Mixin’ It Up. For free.