Various Artists: OIM Volume 1

Oakland Indie Mayhem's first compilation.
Various Artists
OIM Volume 1

This album is a showcase for 13 Bay Area bands who share geography rather than style. Produced by Jeff Salzmann (Killers), there’s a diverse range of approaches and textures employed, whether it be Waterstrider’s subtle blend of funk, reggae and electronic (“Frayed”), Nyx — singer and multi-instrumentalist Angelica Tavella — introducing Fleetwood Mac to Cabaret Voltaire (“Parade”), or the guitar and drum attack of B. Hamilton on “Fight Everything,” which successfully unlocks the secret of the Black Keys’ blues, rock and psych alchemy. Other outstanding tracks come from Lila Rose (“All In”), her voice strong but accompanied by an electric edge of disquiet; Jennifer Johns (“Black Gold”), compulsive rhythms overlaid by scrambled, echoed vocals to create a sort of psych-soul-reggae; and El Elle’s “Whore”, a chillily synth-swept song as stark as its title. There’s an ocean of music inundating us nowadays, so OIM have performed a real service by bringing some potential pearls to the surface. Take a dip.

RATING 7 / 10