Various Artists: Tiny Idols, Volume 2

Various Artists
Tiny Idols, Volume 2
Snowglobe Records

Kudos to whoever picked the interstellar artwork for Tiny Idols, Volume 2 — the indie-pop gems collected here, from 1995-2000, sound light years removed from the lunkheaded rap-metal and dour post-grunge that dominated the airwaves at the end of the 20th century. Like its predecessor, Tiny Idols, Volume 2 is full of bright pop made by coulda-beens and never-weres, college-aged guys and gals with the pop know-how, who, in a perfect world, would’ve broken bigger than college radio. There’s nothing but gems here, from the psychedelic boy/girl vox of Sugarboom (“Rock Star”) to John T. Baker’s Beach-Boys-as-hometapers “My Pet Smiles” and 18 other utterly charming tunes. As well, the liner notes, by series curator Mark Griffey, are a labor of love, though it becomes sad to read stories over and over of bands forced to break up when their big break never arrived. These bands may be long gone, but they’re not forgotten. Volume 3 can’t come soon enough.

RATING 8 / 10
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