Various Artists - Songs for Joplin
Record Label: Noise Trade
Release Date: June 6, 2011
Derek Webb, co-founder of the inimitable music store NoiseTrade fashioned this compilation to benefit the small town of Joplin, MO. Of the 18 musicians/bands on this compilation, only two actually have been featured on this site: Andy Zipf and Webb. But it is for that simple fact that Songs for Joplin is so appealing. Of the disc's first half, five bands easily emerge as ones worth watching. Union Tree Review and their song "Let Me Be," evokes shades of the Low Anthem, while Controlled Fire's "Love and Politics," sounds like Stereophonics with horns.
The sweetly affecting "It's You," by Rollover Mariner is modest and understated and allows an organ and a simple narrative to do all the work. The wistful and nuanced "Falling Backwards," from The Blackthorn Project is brassy, infectious and downright captivating. But the biggest splash of all is the radio-ready cut "Home," by Wild Tiger. Sometimes talent just leaps from the speakers. That' the case with this band. Polished, professional and anchored by a strong-lunged vocalist the band possesses melodic flair and a firm trigger on Top 40 pop smarts. Sure it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but at the end of the day, there's no arguing this song could be on VH1 by year's end.
On the disc's second half, the talent level drops considerably for almost a half-dozen tracks with only the slow-moving epic "Join the Club," by Dropkick the Robot offering anything worth coming back to. Thankfully though, the compilation's final four songs are nothing short of stunning. Sara Swenson's "Passing Cars, Passing Time," is lilting, poignant and truly impacting. Matt Hauck's "Drugs Like the Ocean," is arguably the disc's best song, while Andy Zipf's haunting "Like a River," continues to prove that AZ is one of the nation's most underrated musicians. Webb closes it out with "This Too Shall Be Made Right," and as with almost anything he does, he knocks it out of the park.
[fs=Track Listing] 1. Waterdeep - "It's Alright"
2. Union Tree Review "Let Me Be"
3. Controlled Fires "Love and Politics"
4. Sleepy Kitty "Elder Chels"
5. Rollover Mariner "It's You"
6. The Blackthorn Project "Falling Backwards"
7. Wild Tiger "Home"
8. Oil Boom "Bite Your Tongue"
9. Syna So Pro "If You Really Want It"
10. Dropkick the Robot "Join the Club"
11. Nathanael Mehrens "For the Conscious"
12. Ross Christopher "War on War"
13. Beth Bombara "Rainbow"
14. Andrea Marchant "Seattle"
15. Sara Swenson "Passing Cars, Passing Time"
16. Matt Haeck "Drug Like the Ocean"
17. Andy Zipf "Like a River"
18. Derek Webb "This Too Shall Be Made Right"