Vol. 1 (Merge)
by Tim Den
A nice display of what Merge has to offer in the year 2002; mostly singer/songwriter stuff that embraces minimalism over lush instrumentation. From the so-lonely-it-hurts-so-good (Radar Bros., Annie Hayden), to the peculiar (Lambchop, The Gothic Archies) and complete crap (Destroyer), the name of the game here is whispery, willowy acoustic laments (done NC style). Oddities Imperial Teen drop by with a fine number, overrated (but still great live) Spoon represent with a Clash-ish shorty, The Ladybug Transistor offer a (live) ’60s-underground-art-film pop song, and Spaceheads contribute a live drum’n’bass jam session. This kind of stuff might go completely over “the kids'” heads, but it’s perfect for the jaded collegiate fanboy. More: East River Pipe, David Kilgour, Portastatic, Crooked Fingers, Ashley Stove.