Review: Various Artists – “The Co-Op Communique, Vol. 4”

The new entry in Introverse Media’s Co-Op Communique series – titled, appropriately, The Co-Op Communique Vol. 4 and available Friday on Bandcamp – goes to great lengths to champion independent artists, and, above all, is nothing if not exhaustive. In a time as saturated with media and background noise as ours, that’s appropriate – and appreciated.

At 57 tracks, this free download – yeah, you heard me: FREE DOWNLOAD! – is a thorough examination of the state of indie-pop and rock in the year of our Lord 2018. There’s quiet songs, there’s loud songs, there’s everything in between. But, at 57 tracks, what are the highlights, the must-listens?

Well, it goes without saying that someone should throw Introverse mastermind and Communique organizer Dw. Dunphy a parade for scoring the elusive Pinetop Seven, which offers up its must-hear staple “Drying Out,” and, for the Wenzel-hunters among us, Wicked Immigrant and its excellent “Veranda Myth.” That’s reason enough to tune in, and then some.

But, true to the spirit of the series, there are plenty of unknown or largely unheralded artists to discover, too.

The Forty Nineteens score big with the drowsy pop-rock of “Purple Microdot” – think the Heartbreakers on methadone. Spiderfence offers a similar kind of sonic graininess on the excellent “Fly Today,” a kind of Buffalo Tom-ism that you don’t hear that often. Like your guitar-pop bright and bubbly? There’s And How’s “Like Melody.” Feeling down? Cry along with the make-Jolie-Holland-blush blues of Amy Petty’s incredible “A Promise’s Demise.” Want something a little more dramatic? There’s the epic, Queen-ish “Labyrinth” by Thomas Konder.

What’s impressive is that, for a compilation this lengthy, there are few, if any, lulls. There are A LOT of really good goddamned songs here.  By the time you hit late entries like The Hospital At Midnight’s “Danielle” or The Well Wishers’ grungy, catchy-as-hell anthem “Is It Me? Is It You?” you still want more. Dunphy, for sure, can write the script: onward to five, gentlemen. – Justin Vellucci, Swordfish, May 31, 2018

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