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May 7, 2004

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It's not often that a record label's CD sampler is worthy of a review, let alone listening to. For example, does anyone remember EVR's "50th release?" exactly. Or Victory Style 1 through 1000 (although i must admit, #1 wasn't bad). It's usually quite rare when a label's entire band roster is either similar enough or good enough to actually enjoy most, if not all, songs on the CD. More recently, there was the 50 band CDs that were free featuring 3 labels (like the deathwish/bridge9/thorp sampler from 2002) but usually that would mean skipping through most of the terrible songs too.
That being said, I can honestly say that this sampler does a pretty damn good job of not only covering all their bases (meaning ensuring a wide sample of bands are selected) but actually having good songs on here. You've got everything from your punk/hardcore side (Kid Dynamite is on it, along with Paint It Black and From Ashes Rise) to the more mellow indie style (Ester Drang, Denali, Mile Marker) and some in between stuff. I guess this album would be considered to be comprised by the "typical" Jade Tree type of music, which I don't even like all that much, but i think it's the combination of songs and bands that keep changing that keeps me interested. Not being familiar with all these bands, I could see myself expressing interest in a few in particular after listening to this sampler.

With most samplers, there also lies the problem that you don't really know which band is which, and sometimes get an unfair exposure to them, due to the surrounding tracks, and who knows who really chose the tracks. It seems like you have to have prior knowledge to almost all these bands to know about them, and if that was case, you'd have no use listening to the CD anyway. This CD is no exception to this rule- especially because it's rather long- and I lose track what song i'm on, and usually have no idea what band is playing, unless I follow the track listing. This isn't necessarily a fault of the CD, but rather an obersvation of CD samplers in general.

Another unique aspect of the sampler is that it has a few bonus live/demo tracks at the end- something which many label samplers don't have. Usually it's just the studio version of tracks, which really makes buying sampler CDs a bad idea for people who have most of these full lengths. But i think with the inclusion of the bonus tracks, it might entice more listeners into purchasing the CD, especially if they're into the bands featured on the bonus (From Ashes Rise, Cex, Pedro The Lion, Paint It Black, Statistics, OneLineDrawing). As far as samplers go, this is pretty top notch and covers a lot of ground. Sure to please most-to-all listeners!