[CD Review] Various Artists, 'Free Yr Radio' (insound.com)

Unbeknownst to the masses who actually think Jack FM is eclectic, there are radio stations out there not beholden to the concert-promoting monopolies and promotional payola that keep KROQ so dull and bands with talent far away—on the independent stations. These are the stations where next year’s fads are born for those who haven’t hooked up speakers to their computer yet. Those stations (such as our own KUCI) will share in the profits of this compilation; but while they enjoy artistic freedom, they struggle to come up with the funds to keep their miniscule part of the airwaves.

Enter unlikely saviors Toyota and Urban Outfitters, co-sponsors of this bargain-priced download meant to keep indie radio from the same fate as Indie 103.1 (which, despite its name, was corporate-owned). The Free Yr Radio compilation is that perfect combination of giving and getting. You pay 99 cents at www.insound.com/fyr, leave a “tip” that supports independent stations around the country, and get a variety of music that is great in its range and substance.

About half the tracks are live versions of previously released songs (dig it, fans of Mudhoney and the Walkmen), but what makes this compilation so novel is that it actually does what indie radio should: expose you to new artists. Brooklyn bands get the first three tracks, with jittery disco revivalists !!! starting things off with the lusty groove of “Must Be the Moon” live from Seattle’s KEXP station studios, Chairlift bringing a quiet loungy cool they promptly crash into with gleeful keyboard electrical parades, and Dan Deacon doing the same thing but with more of a spastic technical edge. Yeasayer use their synths for a Depeche Mode homage, while White Williams’ contribution “Blue Steel” channels T.Rex by way of Squeeze for a sublimely catchy drone.

Check it out. There ain’t shit on the radio, anyway.

Benefit download at www.insound.com/fyr.

 

 
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