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SIZE DOES MATTER
If you've ever ordered a seven course dinner at a Chinese restaurant or visited a buffet more than once in the same day, you'll probably agree that there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". Greytank Records first release, the Appendix Sessions, which is compromised of 2 discs, 12 bands, 24 songs and countless minutes of music (and bonus video footage to boot) -- begs that the question be asked: "Is all this too much?"
Yes and no.
While all double disc releases force listeners to develop a nervous "fast-forward" index finger reflex, the fact that all 12 of the bands on this compilation recorded in the same studio with the same engineer allows for more continuity than your average comp. The transition from the nervous strum of Montecore's Shikkur to the equally aggressive backbeat of Pinkeye's Summerize is a good example of how the compilation manages to maintain consistency despite differences in musical style. Though the genres run the gamut from punk to emo to pop, the engineering wizardry of Matt Orme and the pervading indie rock mindset of the groups give the Appendix Sessions a distinctly Fresno flavor that is worth savoring.
That said, the second negative aspect of any comp is that often the diamonds in the rough, the tracks that you want to play again and again in the stereo, are often sandwiched between several tracks of dribble. Sometimes there is just way too much stuff for a fellow to wrap his ears around.
Greytank does its best to make sure that this doesn't happen; it's very evident in how they arranged the tracks that they did their best to pace the listener. For instance, the last seven songs of the comp are a string of winners that'll leave a wake of good vibes in any living room. The Insect's contribution, "Who's the Boss", is a frenzied metaphysical argument between frontman Mark Stacy and himself, the drumming on Ira's "Copilot" is a dynamic combination of surf rock toms and subtle snare, Free Dirt -- oh, Free Dirt. They're just good. Way good. The vocal sounds on "Those Days" will resonate well with any fan of Interpol while their song "Gift Horse", located on disc one, evokes a slightly darker, more dense Cursive.
The latter half of disc two also features the Bel and the Dragon tune "Mirrors Aren't Easy", which is typical of the dissonant power-pop they've become great at conjuring. The finale of the Appendix Sessions, Gypsy Cab's ballad "Crush The Sea", is a swamp of sad guitars and explosively deranged vocals that'll leave you feeling like you just broke up.
So, is it too much? Well, maybe, but I feel most folks understand that a compilation, at its heart, is always going to be bad. You're never going to get enough of what you want and you'll probably get way too much of the stuff that you're just not that excited about. But as far as compilations go, this is a very good one, and an important document for anyone interested in rock music from Fresno, or indie rock at all for that matter.
And if you should go away stuffed to the gills with music, but still find yourself unsatisfied, there is a remedy: when Greytank puts out a full-length by one of the artists that you heard on the comp and liked, you'll just have to suck it up and go buy it.
You can purchase Greytank's compilation at Tower Records and Ditrec Records.