On their 1985 minor hit 'Left of the Dial', The Replacements sang their ode to college radio, America's best solution to showcasing all the most interesting up and coming bands to all the coolest people. 'College Radio Day the Album Volume 2' demonstrates that this is an American tradition which is still in rude health.
The curators of 'College Radio Day' stress that this is an album put together with care by the college radio community for the college radio community, and profits from the sale of this collection get pumped back into college radio. As a result, they have got some fairly big names in to contribute music. You get the southern rock of My Morning Jacket, you get a live version of Passenger's inescapable and insipid 'Let Her Go' and Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam's punk idealist side project RNDM even take a turn, as do the brilliantly named The Front Bottoms.
One of the strengths of 'College Radio Day' is its diversity. This is a compilation with little regard for genre boundaries, embracing everything from the Alice In Chains grunge revival of Killed the Fixtion to the hip hop stylings of Feli Fame. As a result, it would be difficult for anyone to enjoy absolutely everything on offer here but there is indeed something for everyone.
The undeniable highlight, however, arrives in the shape of a sprawling seven minute live take on 'Art of Almost' by veteran Chicago rockers Wilco, which culminates in a jaw dropping jam session. Another highlight is the sunshine indie pop of 'Fred Astaire' by San Cisco (again, a live take available exclusively on this compilation) and on the other end of the spectrum, the delicate melancholia of 'Kiss Divine' by Rob Friedman, which slowly, subtly and cleverly keeps adding layers of instrumentation to an unexpected sing-along conclusion.
Because of its diversity, 'College Radio Day The Album Volume 2' can be a little patchy in places but, remarkably, everyone could find something to enjoy somewhere in this collection of songs. Any initiative which champions underground bands who get little to no coverage from anywhere but their own fans deserves to be championed. 'College Radio Days The Album Volume 2' is as good a place as any to search for your new favourite band.
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