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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Barsuk Records
Treats (CD)

Hooray! Shmat got Treats in the mail today! Well, not "Treats" as in the kind you can munch on, but Barsuk Records' Treats Compilation was a tasty addition to his record collection. Shmat doesn't think he has to emphasize the quality of the bands on Barsuk. To start with, two of his favorite bands are on this collection: Death Cab for Cutie and Rilo Kiley. And although he already has both of the Death Cab for Cutie songs ("A Movie Script Ending" and a remixed version of "We Laugh Indoors"), front man Ben Gibbard keeps the Shmat's interest piqued with an old track from his side project, All-Time Quarterback. On "Plans Get Complex" Gibbard 4-tracks his way through a great lo-fi ditty that harkens back to Death Cab's Something About Airplanes days. Rilo Kiley contributes the beautiful and epic "Pictures of Success", letting their guitars chime and slide through nearly 7 minutes of counterpoint between Jenny Lewis and Blake Lewis. Interestingly, Jenny Lewis' vocals near the end of the song remind the Shmat of the singer from Sissybar.

The Shmat enjoyed the immensely catchy tracks from John Vanderslice as well as the piano rockin', Ben Folds - informed "The City Gets Lonely" from The Prom. But Sunset Valley's psychadelia meets White Stripes performance on "Wired Nights" comes across as a little too straightforward for his tastes, especially in the choice of chords throughout the song.

One of the best newer bands on Treats was The Long Winters. Alaska native songwriter John Roderick has infused both "Blue Diamonds" and "Stupid" with a boatload of bouncy hooks that make what might have been simplistic rockers jump out at you with inimitable poise and beauty. Another band that Shmat hadn't heard before is Jesse Sykes And The Sweet Hereafter who offer up two selections of semi-spacey, country ruminations that fans of Low, Cat Power and Tarnation might appreciate. All in all, this batch of Treats has been well seasoned to taste and would be a great introduction for indie rock fans who haven't yet delved into Barsuk's fantastic roster of bands.

- review by SHMAT (4.15.03)        

Barsuk Records
PO Box 22546
Seattle, WA 98122

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