shmat records
A Map Of The Woods CD Compilation (SHMAT05)

Released: January 20, 2004

1. Lyrebird (Awestruck Dumbfounded)
2. Stun Machine (Tigerella)
3. I'll Take A Chance (Carte Blanche) (play mp3)
4. Snowbound (The Awkward Age)
5. Summery Action Films (Avoidance Theory)
6. Pop Song (Light Sleeper) (play mp3)
7. Headfirst (Hrududu Factory)
8. Ivan The Bear (Ivan The Bear)
9. Run Of The Mill Boy (Awestruck Dumbfounded) (play mp3)
10. Fruitstripe Girl (Light Sleeper)
11. December (The Awkward Age)
12. Don't Forget Love (Carte Blanche)
13. Garfield and Valley (Hrududu Factory)
14. Winning Ticket (Tigerella)
15. Red And Whites (Avoidance Theory)

Recommended for fans of: Belle and Sebastian, Quasi, Elliott Smith, REM, Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground, Grandaddy, East River Pipe, Low, Galaxie 500, That Dog, Shoestrings, Versus, Sentridoh, Trembling Blue Stars, The Gerbils, Sparklehorse.

This is the first compilation CD from Shmat Records. From the strikingly austere folk ruminations of songs like "Lyrebird" by Awestruck Dumbfounded to the enigmatic and goofy twee of "Garfield and Valley" by Hrududu Factory to the charming self-titled tune from savvy children's music popsters Ivan The Bear, the 15 songs on this sampler CD cover acres of musical ground from the verdant fields of indie folk, rock, and pop in under an hour.

Representing parts of the independent music scene of the San Gabriel Valley, the bands on this CD do not claim to be the saviors of the craft of songwriting from the evil clutches of bombastic top 40 music that pervades the area. But they definitely give 100% in their quest to write a decent pop song or two. As a personal touch, each CD package has been hand cut and assembled by Shmat's Peoples. This is a great introductory way to get up close and personal with the Shmat Records catalog of bands. Featured on the CD are: Awestruck Dumbfounded, Tigerella, Carte Blanche, The Awkward Age, Avoidance Theory, Light Sleeper, Hrududu Factory, and Ivan The Bear.

Reviews / Press

In Love With These Times, In Spite Of These Times, February 2004 - Kieron

Moving westwards once more, our benign hurricane hits california and the shmat label's posse of local alhambra artists, tooled up with tunes and looking for action on a compilation cd called "a map of the woods". and it's a neat showcase too, if not one riven with variety (mind you, let's face it, nor are def jam or greensleeves samplers and they can both be quite brilliant). the artists we've come across before seem on pretty good form - obviously we can't look further to start with than tigerella's "stun machine" after its appearance on their self-titled cd last year, with all its "ba ba ba's" and pounding boy/girl riffery, but light sleeper also impress with "pop song", one of the more immediate numbers from last year's debut album - and avoidance theory's "summery action films" - not on their "promise to the refrigerator" ep - is actually neither sundrenched nor action-packed but a ghostly, distorted lo-fi ballad that hits the same sensitive pulses for us as kyoko's exquisite lo-fi lullabies used to (and the bluebear's still do). of "new" bands - to many south london listeners at least! - awestruck dumbfounded best justify their name with the fuzz n' handclap boy pop of "run of the mill boy", which could have landed on our doormats in 1986 on a battered old cassette and we'd have promptly found a place for it in our brick-sized walkmans of the time. the awkward age, meanwhile, distil no little elegance into "snowbound" and "december", which musically burrow into our hearts in the vein of honey bunch, simply, understatedly and sadly - "sometimes life is so predictable..." and "don't forget about love" by carte blanche is probably the best song from their out now-ish "summer's end" ep, a careful and alluring lament. hrududu factory do something equally winsome with the drum loops, strums and rustic lyrics of "garfield and valley", enjoyably hijacked by spoken word deviation, perplexing noise and huggable backing vocals. as for ivan the bear and their "ivan the bear", well if we loved them half as much as we wanted to love them, we'd love them lots. sadly we're not sure we do yet, despite the familiar vocal, but we expect to keep trying. rather oddly, of the seven bands who take two tracks each on "a map of the woods" (ivan the bear supply the fifteenth) only tigerella and the awkward age really rock the bells both times round, but in a brutal world the main reason you should get this is that it is awesomely inexpensive (about 3 of your earth dollars or something) - while you, like us, are unlikely to go for everything here, if you've even read this far we'd wager fairly high that you'll find a new musical flame on here you'll fancy taking on a second date.

Other Reviews:

Left Off The Dial, April 2004 - Danny Rowe
Delusions of Adequacy, March 2004 - Wil
Erasing Clouds, February 2004 - Dave Heaton
Smother.Net, January 2004 - J-Sin