Still just a fledgling in the music industry, Slospeak Records boasts a small, but impressive, line-up of artists, as well as a strong and diverse discography. In addition to releasing albums from Fever Fever, Talkie, Golden Youth, Ravenhill, etc., the label has also made friends with some notable independent artists. As the summer of 2015 wound down to a close, Slospeak gathered some songs from these artists for their latest sampler, Slospeak & Friends Summer Soundtrack, and it's ripe with fresh, young talent.
This summer soundtrack features five songs from the Slospeak camp. Fever Fever's terrific "Aftermath" gets the whole thing started, and Talkie's Nirvana/Foo Fighters-esque "Bugs" follows it up with a fantastic rock sound that's pretty rare these days (that Talkie EP is a good one, I might add). Golden Youth provides us with a brand new song called "In A Dream," and it has me pumped for another release from this breathtaking indie pop act. Ravenhill offers up the southern gospel-fueled rock track "Witches," from their long-awaited Soul, and Pioneer gives us a taste of their latest EP with "Nothing Left To Lose." Additionally, though not signed with Slospeak, there are also some other recognizable names here. Mike Mains and the Branches offer up "Noises" from their 2014 album Calm Down, Everything Is Fine, and the newly-independent Poema gives us "Forget You In LA," which is a lot different than anything the girls produced with Tooth & Nail. Slightly grittier and less poppy, this is a new Poema, and I really dig what I've heard so far.
The other eleven songs are a mix of names I recognize but am not familiar with, and artists I've never heard of before. Cardboard Kids and Secret Club provide a pair of upbeat rock songs, a la The Hives. There's no messing around here, as the songs are short and straight to the point. Other songs, like Fleurie's "Fire In My Bones," Joseph's "Lifted Away," and Cappa's "Hush" bring to mind artists like Lorde and CHVRCHES with their R&B-fueled indie pop. A Yawn Worth Yelling, Million Trillion and YØUTH add a nice alternative/indie flavor to the mix, but the sampler does take a slight turn for the worse near the end. While not horrible by any means, "When My Heart Says Goodbye" by Chasing Lovely, "Go Slow" by Lenachka, and "Wake Up" by The Mailboxes feel like passable, poor choices for an otherwise stupendous sampler.
Samplers often come across as money grabs nowadays, with labels pushing ten- to fifteen-track compilations of songs they've already released before. Slospeak, however, has the right idea, with most of the tracklist composed of non-label friends they just want you to know about, and they aren't charging you for it. Despite a few missteps, the Slospeak & Friends Summer Soundtrack is an excellent sampler, and, again, it's completely free on NoiseTrade. Yup, free. Go get it now.
- Review date: 11/3/15, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com