2010 compilations and why they matter
The compilation is a strange beast. It rarely offers the conceptual cohesiveness of an album by a single artist or group, but at the same time it can reach different areas that albums can only dream of. It’s hard for bands to create a dialogue between their songson compilations, you can see different aspects of a theme or sound, dipping your ears in just long enough to tempt you. Of course, if it doesn’t catch your fancy, no big dealjust skip to the next track. The best compilations have the feel of a good mixtapethey offer the listener a journey that they can’t find anywhere else.2010 offers up some great compilation releases for the picky listener. The Wind Records offers up a vinyl-only compilation Daddy Rockin’ Strong: A Tribute to Nolan Strong and the Diablos. Nolan Strong & the Diablos were an influential pre-Motown act based in Detroit from the mid-1950s to early 1960s. Strong is best known his eerily high tenor. The album includes a couple of influential garage rockers who hailed from Strong’s era (Cub Koda, who wrote the song “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room,” and Andre Williams, who was on Fortune Records along with Strong). Other bands who’ve made their mark in the last couple decades are also featured, including Reigning Sound, The A-Bones, and Detroit’s very own The Dirtbombs.Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers: Alternative Takes on Congotronics (Crammed Discs) isn’t for everyone, but for those who appreciate experimental and world music, this album is well worth the price. On two discs featuring 26 artists, modern experimental musicians take on tracks from the “Congotronics” album series: Congo music that has been electrified and sounds eerily similar to modern avant-rock. Critical darlings Deerhoof start things off with a take on the Kasai Allstars’ “Travel Broadens the Mind,” followed by Animal Collective with the same band’s “Quick as White.” And trust us, things only get better from there.People’s Potential Family Album (Peoples Potential Unlimited) offers up a collection of ’80s funk classics that have never seen the light of day. These groups were influenced by classic funk, disco, and the impending sense that their time in the spotlight wouldn’t last long, giving many of these songs a rawness and urgency that’s very appealing. 18 little-known recordings are dusted off for this collection, from groups like the Minority Band, Ballplayers, Crunch, Midnight Express, and George Smallwood. The only downside is you won’t be able to track down much on any of these bands afterwardbut you will share an intimate experience that only the finest classic music can bring.