! = recommended
* = all-ages
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I can't stop listening to Casual Victim Pile. It's a compilation put together by Matador co-head Gerard Cosloy and features some of his favorite Austin, Texas bands of the last few years. Incidentally, and cutely, the anagramic album name was contrived from Austin's nickname "live music capital". Cosloy put this comp together out of love, and you can tell. These aren't bands you find gracing the charts or garnering much attention, in the indie rock scene or otherwise. These are locally lauded underground bands, and they most definitely deserve a little exposure.
These songs are mostly grounded in punk. They sound tight and have a clarity of message and vision that seems to be a common attribute of the genre. These bands don't make fancy music. It's straight up dirty, and sometimes fast, indie rock oozing out of the gutters of a great music town. There are hints of Husker Du and Dead Moon, specifically on the Dikes of Holland track, loads of bassy feedbacky noise and sexy femme vocals via The Young's track "Blister". Follow that Bird!'s "The Ghosts That Wake You" sound an awfully lot like Wire at first, and is a gem right off the bat.
Some of the tracks are more straightforward punk than others, some sound like your brother's garage band. It's just a damn good mixtape put together by a guy who knows his stuff, and it's a salty salute to a town some of us visit once a year and then forget about. I'm not going to get all music writery on you and break down each song. Just listen. Do these bands a favor and buy some of their albums. Hearing these songs reminds me why I got into indie rock... sheer emotion, creative ingenuity and a need to fuckin' rock.