By Noah Lopez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
TAMMIES: The Best of the TAMMIES '94
Echoes From Tucson
Third World Underground
Anytime a compilation album claims to capture the sound of an area or "scene," chances are there's something wrong. This is part of the problem with all of these releases, especially the TAMMIES release.
The TAMMIES, in principle, is a great concept. The Tucson Area Music awards celebrates a variety of artists in a variety of music genres. Unfortunately, the best bands of Tucson never seem to receive recognition from the award ceremony. This is in part due to a lack of entries by deserving bands, surely. But the finalists for the awards never seem to represent what is actually going on in the "scene."
The TAMMIES disc, the first release from the new label run by area record store mogul Brad Singer, is no different. The two discs seem a bit excessive considering the material offered. While there are a handful of deserving artists on the CD, the release as a whole is a testament to the stale air that permeates the Tucson music scene. Too much attention is lavished on artists who lack creativity, or who have established a local reputation due to their longevity rather than their musical contributions.
There are deserving artists on the TAMMIES CD, however, from Al Perry to Black Moon Graffiti Ä artists who deserve a shot at getting signed to a label, but whose work is lessened by its appearance on a CD layered with mediocre music.
The problems with the TAMMIES CD are problems that have been inherent with almost all local compilations of late. Even more disappointing are the compilations that contain many of Tucson's better bands, but captured in less-than-stellar recordings.
A fine example of this is the recent Echoes From Tucson CD. While some artists shine, and overcome their live abilities Ä Weird Lovemakers and Teeth to name two Ä a nice array of respected local artists go out of their way to demolish their sound for entirely mediocre (or less) outings. Contributions from bands such as the Fells and Beyond 7 not only betray any sort of reputable performance those bands may carry live, but also portray them as average alterna-rock wannabes.
The quality music on the disc is drowned out by track after track of bad bands that should never have been committed to the CD. Listening to the pseudo Primus rhythm section and horrible vocal and violin wailing of Brenda's Never Been is a test, but the lyrics somehow rise above the rancid music to create a stench of their own. The howled introspection of a lesbian affair Ä which amounts largely to the ridiculous phrase "What would my boyfriend say" being repeated over and over Ä make this CD a blemish in anyone's collection.
Despite the embarrassments that coat half of the CDs content, Echoes From Tucson is still a pretty worthy local contribution. It manages to avoid the clich‚d desert strum rock bands, and attempts to portray one of Tucson's true music scenes. For this, it can be recommended.
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