What do you think of these three words when slung together?
Kill-rock-stars? Of punks spitting on mainstream, moneygrubbing rock
'n' roll? Of dissonance and rebelliousness, art and politics? An
indie rocker's wet dream, maybe? The longtime, underground,
independent Olympia label is quick to evoke a colorful and
opinionated response after all, it's been around for more than
a decade pumping out some of the finest, impassioned and empowered
tunes of our generation.
The KRS smarty-pants folks have known for years where it's at, and
now they're giving it to us all in one handy two-CD package. With 43
tracks by longstanding, better-known bands (Bangs, Butchies and
Quasi), upcoming lesser-known acts (Erase Errata and Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
and a few unexpected appearances (Neko Case, the Mooney Suzuki, and
Beehives and the Barracudas), the generous record stylistically
stretches to all corners of the indie world. And although mostly
dominated by punk rock, it's apt to satisfy many sonic appetites with
its electronic, post-punk and art-rock offerings. Simply put,
Fields and Streams has a helluva lot to give.
Disc one, "Fields," opens with The Quails' "Memo From the Desk of The
Quails," which is spastic, jarring punk rock led by excellent
strained yelps. "Noon Under the Trees" by the Rock *A* Teens feels
the most bluegrass for its acoustic strums, sad folk melodies and
liquor-soaked singing. Gene Defcon's "Caesar's Planet," a synthesizer
and bass-heavy dance song, contributes a fun, Pet Shop Boys-like
gay-disco twist, while Mecca Normal's "Blame the Glass Man" is the
most stripped-down, repetitive and even tribal-esque for its
pleading, hollow vocals and a single dirty riff.
Disc Two, "Streams," is designed to showcase female artists,
particularly emerging ones. The poppy opener "That Girl" by Tender
Trap is jangly, catchy and led by Amelia Fletcher's sensual singing.
Deerhoof's quirky "Song of Sorn" feels like a parade that stampedes
with thumping beats and high-pitched piano then practically halts
completely before the music crashes back in and the march continues.
Two Ton Boa close the record with "Porcelain Throne" a
sinister, pulsating and reverberating track led by grave vocals.
So, think of Kill Rock Stars, then think of fields and streams,
'cause they both reach for acres, miles and stars (of course, not the