Pure Noise's Winter Sampler for $1.99 on iTunes to me seems a hell of a steal. These kinds of samplers are where you can find the next Thursday, La Dispute or Kid Dynamite so why not shell a little cash?
The album offers a solid opening with the American Sceneís "Why Iím Not Where You Are," which gives an endearing feel brushed over by a sense of overwhelming nostalgia. What makes the track work is the feel of lost innocence and a drive as a stiff opening song. "Placeholder" by The Story So Far also acts as an earnest effort as it sets the stage for the most prominent and riveting song on the record, "La Jatee" by Troubled Coast, which seems a hybrid of Saosin and Pianos Become the Teeth. This song stands in your face with a frenetic tempo. Clearly, a PBTT comparison warrants a listen to this band at least.
While bands such as Handguns and Daybreaker still fell a bit short of what I assumed would be some enthralling offerings, the pace is well picked up by Man Overboardís "Basics 101" and the poppy burst of energy in "Breathing" by Stickup Kid, as both aid in keeping a cohesive spine to the record.
Create Avoidís '"Gotham" is probably the hardest track on the album and proves a diverse feel to a record that has the proper composites of alternative, punk, post-hardcore and screamo to showcase the labelís versatility. This track is mass hysteria and ferocious in its own nature, with a feel of early ĎFrom First to Lastí. This was one of the bands that stood out the most along with Troubled Coast, and the album wraps in stellar fashion with Transitís "Please, Head North" as a sonic and fitting close-off to a nice ensemble of songs.
The album is well arranged and gives a sense of what the bands have to offer while still teasing rather than revealing fully their hand. Pure Noise sounds like a good label and a resounding institute from what this sampler cooks up; which is distinguished in the ending of the album. The blend they draft together on this sampler accentuates this balance perfectly.
There are imperfections found on the sampler, but whatís a good record without a few flaws. This sampler reminds me of early Victory Records samplers, where even the songs you may not take to initially, somehow end up rubbing off on you, and when you check more stuff from the bands, you end up discovering more than you thought youíd like. At the end of the day, this proved a much-welcomed bargain!