Various - Metaphysics For Beginners (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Metaphysics For Beginners (2004)


I hate comps. You might get a few good songs from bands, but generally, I only like about 3-4 songs on most comps. What Redder Records has done, though, deserves some merit. Each song on here is either un-released or rare or live (which could really fall into either previous category). And most of these songs are sweet. Seriously.

"Hustle" by Detachment Kit is a garage-rock Hot Hot Heat sorta thing. It's followed by the instrumental "'Sic' Version" by Kalpana, featuring noises and metal riffs. I don't know how to describe it better. But it's not bad. And then it gets slower and spacier for a live track by Gloria Record. Which isn't bad, but the vocals are out of tune, so I generally have to skip it. If you don't know Gloria Record, it's sort of poppy, melody laden indie-rock.

Snowglobe's "Comforted" deserves a lot of credit for being awesome. They deliver a sort of ambient Sigur Ros-esque track, complete with a shit-ton of layers and even some strings and a muted trumpet. A lot of dial turning. And spacey, almost chanted vocals. Really a stand out track.

From there, we get Zykos's "Kodiak-Appogee Remix" which is an electronica take of what seems to have been a general indie rock song. It's not bad and the programming is nice and interesting. The CD continues with it's electronica theme with Sufjan Stevens' "How Can The Stone Reamain?' It's a poppy track that features lots of fun noises and layers and mods. People would probably draw comparisons to The Postal Service, since that's probably the most popular piece of indie-electronica out these days.

In order to keep things fresh and exciting, this comp then heads in a completely different direction with a live track from "From Monument to Masses." It's a jazz-influenced mostly-instrumental jam that features excellent technical musicianship. And then we get Figurines' "Rewind" remixed by Jimmy Tamborello of DNTEL and The Postal Service fame. Which is extremely obvious when listening to it. It's nice to hear the soft, poppy vocals over Tamborello's beats.

And then it changes directions again completely. Saturday Looks Good To Me's "Record Store" is a 60s pop throwback reminiscent of the later 70s Velvet Underground (not to mention the vocals remind me of Nico). It's even recorded and mixed to sound crappy like it actually was recorded in the 60s. It's definitely pleasing to the ear. And after that, The Ghost pops out a country-tinged acoustic ditty entitled "Red Slippers, Red Wheels (Midwest Reprise)." Definitely a different style for this band. It really reminds me of The Weakerthans' live, country version of "Confessions of a Futon Revolutionist" that appears on the Hopless Records Sampler.

Rockets and Bluelights change things up with their noise-indie-technical-post-hardcore. "Forest Green and Autumn" is the name of the track. And it's loud. And it's layered. And it's good. And there's screaming, but no trace of guitar distortion. And lots of time-signature changes and snycopation.

Summer at Shatter Creek's "Everything" starts out with some slide guitar work that reminds me of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You." But it also features an annoying guitar piano line, and a repetition of "Everything that goes down will come back again" that will annoy the hell out of you. After this atrocity, Kind of Like Spitting brings a fresh-air acoustic song entitled "You Got Served."

Tim Kinsella's new project Make Believe comes next with a minute guitar intro into a track that reminds me more of Tim's Cap'n Jazz days then Joan of Arc. At least in the vocal stylings. Definitely a killer track, but I'm a huge Tim Kinsella fan.

Back to the electronica, Satellite Grooves kicks out "Anchor," a really uptempo, yet chill piece of work featuring beats and melodies that remind me a lot of Múm. After that Hockey Night delivers a soft indie tune with the sound of running water in the background and some "Whoa-oh" vocals. That is, until it breaks out into power-pop track that's a bouncy toe-tapper.

The record closes with Love of Everything's "Sky Falls Down," which is a laid back acoustic track with soft and high vocals. Not a strong track, but an intersting way to close out such an uptempo CD.

All in all, this CD is worth buying. It's even got pretty packaging with a monkey on the cover. The fact that most of these tracks are rare and un-released is worth your money alone. But it's a comp. So every song is taken into consideration. So it's overall score is a 7.