Royal City 1999-2004

Royal City 1999-2004
If we needed a reminder of how unassumingly wonderful Three Gut Records was at the millennial divide it comes via this collection of rare tracks from its most unassumingly wonderful band. The Guelph crew had a three-album run that sounded like country kids whose Neil Young records had been spiked with a little "Sunday Morning" Velvet Underground. This spare and, yes, unassuming collection of odds and b-sides housed in thick, old-timey photo album cardstock merely extends their legacy of croaky love songs backed by kitchen party anthems. Standouts like "O You With Your Skirt," a simple country/folk gesture made sadly regal, and "Bad Luck," with a back road darkness that's equal parts Sadies and Hallowed Ground-era Violent Femmes, highlight the band's crooked, beating heart. Little bits of melody that hint at solo Jim Guthrie albums peek from "The Nations Will Sing." If you were already a Royal City fan this will make a nice "thank you" card. If you weren't, flip it over for the introduction. (Asthmatic Kitty)