Various Artists

Bay Area Retrograde (BART) Vol. 2

Various ArtistsBay Area Retrograde (BART) Vol. 2
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Based on the wealth of releases from reissue-heavy labels like Light In the Attic, Now-Again, and Numero Group (to name just a few), there seems to be an endless supply of obscure, hyper-local scenes from around the world to keep listeners busy for the next 100 years. That's a good thing; as modern technologies serve to democratize the music production and distribution for anyone currently creating sounds, the reissue boom has democratized the canons of countless genres, revealing the historical significance of artists whose lack of commercial success in their time negated their importance. Without these labels, many legitimate lost classics would simply remain lost.

San Francisco label Dark Entries has once again tapped into that city's underground scene circa 1978–1983 for Vol. 2 of their Bay Area Retrograde (BART) series, which is named after SF's public transit system. That block of time — long after the "high and beautiful wave" (as Hunter S. Thompson once said) of the psychedelic explosion and just before the triumph of Bay Area thrash — was both extremely fertile yet stylistically splintered, as both post-punk and proto-dance were treated to the local tendency for genre-jumping experimentation that would later yield bands like Mr. Bungle and Primus. True to the somewhat schizophrenic scene, BART Vol. 2 is an uneven collection, yet one that contains more hits than misses, particularly the freakishly buoyant new-wave funk of Indoor Life's "Gilmore of the Filmore" and Timmy Spence's "Brand New Dance," and the spiky post-punk of Red Asphalt's "Red Asphalt" and the terrifyingly noisy industrial grind of Ki Di Mi's "Islamatic." Buy the ticket, take the ride. (Dark Entries)
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