Various Black Music

For 20 years or so, English label LTM has been putting out some important music that has been both influential and innovative in its own right. They share that history with us on their second compilation; a cool mix of early ’80s, new stuff and everything in between. This makes for some diverse listening as you would guess. In fact with all the diversity and decade-hopping, it almost plays out like one of my old home-job mixed tapes. At first listen, I thought it was entirely a collection of old post-punk and new wave classics, but then the Manchester sounding Stockholm Monsters take over with their cheery, pop-y, Britpop-before-there-was-"Brit pop”-sound, tipping me off that there was more to it. This comp represents some of the best music that went beyond the reaches of conventional pop music, and what’s cool is to see how blurred the lines are between what was and what is. In the last several years, that tin can, post-punk minimalist production with crunchy, reverberated guitars has been adopted and expanded upon, and some of those newer acts will be heard here too. Then the disc gets into a bit of a late ’80s house jam with Paul Haig and Ultramarine, and gets all soundscape-y and weird at the end with Ludus and the Royal Family and the Poor. I love it! A lot of the acts were news to me, but you guys are cleverer and will likely get more excited over a few previously unreleased goodies by bands like Ultramarine and Section 25, to name a couple. Don’t miss the short but sweet "Town of 85 Lights” by the swingin’ indie pop Glaswegian outfit the Wake. Also included in limited supply is a freebie disc of Crispy Ambulance featuring live performances. (LTM)