June Panic Songs From Purgatory

Like so many musicians, June Panic spent the early ’90s recording song after song on his four-track. Unlike most, however, he managed to accumulate enough material to release 14 albums on cassette, something that helped spread his reputation beyond his home state of North Dakota. The masters for those albums have survived sitting in flood water for several days before being revived, remastered (by Shimmy Disc’s Kramer) and collected for a whole new audience more than a decade later. Songs From Purgatory is an almost overwhelming collection, but in a good way. With 52 songs spread over three CDs, it could be too much but there’s little filler. Instead, there’s a lot of really good stuff and a handful of absolute gems, which could have very easily disappeared into the flood, never to be heard again. With hints of Lou Barlow, Ween and even Bob Dylan, Panic covers a huge amount of ground, from very personal songs to fuzzy, messy guitar solos that never seem to end. With an almost endless amount of creativity on display, it’s hard to believe that this essential set documents an artist at the start of his career. (Secretly Canadian)