“Notes From Thee Real Underground: Volume III”

Various artists

Notes From Thee Real Underground: Volume III
(Underground Inc.)

Compilations are a hard sell… It’s all a matter of economy for the most part.

The sad fact is that most content on compilations just isn’t very good and you will likely have a hard time justifying a $14 CD purchase for 1 to 3 songs by bands you actually like, depending on the broadness of your taste. If you are in the market to try new things, then the compilation might appeal to you as a good means of sampling the widest array of new music, shy of cruising the cesspit of mp3.com in the vain hope of finding gold.

If economics is the main issue, then Underground Inc. has at least seen fit to tempt you with their “Notes From Thee Real Underground” bargain-priced compilation series.

Up to its fourth volume, “Notes” (and Underground Inc./Invisible in general) is an eclectic array of avant-garde alternative,industrial, and electronic music. The series may not sit well with the average rivethead and good music must be carefully picked from the piles of refuse that litter these (usually) two-disc sets. Volume III shows off some interesting tracks from the likes of old-school industrial-rock darlings Acumen Nation, slightly kitschy but enjoyable More Machine Than Man, incredible Devo impersonators Sump Pumps (my favorite of the discs), Eye Kandy, and Emergence. Sadly, much of the rest is wholly mediocre listening, with some contributions so offensive that I contemplated piercing my eardrums with a ballpoint pen. Avoid atrocities such as irritating hip-hop artist Myself, depressing alterna-rockers Goalie, the horribly clich√© Flood Damage, and musically-challenged Things Outside The Skin.

Ask yourself, are two discs of new music worth the gamble?

(Underground Inc., P.O. Box 16008 Chicago, IL 60616)


from IndustrialnatioN Magazine #18 (2003)