As the DIY fanzine trend continues in an unabated manner not seen since the last days of punk, Manchester-based Popular Culture celebrate their first birthday by unleashing this fourteen-track gem of a compilation upon us.
A perfect start to the New Year, this is essentially an A&R man's wet dream and contains a fantastic selection of up-and-coming artists across most genres. Some names you may be slightly familiar with at present, but this time next year they'll crop up as regularly in daytime conversation as "Is it time for dinner yet?" and "What's on the box tonight?"
Kicking off with the charming 'It Started With A Mixx' by everyone's favourite unsigned band of 2006 Los Campesinos (now signed, of course!); add to that the Björk-goes-busking (electronically) of Sky Larkin and the _so gleeful they make you want to find the nearest bouncy castle and jump up and down like a three-year-old _Answering Machine and you're already satisfied beyond the point of ecstasy. And still only a quarter of the way in.
Delve a little deeper and the likes of Air Cav with their stunning 'Alliance' sound like a mini-Arcade Fire in waiting, while My Side Of The Mountain make noises that you'd expect from a group of kids discovering electronics and quavers for the first time, i.e. original, exciting and fun.
The Star Fighter Pilot, Manchester's answer to Napoleon III and Beck combined, adds the gloriously lo-fi 'Another Penny', and did we mention that stalwarts (compared to the rest of the acts on here) Shut Your Eyes And You'll Burst Into Flames and redcarsgofaster are on here, too?
All in all, this is an essential introduction to both Popular Culture and a plethora of exciting new talent. Go. Buy. Now.
9Dom Gourlay's Score