STA is now Ten Years Old

Splendid Zine Reviews 'Public Service Broadcast #3'

When is a sampler not a sampler?

When is a sampler not a sampler? When it's also a sociological weapon designed to bring the RIAA to its knees, one hand-stickered disc sleeve at a time. The brainchild of Smalltown America, a beautifully socialist record label, every PSB features music from bands who are unsigned or barely signed. The samplers are produced free of cost to the bands involved, and all profit from the sale of the discs is returned to the pool to pay for the next compilation. The bands get free exposure and the label gets the cachet of giving deserving young'uns a leg up. Although the discs are intended to attract attention through sheer quantity (nearly twenty tracks per), Smalltown America's real coup is their discerning taste: these discs are no throwaways.

As on the last PSB I covered, #3 is loaded with so many good tracks, you'll wonder why these bands aren't getting more exposure, and who the hell other label scouts are listening to these days. Fighting With Wire's blistering "Cut the Transmission", Mean And Flower's Bob Mould-like "Last Words" and Light FM's mystifyingly kitschy "Stormtroopers" are repeat button naturals. Harvey Half Devoured's quiet-loud histrionics on "Off Centre" will leave you entranced and puzzled, while Red Sirus' "To Heaven" will chill you out right quick. Meanwhile, Future Ex-Wife's bombastic "Ebony" nearly blew me out of my IKEA chair, and Ivory Springer's wonderfully abrasive "My Best Job" invigorated those headbanging muscles I've allowed to atrophy at my desk job.

- Justin Kownacki, Splendid Zine