Various Artists

Compilation CDs are like mix tapes. Some have themes; others are just the greatest hits of what one person can get his hands on. The first song should catch the listener's attention. The last should leave the audience wanting more. But each song must stand on its own, a perfect, defining moment in itself. The Pyramid Scheme, the Denton-based art/film/music collective, hasn't disclosed a particular theme for The Long Con Compilation, Vol. 1 (the first of many volumes, we hope), but there seems to be one point here--to make the listener say, "These bands are from Denton? And I can see them at Rubber Gloves, Hailey's and Dan's Silverleaf?" Like Quality Park Records' compilation, Band-kits: A Collection of Music From Denton, Texas ca. 2000, this is just one collection of a few of the town's active bands, some better known, some more active. But it's a diverse group, opening with Mission Giant's frenetic keyboard and sample-a-thon "Ass Talk," closing with Oceanographer's melodic violin-infused "Stations" and, in between, hitting '80s synth-punk (Faux Fox's "Star 80"), countryfied rock (John Wesley Coleman's "Mustang Creek"), operatic screaming noise rock (Dokodemo Doa's "Fearful, Yet Hopeful") and the quirky, banjo-backed, Tom Waits-ish ballad (Warren Jackson Hearne and the Merrie Murdre of Gloomadeers' "The Bather of Rimy Springs"). It's not just a good CD; it makes you want more, recorded and live. Mission accomplished.
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Shannon Sutlief