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SOUNDTRACK: The Believer July/August 2009 Music Issue Compilation CD: “Fantastic and Spectacular” (2009).

After the globe-spanning CD in last year’s issue, the 2009 Believer CD returns to the dominant musical style of the first few.  This disc is a collection of unreleased, acoustic songs from the editors’ favorite singer-songwriters.

And, wow, check out the bands that are represented here: Sam Phillips, The Clean, The Waterboys, Lloyd Cole, Young Marble Giants, The English Beat, Lisa Germano, Unrest, Suddenly, Tammy!, The Lilac Time and Mary Margaret O’Hara.  It’s an amazing collection of artists who agreed to release these songs only to this Believer compilation.

The liner notes ask a few questions of each artist so you get a nice peek into their working styles.  And for a few of them you find out what they’ve been up to for the last few years.  Although, sadly Mary Margaret O’Hara (sister of actress Catherine O’Hara!) only mentions that you can get a copy of her only released album Miss America directly from her.  And since I thin it’s a great album, I’ll pass along her email for ordering purposes only: m2oh8 @ hotmail.com.

So, what do we get in this collection?  Sam Phillips provides a fantastic drum-heavy, 90 second song.  Robert Scott’s song is a delightful, simple acoustic track.  I’ve always liked The Waterboys, but Mike Scott tends to go on and on, and this track is no exception.  It’s very very catchy but it’s over 10  minutes long!  The consistently excellent Lloyd Cole doesn’t disappoint.  Phil Wilson’s poppy number is very good.

I’m surprised that I don’t have any Young Marble Giants in my collection, and Stuart Moxham’s song here makes me want to see what I’m missing.  I swore that Dave Wakeling of The English Beat was Bob Mould on this song, but as soon as I saw who he was I recognized that English Beat voice in a more intimate setting.

Mark Robinson of Unrest also records as Cotton Candy, and this absurdly poppy ditty (the only duet on the disc) provides the title of the disc and one of the truly happiest moments. Except, of course, for Beth Sorrentino from Suddenly, Tammy! whose song “Such a Beautiful Day” is absolutely wonderful.  And if it is any indication of the greatness of Suddenly , Tammy!  then their absence from the msuicial scene is a real shame.

Stephen Duffy who records as Tin Tin and The Lilac Time writes songs that are instantly memorable and catchy as anything.  This one is no exception. And the Mary Margaret O’Hara song is not quite as out there as you might expect from her, but it’s really quite good.  I wonder what she has been up to for decades now.

There’s a secret bonus track from a brand new New Zealand band called Haunted Love.  When this issue went to print they were about to release their first EP, and this track doesn’t even appear on that (it’s THAT secret!).  It’s a great song and I hope good things come to them.  It is also not acoustic, but everyone can break their own rules once in a while right?

This is another string compilation from The Believer.  The track listing is here.

[READ: December 16, 2009] “Diary of an Interesting Year”

So this story is, indeed, a diary.  It is written in several entrees.  And, as we learn from the first entry, the diary itself was a gift to the writer from G. for her 30th birthday.  And, although we don’t learn it from the first entry, we quickly discover that global warming predictions were accurate and, basically the earth as we know it is no more.

But what I liked about the writing was that it revealed this global catastrophe somewhat subtly.

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