Apartment Music

Some of Minnesota's all-time greatest records are compilations, starting with 1968's The Big Hits of Mid-America. Yet "various artists" packages have since diminished in influence as Mid-America artists have become ever more various. Each new local free-for-all seems to lose in cohesiveness what it gains in diversity, straining far too hard to encompass every genre. That's why Apartment Music may be a template for successfully compiling such CDs in the future. Here are seven acts that know one another, with two songs each, and one prevailing mood (somberness). (Perhaps they should have updated the hardcore punk slogan "Loud Fast Rules" to "Soft Slow Serves.") The musicians toy with vocal harmonies (the Owls do so strikingly) and draw heavily on acoustic and/or chamber instruments. Both country fan Quillan Roe (formerly of Accident Clearinghouse) and Smog fan Kid Dakota break out lo-fi electronic beats. Ultimately, these small hits stand free from the music community they represent, which is pretty much the definition of transcendent on any good album.


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