BEST LOCAL MUSIC COMPILATION - 2005
Lately, great various-artist packages devoted to specific music scenes in the Twin Cities tend to be tied to ephemeral events: Unless you were at the festivals that inspired last year's 3rd Annual Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop and Minnesota Sur Seine CDs (both manufactured by Copycats Media), you probably didn't have a chance to pick them up. Last year's Twin Cities Elecropunk Volume 1 CD is similarly available in physical form only at shows, and while supplies last. (Twin Cities Electropunk Volume 2 is already being hawked as a follow-up.) But the album has the plus of being downloadable (at www.tcelectropunk.com) and is worth the trouble. Employing the genre name "electropunk" instead of the New York-associated "electro-clash," Volume 1 is more than a local claim on an international trend: The umbrella concept really serves as an excuse to toss together catchy music of all kinds, flavored with electro beats, samples, or synthesizers. "Streamline Your Bender" by Trashed Actor is minimalist Duran Duran, while "Life on Hold" by Telephone! is valley-girl hip hop with a solid bottom end--hip-house enough to inspire nostalgia for the Wee Papa Girl Rappers. Compiled by Todd Millenacker of the band Avenpitch (which might explain his choice of lead-off track), the selection is varied and adventurous, ranging from the distorted-voice goth industrial of Neo Void to the retro-Euro-wave slickness of Uber Cool Kung Fu. Even if this hodgepodge never develops into a full-blown subculture, and the CD never becomes a collector's item, the cross section it contains will remain an entertaining curiosity.