Various Artists

Various Artists: Cold as Fuck (InsidesMusic)

The idea is simple enough: Insides Music's Cold As Fuck compilation seeks to capture a moment in the Twin Cities musical underground, bringing together 25 bands that play across the metro without a media spotlight—musicians whose labors of love are oft overlooked. The title refers to Minnesota's weather, with its extreme variation serving as metaphor for the different sounds on the record, which range from surf and improvisation to electronic, grind, and noise. While all are prevalent, there is an even balance, and the cohesion of the record flows surprisingly smoothly for so many genre-bending acts. In fact, if there is a fault, it is that it's sometimes difficult to differentiate as one artist blends into another. Among the more familiar names are Skoal Kodiak, Sarah Johnson, and Knife World.

The Mojo Spleens' "Buzzsaw and Blastbeats" is a fitting way to start. While its name is indicative of the style, there's a melodic bent to the noise. The song is short—all 25 are, in fact—as one should expect with so many bands appearing on a single piece of wax. And while there are a number of hardcore and grind acts, the overall tone is one of experimental noise with an aggressive inclination. Tracks by Cokskar and Anneliese might encourage cathartic anger-release, while others, such as Tender Meat or Ghostband, carry more of a head-bobbing, foot-tapping groove. Jose Bove and Monsters of Pot supply atmospheric noise.

This isn't a sampler for the average Cities 97 devotee, rather one for the people who seek out new bands, venues, and sounds in the city's underbelly. Cold as Fuck is further proof that the Twin Cities has a vibrant scene that continues to push musical boundaries.

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