There's lots and lots of great new music coming out of Leeds at the moment; almost too much, in fact, to fit on a single disc. As such, there's absolutely no chance a compilation like this can encompass all of it, but I guess that's just the nature of the beast.
Let's not dwell too much on the omissions and focus instead on what's to like about On The Bone's second attempt at showcasing the music they love. It certainly starts off with a corker in the shape of This Et Al's 'Special Bear', an insistent slice on angular post-punk that underlines just why they remain the Leeds musician's band of choice. Their forthcoming Figure Eight EP, released by On The Bone themselves, is surely an essential purchase.
Acoustic balladry next from Paul Marshall; something completely different but certainly no less worthy. Finger-picked guitar, yearning vocals... nicely understated. Yorkshire's answer to Jose Gonzalez? Yeah, maybe. Or Nick Drake if we're being generous, which we should be really because this is good.
Skip a couple of tracks (The Twilight Sad? They're not from Leeds!) and Pulled Apart By Horses not only have a great name - possibly taken from the original lyrics to Radiohead's _'Reckoner' _- but also a genuine pedigree. Boasting ex-members of Mother Vulpine, Concentration Champ and It Takes Bridges (On The Bone boss James Brown, no less), these guys make an interesting, manic racket that, on this evidence, certainly deserves further investigation.
Given his Brainlove affiliations, regular DiS readers are probably familiar with Napoleon IIIrd. His offering here, 'The Strong Nuclear Force', is a gonzo electro-funk slowjam, sort of like watching a Super Mario Bros-soundtracked TV On The Radio/Prince sextape in slow motion. Possibly.
That Fucking Tank win both the overindulgence and best song title awards for 'Stephen Hawkwind'. A nine-minute-long dirge-prog opus, we've a feeling this (and they) must be pretty monumental live, but those last few minutes do drag a smidgeon on record.
Elsewhere, Grammatics and I Concur get the remix treatment and suffer contrasting fortunes. The latter's 'Lucky Jack' comes up shining of roses, as Bracken add some interesting beats and bleeps to the original's hypnotic shoegaze, but to these ears Grammatics' magnificent 'Polar Swelling' doesn't work quite so well as an instrumental. Without Owen Brinley's full vocal, it just sounds a bit... neutered. Many will no doubt disagree.
And that's the beauty of a compilation like this: those mentioned are just DiS's picks, but there's another twelve tracks here you might enjoy equally or more so than any of them. Check out Dinosaur Pile-Up, Fran Rodgers, These Monsters and Wintermute if none of the above floats your boat. It's by no means definitive, but as a taster of the wonderfully diverse Leeds scene this compilation is undoubtedly worth your pennies.
8Rob Webb's Score