steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"The Dusty Tales" 2xCDR

Dust Wind Tales

Genre: folk-pop, lo-fi, folk

Jan 12, 2009

This beautifully designed double CDR comes carefully packaged in a paper bag and tied up in twine, resulting in an intriguing relic that really draws you in. Once you've removed the elaborate casing you get to the jewel case, which has been spray-painted to look dusty and old. Inside there are two CDRs, as well as a neat little badge that proudly bears the Dust Wind Tales name. Presentation is key, and DWT has it down pat.

Once inside, the compilation is broken into two discs. Side 'Dusty' is comprised of instrumental tracks, with an emphasis on enchanting acoustic guitar solos. Side 'Tales,' meanwhile, features songs with vocals.

The tracks on 'Dusty' range from traditional (Nigel Lavender / Month of Sundays, We Wait for the Snow, amazing Las Vegas Club) to experimental (throuRoof, Donato Epiro, Flaspar) to purely hypnotic (thenightjar, Siddhi). Guitar is the primary instrument, often acoustic but sometimes electric, and a strong American Primitive vibe is employed throughout. But this is by no means the rule percussion and electronic manipulation also make appearances, and there is also a pretty mandolin track as well courtesy of Hoax Funeral. Meanwhile, one of the strongest tracks by Sone Institute aka bedroom musician Roman Bezdyk is a moody work of ambient electronic sampling and programming.

'Tales,' meanwhile, brings on the pop (so to speak). The majority of the songs fall under the acoustic folk-pop banner, and they are almost universally great (Adam Lipman, Cat Power-esque W-S Burn). The emphasis is on a pretty, moody atmosphere, with strummed guitars and a lo-fi approach. Especially lovely are George Thomas & The Owls' pretty, fragile number, and the uplifting melodies of Golden Ghost and Tiger Saw. A few of the songs break the mould but they don't sound out of place. The superb Golden Boots track has a fuller production that most of the other tracks, with a full-fledged country rock gem, while Ruth Allison provides grungy, Bettie Serveert calibre rock. 'Tales' is certainly the more accessible of the two discs

The Dusty Tales is a magnificent compilation - a uniquely designed record with consistently great songs. The result is a release that you're likely to treasure dearly. Although Dust Wind Tales has released several other records since this one many of which I will be reviewing in the near future this double-disc wonder sets the bar tremendously high. Put simply, this is one of the very best microlabel compilations I have ever come across.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 25 tracks, distributed by the label, released --]