Compilations are always the best place to give multiple birds the Randy Johnson treatment. Radio Rage delivers 22 tracks from artists who have either performed live on Manhattan, Kansas, station KSDB 91.9 The Wildcat's local music show, played at one of that program's concerts or appeared in the studio for an interview. Among the highlights: Ultimate Fakebook's "Catch the Beat," a number that epitomizes the tight, smart pop that has come to represent the KC-area sound; Effigy's harmony-filled light-speed punk romp "The Fall," which showcases the talent that earned the group a spot on another comp (Mars Music's The Best 16 Unsigned Bands in America); O'Phil's psycho-ska freakout "Down by Spin"; Ruskabank's and Brothers From Different Mothers' more refined but nonetheless horn-y, skankable selections; and Moneypenny's "Cockney," which is powered by tight guitar and bass interaction and dramatic female vocals. Additional live tracks appear at www.mp3.com/919local show; the station's address is http://listen.to/919localshow.
Space 380, a production company out of Columbia, Missouri, recently dropped Transmission Two, which includes "premiere music from Planet Earth." More specifically, it features artists from both coasts, as well as two acts from Space 380's hometown. On Blue Eyed Dog's "Monster," the singer's unaffected vocals, even as he delivers angsty lines, provides listeners with an "it's only a song" reassurance. Jeff & Rocket's "Near the Far Hill," described on the disc as "world new age," sounds like a chorus of overcaffeinated office workers tapping their pencils on their desks to a piped-in playing of the Hill Street Blues theme song. The entire album is available for free download at www.relaxonline.com.
When a production company or radio station collects songs from various artists, it's called a compilation, but when a DJ does the same, it's just an album. DJ Booth keeps the party jumpin' with Lost in San Francisco, maintaining a steady throbbing, rhythmic pulse while stitching together tracks from the likes of Daft Punk and DJ Assault. Booth recently left KC to return to school, but clubbers can keep up with his latest turntable exploits at www.natefx.com.
These days, it's not just the rave crowd that's keeping DJs in high demand. Heavy groups such as Trip Hop Children, who are neither trip-hop nor children, now often keep a record-spinner in residence. Jason Peters handles the scratching on the group's Motion Discomfort, while seven other members, including three percussionists, bring the downtuned noise. The Trip Hop Children manage some innovation in a genre that seemingly was picked clean -- check out the pummeling intro to "I'll Remember" or the sharp, curving guitars on "Off the Hook." Lyrically, the band ranges from self-congratulatory to self-loathing, with plenty of "Your mom's a ho"-style baiting tossed in for intimidation. Stay tuned some twenty minutes after the conclusion of the last listed song for an epic monologue about a stolen bicycle set to thick percussion that extends the track's total length to a behemoth 37 minutes. Perhaps singer Noah Neff has posted a photo of his pilfered two-wheeler on the Web to help speed up its recovery -- check www.triphopchildren.com.