12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2009
I love these Rough Trade end-of-year compilations. Each year since 2002, Rough Trade has produced a Counter Culture double CD and they've become an essential purchase for me in recent years; always my first order of the New Year (this year narrowly beating the Animal Collective album).
If you're not already familiar with the format it goes something like this; two CDs, each with twenty plus tracks, rounding up a selection of the year's most interesting releases, as chosen by the staff in London's Rough Trade stores. Over recent years the format seems to have settled into CD1 featuring the quieter tracks, whilst CD2 includes the more banging selections. For me they serve two purposes; a reminder of all the things I meant to purchase during the last year and never got around to and also to highlight a few gems that I may have missed.
So this year's selections includes contributions from the widely acclaimed; Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, those on the edge of big things; Crystal Stilts, Vivian Girls (I hope) and those who will always be overlooked by the mainstream; Softboiled Eggies anyone? And whilst Rough Trade may be regarded as an `indie' label, the Counter Culture selection is genuinely eclectic, taking in hip-hop (Rustie, Yo! Majesty), dubstep (2562's haunting Kameleon), metal (Boris) and folk (The Acorn). You also get comprehensive liner-notes and release details for each track, written with genuine passion, warmth and wit.
So if you're looking for a round-up of many of 2008's more interesting, original or just plain off-the-wall releases this compilation represents an excellent investment. It's a pity that Rough Trade's equally interesting genre based compilations (Post Punk, Electronica etc.) seem to have ended; it would be good to see them return in 2009.