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I-Town Records – various artists

I-Town Records

Ithaca, New York. For some reason, I keep associating it with Kurt
Vonnegut. A mention in one of his many novels/short stories? Residing there
at one point in his life? Whatever, I just like saying the name. Without
consulting a map, the name 'Ithaca' just sounds like a pastoral, laidback
place that's set for hiking in the summer and snowboarding and skiing in the

The one thing I haven't related to the city is a thriving music scene. Setting me straight is the first compilation from I -Town Records, which celebrates the independent label's artists. The 14 tracks, which clock in at nearly 60 minutes, display the area's diversity of genres. While the influences upon some artists are more noticeable than they are on others, overall they are able to transcend their work into little distinctive patches of sound.

Double Irie reminds me of the scores of reggae acts plying their trade
around small clubs across the country. With "You and I" we receive a
swift-moving track that tackles all the necessary elements including the
break to get you skanking. Beer in hand is optional.

Like Double Irie, Wingnut does what's expected on its lone track, "Head
Toaster." It's a jazz instrumental workout that's bookended by funky
Led by a Hammond B3 organ, stylewise, it's a setting that's probably been
heard again and again among those who follow the jam band scene. Now, I'm
saying that this track isn't worthwhile. It's a perky little number that's
highly listenable. Put it this way, "Head Toaster" is mix tape worthy. It's
just that, at least for now, Wingnut hasn't shown me much more than plowing
the territory of the pleasing but familiar.

Now, my winner for best bandname on the album goes to 10 ft. Ganja Plant.
For a reggae act, it just seems appropriate and comical… and probably
of a good story on its background. Anyway, as far as "Sunny Foundation"
it's an instrumental that sounds as if it was recorded in someone's basement
with the hum of equipment heard in the background. That atmospheric type of
sound has its own character and works in regards to the gently skanking
groove on "Sunny Foundation."

The message on this first compilation from I-Town records comes through
loud and clear. The Ithaca area harbors a host of talented artists who are
striving to carve their own particular niche within the music world. This
sampler is your introduction to some new sounds and new releases for your
blossoming compact disc collection.

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