Review: Deep Elm Sampler No. 9 "We Dream Alone"

Maybe there's no point in reviewing a free album, because you're either interested enough to download it or not.  What decision is there to be made?  Besides the fact that all the bands are trying to showcase their music in one song, thereby guaranteeing a good mix of music, your hard-earned ten bucks will stay in your pocket whether or not you aquire Deep Elm Sampler No. 9.

Regardless, I suggest downloading this sampling of good alternative rock.  The whole album has an honest, earnest sound that is especially endearing to me after a long day of listening to what my coworkers like.  I call it "beer rock:" Breaking Benjamin and anything else that sounds even vaguely like Nickelback.  This album is as opposite as you can get and still call it rock.  In most cases, the songs on it are even sung rather than grunted.

To my young ear, there's what sounds like a nineties influence in a lot of the songs.  "Forgot Love" by Public Radio reminds me of Cake mixed with a happy Billy Talent, if you can imagine that.  Meanwhile, Nathan Xander brings more of a folk sound with the reverberating vocals and clangy guitar in "Trial by Fire."  In several tracks the vocals border on whiny, but they never become annoying– for me. Disclaimer: I listened to the All American Rejects in high school.

"Don't Fail Me" by Desoto Jones is a highlight of the album for me, with a classic crunchy rhythm and pleading lead guitar combo.  500 Miles to Memphis also impressed me with "The Regret," which has a very cool string part weaving through a near-punk anthem with machine-gun drums.  But If you only get one song, try "8105"by Moving Mountains.  It's very catchy, but in a good way… and with horns.  There's a climactic, wailing chorus where vocals and guitars vie for the lead while the thumping percussion gives both a stage.

Andrew says: give this album a listen.