Various Artists

The average record-label sampler is an inconsistent mélange of already overexposed songs that weren't that great to begin with. Jade Tree's latest 21-track compilation, however, is a rare find that showcases the most interesting and talented artists on the label's impressive roster. Since launching the Jade Tree imprint in 1990, longtime buddies Tim Owen and Darren Walters have poured their souls into building one of the most admired and consistent record labels in indie rock. Inspired by Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson's work at Dischord Records, Owen and Walters have proved that music can be professional and still be punk. This bargain compilation is a testament to their success.

Opening with the angular aggression of Seattle's These Arms Are Snakes and closing with six previously unreleased live tracks by some of the label's best-known artists, Location Is Everything, Vol. 2 has something for everyone. The politically charged onslaught of Strike Anywhere follows the creepy electro vibe of Cex. A few tracks later, Denali's chilly ambience is sandwiched between the classic punk sound of Paint It Black and the land-speed records of From Ashes Rise. Strong tracks contributed by Onelinedrawing, Pedro the Lion, Kid Dynamite, Joan of Arc and many others round out this diverse collection. There's even a track from the label's biggest star, Jets to Brazil. Not a bad apple in the whole bunch. Throw Location Is Everything, Vol. 2 on at your next party; your friends will think it's the best mix tape you ever made.


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