Anticomp Folkilation

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Like any Monday-night Antihootenanny at Sidewalk Caf, Anticomp Folkilation is a lengthy, spotty thing that vacillates between uncommon brilliance and questionable musicianship. Spanning two discs and 31 tracks, the collection is shoddy and incongruous. But that kind of impropriety has drawn open-minded artists to the antifolk movement since its inception in the ’80s. On this compilation, a social-commentary collage like Dan Fishback’s “Faggotsaywhat?” can follow the wobbly lament of the Bowmans’ “The Slumber,” and neither sounds out of place.

Undefinable and progressive as it wants to be, the antifolk scene still points to traditional folk and punk. The Wowz song “You’re Lovely” has sweet, Byrdsian harmonies, while Major Matt Mason USA’s “Tripping Yourself” combines lo-fi electric distortion with nasal vocals. Most of the tracks are based on acoustic rhythm guitar, tinny pianos and rickety drum kits; even the established antifolkers (Kimya Dawson, Jason Trachtenburg) resist singing in tune, which is just fine—as long as they have something interesting to say. Lyrics are paramount to this crop of troubadours, so listeners who have the patience to wait out the musical idiosyncrasies will be rewarded with unique views on life. — Cristina Black

The Wowz and Major Matt Mason USA play the Anticomp Folkilation release party Sun 11, part of the Fortified Winter Antifolk Festival at Sidewalk Caf Fri 9--Feb 18.

Various artists (Crafty)