by Ben Arzate
Jib Machine is an Ohio-based record company with a wide variety of artists from different genres. Established in 2004, this compilation celebrates their 15th year by collecting thirty different tracks from thirty different acts.
I had decided when I received this album to go in blind and I was surprised at how eclectic the artists were. From the first song, and the DIY look of the album, I thought it would be all punk. While that’s certainly a part of the album, it’s not the only one.
I want to first give attention to “Dragon Eye Girl” by Slammin Gladys, as I also received a copy of their single for this song. This song as well as the other two on the single are funk-infused hair metal that take me back to the kind of things that other kids’ young parents would listen to when I was over at their houses.
It’s no surprise that the band was first formed in 1989. While I’m not exactly nostalgic for that sound, I did enjoy this. Between the title song and “Hangin’ on to You,” the single shows them as excellent musicians with a great singer. The live version of “Color Me Gone” also shows they can get pretty wild when they play live. If you like the kind of metal Bill and Ted would listen to, the single is definitely worth picking up.
The other songs on the album vary, but they mostly fall under the umbrella of rock. The album opens with “Harley Girl,” a fast-paced punk song. I can’t say that it pulled me into it, this type of punk music isn’t my cup of tea, but I can certainly see fans of the genre enjoying it.
There is, however, plenty here that’s more to my taste. For example, “Cold” by Eli Fletcher is a country rock song with the kind of desperation that I like hearing in my country music. “Minister Sinister” by Pontius Pilot is a dark and brooding country song with excellent atmosphere. There’s also “Evel Kienevel and God” by Smf, a lo-fi folk song reminiscent of Daniel Johnston. My favorite song on the album is probably “The Major Fall of Minor Men” by The War Toys. This is an excellent folk song with poetic lyrics that has made me very interested in seeking out more from them.
Even as eclectic as this, there are songs that really stick out. “Old Skool X” by The Penfield Experience is a techno song straight out of the mid-90s and an enjoyable one if you have affinity for that type of music. There’s also “O Holy Night” by Philomena Gales. Yes, the Christmas standard. While Gales has a lovely voice, there’s nothing unique or interesting about her rendition of the song. This one stands out in a particularly bad way as it sounds so incredibly bland. It’s easily the worst on the album.
With 30 tracks on this album from many different genres, it’s guaranteed most who listen to it will find something to like. It works more like a sampler, as Jib Machine puts out too wide a variety of music to really pigeon-hole them as any particular kind of label, but it’s one worth picking up if you’re looking for new music. There are a few groups on here that I know I’m very interested in hearing more from.