Little Darla Has a Treat for You, Vol. 24: Summer 2006 by Various Artists (Review)

Featuring Aarktica, Robin Guthrie, July Skies, I Am Robot and Proud, Lowlife, and more.
Little Darla Has A Treat For You, Volume 24 - Various Artists

The folks at Darla always seem to be on the forefront of finding stylish music to grace our ears, and as a result, Darla’s long-running compilation series is always chock full of interesting little gems. Unfortunately, as is the case with most comps of this nature, there’s also a fair amount of dross to wade through. And given that this particular volume of Little Darla Has a Treat for You is a double album, that’s, well, doubly true.

There are 36 tracks in all. But to tell you the truth, I find that most of them just sink in the background. Which, I suppose, allows the truly good stuff to shine forth all the more brightly.

Aarktica’s contribution, “Summer Tunneling,” is the biggest revelation for me. Jon DeRosa has been steadily moving away from the blissed out sounds of No Solace in Sleep, with mixed results. But this track is one of the best things I’ve heard from him, period. Beginning with noisy drum programs, the song eventually merges with various layers of guitars, some picked, some droney, to sound like the perfect blend of Hood’s glitch-hop and their earlier, more pastoral stuff.

Robin Guthrie’s “Argenta” is another perfect blend, this time of the more straightforward “rock” sound of his recent full-length with the shimmering, ethereal melodies that are associated with the Cocteau Twins at the height of their powers. July Skies’ “Pevsner Broke Our Hearts” is as forlorn and nostalgic as one might expect, with more reliance on effected vocals than most of his stuff.

I Am Robot and Proud’s take on electronica is effortless and charming, with all of the melodies and programming hearkening back to Darla’s “drum n’ bliss” heyday. Scottish cult band Lowlife has received a number of reissues in recent years, and “Ramafied” shows why, with Craig Lorentson’s powerful voice sounding forth over chiming guitars and surging, evocative basslines. And those are just a few…

Even if these particular tracks don’t trip your trigger, there’s plenty of other stuff on here, from hip-hop to dreampop to electronica to stripped down European folk to lounge, and everything in-between.

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