Various Artists 

We Hail From the Mountains

We Hail From the Mountains—a compilation of mostly Missoula bands—brings back memories of mixed tape parties and warehouse rock shows. It has an adventurous, lo-fi edge best suited for stirring up trouble rather than sitting obediently at home. The tracks fluctuate in production values—often a feature of mixed tapes—but not enough to be distracting. Some tracks sound like live basement recordings, distant but clear enough to engage in.

Bridgebuilder’s “The Lure of Light” feels like it’s falling apart at the seams in a deliciously dangerous manner. Shotgun Moses’ “Sammy Skunk Says” sculpts sludgy punk rock goodness and Electric Dandelion plays “Black Feather” like a rock band that has been living in the mountains for a long, lonely time. Kick Thine Ass Joseph and the Bleeding Thumb Brigade gets the prize for best band name, but the one-man project also delivers a fascinating sound: weird like Dr. Demento but with a less innocuous, more devilish tone.

By the end, with 11:11’s ethereal “Aurora” and Spirit Ditch’s gravelly and twangy “Distance Traveled,” it’s easy to see that in all its cavernous chords, rays of melody and animalistic riffs that this album is, strangely enough, exactly what it sounds like to hail from the mountains.
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