(Today Reverb Recommends... is our new daily word on what to check out, in live music and elsewhere.)
2010 was a big year for Hardly Art. And though the label suffered a blow this year in the announcement of the disillusion of one of its finest bands, the Dutchess and the Duke, it didn't lack for programming. If anything, Hardly Art's identity came into sharper relief, as can be heard on their new, free 2010 sampler . More important than any single release, we're going to look back at 2010 as the year the young label came into its own.A Sub Pop subsidiary that launched in 2007, this year the label released the much-anticipated sophomore album from local favorites the Moondoggies, reissued a heap of music by Carissa's Weird (the Seattle band whose members later gave us Band of Horses, S, and Grand Archives), and introduced the world to La Sera, the solo project from Vivian Girl bassist Katy Goodman, among other releases, all represented on the sampler.
It's telling that on a mix of 15 tracks from eight bands, there's a feeling of continuity. There's a heavy tendency toward the garage, for sure, but even the harmony and country-lovin' Moondoggies do not sound so out of place nuzzled up next to the fuzz of Golden Triangle or the bright punk of Unnatural Helpers. All the releases share the same fondness for the strange, but with the accessibility and substance of a good pop record.