Various Artists [I]Location Is Everything, Vol. 1[/I] Review

Location Is Everything, Vol. 1
is a various-artists sampler that not only showcases Jade Tree’s 2002 roster, but illustrates the growing strength of a label that has gone from "two guys running it out of a house," as co-owner Darren Walters has said, to one of the most important independent record labels in existence. The old standbys are here: Girls Against Boys provides the angular grind of "Kicking the Lights" and the hushed previously unreleased track "Super Slow," there’s Jets to Brazil’s catchy, Jam-esque "Milk & Apples" and "I’ve Got All the Words…" (another unreleased gem), and the Promise Ring is featured with the hit "Emergency! Emergency!" But the inclusions on the compilation that are most like to alter perceptions and blow minds are those that demonstrate Jade Tree’s ability to expand their scope. Denali confounds expectations with Portishead-like atmospheric rock, Cub Country plays dusty alt-country, and Milemarker virtually redefines punk rock with its cold-wave guitar and synthesizer sex jams. Finally, the best tracks on the record come from two brilliant solo projects — Mike Fellows’ subtle acoustic guitar and laptop project, Miighty Flashlight, and Jonah Matranga’s golden pop recorded as Onelinedrawing — bands that aren’t just two of Jade Tree’s best, but two of the best new bands of 2002.

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