Thursday, April 21, 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - Arte Para Todos 2016 Festival Compilation

Poring over the schedule of just about any worthwhile music festival, it's only a matter of time before a certain amount of indecision sets in. It's usually impossible to see everything you'd like to, and if you're looking to try something you're unfamiliar with, band names on a page don't help all that much. Thankfully however, Arte Para Todos, happening today through Sunday at various Milwaukee locations, has thoughtfully provided an audio sampler of their eclectic offerings to help you make those tough choices, and what's more it's well worth a listen even if you have no plans to attend.

Available at the fest's Bandcamp page, and also as a limited edition Gloss Records cassette, the compilation pulls together tracks by many of the most auspicious performers involved, from impossibly soulful singer Lex Allen and celebrated indie powerhouse Midnight Reruns to tough-as-nails MC Queen Tut and wonky slack-rockers Sat. Nite Duets. While most entries can naturally already be found elsewhere, there's also a smattering of new, as-of-yet exclusive cuts, such as the fresh Fatty Acids number "Strangers" and NO/NO's tantalizing "Television", which make the collection deserving of a spin even if you've already made your picks for this weekend.

Of course, as with any collection of this sort, and especially for one comprised of over 25 selections, there are the inevitable rough patches, but the hits here far outweigh the forgettable misses and, besides, it's all for an unimpeachably good cause: to help make up for the appalling shortcomings in arts funding at Milwaukee public schools. In fact, interspersed throughout the lengthy but enjoyable release are convincing testimonials from the organizers and musicians themselves, which should amply persuade you to check out something at this year's APT, no matter what it may be. Chances are you won't be disappointed.

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