For seven years now, local label/collective Makeshift has been documenting the city's indie-rock scene with a series of compilations. The label's focus now may be on putting out full-length records from individual artists, but Makeshift began as a compilation label (2000's The First Broadcast), and this series is still central to the label's identity.
The 22-track, roughly 75-minute Makeshift 5 is a benefit for the Church Health Center, which provides health-care to uninsured Memphians, many of them musicians, presumably many of them on this compilation.
Makeshift 5 doesn't stray as far afield of the label's Midtown indie-rock foundation as some past compilations and, as a result, might be the most consistent Makeshift sampler: It doesn't peak as high as past mixes but also generally doesn't bottom out as low.
One perhaps accidental feature here is that, despite Makeshift's status as a vehicle for developing or introducing new artists, many of the standout tracks here come from musicians whose local bona fides predate Makeshift's existence by many years.
The forcefully grimy indie rock of "Excuses" comes from Dragoon, which is made up of members of classic regional '90s bands the Grifters (Memphis, natch) and Trusty (a Little Rock outfit I saw at the old Antenna club as a high-schooler in the early '90s). Nineties-born comeback band the Subteens offer the rousing rocker "Never Gonna Happen." Reformed local punk institution Pezz (another bunch of Antenna vets) is back with "Pimp Caesar." Susan Marshall, whose major-label break with Mother Station dates a decade-and-a-half ago, contributes the sharp alt-country torch song "Arkabutla." Even the Secret Service, which kicks things off with the typically ripping, roaring rocker "Outsiders," could count, seeing as how the band is in part a vehicle for the guitar fireworks of former Big Ass Trucker Steve Selvidge.
Which doesn't mean the young spate of more Makeshift-identified acts don't make their mark. Excellent Makeshift acts the Coach & Four and Third Man are sadly M.I.A., but the Snowglobe family makes an appearance in three forms — with the full band "Blue," with Makeshift founder Brad Postlethwaite's melodic new-wave, acoustic-built gem "Particles Locked in a Chain," and with Tim Regan's Antenna Shoes' "Singer." Other highlights include Cory Branan's playful "Muhammed Ali (and Me)" and the debut of Paul Taylor and Amy LaVere as a credited duo on the trippy yet rootsy "Embrace the Cosmos." — Chris Herrington
Makeshift will be sponsoring an in-store appearance at Goner Records Saturday, August 11th, to promote Makeshift 5. Brad Postlethwaite, J.D. Reager & the Cold-Blooded Three, Dragoon, and Blair Combest are set to perform. The show is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. and is free.
"Just a regular feller singing songs for fun/Trying to have a good time without hurting anyone." That's how local musical prankster Muck Sticky describes himself on "Because I Can," the album-opening declaration of principles from Bobolink Cove. But "I like to hit the bong and party all night long," from "My Song," is probably more to the point.
Muck Sticky's high-pitched, half-rapped drawl is as acquired a taste as his semi-utopian, smoked-out, NC-17-rated worldview, but he's never sounded more convincing than he does on this fourth album, something that can probably be credited in part to the work of ace producer/engineer Scott Bomar.
On most songs, Muck Sticky comes across as a backwoods midpoint between Beck and Mungo Jerry, except when he gets gangsta, where he's more like somewhere between Slim Shady and Weird Al, though Muck's total, gonzo dedication usually wins out.
The sex-rap "This N' That" isn't exactly Too Short, but it definitely holds your attention with a comic payoff. However, the torpid weed paean "High Times" only proves that, like so many limited artists before him, slow is not Muck Sticky's friend.
Ultimately, Muck Sticky's execution still doesn't quite live up to his concept, but the gap is definitely closing. — CH
Muck Sticky will celebrate the release of Bobolink Cove on Friday, August 10th,