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Various Artists

My Favorite Song Writers (Five One Inc.)

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Rather than just presenting a compilation album to promote their own roster, the folks at Five One -- a tiny, emo-ish label based in Santa Monica, California -- approached some of their favorite musicians and asked them to come up with solo tracks exclusively for this project. And so this fascinating disc (though fairly polished, most of the twelve tunes are subdued bedroom recordings) takes a sharp blade to both well-established bands and a handful of Five One's fledgling acts, separating the meat of each group's primary songwriter from the oft-clamorous backbone of their regular outfit. Stellar moments abound: Ryan Ferguson (No Knife) and Stephen Brodsky (Cave-In) both exhibit their affinity for Elliott Smith on the delicate "On Elvira Street" and "Beautiful Break-Up," respectively; Jim Ward (Sparta) whips up something out of 1983 post-punk London on "These Years"; and Tim Kasher (Cursive, The Good Life) gets positively, primitively video-gamey on the bouncy breakup tune "Stranger Than Strangers." There are a couple less-successful head-scratchers -- "AM Jam," a 77-second instrumental by Derek Fudesco (Pretty Girls Make Graves) that strangely recalls Bob Seger's "Mainstreet," is one -- but most everything else encourages repeated, frequent listens.

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