Complex Compilation, Vol. 1
* * * 1/2
George Rosenthal has recorded some of the Bay Area’s best bands at his Complex studio over the last few years, and the best of those recordings are finally together in one place at last. The selection, as expected, is extremely diverse, ranging from ska (King Kraken’s “Elastic Girl”) to punk (Fever Scene’s “Nothin’,” Moloch+Kids’ “Moloch”) to ambient psych (Comodo Complex’s “Night Light/Rain Dance”) to country (Mark Nelsen’s “A Clown’s Response”). Much of the appeal of the album is how well Rosenthal changes up his production to suit the style of the band that seeks him out--the punk songs are as lo-fi as needed to bring out their aggression, while Girl Named T’s radio-friendly “Raven Fly” sounds like it could have been recorded in a Nashville studio at a cost of tens of thousands. And let’s not look over the simple fact that Rosenthal has recorded some of the best songs made by any Bay Area artist in recent years. Rosenthal’s own crew Lou Lou & the Guitarfish delivers a killer slab of Beatlesque psych-pop in “I May Never Grow Up,” and Adolescent Friction’s “Young Lust” (which SF Rebirth named the second best track of 2010) is a firecracker blast of hormonal garage-rock energy. Complex Compilation is worth checking out for those two tracks alone, but there are plenty of other great tunes here that make this compilation worth seeking out.