VARIOUS ARTISTS: Dealth by Salt: 3XCD

Subtitled “A Slug Magazine Compilation,” it’s a massive package with a beautifully letterpress-printed box, a booklet the size of my ham collection, with photos and short writeups for most or all of the probably fifty-nine bands (I can’t count high enough or for long enough to check that fact), and three CDs full of what I’d imagine to be just about everything going on in Salt Lake City, which, of course, brings up a problem almost universal to scene comps: they can be really hard to listen to, even when some of the stuff is good, when you have to switch gears from sweet pop to chunk metal to folk to white rap to screamo every three minutes and forty seconds. (For what it’s worth, I had the same problem with the only Victim’s Family record I ever owned.) It’s hard work, and I can’t be the only one lazy enough not to want to do it. And I’m not even saying I want the stuff grouped better so I can skip genres; I guess I just like to cultivate a mood, and that’s impossible when you’re bounced out of Cosm’s ambient techno into Bob Moss’ weird and somber murder ballad, and then back up into the Vexations’ French new wave and so forth. In fact, I probably actually dislike less than ten songs (mostly of the singer/songwriter or post-Pearl Jam variety), and really like quite a few, including: Red Bennies (Who-ey rock), Purr Bats (techno, and featuring Paul Butterfield who I think is a bigshot in some circle or other), the Cronies (Melvins-style), Dead in the Womb (death metal), Mental Midgets (thrashy hardcore), Switch (stoner), Form of Rocket (energetic treble punk), Debonnairs, Books About UFOs, Stilleto and the above-mentioned Bob Moss. Nice package, nice roster, knock down the editor.

 –doug (Eighteen Percent Gray)