The Lineup, Vol. II: Electric Summer

An Album By

Various Artists

Review by

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If you’re at all familiar with BadChristian, without fail, you can expect two things from them: tenacious honesty and a wide-range of interests. Whether in blog posts, podcasts or other electronic interaction, these two hallmark traits can be found in just about everything they say and do.

It shouldn’t surprise me, then, to find these attributes also solidly entrenched in the musical arm of the organization, BC Music. Initially launched to facilitate the release of a recent Emery album (We Do What We Want), BC Music has since widened its scope, roster and promotional methods to reach a greater number of folks, building an increasingly diverse set of artists and releases. (Bands that have joined the BadChristian ranks include Vocal Few, Abandon Kansas, Pacific Gold, Kings Kaleidoscope and The Classic Crime.)

In keeping with the proven practice of finding strength in diversifying its offerings, BC Music released its first compilation album in 2014, The Lineup: Vol. I. The collection featured songs from both BadChristian artists and unsigned bands. The group decided to follow it up in 2015 with the release of another compilation, The Lineup, Vol. II: Electric Summer, an assemblage of tunes from artists using primarily electronic instrumentation.

The people at BC Music put a lot of time, effort and thought into …Electric Summer, and it shows in the diversity of the songs they chose. All kinds of different subgenres in electronic music are represented, and the subject matter ranges from sublime to humorous, heartfelt to playful, rapturous to wrecked. Influences from seminal ’80s bands like Duran Duran, the Eurythmics, Soft Cell and Simple Minds (Golden Ears, Hello Ground, Beggars All) hold their own against sounds and beats taken from today’s DJs and airwaves (Stemson, VNDLS, LYNX). Gritty, dark soundscapes also are at play, and the echoes of bands like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and even Thrice’s work on The Alchemy Index can be heard, brooding here and there in the songs of NYVES, Johnny Holland, and DRYBNZ. Remixes from BC artists (Emery, Kings Kaleidoscope, The Classic Crime, and Pacific Gold) round out the album with fresh (and, in the case of Kings Kaleidoscope’s “Defender,” wildly different and creative) takes on band favorites.

One of my favorite things about music is that it can still surprise me. It seems surprise to be more and more an uncommon occurrence as music becomes increasingly homogenized, but I still prick up my ears when I hear something truly original. Your inner monologue — don’t act like you don’t have one — forces you to recognize a really different way of approaching sound. I am happy to report that The Lineup, Vol. II: Electric Summer surprised me, and that’s the highest compliment I have to bestow.