City Paper is not for tourists
The 7-inch vinyl single is the Platonic (or at least Spectorian) ideal of recorded music, but it’s not an especially convenient way of storing or retrieving pop-music data. Plus, with the rise of the limited-edition boutique single, vinyl now gives off the vaguely disagreeable odor of record-collectordom. Simple Machines has addressed both of these problems by collecting the songs from the six 7-inch EPs that gave the label its name (Wedge, Wheel, Pulley, etc.) on a 24-song CD, titled simply The Machines 1990-1993. The collection, arranged chronologically, starts off promisingly with the contents of Wedge: The Hated open, demonstrating the value of an actual song with their peevish rendition of S&G’s “I Am a Rock,” followed by strong tracks from Lungfish, Edsel, and Tsunami-prequel Geek, whose “Herasure” is a broadside about living in “a rape culture.” The majority of the better stuff, though, is on the latter half of the disc, drawn from the EPs released after the label had enlisted such relative heavyweights as Velocity Girl, Scrawl, Circus Lupus, Superchunk, and Unrest. Also cool: tracks from Jawbox, Severin, Autoclave, and Tsunami, and the usual ironic graphics and chatty liner notes. And remember, the fact that it’s on CD means you can program out Juliana. If memory serves, Simple Machines is at P.O. Box 10290, Arlington, VA 22210-1290.