By Jason Leger
After the Beep: A Compilation Recorded on Phones, by Various Artists
Technology, am I right? Viewing the current landscape of cell phones that do very little to actually resemble phones, and televisions that were initially intended to give us a way to detach from the world, now giving us greater ways to connect to one another, it’s difficult to not feel completely in awe of the time we are existing in.
“After the Beep: A Compilation Recorded on Phones” is a collaboration of friends from across the country, compiled by Seattle via Pensacola songwriter Chris Staples. The collaboration mingles some local favorites, like Gio Lugo from Paloma and Heath Underwood from El Cantador, with a few well-known indie mainstays, like Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra, Telekinesis, as well as Staples himself.
What makes this compilation interesting and original is the fact that all 13 songs were recorded to cell phones. No fancy microphones, no Pro Tools, no Auto-Tune, just bare bones music recorded to a phone. Stylistically, for the most part, the album sticks to acoustic, lo-fi Americana, which is more than okay with me, as this is where the majority of these artists seem to really shine.
Highlights include Hull’s track, “Back of Your Old Church,” a simple, winding song, which would suitably fit inside Hull’s Right Away, Great Captain catalog, as well as Staples’ effervescent and catchy “Cindy, Diana, Janet & Wanda.” The two absolute standouts for me are “Girls and the Internet” by Dull Actors, which I’ve had on repeat since I got it, and an act which I was completely unaware of prior to this release, Bell Plaines. Their song, “New Room” is absolutely haunting and I was immediately intrigued for more.
This compilation has a little something for everyone, spanning from artists everyone should be at least remotely familiar with to up and comers who deserve exposure. The album can be downloaded for free at chrisstaples.bandcamp.com. Snag it today and stop feeling so disconnected.