BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
The New Arrivals series has always provided a reliable means of sampling the artists on MPress’ impressive indie roster, but unlike most label samplers, it has also operated as a charitable concern, with each release benefiting a different charity. The fifth entry in the series is no different, and no less worthy: it’s to raise funds for those still suffering the ongoing effects of Super Storm Sandy. It’s a worthy cause, and while that ought to provide ample incentive for mega sales, even the most reluctant buyer might be tempted to open his or her wallet simply for the musical rewards alone.
While admittedly the majority of the artists represented herein are unknown to the public at large – Rachael Sage, Paula Cole, Ari Hest and Lucy Wainwright being those that have more than a glimmer of name recognition – the wealth of wonderful melodies makes this a wholly engaging collection. Happily too, with a set that numbers some 20 songs, quality and quantity are in perfect sync, given there’s not a single dud in the lot. Polly Paulusma’s hushed yet exuberant “Last Week,” Emma Dean’s fragile ballad “Phoebe (With Her Whole Heart),” the effusive pop of Ari Hest’s “The Winter of Yes,” A Fragile Tomorrow’s “A Long Time To Be Happy” and the soothing sounds of Lucy Wainwright, Alex Wong and Chad Elliott provide obvious highlights, but in truth, every entry is worthy of repeated listens. A more satisfying sampler would be hard to find.
DOWNLOAD: “Last Week,” “Phoebe (With Her Whole Heart),” “The Winter of Yes”