Various - (Epic Presents) The Unsigned Vol. 2 (1987, Epic)
The concept here is pretty straightforward. Back in the mid-80s between releasing the latest Quiet Riot and Michael Jackson albums, Epic Records (now Sony) had a little extra seed money to throw around. In conjunction with CMJ magazine, the label had the rather thoughtful idea to compile nine or ten "unsigned" bands to two full-length various artist albums apiece, based on regional competition finalists. Thus Unsigned Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 were thrust into a very indifferent marketplace.
Though none of the acts on Vol 2 actually inked a deal with Epic (or with any major label for that matter) many did stick it out long enough to issue records on local indies. Side A kicks off with Chicago's power-poppin' Green who voiced their objective loud and clear on "Gotta Getta Record Out" (which they did, and coincidentally it was recently reissued). In a similar mold we have the New Salem Witch Hunters who offer up the faintly garage-tinged "Falling," which I believe also appeared on their first album. I've already covered Greensboro, NC's jangle kings (and queen) Three Hits on these pages fairly recently, and a pre-Velvet Crush Paul Chastain contributes the Ricken-soaked "Halo," which can also be found on his ep of the same title. The Basics "Paper Heart" is amiable, middle-of-the-dial pop (which seriously has me jonesin' for some Del Amitri or Toad the Wet Sprocket), while Morgantown WV's Velez Manifesto's "Dark Clouds" bears a mildy brooding silver lining. In the not-so-rock-n-roll realm, Staten Islands funked-up The Worms stick out like a sore thumb, and the horns and sax enhanced Big Noise, hailing from Woodstock, NY, are stuck between a pop and a new romantic place. Enjoy, and no, I don't have UnsignedVol. 1, at least not yet.
01. Green - Gotta Get a Record Out
02. New Salem Witch Hunters - Falling
03. The Worms - Can You Sing
04. Three Hits - Lori (Last Girl on the Beach)
05. Basics - Paper Heart
06. Slab Fashion - Strike Me Dead
07. Velez Manifesto - Dark Clouds
08. Paul Chastain - Halo
09. Big Noise - Dark Ages