Lo-Fi by Default Sampler 2

LFD Sampler Vol. 2 cover art
Lo-Fi by Default Sampler Vol. 2
(2013 Lo-Fi by Default)

Here's a sampler from a relatively new label that I crossed paths with recently, Lo-Fi by Default. This Kansas-based imprint, specializing in cassettes, has signed a plethora of promising artists that share a blissed-out electronic vibe. Not to say it's a completely homogeneous set of songs, though. Like an Olympic Games of lo-fi music, just about every musical subgenre from shoegaze to seapunk is represented here. For a label that's relatively new, Lo-Fi by Default shows a refreshing sense of versatility. 

Setting the vibe for this smattering of twenty-one tracks is "Don't Stop" by Future Screens, a frustratingly underrated New York synthpop act. The chillwave quartet has brewed up a cauldron bubbling to the brim with Neon Indian's keen pop instincts and the rubbery synth tones of Com Truise.  Keep your fingers crossed for a tape this year. Another song that caught my eye (well, ear actually) was Beds in the East's "Short Straw". A throwback to the 90s, it recalls bedroom rock legends Sebadoh with some Radiohead-esque beats thrown in for good measure. I really dig the filtered texture of the vocals on this track, as it provides a sharp contrast to the sparkly guitars and keyboard sounds that just barely bury themselves deep in your inner ear. 

While I'm not one to normally listen to music engineered to get one on their feet and dancing, even I can't resist the 120 seconds of synthesized euphoria that make up Kinesthetiac's "Jabberwocky". I dare you to make it through this all-too-short track without playing the air drum machine. Also worth checking out is Metropolitan Intent's "Graffiti Sense #5", a bit of a NES-styled take on The Cure circa 1989. Whorish Boorish and Starnoise offer up a pair of beautifully grainy tunes, with the vintage feel of faded photos snapped in the 70s. There were a handful of tracks on this sampler, though, that were too electronically-tinged for my tastes, but all in all I enjoyed the better part of it. Downloading is recommended. 

Listen below and browse Lo-Fi by Default's store here.