A while back in the comment section, some semi-anonymous seer inveighed against my admiration for what Stones Throw is doing. I don’t get it. Unlike most of the now mostly moribund labels of the indie-rap boom, they’ve managed to keep quality control high, output steady, and craft a sensible and generous promotional policy for the digital age. Granted, the Atwater-based label isn’t above putting out the occasional dud, but they’ve been few and far between.  And over the last two years, with the launch of Egon’s Now-Again spinoff, few imprints are able to match the impeccable excavation they’ve done in unearthing lost gems from all ends of the earth.

There is competition (Tompkins Square, Light in the Attic, Soundways, Strut, Subliminal Sounds), but Forge Your Own Chains provides unimpeachable evidence for Now-Again’s excellence in the field of excellence. The crate-digging equivalent of shale oil extraction. Compiling largely anonymous American, Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern acts united by their love of lysergics and their skill at creating haunting and woozy one-offs, it’s one of the more essential compilations in a year with a lot of essential compilations. You probably haven’t heard any of these groups before, but you probably should have.  To boot, the packaging comes with a 40 page book complete with extensive mini-bios about each group, it’s an impressive touch and a wise move to entice wary buyers. Doc Ellis would approve.

MP3: Damon-“Don’t You Feel Me”
MP3: Guilty Simpson & Oh No-“My Time to Shine”

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