Various Artists, Friends in Bellwoods

Good compilations can define an era. Back in the day, Homestead Records (RIP) released a double LP called Human Music that brought together a dog’s breakfast of bands that fell under the college rock radar, preceded lo-fi and grunge, and wasn’t punk or ska or folk or shoegazer or pigfucker. I don’t know what it was called, but it was my music for a formative time in my life and a building block of who I am as a musical person. Friends in Bellwoods has the whiff of a similar level of reach for the current crop of Toronto (and outer lying regions) bands. The hub that ties them together is a house occupied by Ohbijou’s Casey Mejica that serves as a rehearsal space and sometime venue for a coterie of local groups. While I sympathize with friends of mine who live across the street and are kept up by the noise, I can’t condemn the youngsters for doing what generations of youngsters have done before them. At least most of these kids play melodic, folky, rocky, mostly nice indie rock. So nice, it’s basically a two CD group hug. (Terence Dick)