Black Tambourine Image
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: The compilation, which includes six unreleased songs, as well as tracks released earlier on 1999's "Complete Recordings," for the Washington, D.C.-area indie pop band which was originally formed as a side project for members of Whorl and Velocity Girl with Pam Berry as the lead singer.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Starting with demo versions of "For Ex-Lovers Only" and "Throw Aggi Off the Bridge" that are enjoyably scraggly if not as overwhelming as the final takes. The remaining four consist of new recordings by the original band, though they're not new songs; instead, they're selections from their irregular live sets that were never formally recorded and released at the time. The production style makes it sound like they were recorded at the same time as the rest of the disc, making it a seamless treat.
  2. Black Tambourine have finally gotten the treatment they deserve. This is essential listening for anyone who wonders where indie-rock's been, or where it's going. The influence is obvious, and the music has never sounded better.
  3. Black Tambourine is indispensable listening for anyone with even a passing interest in indie pop's past or current renaissance and a wholly welcome reminder of the unwavering greatness of one of the genre's truly seminal bands.
  4. Their pithy discography--a kind of ur-record of indie-pop, ripped off knowingly and unknowingly--is part of their magic.
  5. That Complete Recordings has long gone out of print makes Black Tambourine an essential acquisition for current In the Red, Woodsist, and Slumberland loyalists. And even for old-school adherents, the bonus tracks included warrant a repurchase.
  6. Black Tambourine can be amateurish: "Can't Explain" seems as if it's being held together with chewed-up licorice and broken guitar strings. But it also builds to a fine frenzy that fans of Vivian Girls will find pleasantly familiar.
  7. Even the tape warp of the demos sounds like it was done on purpose. The packaging gets updated, too, with liner notes pondering how so many current bands have added BT's sound "to their own DNA." A rare gem that still holds up.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Aug 27, 2010
    10
    It sounds like everything you think of when you say "indie" but still manages to suprise (constantly). It sounds like the 90's rolled into theIt sounds like everything you think of when you say "indie" but still manages to suprise (constantly). It sounds like the 90's rolled into the 00's. In one word, AMAZING! Expand
  2. Aug 12, 2010
    5
    I was a big fan of Velocity Girl and came to this release in a backward fashion, meaning I was only familiar with BT's predecessor. I wasI was a big fan of Velocity Girl and came to this release in a backward fashion, meaning I was only familiar with BT's predecessor. I was curious to hear where VG's roots grew from and was disappointed and underwhelmed by this release. The songs are just not that interesting and sound amateurish by even 1990's indie label standards. Don't get me wrong, I love the output of labels like Creation, K, Sarah, Cherry Red, et al, but this is nowhere near the quality of many of the bands that recorded for the aforementioned labels. I hate to drop the hammer on this record and this band, but this is a boring record and not worth checking out even for curious VG fans. Buyer beware on this one. Expand

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