One thing we know for sure is that Tooth & Nail Records specializes in amazing music. They consistently put out great album after great album, with only a few mishaps here and there. In addition, the label seems to really love compilations. The annual X series is released through them every year (technically through BEC, but it's a branch-off of T&N), and they have had countless samplers on sites like Purevolume and Amazon. Another series of compilations from the label (one we haven't seen since 2002) is called Songs From The Penalty Box. 2009 marks the sixth release in the series, with 22 of the best (and maybe not-so-best) Tooth & Nail has to offer.
There are always multiple sides to a Tooth & Nail compilation (and most compilations in general, really). On one hand, you may be able to expect some brand new tunes from an up-and-coming release from one of your favorite bands. On the other hand, you may just get a song from your favorite band you already own, even if you don't own the official release from them, as some T&N songs get reused on different compilations a lot. On the third hand, there's always newer tracks from recently-released albums that you might not have had the chance to pick up yet. Unfortunately, Songs From The Penalty Box, Volume 6 contains no unreleased material. Seventeen of the tracks were released on albums from last year, while Neon Horse's "Cuckoo" came out in 2007. Even the 2009 tracks are all from albums that have already seen their release date. With everything on this disc having already been released to the public (with the undeniable knowledge that many of Tooth & Nail's hardcore fans have probably picked up most of the albums already), it almost makes you wonder if this compilation was really that necessary, or if it was just for the sole purpose of selling more records. It becomes even more questionable when some of the songs have been used several times already. How come every time Children 18:3 is used, it's always "All My Balloons?" Sure, it's a great song, but there's more on their album than that. Why not "Ditches" or "Final?" Same with Secret & Whisper's "XOXOXO" and The Classic Crime's "Abracadavers." How about a little more variety?
Then again, even hardcore fans don't get out there and purchase every album they want (I personally only have ten of the individual albums that this collection represents). So it's a good way to get single songs from some great bands onto one disc. mewithoutYou offers the insanely catchy "Every Thought A Thought of You" from their latest, It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright, while another indie favorite, As Cities Burn, contributes their latest single "Errand Rum" from Hell or High Water. Even some of the 2008 songs are still great to listen to (2008 wasn't really that long ago anyhow). "The Journey" from Showbread, "Out of Control" from Capital Lights, "Radiator" from Family Force 5 and "The Brightest of the Head" from Starflyer 59 are all songs that still play in my iPod from time to time.
Compilations are toss ups. They could be worth one person's time, but a waste of another's. Unlike EMI's super lame Tooth & Nail Records: The Ultimate Collection released last year (which was a waste of everyone's time), Songs From The Penalty Box, Vol. 6 is actually useful. Though I wouldn't recommend the purchase of the entire thing for everyone (if you have most of the albums represented, you would be better off buying the rest from iTunes, or just buying another album altogether), I would recommend this to someone unfamiliar with these bands, or someone who doesn't buy much music and is looking for something good to jam to.- Review date: 6/10/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
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