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New Rock Nation

New Rock Nation

Downline Records

This sampler CD is the first of its kind that I have received. Instead of copious amounts of press on each band, either in an enclosed booklet or in separate press releases, Downline Records has simply indicated the artists on the back cover, and the artist-song-track number on the inside cover, with no indications of any of this on the disc itself. Instead, the CD is an enhanced CD with an autoplay that opens your default web browser to a page with all of the artists listed. When you choose a band, you get a picture, line-up, and a link to their website along with the option to play their track from the CD. Additionally, you get Amazon and CD Baby links for purchase.

Enough about the packaging, what about the music, right? Well, I'm one of those guys who hates it when a reviewer says, "there's something here for everyone," but really, there is. If you like just about any genre in the overall "rock" pantheon, chances are high that you will find something on this disc that you will enjoy. There's nu-metal (51 Peg), death metal (Simplekill), power pop (Milhouse), and bouncy electronica (Eha). There are songs that hearken back to early-'90s alternative (Bodi Profit), and others that hearken back to mid-'80s hard rock (The Treatment).

That said, of course, unless your tastes are very eclectic, there's a good chance that very little of what you hear will appeal to you. But then again, that is the purpose of a sampler. Also, while the enhanced-CD package is a step forward in interactivity, it still has some drawbacks. The bands are listed in the browser in alphabetical order, not the order they appear on the disc. Also, clicking the play button took me to a Quicktime in-browser player, instead of launching my standalone media player, forcing me away from the page with the band info each time. Instead of some narrow-focused offerings (Punk-o-Rama), Downline has shown the breadth of their catalog here. Take a chance with the sample if you run across it. Unfortunately, the same interactivity cannot be found at their website.

Downline Records: www.downlinerecords.com