The king's ransom of influential and diverse U.K.-based indie pop & rock acts that emerged from Great Britain in the broad wake of '80s post-punk has never been chronicled with serious attention -- until now, and Rhino's vast 4-CD retrospective The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze, And Brit-Pop Gems Of The Last Millennium does just that.

While many artists featured here enjoyed superstar status in Mother England, their impact on U.S. charts was more peripheral-- but their stylistic imprint and collective uber-hip peer-pressure on late 20th century popular music overall is undeniable. With the respect given the '60s-era British Invasion in countless other compilations, Rhino's new trans-Atlantic ocean liner-sized box-- shaped to resemble a vintage UK phone booth-- champions close to 80 independent acts that didn't so much reject mainstream musical sensibilities as spin it in their own fashion for hits that defined cool.

Lovingly compiled with true "oh to be in England" spirit, Rhino hails Britannia with over five hours of tastemaker tracks.

* Chronologically sequenced on four CDs, 78 key tracks overseeing tastemaker post-punk indie UK music from 1984 through the end of the 20th century.

* 80-page booklet features interviews, memories and essays from Creation Records founder Alan McGee, seminal producers Stephen Street and Alan Moulder and a diverse array of artists.

* Disc 1, covering roughly 1984-1990, features seminal guitar-driven alt-pop/rock acts including The Smiths, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Charlatans UK. Plus, the Mighty Lemon Drops, Trash Can Sinatras, Happy Mondays, Primal Scream and The Stone Roses.

* Disc 2, spanning '90-'93, covers the "shoegazer movement" with memorable tracks from Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Lush, The Telescopes and other emotionally resonant and atmospherically powerful bands.

* Disc 3 focuses heavily on '94-'95 and era-defining Brit-pop phenoms including hit-makers Oasis, Suede, Blur, Elastica and Pulp. Plus memorable tracks from New Order, Swervedriver, Nick Heyward and more.

* Carrying through the close of the 20th century, Disc 4 collects stand-outs from smashing end-of-days creative forces including Ash, Super Furry Animals, The Verve, Placebo, and more.