North American news stations have a nasty habit of picking up a story about a devastating natural disaster, blasting the public with updates for about a week or two, then promptly dropping it to cover more important news. (What would I do without prompt updates on the whereabouts of Sarah Palin’s hairdresser or the fluxuations of Kim Kardashian’s ass size? Die, probably.)
However, back at the locations of tragedies, victims don’t just disappear when we flip to TLC to catch a rerun of Cake Boss. It’s really sad that our attention span for global tragedy is so shortsighted.
Remember the Japanese Tsunami on March 11th, 2011?
The earthquake in Haiti on January 12th, 2010?
The BP oil spill on April 20th, 2010?
Yeah, they’re still cleaning up after those.
So imagine my happiness to discover that a few of my favourite artists have pieced together a benefit cd called Recorded for Japan. It’s chock-filled with psychedelic guitar licks, silky keyboard pulses and funky drumbeats. Proceeds will go to the Japanese Red Cross. Keep your ear out for contributions by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Chairlift, Kurt Vile, and R. Stevie Moore (feat. members of MGMT) in the sampler below.
If you’re looking for another awesome cd that supports relief efforts in Japan, the Morning Benders put out an incredible benefit EP called Japan Echo this year. Click here to buy it; you won’t regret it.
Another amazing compilation that supports a worthy cause is 2009’s Dark Was The Night, released by the Red Hot Organization in support of HIV/AIDS awareness. Produced by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, the compilation cd features amazing covers and collaborations by Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird and over two dozen other indie heavyweights.
Two of my favourite tracks off Dark Was The Night are Knotty Pine and Deep Blue Sea by Dan Rossen of Grizzly Bear, which was recorded in Rossen’s own home.
Knotty Pine – David Byrne and The Dirty Projectors:
Listening to music helps people. So the next time your mom starts shouting at you to “…shut off your Goddamned boom box and come help with the groceries!“, tell her you’re helping to save the world, one track at a time.