Recorded For Japan & other charitable music compilations

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.

Various Artists – Recorded For Japan – Visual Player from RECORDED FOR JAPAN on Vimeo.

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 PineDavid 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.

MusicBetweenFriends Presents: Summer In Winter

It’s so cold here in Southern Ontario! Don’t let the Southern part fool you; we can get chilled with the best of them. Music Between Friends proudly presents Summer In Winter, a playlist heavy with surf-rock, spiritual awakening, and grunge.

First up is Wasting Our Time by James Leroy, a funk-punk track with a motowny guitar line and a hyperactive tambourine. After that comes Starfield, by PS I Love You, an anthem for grungy astronauts. Then, Slime by Sleeping Bag headbangy and handclappy. The Calendar by The Dø will completely win you over by oozing its French-Finnish charm. Then, One Day by Sharon Van Etten reminds us of a female version of Girls. We follow it up accordingly with Substance by Girls. After that, Smith Westerns make grungy garage music even cooler with My Heart. Can you handle strong, strange voices? Because here come Kiss Me Like You Mean It by The Magnetic Fields and Graceland by The Tallest Man On Earth. Kurt Vile riffs on some great ideas in I Know I Got Religion. A splash of Deerhunter in Revival ties everything back to the heavy surf-rock theme of this playlist. Little Scream sweetens the pot with Heron and the Fox and Basia Bulat caps it off with Sparrow. Sharon Van Etten pops back in with Love More. Anonymous psychadelic-rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra strike us dead with drug-addled Thought Ballune. Fans of The National will take pleasure in the sweet, meandering piano line combined with drowsy vocals take us home in Lord Knows by Dirty Beaches.

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TRACK LISTING
1. Wasting Our Time – James Leroy
2. Starfield – PS I Love You
3. Slime – Sleeping Bag
4. The Calendar – The Dø
5. One Day – Sharon Van Etten
6. Substance – Girls
7. My Heart – Smith Westerns
8. Kiss Me Like You Mean It – The Magnetic Fields
9. Graceland (Paul Simon Cover) – The Tallest Man On Earth
10. I Know I Got Religion – Kurt Vile
11. Revival – Deerhunter
12. Heron and the Fox – Little Scream
13. Sparrow – Basia Bulat
14. Love More – Sharon Van Etten
15. Thought Ballune – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
16. Lord Knows Best – Dirty Beaches