Various Artists – Doubleplusgood Records Presents: Pop for Charity

Various Artists
Doubleplusgood Records Presents: Pop for Charity

Compilations fall into three basic categories: label samplers, theme compilations, and charity compilations. I prefer the themed version, as they tend to be more cohesive, but there’s no denying the pleasure you get from buying a compilation for a good cause, regardless of the music contained on it. Pop For Charity, a Minneapolis group that supports various good causes, seems worthy of your support. But even better (for music fans, anyway), the 20 songs here are all exclusive to this comp. Diversity seems to be the key-word, however, as you get punk, emo, folk-ish rock, hip-hop, electronic, and more.
We start off full-blast with a ripping cover of Motorhead’s “No Voices in the Sky” from Dillinger Four that sets the stage early. There’s a nice dose of garage-rock from The Beautiful Mothers titled “The Last Ones (Yet),” and H. Chinaski contribute an amazing lost song, the moody yet intense “John 747.” Continuing with the emo bent, Congratulations on Your Decision to Become a Pilot contribute “Tied Up Overhead,” an ultra-cool and moody track with some great vocals that shows how this impressive band is developing. There’s a nice folk-ish track from Komodo that reminds me a bit of the Jayhawks, and Myriapoda‘s acoustic “Scary Movies” is a nice, calm tune that uses some interesting keyboard background.
I’ve heard some buzz around Hammell on Trial, but his song, “(You and Your) Big Ideas,” a Dylan-esque folk tune, is somewhat uninspired and includes mostly a bunch of rhyming. By contrast, the acoustic “Lucid” by Hollow is beautiful, featuring classical sounding guitars and lovely vocals. And Alan Sparhawk of Low adds his gorgeous vocals and slow-core song style to the lovely and aptly titled live “Sleep Song.”
From there, things take a more electronic bent. I can’t help but dig the slick “Last Ones Up Become Lovers” by The Brokerdealer (ex-Lifter Puller), and Emperor Penguin‘s “A Hawaii of the Mind” is kind of bouncy, kind of relaxing and perfectly fits the title. Solitude‘s “Def/Konz 5” is sample heavy and very laid-back, trip-hoppy, and Slug & Eyedea‘s “Forget Me” is fresh-sounding hip-hop, with a laid-back groove and deep vocals. Breakfast‘s “Formal Princess” is short and weird, with maniacal laughing all over the place, and “Ghoul” by Brody (Andrew Broder of Fog) closes with an odd amalgamation of samples and acoustic guitar ramblings for six minutes.
Some of the tracks I skipped aren’t as worthy of mention, like the mediocre gloom-punk of Spiveys, the hardcore-leaning The Dames, the odd remix of Decembers Architects’ “Pop 1,” and the rather typical hip-hop by Non-Prophets and Buck 65. So not all the tracks here are winners, but there’s definitely enough to make this worth donating your money to a good cause. Some will be turned off by the album’s diversity, though, so an open mind musically is required.