Various Artists – Shanti Project Collection Vol. 3

Various Artists
Shanti Project Collection Vol. 3

The third volume in this collection continues to raise money for the Shanti Project of San Francisco, a worthy group that provides education, practical assistance, and emotional support to people dealing with life-threatening illness and other needs. Taking the name from the Sanskrit word meaning inner peace or tranquility, the Shanti Project compilation organizers have always been adept at finding peaceful and tranquil bands to fill out the roster. Volume 1 has long been a favorite in my collection, and this edition may even top it.

Featuring luminaries in the more mellow indie-rock world, volume 3 of this series still manages to find an impressive amount of diversity. Black Heart Procession offer two songs, starting things out with the sweetly pretty instrumental “Exit Out,” which could be an Album Leaf song, and the more typically experimental and odd “Sort it Up.” Sigur Ros presents two works of its cold, Icelandic, experimental soundscapes, my favorite being the moody “Bium Bium Bambalo.” One of my favorite bands already, Arab Strap doesn’t let me down with its two offerings. “We Know Where You Live” has a kind of sultry, imposing feel to it that’s a nice touch, and “Devil Tips” is stark, quiet, and powerful.

Not one of my favorite bands here, Califone’s “Michigan Girls” (recorded live) is a brilliant song, laid-back with the band’s Western influences hinting rather than in the foreground. I usually skip the more raucous “Cluck Old Hen.” Kinski’s two songs are a little stranger a selection. These two instrumentals are more rocking than the other tracks here and a bit harsh by comparison, but they’re so good and tight that it’s hardly a problem. “Semaphore” (live radio version) is my favorite of the two, with its cool effects, while “Schedule for Using Pillows and Beanbags” is more suitably mellow.

Really, there’s not a bad song here, and every song is either brand new or a new/live version. So you can’t go wrong with this compilation, and as it features some of the biggest names in the indie-rock world, why would you hesitate to pick this up? It’s consistently strong and undeniably beautiful, and the proceeds go to a good cause.