March 6, 2008
US CDx2 Brainwashed HAND005
Marilyn Whitney was a sister, wife, mother, teacher, and friend to many. I owe all my music enthusiasm to her as she bought me my first records, took me to classical performances at a young age, my first rock concert, my first DJ gigs, and was there at the first music festival I organized. This collection is a mix tape in her memory, however, it is additionally dedicated to friends Nick, Gil, Andrea, Jon, Keith, Casey, Jono, Joel, Gary, Warn, and Windy, all of whom lost their mothers way too soon. Some songs were chosen for their relevance while some were recorded especially for this project, all were graciously donated by friends. Proceeds will be donated to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass., where my mom volunteered after her retirement. Additionally, a stone bench has been erected at the top of Mount Pollux in Amherst in her name. Visitors are welcome. Donations are encouraged to funds that aid early childhood literacy initiatives. My mom would appreciate that. — Jon Whitney, 2008
A: 1 from the Missing You 7" on Vacancy Records; 2 from I Am a Bird Now, courtesy of Secretly Canadian; 7 from Newborn, courtesy of Alien Transistor; 8 from 2007 tour EP; 9 alternate take from Feral Vapours of the Silver Ether; 10 from An Introduction to Suffering, courtesy of Durtro; 11 from Happiness, courtesy of Brainwashed/Temporary Residence; 12 alternate take from Hot Buttered Xhol, courtesy of Streamline/United Durtro; 13 from Raindrops Rainbow, courtesy of Silver Mountain Media Group; 14 acoustic version from Lovers Prayers; 16 from Alpine Static, courtesy of Sub Pop; 17 excerpt from Malachai: Shadow Weaver part 2.
B: 3 from All Lost, courtesy of Graveface; 4 from Ballads of Living and Dying, courtesy of Eclipse; 6 from Black Ships Ate the Sky, courtesy of Durtro/Jnana; 7 from Tiny Mirrors, courtesy of Constellation; 8 from You Are My Home, courtesy of Important Records; 9 from Blue Skied An' Clear, courtesy of Domino; 11 alternate take from The Tired Sounds of...; 12 from Songsforafilm, courtesy of Temporary Residence; 14 from Holding on for Brighter Days, courtesy of Relapse; 13 from The 500 Boy Piano, courtesy of United Dairies; 16 from Schoener Flussengel, courtesy of Kranky; 17 from The Dream House, courtesy of Kranky.
The rest of the songs are exclusive as of March 6, 2008.
Antony & the Johnsons, "You Are My Sister"
A few years ago, I was making a mix CD for a friend, and casually asked if he wanted liner notes to accompany the music. He replied by saying that he appreciated having the notes, if for no other reason than to know that each song wasn't just selected at random. In a way, that's how I feel about most compilations I hear. In many cases, they're released as label samplers, tribute albums, promotional tie-ins or other such categories, though somewhat frequently, they exist because of a cause. The Red Hot series has long contributed to AIDS charities, while a Filter/Urban Outfitters compilation released at the beginning of 2005 titled Tsunami Relief offered just that, with benefits going toward the UNICEF Tsunami Relief Fund. The newly released compilation Peace (for mom) has a no less noble ambition behind it, but one extremely personal to those involved. Released in memory of Marilyn Whitney, the late mother of Brainwashed founder Jon Whitney, Peace (for mom) is dedicated to those who have lost a mother too soon, and is all the more heartbreaking for it. In honor of Whitney, proceeds will be donated to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass., where she volunteered. The songs assembled on the two-CD set aren't necessarily written with the theme in mind, and many of them have been previously released, but that said, their inclusion on this set is not without significance. Quite the contrary, there is a contrasting feeling of both somberness and of beauty, of grace and of grief. Disc A begins with "Sunbeam" by A Place to Bury Strangers, and is one of the Brooklyn band's most stunning and delicate songs. The next song, Antony and the Johnsons' "You Are My Sister," is perhaps the most well-known here, but actually seems more directly tied to the central theme and background. Aranos offers a gauzy ambience in "Fall's Golden Whispers," and Boy In Static layer on a bit of fuzz for "Stay Awake." Caribou's "Hummingbird" is a woozy standout with synths warbling and vibrating, Current 93's "All The Pretty Little Horses" is somewhat tied to the themes as well, though a bit creepy. That doesn't mean it's not great, though. On disc B, Matmos offers an ascendant electronic dream sequence in "Staircase," and Monster Movie contributes the amazing "Vanishing Act." In fact, the first 30 seconds of this song alone is enough to make me want to dig through the band's catalog, which is one of the best things a compilation can do. Marissa Nadler's "Stallions" is characteristically spectral and delicate, which is a wonderful thing, of course. I've never been a particularly big fan of The Dresden Dolls, but I can make an exception for Amanda Palmer's cover of Death Cab For Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," which is achingly gorgeous to say the least. In the liner notes to the album, whose artwork has a stark beauty of its own, Jon Whitney notes that it was his mother who bought him his first records, took him to his first rock concerts and classical performances and came to the first festival he organized. The importance of family is rarely mentioned in rock music, but Peace (for mom) brings it to light and celebrates it, if somberly and with quiet reflection. Those with mothers like Whitney's, who express the importance of music and art, might consider this for a Mother's Day gift (or if you choose to keep it, at least remember to give mom a call!). No matter what, this compilation features everything that makes its kind essential--great music, unheard new discoveries and a really big heart. - Jeff Terich, Treble
A couple years after the time I first started getting into music that was outside of the mainstream, one of the first websites that I discovered was Brainwashed.com. At the time (clear back in 1996), it not only hosted websites for a variety of different artists, but also featured weekly updates (called "The Brain") with album and live reviews and other related information. Over the past decade, the site has grown in scope, but retained the same overall feel, with direct hosting of numerous artist websites (including Matmos, Windy & Carl and a ton of others), often-updated reviews, release date information, and other stuff. Along the way, The Brainwashed label launched, with several sub-labels attached (including Killer Pimp, which was home of the recent A Place To Bury Strangers). They co-released a couple Fridge albums with Temporary Residence, put out a DVDR series of live and behind-the-scenes interviews with great artists, put out limited 7"s and have put out several limited releases under the "handmade" heading. Peace (for mom) is the newest release in the handmade series, and it's dedicated to the memory of site-founder Jon Whitney's mother, who passed last year and was the major source of enthusiasm and influence in life. Like the site as a whole, the release is about as varied as one can possibly get, with everything from quiet folk and chamber music to electronic pop and experimental electronic. Thirty-four songs stretch out over 2CDs, and they're housed in a lovely hand-letterpressed sleeve from Interrobang letterpress. Although there's plenty of great already-released music on the compilation to recommend it (including work from Antony And The Johnsons, Marrissa Nadler, Fridge, Caribou, and others), it's the unreleased work that will likely be the biggest treat for most people (and is the real draw of this very-limited pressing). Boduf Songs, Andrew Lilies, Matmos, Jessica Bailiff, Little Annie Bandez, and Nudge all contribute tracks that are exclusive to this release alone, while Keith Fullerton Whitman and the aforementioned A Place To Bury Strangers both offer up songs that have only appeared on harder-to-get vinyl releases to date. In addition to the exclusive new tracks, there are a slew of exclusive alternate takes of already-released songs, and they're welcome additions as well, with "Woven Clouds" by Carter Tutti standing out as a particularly aching addition. As with the Brainwashed website as a whole, I don't find myself completely loving everything on the release, but there's more than enough excellent stuff to keep me coming back. A great little release, Peace (for mom) is a limited pressing with proceeds going for a great cause. - Aaron Coleman, Almost Cool