The only thing I like more than buying music is buying music for a good cause. My typical late-night downloading sessions usually result in equal amounts of killer tunes, warped Visa cards and crippling guilt. But, hey, blowing my kids' college fund while helping out the far less fortunate? Let's all do the guilt-free, good-karma cha-cha-cha!
Tonight's George Clooney-led televised benefit for Haiti's earthquake victims — the two-hour Hope for Haiti starts at 8 p.m. and broadcasts live on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, BET, HBO, MTV, VH1 and CMT to name a few — will feature such bold-faced biggies as Bono, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Sting and Justin Timberlake. Clooney has said the performances will be available to purchase on iTunes.
In the meantime, however, hundreds of other artists have made new music available specifically to help the Haitian recovery. The outpouring has been beautiful and tuneful. Here's a list of hot acts, sweet tunes and where you can buy the goodies:
Slash: With guest vocalist Beth Hart doing a sneery Lady Axl impression, Mother Maria has a breezy, bluesy base and a wicked guitar underbelly. If you think the former GN'R axe grinder is going to end things without a slithery solo … (Available at Download to Donate Haiti, www.musicforrelief.org.)
Peter Gabriel: Slowed to a dirgelike pace, but with slow-building orchestral strength, Gabriel's cover of David Bowie's Heroes is magnificent and devastating. ( www.musicforrelief.org.)
Linkin Park: Not Alone, a ballad about "giving up your home" and "the hell that you've been through", packs serious punch, and Chester Bennington's archangelic vocal proves to be the rap-rock hybrid's top weapon. ( www.musicforrelief.org.)
Rihanna: Recorded live from the Oprah show, Ri-Ri shows she actually can sing on this quiet cover of Bob Marley's Redemption Song. (Available on iTunes.)
Cee-Lo Green: As part of Paste's Songs for Haiti campaign — featuring 200 indie acts and benefiting Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and Wyclef Jean's Yéle Haiti Earthquake Fund — Beautiful Fool features the beefy Gnarls Barkley frontman cooing and goofing over a head-nodding acid-jazzbo strut. ( www.pastemagazine.com.)
Nicole Atkins: The Neptune, N.J., singer-songwriter does her depressed-mermaid torch-song thing on a live version of her The Way It Is, recorded at the infamous Stone Pony in Asbury Park. ( www.pastemagazine.com.)
She & Him: The duo of actress Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer) and busker M. Ward twee up a dazzling cover of Neil Young's deceptively tricky love song Lotta Love. ( www.pastemagazine.com.)
Sean Daly can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8467.