Review by Shannon Shumaker
I had high expectations from many bands and artists that I love (and even the ones I hadn't heard of) when I first listened to A Comp For Mom, and thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. The compilation album, put together for No Sleep Records’ founder/president, Chris Hansen’s mother who sadly passed away back in April, is full of many different talented artists of all genres. All of the tracks on A Comp For Mom are either covers, b-sides or rarities, all by many amazing No Sleep bands and really, there isn’t one low part on the album. Every track was very well chosen, especially for an album specifically dedicated to Hansen’s mother.
Allison Weiss’ cover of “In My Life” by the Beatles opens the record with a soft, simple tune, and it’s the perfect song for the beginning of A Comp For Mom. It’s also always really amazing hearing an artist of one genre cover a song from a completely different side of the spectrum, and Weiss does it flawlessly - though that’s really no surprise. Her covers have always been phenomenal. Following right after “In My Life” is Daisyhead’s cover of “Work,” originally by Jimmy Eat World. Honestly, their cover of this classic song is so spot on that it took me a second to realize that it wasn’t Jimmy Eat World. The vocals and the harmonies on this track are amazing and add a bit of a rougher pop-punk flare to the song, branching out from the original just a little but.
Three of my favorite tracks on A Comp For Mom fall one right after the other - “For Agnes” by Into It. Over It., “Veins” by Jon Simmons and “Matches (live version)” by Koji. All three of these songs side by side set such a soft, mellow mood for this record and the lyrics are absolutely perfect, especially on Into It. Over It.’s “For Agnes.” Evan Weiss’ voice on this track is just so soft and easy to listen to and the way he sings, “...A simple kind of tribute but the way you would have wanted it to be…” is enough to give me goosebumps. The words are perfectly chosen for this album.
Of all of the bands who contributed to A Comp For Mom, Moose Blood is probably one the artists that I’ve listened to the least, and I was completely pleasantly surprised by their track “Orlando.” The vocals and the lyrics on this track (much like many other songs on this record) are very strong and hook me almost immediately. “Neighbors” by Now, Now comes after “Orlando” and the soft female vocals are the perfect contrast to Moose Blood, making it a great follow up song.
Two more amazing tracks on the compilation come toward the end of the record: State Faults’ cover of Copeland’s “Chin Up” and the full band version of “Living Room Song” by The Wonder Years. The female vocals on on “Chin Up” add a whole new level to the classic song, making it both haunting and beautiful, and the full band version of “Living Room Song” is honestly just fun to listen to, adding a more upbeat and happy song to the end of the otherwise mellow and slow album. The lyric change during the bride ("I'm going to be tonight in my Modern Baseball hoodie") was really great, as well.
Regardless of if you like, or have even heard of any of the bands on A Comp For Mom, this record is definitely worth the listen. Not only did it give me some great new artists to listen to in the future, and some covers and exclusive tracks by artists that I love, it’s also an album for a great cause and worth picking up for just that reason alone, if nothing else!
Listen to "Living Room Song (full band version)" - The Wonder Years or "For Agnes" - Into It. Over It.