Various Artists: A Warm Breath...and a Scream
(Innocent Words Records)
God bless the Midwest. Here we have a brilliant 19-song compilation featuring the known (Ani DiFranco, Veruca Salt) and the unknown (where to begin?)"a tricky venture, to be sure, but it works, and works well. And it's all conceived and compiled by Innocent Words out of Danville, Illinois, with a portion of the proceeds going to Riley's Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
Kicking off the disc is the stripped down "School Night" by Ani DiFranco, a quiet stunner that underhandedly reels you in. Another female-driven highlight is the return of Veruca Salt with the fuzzpop "Blissful Queen." Firetrucs' "Telephone" is a bit grunge, a bit glam, and a lot rocking, whereas Rachael Sage's "What If" lends a sultry tone. For the harder rocking, take a bite of Lennon ("Nothing Out of Me"); country souls will be assuaged by Edward Burch & the Scallion Shufflers (with Jay Bennett) performing "You Shared You."
Fittingly, there's a healthy dose of Champaign-Urbana music on the disc, courtesy of labels Innocent Words, Mud, and Parasol Records. Lorenzo Goetz (with guest Czar Absolute) thoroughly entice with the rapped-and-sung "Fist Above My Wrist." Centaur delivers the dreamhazy "Thimblee," and Legs for Days with the gently strummed "Song in D."
St. Louis's own Riddle of Steel and Ring, Cicada make an appearance, as well, with "Kissing in Secret" and "I Remember," respectively; also featured is Chicago's Cameron McGill with "Long Way Back to California." Noe Venable, who opened for Ms. DiFranco on her recent solo tour, closes out the disc with the breathy "In the Dark."
It's inconsistent at times, as all compilations are, but given that this disc is culled largely from the Midwest unknown, it's a highly impressive offering. And it's for the kids-how can you go wrong? "Laura Hamlett
From: Openingbands.com 2-15-04
Innocent Words - CD Release Show Summary
by Nellie Waddell | staff writer
Friday night at Cowboy Monkey, Innocent Words Magazine & Records released their second compilation album, A Warm Breath...and a Scream. The concert featured three bands. They are all local, signed to Innocent Words and have songs on the compilation. Profits from the concert and CD sales will benefit Riley Children's Hospital.
Triple Whip started the show at 10:20. The band, whose lyrics are all based on movies, include vocalist Santanu Rahman on guitar, Brett Sanderson on drums and Holly Rushakoff on bass. Their new song "Tax" is on the compilation.
Lorenzo Goetz took the stage next. While onstage, singer/guitarist Larry Gates told the audience he had three goals: make people smile, make people dance, and sell some comps. Other band members are guitarist Josh Miethe, bassist Eric Fisher and drummer Kevin Colravy. Their track on the compilation is titled "Fist Above My Wrist" and features Czar Absolute of Animate Objects.
Terminus Victor headlined the evening. Scott Kimble sings and plays a three-string bass while Don King plays guitar. Terminus Victor doesn't have a drummer, but a drum machine with beats they programmed themselves. Their contribution to the comp is called "Strange Fulfillment."
The concert attracted over a hundred people. Many of the audience came to see particular bands or knew band members. Austin Warner, a sophomore at Southern Illinois University, came with his friend Jess Cochran who is a University of Illinois student.
"I don't really know any of these bands, this is a new experience for me," Warner explained.
A Warm Breath...and a Scream is a 19-track CD with both local and nationally-known artists. Nine of the tracks are previously unreleased. One of the already released tracks, however, is "School Night" by folk artist Ani DiFranco. Innocent Words owner, Troy Michael, is thrilled to have DiFranco on the album and praises her as one of the most talented musicians he's heard.
Last year, proceeds from the first Innocent Words Compilation, Small My Table, bought art books for patients at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. This year, Michael hopes to buy crayons, coloring books and other art supplies for the kids.
Michael started with the magazine three years ago. Innocent Words Magazine is a bi-monthly that features CD and film reviews, artwork, interviews and other music-related stories. A year later, Michael began the record label portion of Innocent Words. Currently, Innocent Words Records has the three bands that played the release show and also Legs for Days.
"And yeah, I want to sign bands outside of Champaign-Urbana to get us to the next step of being known as a national label. We are currently looking at some bands from Seattle," Michael said.
A year and a half after starting Innocent Words Magazine & Records, Michael launched www.innocentwords.com. The site contains information about the bands and CD's released on the label as well as content from current and past issues of the magazine. The website has been up for about a year and a half and has already received over 12,000 hits.
buzz Online - Now that's what I call music
Posted on Wednesday, January 28
Now that's what I call music
Local label/publication Innocent Words releases 2nd CD compilation
By Brian Mertz | staff writer
Late night airwaves are flooded with cheesy compilation CDs that promise to deliver the "freshest hits." The Now That's What I Call Music! albums sell millions of copies worldwide. Right here in Champaign-Urbana, a new compilation is about to be released that may not have the same fanfare, but is still eagerly anticipated by the local music scene.
Local label Innocent Words Records will release A Warm Breath...and A Scream on Feb. 6. The compilation features 19 total tracks, 10 of which have never been released to the public (see accompanying sidebar).
But this is not just another no-name indie compilation. In addition to new material from bands on Innocent Words, A Warm Breath features tunes from Ani DiFranco, Steve Turner from Mudhoney, Centaur and new tracks from Veruca Salt, Ring Cicada and Edward Burch with Jay Bennett.
"I am proud that 10 of the 19 tracks have never been released to the general public and I think I have a great diversity of bands too," said Troy Michael, founder and head of Innocent Words. "That kind of sums up Innocent Words; we really aren't looking for a certain sound, just great music."
Innocent Words began as a magazine that Michael and Larry Gates (lead singer of the Champaign band Lorenzo Goetz) started in December of 2001.
"We organized and started Confronting Innocent Words, which was the first issue of the magazine that came out and looked like absolute shit," Gates said. "We had it Xeroxed and didn't really have the best software. But we made some adjustments and some changes and it went from there."
Gates eventually left the publishing duties to Michael. Today, Innocent Words magazine is a quarterly publication that most recently featured interviews with The Shins, Hey Mercedes and Hammel on Trial.
Innocent Words also branched out as Michael decided to start a record label. That label has since signed and released music from four local bands-Lorenzo Goetz, Triple Whip, Terminus Victor and Legs for Days. The label also reissued The Dynamo Theorem's album and the first Innocent Words compilation called Small My Table.
Part of Michael's decision to release the first compilation was to project his love of music.
"Well, I am a failed musician-no ifs, ands or buts about it. I play guitar at home but that is about it," Michael said. "With the compilation, it is like my personal album. I get to choose track listings, producers, art work, etc."
"It's like in junior high and Troy is making mix tapes in his basement, only it's on a whole bigger level," Gates said.
But like so much else that Michael does, there is also a desire to help other people with his efforts. A portion of the sales from A Warm Breath...and A Scream will go to help Riley's Children Hospital in Indiana, where Michael himself had spent time when he was younger.
"I spent a lot of time there as a kid and I know it sucks to be cooped up in a hospital as a kid for days, weeks or even months," Michael said. "There just isn't much to do. So Innocent Words is a way I can give back to the place that literally saved my life."
"When I was in the hospital they had an arts and crafts type room, but they don't have that anymore, to my knowledge," Michael said. "I made my Dad this leather wallet, (and) although it was no masterpiece, I think it meant more to my father than anything in the world. I think he might still have it. So I am trying to bring that back through these wonderful bands donating their time and effort."
His efforts with last year's compilation enabled Michael to purchase several dozen art books to donate to the hospital for the children to look at while they are there.
What undoubtedly helped some copies of last year's Innocent Words compilation was more unreleased material from local artists, but also a contribution from Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard.
This year's compilation sees even more contribution from nationally established artists.
"I never thought I would be able to top getting Stone Gossard, but I did with Ani DiFranco (who appears on A Warm Breath)," Michael said. "I have a great deal of love and respect for what she does, who she is and her record label. Luckily, through some channels and friendships at Righteous Babe Records, they agreed to put a track on the CD since it was for a good cause."
In addition to DiFranco's previously released track "School Night," A Warm Breath has a song from Mudhoney's Steve Turner called "Smart Operator" with Gossard on bass. There is also a new Veruca Salt tune called "Blissful Queen."
Despite the bureaucracy and hurdles that must be cleared to get a major recording artist on a compilation, Michael continues to do so without a set formula of how to do it.
"Hard work and luck," Michael responds when asked how he did it. "I really don't know. I am blessed to have such good friends in rock 'n' roll."
But the experience of putting out the first compilation seems to have helped Michael as well.
"The red tape is, in fact, an issue I hate to deal with, but it is only a small part of this and well worth it," Michael said. "A lot of people just assume you put a song on a disc and that's it. But there is a lot more to it than that. This year seemed a bit easier because I knew more about the legal issues."
Those national artists will sit beside local artists including the Innocent Words roster, Ed Burch, Ward and Centaur. Michael's friendship with artists on the national level doesn't take away from his pride for local artists.
"This could be a loaded question because I don't want to eliminate anyone," Michael said. "But the tracks that mean the most to me are the Innocent Words bands who specifically recorded new songs just for this comp. You can't or will not find them anywhere else. Words can't describe the love and respect I have for Terminus Victor, Triple Whip, Lorenzo Goetz and Legs for Days."
The artists on Innocent Words reciprocate that respect for Michael.
"There is mutual respect and trust and equal hard work," Gates said. "The only person I had experiences with that will work as hard as possible for all of us is Troy."
A Warm Breath...and A Scream will be available online at www.innocentwords.com in addition to receiving distribution from Carrot Top Distribution in Chicago and Parasol Distribution in Champaign.
It is also possible to pick up a copy of the compilation live and in the flesh at a CD release show on Feb. 6 at Cowboy Monkey. The lineup features Terminus Victor, Lorenzo Goetz and Triple Whip. There will also be some surprise guests joining the Innocent Words bands on stage.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Ani DiFranco - School Night
2. Lorenzo Goetz - Fist Above My Wrist
3. Centaur - Thimbles
4. Terminus Victor - Strange Fulfillment
5. Veruca Salt - Blissful Queen
6. Firetrucs - Telephone
7. Triple Whip - Tax
8. Andrea Maxand - When God Shut the Door
9. Riddle of Steel - Kissing in Secret
10. Legs for Days - Song In D
11. Cameron McGill - Long Way Back To California
12. Lennon - Nothing Out of Me
13. Ring, Cicada - I Remember
14. Rachael Sage - What If
15. Steve Turner - Smart Operator
16. Edward Burch w/ Jay Bennett - You Shared You
17. Ward - Boom
18. Lucky Mulholland - Inside Room #2
19. Noe Venable - In the Dark