Archive for dark was the night

Dark Was The Night – A Red Hot Compilation

Posted in Music Releases with tags , , , , on February 6, 2009 by musicmuleblog


Red Hot Organization is an international charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for HIV and AIDS through popular culture. They’ve been making compilations for 20 years now and back in 1993 they were responsible for releasing ‘No Alternative’ which featured artists like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, The Breeders and Sonic Youth. It was a compilation that perfectly captured a cross section of the grunge music scene that was exploding back then and has stood the test of time as a great release. There’s a similar feeling of achievement with their latest and 20th compilation ‘Dark Was The Night’, out on February 16th, which has been put together and produced by The National band-mates and brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner.

Over the past few years The National has grown in popularity and along the way they’ve played a lot of shows, found plenty of like minded (not exclusively) American artists and recruited many of them they felt suited this project. The resulting collection reads like a who’s who of a North American indie music scene that has blossomed over the past few years thanks in no small part to Brooklyn’s revival. Check out the tracklist below for yourself and see if it doesn’t get your mouth watering like it did mine. Then again to those unfamiliar with the talent on show this could be the most rewarding of introductions. While the sound is perhaps not quite as unified as that of the ‘No Alternative’ compilation the music on ‘Dark Was The Night’ seems to share a common intellect, honesty and tendency towards vocally and lyrically powerful songs.

Apparently the idea of bringing together all these people crystalised when Feist was in New York performing Live on the David Letterman Show and asked members of Grizzly Bear and The National to play in her backing band. It was then that Aaron and Bryce realised that a lot of their peers are connected in one way or another. The National also count Arcade Fire as friends and have had them crashing on their floor on occasions. Too cool!

The album capitalises on the communal spirit by featuring a few exciting collaborations between artists. Highlights on first inspection are tracks from Antony Hegarty (Antony and The Johnsons) and Bryce Dessner (The National), Feist and Grizzly Bear, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National) but perhaps the most impressive marriage of all is Dirty Projectors and David Byrne (Talking Heads). David found an old, unused lyric he wrote for Talking Heads and selected Dave Longstreth and his Dirty Projectors to make it into a new song. The resulting track seems to have brought out the best in both performers and gives the compilation an edge that should help it stand the test of time in it’s own right.

As if this wasn’t enough we’ve also got new tracks from The National, Arcade Fire, The Decemberists, Yeasayer and Bon Iver to look forward to. This surely has to be an early contender for compilation of the year.

Pre order the double cd from Play or the digital download from 4AD – come on it’s for charity!

You already have the Dirty Projectors track available in the post below, I don’t want to give away too much so that’s your lot for now – buy the cd if you’re interested or if you’d like to try before you buy you can stream some of the tracks from the Dark Was The Night website.

CD 1 track listing

1. Knotty Pine by Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
2. Cello Song by The Books featuring Jose Gonzalez
3. Train Song by Feist + Ben Gibbard
4. Brackett, WI by Bon Iver
5. Deep Blue Sea by Grizzly Bear
6. So Far Around The Bend by The National
7. Tightrope by Yeasayer
8. Feeling Good by My Brightest Diamond
9. Dark Was The Night by Kronos Quartet
10. I Was Young When I Left Home by Antony + Bryce Dessner
11. Big Red Machine by Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner
12. Sleepless by The Decemberists
13. Die by Iron & Wine
14. Service Bell by Grizzly Bear + Feist
15. You Are The Blood by Sufjan Stevens

CD 2 track listing

1. Well-Alright by Spoon
2. Lenin by Arcade Fire
3. Mimizan by Beirut
4. El Caporal by My Morning Jacket
5. Inspiration Information by Sharon Jones & The Dap-kings
6. With A Girl Like You by David Sitek
7. Blood Pt 2 by Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
8. Hey, Snow White by The New Pornographers
9. Gentle Hour by Yo La Tengo
10. Another Saturday by Stuart Murdoch
11. Happiness by Riceboy Sleeps
12. Amazing Grace by Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues
13. The Giant Of Illinois by Andrew Bird
14. Lua by Conor Oberst + Gillian Welch
15. When The Road Runs Out by Blonde Redhead + Devastations
16. Love vs. Porn by Kevin Drew

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