Search - Various Artists :: Dark Was the Night

Dark Was the Night
Various Artists
Dark Was the Night
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #2

On the occasion of WORLD AIDS DAY today, December 1st a press announcement was made with the complete list of participating artists and cover art for the upcoming 4AD — release Dark Was The Night. Dark Was The Night will be...  more »

     
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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Dark Was the Night
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: 4ad Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/2009
Re-Release Date: 2/17/2009
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Singer-Songwriters
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 652637283525, 0652637283563, 0652637283525

Synopsis

Product Description
On the occasion of WORLD AIDS DAY today, December 1st a press announcement was made with the complete list of participating artists and cover art for the upcoming 4AD
release Dark Was The Night. Dark Was The Night will be released on February 17th, 2009. Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National produced the album, and John Carlin, the founder of the Red Hot
Organization was the executive producer. A total of 31 exclusive tracks have been recorded for the compilation. It will be available as a double cd/triple viny and will benefit the Red Hot Organization - an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV
and AIDS. Red Hot was founded on the premise that even without a cure, AIDS remains a preventable disease and music is a great vehicle to raise money and awareness for it.

Dark Was The Night began three years ago with a casual conversation between Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National and John Carlin. In discussing the project, they agreed it made sense not to do a "theme" album per se; but something that showcased the best in independent music, with an emphasis on traditional themes played and arranged in a contemporary way, and on songwriting, which is the strength of many of the artists featured here. As Aaron and Bryce started inviting their peers to contribute, their intuition about the pro-social disposition of so many of them was confirmed. As a result, 31 exclusive tracks were recorded.

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CD Reviews

A Good Snapshot of One Slice of Indie Rock in 2009
C. Mack | 02/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This compilation does a great job of representing a very specific corner of the indie rock world, it is not, however, an all-encompassing "Indie Rock For Dummies" that some have been billing it as. That's not to say I rate this album lower because of this, but compiling a complete picture of something as broad as the indie rock scene is nearly impossible to do in a mere 31 tracks, and it should be noted that this album does not accomplish that impossible feat.

On to what this album IS rather than what it is NOT...

The common thread I found on the first disc was that the entire disc was slow-tempo. You probably could have guessed that with songs by Bon Iver, Feist, Grizzly Bear, The Decembrists, Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens. However, even bands with a penchant for getting louder at times (The National, most notably) present very restrained songs on this disc.

The Dirty Projectors' track with David Bryne is a fantastic starting point for the album. Jose Gonzalez and The Books provide a great cover of "Cello Song", followed by a fantastic duet between Fiest and Ben Gibbard. Bon Iver, The National and Yeasayer add very strong tracks to close out the first half of disc 1. The second half of disc only has one really bad track (My Brightest Diamond's needless cover of "Feeling Good"), but the pacing feels really off. There's an 8 minute Decembrists track, followed by two songs that don't total half of that length, and then things finish off with a 10+ minute Sufjan Stevens track. All 4 tracks in the sequence are good, but the shorter middle tracks get lost, it feels like they could have been sequenced a bit better.

The first disc is remarkably consistent, but also lacks true standouts. The second disc is almost the exact opposite. There are a few true standouts, but the disc as a whole feels completely scatter shot.

Spoon and Arcade Fire bring the energy that was nowhere to be found on the first album. "Well-Alright" is a great pop track, it could easily fit on either of the last two Spoon albums. Arcade Fire's "Lenin" is a s a strong track as well. A very good contribution from Beirut finishes off the excellent start of the second disc. From there, things start to fall apart. My Morning Jacket continues their trend of becoming an extremely boring band (think "Librarian" from their last album), followed by an out of nowhere old-school R&B track by Sharon Jones. A decent contribution by TV on the Radio's David Sitek comes before another seemingly random choice - a Buck 65 rap song. From there the rest of the disc waivers between somewhat exciting (Yo La Tengo, The New Pornographers and Conor Oberst + Gillian Welch) to fairly forgettable (Stuart Murdoch, Andrew Bird and Kevin Drew). Of special note, Cat Power's cover of "Amazing Grace" is probably my least favorite track on the album. I'm a big Cat Power fan, but record an original song already! Just an awful cover by Chan...

Phew, I think that about covers it, 31 tracks, the vast majority of which I enjoy, a handful I REALLY enjoy and a select few I will probably skip more often than not. All things considered, I think this is a successful compliation. It is aimed at a specific corner of the indie rock world, but it does a really good job of covering that specific corner."
A great compilation for a great cause
Ryan Tardiff | Milford, NH | 02/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Red Hot's Dark Was the Night boasts one of the best line-ups of any compilation in a good long while. Indie rock luminaries ranging from David Bryne to Arcade Fire to Spoon to Feist, and it delivers.

Sufjan Steven's lovely 10 minute track 'Blood' is probably the highlight of the collection, but almost everyone delivers a quality exclusive track. Conor Oberst and Gillian Welch's reworking of the Bright Eyes track 'Lua' for instance, is a lovely treat. And Feist's two appearances being backed up by Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard in one case and backing up Grizzly Bear in another are wonderful as well.

This is an easy to take in collection with some great highs and a limited amount of lows and the money goes to a great cause. BUY IT!"
Great music, great cause, great price
Lee L. | Washington DC | 02/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ever since I saw the tracklisting for this compilation a few months ago, I've been really excited to see if it measured up to the hype. Needless to say, it does. Not only is this a fantastic double disc set with some of the best indie artists releasing music today for a low price, but all the proceeds go to AIDS research. It's win-win, so go out and buy it already.

This comp pulls together a wealth of previously unreleased tracks from Beirut, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, the Decemberists, Kevin Drew, Yo La Tengo, and Blonde Redhead, among others. All of these tracks would be standouts had they been pulled from full length releases. This is what makes Dark was the Night stand out as much as it does. It's not a half-hearted release. I think the most stunning song is the Iron and Wine track though. The track is barely a minute long, but I didn't know this the first time I listened to it. When I realized the song was so short, but so powerful, I felt sad that I was in my car by myself and had no one to share that moment with.

I think the covers on this comp really stand out. Andrew Bird contributed a stunning version of the Handsome Family's 'The Giant of Illinois." Feist and Ben Gibbard's version of Vashti Bunyan's 'Train Song,' and Sufjan Stevens's take of the Castanets track 'You are the Blood' are also stunning.

Unfortunately, there are a few duds and they come at the beginning of both discs. The Dirty Projectors lead off the first disc with a cameo from David Byrne, but not even the Talking Heads legend can save that band. Disc two starts with one of the weirdest Spoon songs I've ever heard. It sounds more like the singer messing around with pre-programed instruments and a laptop, not anything that should show up on a Spoon record. Following that track is a dud from Arcade Fire. I was really worried that the track was a taste of things to come from the follow-up to Neon Bible, but thankfully it turns out the the track "Lenin" is an unreleased song that predates Funeral. The only other disappointing track is Cat Power's rendition of Amazing Grace. The vocal pacing is odd and distracting, and I think it's one of her worst songs.

These duds aside, this is still an amazing collection of great songs that will be in heavy rotation for many months to come."