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Dark Was the Night

62 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 17, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

This double CD contains thirty-one exclusive tracks that benefit the Red Hot Organization - an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS. This is their 20th anniversary and 20th release. Artists include Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, Kronos Quartet, The New Pornographers, Spoon, Sufjan Stevens, Yeasayer, Yo La Tengo, and many more.

Disc: 1
1. Knotty Pine (Dirty Projectors and David Byrne)
2. Cello Song - Nick Drake (The Books and Jose Gonzalez)
3. Train Song - Vashti Bunyan (Feist and Ben Gibbard)
4. Brackett, WI (Bon Iver)
5. Deep Blue Sea (Grizzly Bear)
6. So Far Around The Bend (The National and Nico Muhly)
7. Tightrope (Yeasayer)
8. Feeling Good (My Brightest Diamond)
9. Dark Was The Night - Blind Willie Johnson (Kronos Quartet)
10. I Was Young When I Left Home - Bob Dylan (Antony and Bryce Dessner)
See all 15 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Well-Alright (Spoon)
2. Lenin (Arcade Fire)
3. Mimizan (Beirut)
4. El Caporal (My Morning Jacket)
5. Inspiration Information - Shuggie Otis (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings)
6. With A Girl Like You - The Troggs (Dave Sitek)
7. Blood Pt 2 - The Castanets (Buck 65 and Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
8. Hey, Snow White - Destroyer (The New Pornographers)
9. Gentle Hour - Snapper (Yo La Tengo)
10. Another Saturday (Stuart Murdoch)
See all 16 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 17, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: 4AD
  • ASIN: B001KVW574
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,102 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Tardiff on February 16, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
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!
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58 of 72 people found the following review helpful By C. Mack on February 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
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.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lee L. on February 19, 2009
Format: Audio CD
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I'm generally not much for these types of compilations, but the long talked about and (for me) eagerly anticipated "Dark Was the Night" (2 CDs; 31 stars; 130 min.), a charity compilation overseen/produced by the National's Bryce and Aaron Dressner, is a veritable all-star collection of the best and brightest of indie music bands of this era, and it is quite the listening experience.

Even though there is no single overreaching theme to this collection (as acknowledged by Aaron Dressner in the liner notes) CD1 "This Disc" (15 tracks; 63 min.) brings a remarkable cohesiveness when listening to it. CD1 plays like a greatest hits of indie music, even though these songs are not hits and most songs are brand new. Highlights are too many to mention, but here just a few: the opener "Knotty Pine" is a delightful collaboration of Dirty Projectors and David Byrne. Feist and DCFC's Ben Gibbard excel on "Train Song". Bon Iver is his usual great on "Bracket, W9". The National's contribution "So Far Around the Bend" is my favorite track on this entire album, just superb. The Kronos Quartet's instrumental cover of 'Blind' Willie Johnson's "Dark Was the Night" is eerie and delightful. (Side bar: the Dressner brothers also curate the annual "MusicNow" festival in their/my hometown of Cincinnati, and this year's edition, slated for mid-March, will headline the Kronos Quartet, can't wait for that!) Iron & Wine's "Die" is a 1 min. little ditty. Sufjan Stevens closes CD1 with a great "You Are the Blood". But those are just the personal highlights for me. there are no weak tracks on this, period. I rate CD1 5 stars.

CD2 "That Disc" (16 tracks; 67 min.
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