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Dark Was the Night

Various Artists Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

Price: $11.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 31 Songs, 2009 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2009 $11.88  
Vinyl, 2009 $27.70  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 17, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: 4ad Records
  • ASIN: B001KVW574
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,428 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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

Editorial Reviews

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 bast 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great compilation for a great cause 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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57 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Snapshot of One Slice of Indie Rock in 2009 February 17, 2009
By C. Mack
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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music, great cause, great price February 19, 2009
By Lee L.
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars... Indie music bands' all-star compilation 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good
great album
Published 7 days ago by MacGyver
5.0 out of 5 stars Chill out with a great group of musicians
Put it on and enjoy. Every song grows on you with each listen and the mix of artists is unbeatable.
Published 9 months ago by Slade Thomas Kolb
5.0 out of 5 stars Extensive and Beautiful
This album is my favorite out of my entire collection. It seems to be appropriate and soothing no matter what setting or mood I am in.
Published 9 months ago by Raegan
4.0 out of 5 stars A must have for independent music fans
I was put onto this album through Vimeo, and Odon, of course. I'm a Bon Iver fan who had to have the Vernon track - and that was before i saw Bon Iver contributed more to the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Tadryn
5.0 out of 5 stars how did I not know this existed?!?!
Just about every song on this album is fantastic. I was blown away. The track featuring david byrne and the dirty projectors is one of the high points.
Published 16 months ago by Michael Gombos
4.0 out of 5 stars Good CD
Liked the music. This is a good compilation of rock groups and songs - may be a little to metal for some. I, however, like putting this on and cleaning house. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Nick Pusloskie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great.
Came soon, was undamaged and plays well. Great comp album from some amazing artists. Almost every song gives me chills. Very mellow and fun.
Published 17 months ago by Umar
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible album of mixed talents
This album is full of incredible tracks, by a wide arrangement of artists. Each track has it's own raw and unheard feel to it and while you'll find some large names on the track... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Adam Barnum
5.0 out of 5 stars After 2+ years, still a favorite
After 2+ years, this album is still a favorite. I put my iPod on shuffle of some of my top songs and most of these tracks play and I just love it. Read more
Published on June 23, 2011 by I. Bettinger
1.0 out of 5 stars just donate directly
this album lures you in with good bands and a good cause but the music is not good! i don't know how two positives create a negative but it happened here
Published on April 22, 2011 by Megan Rogers
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