Dark Was the Night

Various Artists - Dark Was the Night

On February 17th, indie rock powerhouse 4AD released Dark Was the Night, a double-disc (triple LP) compilation benefiting AIDS/HIV non-profit The Red Hot Organization. With production from The National‘s Aaron and Bryce Dessner, its lengthy tracklist is packed full of big indie names, exciting collaborations, and some interesting covers.

There’s a number of standouts here, but opening track “Knotty Pine” might be my favorite. Featuring the most satisfying collaboration on the record, Dirty Projectors and David Byrne team up to give us this upbeat, fractured pop gem. Byrne provided the lyrics and some backup vocals, while Dave Longstreth and crew laid down an interesting-as-always musical arrangement and simple, but superb, vocal melodies. Grizzly Bear‘s “Deep Blue Sea” is another great track. Updated from the Daniel Rossen home recording that appeared on 2007’s Friend EP, this full-band version flushes out that sparse demo into a rich, melancholic dirge. Stream or download both below and check out the full tracklist for Dark Was the Night after the jump.

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Download: Dirty Projectors & David Byrne – Knotty Pine

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Download: Grizzly Bear – Deep Blue Sea
Buy: Pick up Dark Was the Night over at Beggars Group U.S.A. (LP/CD) and iTunes (digital).

This Disc:
1. Dirty Projectors and David Byrne: “Knotty Pine”
2. The Books and Jose Gonzalez: “Cello Song” (Nick Drake cover)
3. Feist and Ben Gibbard: “Train Song” (Vashti Bunyan cover)
4. Bon Iver: “Brackett, WI”
5. Grizzly Bear: “Deep Blue Sea”
6. The National: “So Far Around the Bend” (arrangement by Nico Muhly)
7. Yeasayer: “Tightrope”
8. My Brightest Diamond: “Feeling Good” (Nina Simone cover)
9. Kronos Quartet: “Dark Was the Night” (Blind Willie Johnson cover)
10. Antony and Bryce Dessner: “I Was Young When I Left Home” (Bob Dylan cover)
11. Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner: “Big Red Machine”
12. The Decemberists: “Sleepless”
13. Iron and Wine: “Stolen Houses (Die)”
14. Grizzly Bear and Feist: “Service Bell”
15. Sufjan Stevens: “You Are the Blood” (Castanets cover)

That Disc:
1. Spoon: “Well-Alright”
2. Arcade Fire: “Lenin”
3. Beirut: “Mimizan”
4. My Morning Jacket: “El Caporal”
5. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: “Inspiration Information” (Shuggie Otis cover)
6. Dave Sitek: “With a Girl Like You” (The Troggs cover)
7. Buck 65 [feat. Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti]: “Blood Pt 2”  (Based on “You are the Blood” by Castanets)
8. The New Pornographers: “Hey, Snow White” (Destroyer cover)
9. Yo La Tengo: “Gentle Hour” (Snapper cover)
10. Stuart Murdoch: “Another Saturday” (Traditional)
11. Riceboy Sleeps: “Happiness”
12. Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues: “Amazing Grace” (Traditional)
13. Andrew Bird: “The Giant of Illinois” (Handsome Family cover)
14. Conor Oberst and Gillian Welch: “Lua”
15. Blonde Redhead and Devestations: “When the Road Runs Out”
16. Kevin Drew: “Love vs. Porn”