Various Artists (Indie)
Dark Was The Night


4.5
superb

Review

by Ryan Flatley EMERITUS
March 6th, 2009 | 68 replies | 13,395 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist


It has been twenty years since the first Red Hot compilation, a group striving to create awareness of the preventability of AIDS. With the help of The National’s very own Aaron Dessner, Dark Was The Night is an epic production. The notable indie artists participating may make you look twice to see that your vision is okay; beginning with The Dirty Projects and David Byrne until the final track with Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene fame. It is the kind of compilation that you would be foolish to look past.

Among a slew of genres and styles, the amount of quality songs is unbelievable given the generally simple songwriting. Starting with This Disc, tracks are often darker and more sentimental. Centered by the chilling, yet worthy rendition of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was The Night,” played out by The Kronos Quartet. Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard teams up with Feist in “Train Song,” which accentuates the vocal elegance of both artists. But perhaps the biggest splash dynamically comes from My Brightest Diamond’s slow tempo jaw-dropper “Feeling Good,” which rings off theatric and bold with smooth horn-lines playing a vital role.

Meanwhile, Grizzly Bear and Feist combine to steal a hint of glory in the short-lived, glamorous “Service Bell.” With a simple few lines uttered by Feist that start and end “Service Bell,” Grizzly Bear’s thunderous dynamic sound, propped by their luscious harmonies smack dab in the middle, make it a sure replay song. Lastly, the biggest shock value track comes from Sufjan Stevens’ rendition of the Castanets track “You Are The Blood.” Sufjan Stevens’ orchestrated mind electronically twiddled and tweaked the dreary song to ridiculous heights. Stretching the track to nearly twice its original length, “You Are The Blood” potentially sheds a light on a possible style change with Sufjan, with more overlapping and experimental tendencies than ever.

Conversely, That Disc rubs off more chipper and upbeat, but more duds are found here, starting with Spoon’s “Well-Alright” and Cat Power’s version of “Amazing Grace.” Past that glaring weakness, That Disc stands up rather defiant with the likes of Beirut, My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst, and The New Pornographers among others. Yet one of the strongest originals comes from Blonde Redhead & Devastations with “When The Road Runs Out,” a slow, dark and mysterious track with a hint of accepted creepiness. An added bonus is “Blood, Pt. 2,” which is a remix of Sufjan’s rendition of “You Are The Blood” by Buck 65, who spills smooth rhymes and reinforces how brilliant the new version of the song is. But the refinement of Conor Oberst’s very own “Lua,” is definitely a show-stopper. Spiffed up and revamped for an incredible improvement, relatively speaking, with the help of Gillian Welch’s sublime vocals taking a few verses in a delightfully brighter mood.

With every compilation, tracks are bound to fall flat. However, the turnover rate is relatively low, making Dark Was The Night so refreshing and ultimately a worthy purchase. After all, this is different than your ordinary mix tape. This compilation is essentially an indie fan’s wet dream, all for a cause worth its due. After all, twenty years from now, Dark Was The Night will be remembered as a legendary compilation.



Recent reviews by this author
Glassjaw Coloring BookNo Age Everything In Between
United Nations Nevermind the Bombings, Here's Your Six FiguresFar At Night We Live
Nas & Damian Marley Distant RelativesLCD Soundsystem This Is Happening
user ratings (95)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Antonio Sanchez (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2009



17913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

two songs you sent me are amazing

gaslightanthem
March 7th 2009



5209 Comments


this looks so awesome

Mendigo
March 7th 2009



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

funny, this just arrived in the mail yesterday. still haven't listened to it yet, but it seems to be great from everything I've heard about it.

tombits
March 7th 2009



3463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The tracklisting already had me interested, but your review has got me really excited. Good job, will definitely pick this up.

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 7th 2009



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this looks gooooood

Dragon_Prince
March 7th 2009



272 Comments


I've been meaning to get this ... Great review

SeaAnemone
March 7th 2009



18813 Comments


ugh... I saw this on sale and passed it up. *hits self on forehead*This Message Edited On 03.07.09

Kiran
Emeritus
March 7th 2009



5992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A lot of the songs on this absolutely rule. The artist line up on this is incredible, as well, with Riceboy Sleeps being the only one I had to check up on, and only then did I find out it's the side project of the Sigur Ros lead singer.

tarethere
March 7th 2009



184 Comments


tightrope by yeasayer is pretty damn good too

AggravatedYeti
March 7th 2009



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is really fucking good, nabbed it from a local radio station. 'Service Bell' & "When the Road Runs Out' are the shit.
Nice review Mr. Flats.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
March 7th 2009



862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My Brightest Diamond was made for that song, psyched when I saw the tracklisting. This is really pretty quite awesome all round, prefer the first disc though.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2009



17117 Comments


oh man, i need this asap.

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

tarethere
March 7th 2009



184 Comments


do what ya want but may i suggest purchasing it

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Was-Night-Red-Compilation/dp/B001R5Z6CO/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk

only 12 bucks for 31 tracks. whatever, just a suggestionThis Message Edited On 03.07.09

drowybuckets
March 7th 2009



55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i was waiting for this album to drop ever since i heard you are the blood. such a good recordThis Message Edited On 03.07.09

Boognish
March 7th 2009



1003 Comments


It's ok. Lots of bland indie with a couple of good songs here and there.

Drsmith4
March 8th 2009



1696 Comments


So, one thing I need answered before I get this: are these mostly covers, or are these predominantly original songs?

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
March 8th 2009



4925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's pretty much split, but I'd say overall there are just a few more originals

natey
March 8th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

napster has this, huzzah!

Avirov
March 9th 2009



1206 Comments


The ridiculous amount of great artists on this combined with the fact that it's for AIDS prevention pretty much sells this CD for me.

natey
March 9th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My Morning Jacket and Spoon are the only two artists I don't normally like



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy