Weird at My School: Dark Was The Night

Today is Worlds AIDS Day, so what better time to rave about Dark Was The Night, the forthcoming compilation from the folks at the Red Hot Organization (who raise funds and awareness around HIV and AIDS). Available Feb. 17, 2009, from 4AD, this double-CD/triple-LP includes 31 exclusive tracks and was produced by Aaron & Bryce Dessner of The National. The release of Dark Was The Night (which takes its title from the famous blues tune, covered here by Kronos Quartet) marks the 20th anniversary of Red Hot, and is also their twentieth title in a series of stellar albums that started off in 1990 with the Cole Porter tribute Red Hot + Blue.

Take a look at the track list below. It’s like they custom-made the dang album with KEXP listeners in mind.

Disc One:
1. “Knotty Pine” by Dirty Projectors & David Byrne
2. “Cello Song” by The Books feat. Jose Gonzales
3. “Train Song” by Feist & Ben Gibbard
4. “Brackett, WI” by Bon Iver
5. “Deep Blue Sea” by Grizzly Bear
6. “So Far Around the Bend” by The National
7. “Tightrope” by Yeasayer
8. “Feeling Good” by My Brightest Diamond
9. “Dark Was the Night” by Kronos Quartet
10. “I Was Young When I Left Home” by Antony & Bryce Dessner
11. “Big Red Machine” by Bon Iver & Aaron Dessner
12. “Sleepless” by The Decemberists
13. “Die” by Iron and Wine
14. “Service Bell” by Grizzly Bear & Feist
15. “Blood” by Sufjan Stevens

Disc Two:
16. “Well-Alright” by Spoon
17. “Lenin” by Arcade Fire
18. “Mimizan” by Beirut
19. “El Caporal” by My Morning Jacket
20. “Inspiration Information” by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
21. “With A Girl Like You” by Dave Sitek
22. “Blood Pt. 2″ by Buck 65 Remix (feat. Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
23. “Hey, Snow White” by The New Pornographers
24. “Gentle Hour” by Yo La Tengo
25. “Another Saturday Night” by Stuart Murdoch
26. “Happiness” by Riceboy Sleeps
27. “Amazing Grace” by Cat Power & Dirty Delta Blues
28. “The Giant of Illinois” by Andrew Bird
29. “Lua” by Conor Oberst & Gillian Welch
30. “When The Road Runs Out” by Blonde Redhead & Devastations
31. “Love vs. Porn” by Kevin Drew

And it doesn’t just look amazing, it sounds great, too. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings tap into a shuffling, psychedelic vibe, with a top note of Afro-beat brass, for their update of Shuggie Otis’ “Inspiration Information.” Riceboy Sleeps, a collaboration between Sigur Rós frontman Jonsi and his boyfriend Alex, graces the disc with a blessed-out ambient track that sounds like a Buddha Machine 2.0 on a hefty dose of MDMA — my body went limp with listening to it. The Decemberists’ “Sleepless” starts out sparse, emphasizing accordion and Colin Meloy’s melancholy vocals, then blossoms into something more celestial and uplifting in tone over the course of nearly eight minutes. Not to be outdone, Sufjan Stevens drops the ten-minute “Blood,” which recalls the electronic textures of his 2001 album Enjoy Your Rabbit, while also integrating his more orchestral sound of late; this might be his most ambitious arrangement yet. (And just to make a good thing better, Buck 65 remixes the same tune into a polychromatic hip-hop fantasy on Disc Two.)

Jose Gonzales covering Nick Drake… the Nina Simone standard “Feeling Good” interpreted by My Brightest Diamond… Beirut’s “Mimizan,” an ideal soundtrack for your next sailing regatta — oh, how the mind reels at the sheer bounty. How I’m going to sit on my hands and remain patient for the next six weeks, I don’t know.

DJ El Toro is the host of the overnight show In Between Sleep & Reason, Wednesday mornings from 1 AM to 6 AM on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle and His column, Weird At My School, appears every Monday on the KEXP Blog.

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  1. Posted December 3, 2008 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    this looks awesome indeed!

    thanks for the heads up kurt :-)

  2. czxczc
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    b-b-ut I want it now ;[

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