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Dark Was the Night – Various Artists

By Chris Peken

This is an indie-music head’s wet dream. The 20th compilation in the Red Hot series celebrates it’s Valentine’s Day release with a collection of the best and brightest bar none. Imagine an album with Arcade Fire, Cat Power, Andrew Bird, David Byrne and Bon Iver…and that’s only the first disc – called “This Disc”. “That Disc” adds My Morning Jacket, Grizzly Bear, Conor Oberst, Gillian Welch, Spoon, The National…did i forget to mention Sujan Stevens’ Antony’ Or Yo La Tengo and Iron and Wine’ What about The New Pornographers’ All the material here is new, with some great covers, including Dave Sitek taking a slow-core electronic approach to A Girl Like You and Cat Power reinforcing her covers queen status with Amazing Grace. In the instrumental stakes Riceboy Sleeps provides a wonderful nod to Harmonia and Kraftwerk with Happiness while I always savour any new offering from Yo La Tengo and Gentle Hour will not disappoint their fans. Spoon’s Well-Alright has a chugging guitar stolen from Eddie Cochran and Arcade Fire continue their recent bass-and-piano driven form with Lennin. The heavenly voice of Gillian Welch duetting with the fragile warble of Conor Oberst on Lua is another highlight. Compilations so often disappoint, this one will not.

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