The Red Hot Organization, an international charity dedicated to fighting AIDS and HIV through pop culture, is celebrating their twentieth year with their twentieth compilation album named Dark Was The Night (named after the Blind Willie Johnson song). Red Hot has a solid tradition of rounding up big-name artists for these albums, and this year is definitely no exception.
Curators Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National have gathered over thirty musicians to contribute to the cause, and without further ado, here is a sample of the incredible but equally exhausting list: Feist, Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, The Decemberists, Beirut, Sigur Rós, Spoon, New Pornographers, My Brightest Diamond and, lastly, the Kronos Quartet covering the title track. Convinced yet?
Sufjan’s ten-minute, electro-underpinned “You Are The Blood” is a personal favorite that would sonically fit on Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief if it weren’t for the extended piano interludes and several digital spasms.
Yeasayer’s “Tightrope” is another highlight, along with a groovy cover of Shuggie Otis’ “Inspiration Information” by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. “Brackett, WI”, a warm, downtempo tune from Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) also appears and, not unusually, references the seasons if you’re familiar with his acclaimed cabin-written For Emma, Forever Ago or subsequent EP Blood Bank.
In addition to snagging all these hot exclusives, all proceeds from your purchase go directly to Red Hot for the fight against AIDS. Dark Was The Night is out now via 4AD as a double CD, triple-vinyl or digital download. Head over to Amazon or iTunes and support the cause.