Tuesday, 31 March 2009

2009 Music Chart - March

Thanks to a late February post, only two new albums for March - the brilliant Chris Cornell and Filthy Dukes. Back on schedule next month.
  1. To Lose My Life - White Lies
  2. Scream - Chris Cornell
  3. Dark Was The Night - Various
  4. Alpinisms - The School Of Seven Bells
  5. Not Without A Fight - New Found Glory
  6. Fortress 'Round My Heart - Ida Maria
  7. Nonsense In The Dark - Filthy Dukes
  8. The Airborne Toxic Event - The Airborne Toxic Event
  9. Rockwell - Anni Rossi

Sunday, 22 March 2009

New Nine Inch Nails Tour Site and free EP!

New NIN tour site and access to FREE NIN/Jane's Addiction/Street Sweeper EP here.

The EP has two new NIN songs: Not So Pretty Now and Non-Entity. Both are decent tracks; one older sounding and one more modern and polished, respectively. Jane's Addictions are as always but Street Sweeper (aka Tom Morello and Boots Riley) sound like the new Body Count. Great sampling on The Oath. Sounds like it's going to be a hell of a tour.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Chris Cornell (and Timbaland) - Scream Album Review (2009)

Review for The Music Magazine. I loved this meeting of minds a lot more than I thought I would. Cornell never lets Timbaland take too much and the rapper/producer adds his unique 'touch'. Really good stuff that works more and more on repeat listens.

Ever wondered what it would have been like if Michael Jackson had formed Audioslave? Ok not quite, but it was the first line that came to mind on the first listen and it stuck. The idea of rock God Chris Cornell and rapper-producer Timbaland teaming up for a new album should make even the most open-minded fan of either run for the hills. Sometimes the meeting of two great minds results in a total mess (Spielberg+Kubrick=AI anyone?) but occasionally it works. And thankfully, and against all the odds, Scream is one of those times.

If anything, opener Part Of Me is a very subdued introduction. Any song (let alone a lead-off album track) that starts with a fanfare, followed by demonic vocals pronouncing your arrival, makes you stand up and take notice. But what emerges is a controlled, well thought-out slice of modern bouncy electro-pop (none of this retro 80s nonsense). The combination of rock voice and dance production, coupled with a slightly misogynistic chorus, is not quite the song we were expecting. At over five minutes it rolls along into a messy outro...until you realise that we have now slid effortlessly into the next song: Time. One of the perfect things (and a simple yet sometimes overused idea) is to connect all the songs together into one glorious mix. Scream is a perfect example of how to do it well.

This first part of the album builds to a magnificent central point. Sweet Revenge has a wonderful R&B swagger without sounding soulless even if it does overuse the vocoder, and then all gets a bit old fashioned - the only time Scream ever does. Get Up plods along like it's being played at half-speed and never gets moving, until we enter the squeaky political stomp of Ground Zero. The arrangement is absurdly weird, adding to the intrigue. The link into Never Far Away is like falling into madness before the real style begins and things start to settle down. This is one of the best songs on Scream - shimmering with electronic wonder and evolving in the last minute and half as grinding guitars come in to announce an interlude.

A trilogy of songs continue the sublime run of form. To begin, Take Me Alive is dark and mysterious, Cornell recalling the tale: "There's nowhere for me to go. I'm a long way away from home. I won't go without a fight. You'll never take me alive!". Into Long Gone and things get even more chilled with another soaring chorus and some wonderful guitars - the late break forming an instant highlight. Like the previous song, the last thirty seconds builds into the next song; the title track stutters uneasily into life before taking shape. Ok so the chorus "Hey! Why you keep screaming at the top of your head" doesn't work and the voice-over is a little cheesy but this is one of those forgivable moments. Even the repetitive last few minutes glide by into a bizarrely dark outro - bringing things full circle...

...Into Enemy which quickly picks up the pace - diving between quiet verses into thumping circular chorus. Lyrically, Cornell just about gets away with "Taking my time to untangle the wires and stare into my sanity. Dropping the hammer and pulling the trigger; I know now the bullet is me" thanks to a slick serious delivery. Even the military drum break ending, sliding neatly into Other Side Of Town has enough variation to keep your interest. The song marks a brief lull, and one of the only times the album descends into a too comfortable going-through-the-motions emptiness. Just as it gets predictable, another great hook and chorus drags you back into the fray and the overwhelming embrace engulfs you again. This time it is the excellent Climbing Up The Walls with another repetitive echoing chorus and shining guitars.

Into the last (official) song and Watch Out brings together Justin Timberlake inanity with head banging foot-stomping vocals. The end is sudden and after a minute or so of silence (the classic hidden track link), the album ends with Two Drink Minimum - sounding more like Mark Lanegan, this is a wonderful slice of dance-free no nonsense blues. It is a strangely 'normal' way to end such an insanely fused and entertaining ride.

What Timbaland has done is created a dance album...that is really a rock album. Even though it has been mucked around with profusely, Cornell's voice is still at the heart of this. And that is the key. It is not soaked with rap as it could well be and Timbaland is on his best behaviour. Rock purists will hate the constant loops and beats (a good thing as there are far too many of them and they can just go away and listen to Def Leppard and keep wishing it was still 1987) but more importantly this will alienate hardcore Timbaland fans. There is always a trade-off but no manner of over-production can destroy Cornell's wonderful vocals. They shine with the kind of energy Akon is searching for but never finds.

It would be great to say that this is the sound of the future; progression if you will. But it's not that simple. This has been done before for a start. What is clear is that this is one of those times when it works. Scream is a thoroughly enjoyable ride, from subdued start to strong finish and those that are saying that the fusion of rock and dance has diluted the qualities of both have not given Scream enough time or respect. In a year when bands like U2 are trying to recapture a past glory, here are two musicians moving forward, taking a risk, reaching out...call it what you will. Trent Reznor should recognise a fellow musician making the same giant steps he has recently and stop feeling 'embarrassed'. Against all expectations, Scream is a triumph.

-- CS (for The Music Magazine)

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Filthy Dukes - Nonsense In The Dark Album Review (2009)

Latest review for The Music Magazine. Great 80's influenced attempt at The Chemical Brothers.

It is always interesting when DJs become bands. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but it always creates magical music: Chemical Brothers, Fat Boy Slim, LCD Soundsystem, Daft Punk to name a few. So after spending the last few years remixing the likes of The Rakes, White Lies (band of the moment) and Bloc Party, Olly Dixon and Tim Lawton team up with Mark Ralph to make a 'proper' band. At a time when everyone is claiming that they loved the 80s, even the bits that were clearly crap at the time, pulsing synthesisers and throbbing bass are used without shame or regret. Throw in a handful of guest vocalists and the results, as you may expect, are a little inconsistent.

Nonsense In The Dark is centred around a brilliant title track, beautifully structured and framed around a free-flowing vocal performance from Orlando Weeks (somewhere between Gary Newman and Martin Fry) with buzzing electronics and fuzzy guitars. Within the bright shining synth-pop is a darker edge, namely the lyric "...the moonlight...made you do it...made you do it...do it". Then the song becomes a series of repeated ranting phrases, building to its wonderful full six and a half minute glory.

An entire album of this would be too much to ask, and probably get dull and trite, yet it is a beacon standing tall above everything else. Opener, and recent (re-released) single, This Rhythm comes a close second, bursting with the same looping keyboards and obvious 80s styling, both matched with the same vague-yet-energetic poses. The only down-point is the resorting to empty wailing vocals, obvious vocoder and over-production in the last two minutes, but after the sidestep, things come back with a resounding climax of pseudo-operatic wonder. Likewise Messages is trying to be pure pop perfection, shimmering with layers and bouncy piano. In contrast Don't Fall Softly is enhanced by the vocals of Brandon Curtis from Secret Machines. Another great example of flow and control.

Strangely the band chose Tupac Robot Club Rock as a second single, possibly in an attempt to emulate the Beastie Boys. At least they got a rapper to do the vocals, in this case Plastic Little. That said, lyrically it is complete gobbledegook and very different from anything else on the album. That is why it doesn't work.

Aside from the moments of brilliance, the rest of the album falls into two parts: the different and the same-but-not-as-good. Lyrically Elevator opens with "You brought me up when I was down" (that's that metaphor explained then) and never gets more interesting than that remaining all a bit too comfortable. As is the soft new-romantic tones of Light Skips Cross Heart. It all gets a bit muddy into the last two minutes threatening a half-baked direction change. Poison The Ivy should be brilliant but falls flat, thanks to lack of invention (the music chugs along and only finds a melody in the last two minutes), and a vocal (from Yars) that sounds more grand than the song. It could be a White Lies b-side. Which is no bad thing.

The most interesting music happens when no vocals are involved. You Better Stop is a great Orbital-style instrumental, as is the more space-aged Jarre/Vangelis inspired Cul-De-Sac. To complete the trilogy, Twenty Six Hundred is halfway between the first two, metamorphosing into a darker animal for the second half. All great 'interludes'. Closer Somewhere At Sea could be a great Moby-esque instrumental to conclude in a delicate and majestic way. But the need for Mauro from Sunny Day Sets Fire takes over and his falsetto stomps all over what is some of the best music on the album. A final stutter. To be fair, the last minute or so becomes an elegant highlight.

Inconsistency is not the problem with Nonsense In The Dark. With such an eclectic mix of styles and influences you need to expect some variation and lots of interesting experiments. So there is something for everyone. When it works the songs are brilliant, usually when the complexity is hidden within a simple idea, and this approach out-weighs the more 'challenging' parts of the album most of the time. And there is a lot of album to explore; at just under an hour, there is plenty to shout about and the good stuff should not be dragged down by the not-so-good just because it exists. The trio has clearly put together the body of work they feel embodies the Filthy Dukes spirit. Maybe over time, we will understand what that really means but for now, in this age of the digital playlist replacing the old mix tape, it is a case of pick 'n' mix (copyright Woolworths 1985. RIP).

-- CS (for The Music Magazine)

Friday, 13 March 2009

Comic Relief TOTPs - 'Live' Review!

22:00 on 13/03/2009. A 'Live' review of Comic Relief RND TOTPs. Ok here goes...

Hosts: Noel Fielding (Mighty Boosh), Fearne Cotton and Reggie!

First up is Rob Brydon and Ruth (Aka Nessa) with the 'single' (Barry) Islands In The Stream. Great nine minute video and the live performance is just as committed. Barry Gibb is there on backing vocals with some of the Gavin & Stacy crew. Shame there is no Corden and Horne. Ruth actually has a decent voice. A star turn from Sir Tom Jones, sporting a new grey haircut (and beard!). He's sounding a bit rough to start - not his usual glorious baritone, but soon gets into it. Brydon is typically over-the-top but enthusiastic.

Franz Ferdinard next with No You Girls. A pretty decent track, like a reworking of Take Me Out, but a bit too much of going through the motions. Comes alive when David Tennant turns up at the end on guitar. Yeah right?! Love the red boots though!

Brief but necessary interlude for a well intentioned documentary about why the BBC are doing this in the first place. One word: Malaria. FC, with French and Saunders, reminds us.

Noel Fielding introduces Oasis (apparently cats love them). From one Noel to another...

Falling Down is one of the best Oasis singles in a while. But where is Liam? Couldn't be arsed to turn up? He better have a good excuse. He isn't singing but he could at least do his Bez bit with a tambourine or something. Anyway Noel is a star. I wouldn't be surprised if he's running and fronting the band in a few years anyway. Damn good vocals.

66609 text for a £5 donation.

Back to Jonathan Ross and Claudia Winkleman (and Reggie!) to tell us that record companies are giving 20p off all current top 40 releases to donate to CR. Nice.

Now a montage of past 'musical' CR moments. Some real classics here including Peter Kay & Tony Christie.

It is then revealed that JR will do something physical next year. "You heard it here first", declares the lovely Ms. Cotton!

Now Take That...with Up All Night. A weird bar room style performance that gets everyone going. It's another decent performance of a 'new' Take That song. As red balloons fill the stage, it is clear that the band is having fun. Then it is all over...

Noel F. does an impression of Mark Owen then we launch into the band of the show: U2. And it's the single Get On Your Boots (predictably). Oh dear. Why the hell couldn't they do Even Better Than The Real Thing? Oh yeah they have a new album to plug that's why. What a let down. Even LM jr. looks completely bored as he 'drums' along. This is a fucking terrible song and everyone knows it. Could the band not put the current pointless PR aside for one minute and deliver us something decent for a worthy cause? Isn't this what Bono is always going on about ???? Arrrgghh.

Moving on...James Morrison with an acoustic version of Broken Strings. It's actually not bad. Up on the stage like Chris Martin he delivers a raw vulnerability. Much needed after Bono and the boys and their utter nonsense. This works amazingly well as a 'solo' effort.

Back to David Tennant and Fearne Cotton (she is gorgeous!) and we have a top 10 run down. It's pretty much all rubbish, except Lily Allen with The Fear and the Taylor Swift single (showing Kelly Clarkson how it is now done). Lady Gaga is in twice! The Saturdays (for CR are number 2) which leads us to...

Flo Rida. Who? My GOD!!!! What is this? Even compared to U2 this is utter shite. Winkleman, McCall and French provide some much needed 'Comic Relief' (can't believe I just said that!) by dancing along and getting into the spirit of things. But honestly this is COMPLETE BOLLOCKS. People actually bought this?

The BBC could have just pretended that something else (anything else!) was number one, than this rubbish. Why didn't they close with Islands In The Stream?????? No one would have cared.

So back to Cotton and Reggie for a muted finish. What a ride. CS out.

I know it's nothing to do with music but I don't care what Jonathan Ross did with that idiot Russell Brand, JR is worth the license fee alone. Him and Claudia Winkleman :)

And Fearne Cotton.

-- CS

Saturday, 7 March 2009

2009 Music Chart - February

About time for the current chart (bit early for March but too late for February but here it is anyway). I have added the School Of Seven Bells (and The Airborne Toxic Event, and Ida Maria) even though it is a reissue but so far White Lies still has the edge.
  1. To Lose My Life - White Lies
  2. Dark Was The Night - Various
  3. Alpinisms - The School Of Seven Bells
  4. Not Without A Fight - New Found Glory
  5. Fortress 'Round My Heart - Ida Maria
  6. The Airborne Toxic Event - The Airborne Toxic Event
  7. Rockwell - Anni Rossi
More to follow...

Anni Rossi - Rockwell Album Review (2009)

A review for The Music Magazine. Such a shame this didn't live up to the hype. I don't like being critical of musicians who try hard but this album really doesn't work. A mess of vocals and a lack of ideas drags it down constantly. Still, a talent to watch for the future.

The review...

23 year old Chicago-based singer and violist Anni Rossi is an exciting new prospect. Or so everyone is saying. Recently signed to 4AD and working with producer Steve Albini, her debut album Rockwell, which was recorded in a day, is a strange journey through the mind of a song writer. Sticking mainly to her instrument of choice, but adding in a few extras as required, the album unfolds like a Brothers Grim fairytale. But the end result is more of a nightmare.

Opener Machine (one of her most trusted 'live' songs) is a great introduction to Rossi's voice. Almost immediately it is clear that gliding and flowing vocals are not on the agenda here and she is determined to throw notes to all corners of the room. Musically it is like the viola equivalent of Seasick Steve and by the half way point, things do get more coherent; settling down into quite a respectable slice of folk-pop. The very different sounding (and very short) Ecology follows with pulsing electronic keyboards. Anyone hoping that her voice has settled down by now is in for a huge disappointment. Likewise, the same can be said of anyone hoping for a decent album.

The Ace Of Base cover Living Danger says it all. Forgettable then but probably the best song on the album now. An Ace Of Base cover? Seriously. It is one of the only times Rossi keeps her gymnastic vocals under control. The music is pleasantly low-fi but gets bogged down in deep echoing bass strings half way through. Still, it stands up as a good reinterpretation.

This is about as good as it gets as Rossi manages to turn one of the most exciting vibrant places on earth, Las Vegas, sound mind-numbingly dull. Maybe that is the irony she is going for. The West Coast is a perfect example of one song embodying the nature of the whole album. Just as you start to get engaged, it dives off in a different direction. The lack of structure and melody plagues most of the music on Rockwell and it is this rambling approach that yields very little pay-off. Venice is a very annoying staccato expedition into wavering strings. Oddly, the mix of tuneless viola and Rossi's distant unhinged voice works to a point but when a two and half minute song runs out of steam with a minute to go, you know you're in trouble. There is a bizarre classical break before a completely different song comes in and Rossi loses it completely. A very obvious low point with most of Glaciers and Deer Hunting Camp 17 a close second and third.

A late glimpse of brilliance is Wheelpusher, with Rossi in Laura Veirs mode - serene and reflective - but the song dives up tempo after a minute and then can't decide which speed to maintain. Then it grinds to a halt for another slow interlude before building again and losing the tune. Closing song Air Is Nothing follows and promises the same, this time with consistent tempo. At least the vocals stay at the same pitch, even if it is way too high. Somewhere within all the shrill nonsense is a decent voice trying to get out.

The biggest problem with Rockwell is that of engagement. The album is outrageously short. At a little over twenty five minutes you don't get much time to get involved. Rossi flits from one wandering idea to the next and in just ten songs, and only two over three minutes, it is a brief glimpse at the talent. Some songs really get you hooked, if only to find out where she is going, but that so often leads to disappointment. Her 4AD profile states: "...the energy, depth and eccentricities of her live show have all been successfully translated onto record". It is one of those wonderfully subjective comments (how much energy? How deep? How eccentric?) that you read on press releases everywhere.

Give Anni Rossi time and the inner charm does begin to show through but it is never enough to save her and the album. Rockwell is unfocused and messy, lacking melody and low on ideas with the vocals a constant distracting annoyance. She may be an exciting new prospect but not on this evidence. For the sake of all young musicians trying to make it in this big nasty world, we all hope she leaves this debut behind her and comes back with something much much better.

-- CS (for The Music Magazine)

Monday, 2 March 2009

New Found Glory - Not Without A Fight Album Review (2009)

If you have been put off by Emo in the past then New Found Glory is the perfect place to start. It isn't quite music by numbers but they are masters of the formula, playing it safe without sounding tired and withered, and taking few risks. American bands still rule the airwaves when it comes to this - following in the now well-trodden footsteps of Green Day and Blink 182. Ten years ago, like the antithesis of Britpop, it seemed like every spotty angst-fuelled US teenager was picking up a guitar and forming a band and Emo became a treadmill for a genre that didn't deserve to be marginalized. Of all the bands around at the time, New Found Glory, who were still on Independent label Drive Thru, released a fourth album in as many years and Sticks And Stones propelled them into the big leagues. So years later, after a few distractions and wrong turns, and a cracking comeback in 2006 with Coming Home, New Found Glory is back with Not Without A Fight, the band's eighth album.

After a slightly dodgy start with opener Right Where We Left Off - ironically the least Emo sounding song on the album (or maybe a clever introduction into the new rejuvenated band), Don't Let Her Pull You Down kicks things off on the right footing. It is typical high-school love and loss with a bit of homecoming-esque shouting thrown in for good measure. Jordan Pundik is excellent on lead vocals with some spirited backing from the rest of the band. Listen To Your Friends is just as punchy, with frantic vocals making way for an even more rushed chorus. The pace is relentless, all framed by wonderful guitar work. Lyrically this is predictable Emo fair, with thoughts arriving like an adolescent stream of consciousness: "Oh, just then I found a note in my pocket, it read 'I don't ever wanna see you again', and I guess that explains why I can't remember...the rest of the night...".

47 is a brief lull. The energetic delivery is there but the song lacks a solid structure. That said, the drumming from Bolooki is amazing. Truck Stop Blues is another short song but an excellent return to form (on an album that is only 36 minutes long, the longest track is 3 minutes and 44 seconds and most are around 3 minutes). The story here is that of constant touring with a bi-polar twist: "I'll never let this go, I'm in a different state every night...". Tangled Up (with the brilliant Hayley Williams from Paramore) is pure emo-pop perfection and the first signs that New Found Glory are still something special. The duel lead vocals combine to create a new voice. Again the guitars add a dynamic edge.

I'll Never Love Again pushes the right buttons but all in the wrong order and just when the album needs something a bit different, Reasons threatens a big acoustic ballad, the delicate opening strings soon lost under the waves of noise. The song quickly becomes a kitchen sink of sounds and ideas, particularly in the last thirty seconds, the classical guitars limping to a close after a bizarre moment of prog-rock. The militaristic Such A Mess is another variation on a theme and a simple idea complicated by twisting guitar riffs and rolling drums. It loses the plot slightly towards the end, when the overused stadium shouting starts to grate and the band forget the tune but it just about holds up.

Into the final trilogy and a guitar intro brings us two of the best songs on the album. Heartless At Best is the story of near self-destruction. Some more great lyrics to open with: "This smoking gun of a mouth of mine has many victims to it's name" and into another soaring chorus: "...If anyone gets to this point, stop yourself from diving in head first... onto solid ground". But it is This Isn't You that ultimately steals the show with everything working brilliantly and all centred round a simple melodic chorus. With a minute to go, a soft interlude brings back the energy with added layered vocals. Closing song Don't Let This Be The End is a positive note to end on but feels flat compared to the previous two songs. It starts to come alive in the final moments, after lots of repetition and annoying backing vocals, when the crowd chanting starts. It is ten seconds of brilliance that should go on for several minutes. But it never happens.

For a band who never wanted to be labelled 'pop', this album is packed with it. Every song moves at a relentless pace, full of noise yet light and breezy. The heavier forays of the band's 2004 'major label debut Catalyst are now gone and new producer Mark Hoppus (the band has no co-producer credits) gets the best out of them on each song. Vocalist Jordan Pundik has all the enthusiasm of a man who just signed his first record deal and played his first sell-out show, approaching each song with amazing energy with Guitarists Klein and Gilbert combining to keep the album fresh and new.

The usual problem with Emo is that you have to really be into the genre to like it. There is a common misconception that all Emo bands are full of spotty, skateboarding, mentally unhinged, angst-ridden teenagers who coincidently attract the same stereotype for their loyal fanbase. Not true. It is true however that Emo bands grow up and their sound evolves - some experiment with new directions while others embrace hardcore - but most stay true to their roots. And New Found Glory has done exactly that. The sound they had back when Sticks And Stones was released has now fused with the might of Coming Home. And after the disappointment of Catalyst and the questionable covers on From The Screen..., this is a great leap forward. These guys have been together for a long time (ten years is a long time these days) and it shows. Not Without A Fight is not earth-shattering or innovative but it lives up to its name; vibrant, tuneful and above all, it sounds like a band that really wants to be making good music again.

-- CS( for The Music Magazine)

Sunday, 1 March 2009

U2 New Album

On the eve of the new U2 album No Line On The Horizon it would be wrong to ignore it and disrespectful not to talk about it.

U2 has been such a massive part of my life, from late night car journeys singing along to every part of Rattle & Hum, to walking into Live 8 hearing the band launch into Beautiful Day, to queuing outside HMW from 7am to get my vinyl copy of Actung Baby, to the horrible world-shattering lows of Zooropa and Pop.

U2 is a band of incredible contrast; never cool yet acceptable, with a like-him or loathe-him front man Bono. I haven’t heard most of the new album but already I’ve heard enough. How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb has some good tracks. I listened to it for three weeks on and off and have never gone back to it. I feel the same way about No Line On The Horizon. I think it will be another one of THOSE albums. U2 always seem to write one cracking single and a few surprises for each album. It keeps you going back for more. The problem this time is Get On Your Boots is NOT that song. Bad vibes from the start.

When R.E.M. released Drive ahead of Automatic For The People, who knew it would be such a wonderfully diverse album? I hope for the same. U2 need a really great album. Not that they need it, they will sell anyway (although the single hasn’t - they are an album band after all so that explains that one?). Strangely then, there seems to be a lot of hype and urgency surrounding the new album, as if the band know they have to work to get people to like it (and them). Maybe it is an album worth fighting for.

The band played a ‘secret’ ‘unplanned’ and ‘unpublicised’ rooftop gig in the London. That explains why 7000 people turned up, including music journalists who had rooms in the hotel opposite with a live sound feed. And the BBC filmed the whole thing from a helicopter. They just happened to have one lying around. U2 has appeared on the BBC a lot in the last few weeks and are now labelled ‘the biggest band on the planet’. I thought that was Coldplay. Or was that yesterday? Anyway you are only as good as your last album and this one with prove it.

The NME has given No Line On The Horizon 7/10 but that is no surprise. The music industry is at odds these days. It is just too obvious to slag off an unfashionable band so the trend is to do the unfashionable thing and not give it 1/10. Call me a cynic (and I like to think I am not - a realist maybe but not overtly cynical), but I do hope NME are at last ‘growing up’ and U2 are (getting) back to some kind of best.

Dark Was The Night - New compilation for The Red Hot Organisation

This week I got a great album called Dark Was The Night. I was actually looking on iTunes for the new War Child Heroes album but after hearing a few tracks I’m not sure I want to buy it just because it is a charity record. Dark Was The Night is the latest compilation released to support The Red Hot Organisation and features loads of great artists.

I haven’t absorbed all of it yet but the Feist/Ben Gibbard duet of Train Song is excellent and the ten minute odyssey of You Are The Blood by Sufjan Stevens is magical. The great thing here is that all the songs are new and exclusive and all have a similar sound (with a few exceptions), so if low-fi and alt-rock is your thing, I would recommend this.

Here is the track listing…

"Knotty Pine" - Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
"Cello Song" - The Books featuring Joses Gonzalez
"Train Song" - Feist and Ben Gibbard
"Brackett, WI" - Bon Iver
"Deep Blue Sea" - Grizzly Bear
"So Far Around The Bend" - The National
"Tightrope" - Yeasayer
"Feeling Good" - My Brightest Diamond
"Dark Was The Night" - Kronos Quartet
"I Was Young When I Left Home" - Antony with Bryce Dessner
"Big Red Machine" - Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner
"Sleepless" - The Decemberists
"Die" - Iron & Wine
"Service Bell" - Grizzly Bear + Feist
"You Are The Blood" - Sufjan Stevens
"Well-Alright" - Spoon
"Lenin" - Arcade Fire
"Mimizan" - Beirut
"El Caporal" - My Morning Jacket
"Inspiration Information" - Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
"With A Girl Like You" - Dave Sitek
"Blood Pt. 2" - Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
"Hey, Snow White" - The New Pornographers
"Gentle Hour" - Yo La Tengo
"Amazing Grace" - Cat Power
"Happiness" - Riceboy Sleeps
"Another Saturday" - Stuart Murdoch
"The Giant Of Illinois" - Andrew Bird
"Lua" - Conor Oberst with Gillian Welch
"When The Road Runs Out" - Blonde Redhead & Devastations
"Love Vs. Porn" - Kevin Drew