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Various Artists: Dark Was The Night

Reviewed by Devin Ruiz, 17, Ramona Convent Secondary School (Alhambra )

I thought CDs with a perfect lineup of artists like Bright Eyes, Beirut and Grizzly Bear could only be created using iTunes playlists. But then I discovered Dark Was The Night, a charity compilation of rare covers from some of the best musicians in indie music.

Choosing favorites is difficult but Disk One has a soft duet between Feist and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie called “Train Song” (originally by Alasdair Clayre) which I love for its repetitive melody that calms me down. “Brackett, W9” by Bon Iver, who I had just discovered before the CD came out, has soft vocals and music that isn’t necessarily a sing along, but the tune still gets stuck in my head. My favorite on the disk is “You Are the Blood” by Sufjan Stevens. It’s a 10-minute Castanets cover with electronic keyboards, multiple instruments and high-pitch vocals, which build up as heavy noise until it reaches its peak and the recognizable softness of Stevens’ voice sings “You are the quiet in which I dream/ In which I sleep/ in which I wander.”

Disk Two is equally amazing. It has Arcade Fire, Stuart Murdoch (of Belle & Sebastian) and Andrew Bird. It also has “Love Vs. Porn,” by Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene). This is my favorite on Disk Two for its dream-like sound of soft guitar, trumpet and vocals. Drew’s vocals are vulnerable as he sings about getting lost and not being able to love. “The softness they stole will never ever be able to love.” This line sums up how something as simple as the act of loving, once corrupted, will never be the same again.

Dark Was The Night is a double CD with 31 songs for $15 (at Amoeba and even cheaper at Best Buy or on and of course there are the songs I couldn’t get into. But the majority are unreleased jewels and the profits go to AIDS research, so go buy one!