Friday, December 25, 2009

Track 9: "Tightrope" by Yeasayer

My #2 album of the year is the double-disc album Dark Was the Night, curated by members of The National to benefit the Red Hot Organization on it's 20th anniversary. The album raised thousands to fight AIDS/HIV while offering a bountiful collection of original music and covers from a generation's worth of notable independent artists. The list is mind-boggling and there is nary a throwaway track...hardly believable to you hear it.

Uber-hyped Dirty Projects start things off, collaborating with long-time Red Hot contributor David Byrne. Sufjan Stevens' provides the 10-minute epic "You Are the Blood." The unholy alliance of Feist and Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard put together a fitting hymn about loss. Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon makes two appearances. My Brightest Diamond puts together a powerful rendition of the signature jazz tune "Feeling Good" that is remarkably faithful to the greats that have done it before. Long-time faves such as Spoon, Arcade Fire, Decemberists, Iron & Wine and Yo La Tengo also make appearances.

In arranging DWtN, the National's Bryce and Aaron Dessner have even surpassed the amazing collection of artist's found on 1993's No Alternative, that decade's "it" indie benefit album. An amusing side-note several reviews pointed out: Pavement notably name-dropped REM on their No Alternative track and here the National slyly name-drop Pavement, singing "praying for Pavement to get back together" (which they coincidentally did months later).

Despite all the big names associated with the project, my favorite track would be a toss-up between that of the project's curators* and this one from the experimental, polyrhythmic tinkerers, Yeasayer. One of many indie darlings in 2007, they contributed this track while putting the finishing touches on their delayed 2010 sophomore album.

9.) "Tightrope" by Yeasayer

*My brother should drop the National track on the site soon (it's #17 on my mix)

Buy the MP3 Album


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