In a year of great music, the Dark Was the Night compilation ranks near the top. Now comes Dark Was the Night: The Concert, a truly mammoth undertaking. Members of The National curated the May 3 event to benefit AIDS research with performances by David Byrne, The Dirty Projectors, Feist, Bon Iver, Sharon Jones and My Brightest Diamond.
Annie Clark, who writes and records under the name St. Vincent, has never been a fan of convention. Her 2007 debut, Marry Me, was filled with off-kilter rhythms, strangely melodic electronic arrangements, and cryptic narratives. St. Vincent's latest release, a candidate for one of 2009's best albums, is even more surprising and inventive. Hear selections from the album, Actor, as St. Vincent gives a full concert, recorded live from Washington, D.C.
Deacon has built his reputation on live shows: comically unpredictable messes of frenetic dancing, audience participation and theatrics, all powered by the Baltimore resident's wildly addictive electro-freak-pop. Hear Deacon and his band give a full concert, recorded live from Washington, D.C.
When the enigmatic rock group Animal Collective released Merriweather Post Pavilion in January, it became an early frontrunner for 2009's best record. Hear the band perform a full concert at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., recorded live on May 11.
Emerging out of the sound of spring peepers, Neko Case stepped onto the 9:30 Club stage set in something out of a nature cartoon. Behind them videos of cyclones and airplanes were projected on a screen. But the attention was clearly on Case, her stunning voice, as well as her solid backing band. Okkervil River's Will Sheff opened.
The music of Mates of State has always been playfully innocent and unabashedly upbeat. But on their latest CD, Re-Arrange Us, Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel show that they've grown a little older and wiser, with their richest and most reflective collection of songs to date. Hear a full concert by the band, webcast live on NPR.org from the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Also on the bill: Florida-based co-headliner Black Kids.