On May 20th, 4AD will release Day of the Dead – a celebration of the Grateful Dead’s music created and curated by brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National.
It has been a massive undertaking. The compilation is a wide-ranging tribute to the songwriting and experimentalism of the Dead, which took four years to record, features over 60 artists from varied musical backgrounds, 59 tracks and is almost 6 hours long.
Day of the Dead will be released digitally, on a 5 X CD, and as a limited edition vinyl boxed set. All profits will help fight for AIDS/ HIV and related health issues around the world through the Red Hot Organisation.
Among the first five songs shared from it today include the first new music from The War on Drugs since 2014’s brilliant Lost In The Dream with their cover of the Dead’s 1987 hit Touch of Grey.
MM faves Phosphorescent and Jenny Lewis combine with the backing of the in-house band (featuring 4/5 of the National) that contributed to numerous recordings on the compilation, to cover 1971’s Sugaree.
Courtney Barnett puts her characteristic slant on New Speedway Boogie, and The National cover Bonnie Dobson’s Morning Dew, a Grateful Dead staple since 1967, one of two songs that they contributed to the compilation.
Watch them all below.