Mixtape Monday!: European Oils, Pretty Wings, and Stranger Things

Pretty Wings- Maxwell

Maxwell dominates the song with a Marvin Gaye like croon and the backing is excellent, soft but not too soft (a problem that most neo soul suffers from) and well crafted and placed vocal harmonies.  Some nice Curtis Mayfield styled horn work on this one too.

European Oils- Destroyer

In prior days, I wouldn’t have listened to the song on the assumption from the name alone that it was some average metal band but whether it was out of ironic intention or not this band sells itself short by its name.  Take Marc Bolan’s singing (from T-Rex…Bang a Gong) with a little of David Bowie and song structure and back it with absolutely beautiful (Pink Floydesque) instrumentation and you might have an idea what these guys are like.  Best use of a pitch bender i’ve ever heard.

Impressions of the Past- Megafaun

In this day and age instrumental, or in this case mostly instrumental songs are few and far between in rock bands, whether its because everyone’s focused on producing a hit single or they don’t have the instrumental ability its hard to say, however this song is nothing short of masterful. Pastoral and vast and never predictable.

What Light- Wilco

Wilco is a grower of a band, the more songs you hear by them, the more you like them.  This one? think of Bob Dylan dipped in country.

O Children- Nick Cave

When those backing gospel singers come in, this track goes from good to spectacular.

Stranger Things- Local Natives

Remember this name because they’re gonna be big in 2010 because as a emerging band they have all the pieces in place.

Black- Okkervil River

A band that should be recognized more than the fan base it has, cohesive arrangements and a good dynamic lead singer, they’re a band you can put on at anytime.

Neon Filler- Howie Gelb

A beautiful slow beginning and a voice that is unmistakable, spoken like a poem.

Ramble On Rose- The Grateful Dead

The Dead as much as they have their rabid following, also have their numerous detractors saying they often weren’t cohesive as a live band, noodling on drug fueled jams that didn’t always work, however all parts are in fine form here, taken from the Europe ’72 Double LP and Jerry Garcia contributes a fine succinct guitar solo along with it.

Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken- Camera Obscura

Is anyone really ready to be heartbroken? The music will certainly make you think so.

Chicago At Night- Spoon

Spoon already has that night atmosphere to them, their arrangements always hiding their surprises in the shadows and Britt Daniel just has enough grit in his voice to make things more interesting.

Two Tickets To Paradise (Eddie Money Cover)- Eef Barzelay

Once in a great while there comes a cover that breathes a new life into the song, an interpretation that makes you think about the song in ways you hadn’t before, this is one of those.

We Talk Like Machines- Savior Adore

A driving beat to perk your interest and an interesting harmony dynamic to keep you going.

They Never Got You- Spoon

They really know how to nail down that something’s lurking feeling don’t they.

What I Mean To You- Justin Townes Earle

Country is so often overdone in lyrical themes, drinking and heartbreak, but this organic production brings a new interest to this listener, the lyrics are understated, not overwrought and its one of those melodies that will keep with you for weeks.

When I Said Goodbye- Mayer Hawthorne

Outstanding harmonies with a classic soul vibe, not bad for a white guy from Detroit, in fact its nothing short of fantastic.

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