Mixtape Monday: Wordsmiths and Their Pictures

It’s Monday again, so you know what that means, time for a Mixtape Monday!

This week features some great songs from the likes of Harry Nilsson (and covers of), Fitz and the Tantrums, Ganglians, April Smith and the Great Picture Show, and many many more.  Just a little taste before the rest of the post after the jump

Good Old Desk (Harry Nilsson)- Ron Sexsmith

Ron Sexsmith by himself is a great songwriter and an artist’s artist, having been praised by the likes of Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Feist among others.  To hear him cover an artist speaks volumes towards his respect of their work and Harry Nilsson is wistful and tuneful like McCartney and cynical like Lennon, and is a great choice; Sexsmith’s arrangement style and vocal play perfectly into this song.

Don’t Gotta Work Out- Fitz and the Tantrums

Don’t be misled by the Dre like keyboard intro, this is an honest to goodness soul song with strong hooks and a great ball busting performance, they’re playing at SXSW this year and don’t be surprised if they make it big time very soon.

Cryin Smoke- Ganglians

Campfire chord progression, drug addled lyrics, tuneful vocals, a song dripping in 60’s nostalgia, what more could you ask.

Movie Loves A Screen- April Smith and the Great Picture Show

A great little band from Brooklyn, April Smith comes off like Gwen Stefani singing Feist and its oh so upbeat and catchy.  The little horn interlude puts a little unexpected into the occasion and fits perfectly.

The Lottery Song (Harry Nilsson)- The Format

Why someone hasn’t put this song on any number of indie movie soundtracks, I can’t explain, its muted and sweet romantic tone could serve as the plot of a movie itself. The subtle backing vocal is perfectly arranged  Just a great cover.

Getting Better- Bob Schneider

Think The Eels or Sugar Ray’s vocals with much better lyrics and a great funky organic arrangement, just listening to it makes you think summer.

That Guy That Says Goodbye To You Is Out Of His Mind- Griffin House

A great take on the age old love song, with refreshing lyrics, a warm Jim Croce like vocal tone and some nice understated acoustic guitar and piano backing.

Eat At Home(Paul McCartney)- The Broken West

A pretty much faithful, albeit a little slower paced cover of the McCartney original.  It only illustrates Paul McCartney’s ability with melody, to the point where other bands can cover him and come off sounding comfortable in the footsteps of a prolific artist.  And man could McCartney make a guitar really sing.

Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite- The Beatles

“I want to smell the sawdust” was the much famed quote from John Lennon when he was telling George Martin his ambitions for this song and I’ll be damned if they didn’t succeed.  A whirling carnival-esque picture that only goes to show the creative monster that The Beatles were at the time, there were no shortcuts, rather hours were spent splicing organs together to create the sonic landscape.  Lennon’s lyrics only further enhance the scene, a masterpiece derived from a simple poster.  The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, but Lennon’s words are worth a thousand pictures.

Hangover Days- Jason Collett

A warm vocal with warm instrumental backing, the song develops into a sweet little back and forth duet, a song that you just fall in love with at the first words.

Tell Me Why- The Beatles

Before they were the creative monsters they would become, their finest album was arguably A Hard Day’s Night, an album nothing short of mastery of the popular song form.  There are hooks galore, ear candy progressions and perfect harmony’s backed by the energy only a youthful band could provide.  Tell Me Why is all that and more.

Ram On- Paul McCartney

For a man who can’t read music, and has no musical training to speak of, his ability with melody is nothing short of genius, and this is one of his finest examples.

Everybody’s Talkin’- Harry Nilsson

I forgot just how great this song was, but im glad i stumbled on it again.  Harry Nilsson was the perfect storm in his youth, a great songwriter blessed with a warm voice and a stunning range.

Tighten Up- The Black Keys

A song from their upcoming album due out in May, and if this song is any indication, it’s gonna be a great album.

Junebug- Robert Francis

Robert Francis possess a wisdom and a voice that belies his young age of 21, this song is instant classic material worthy of Bruce Springsteen’s best output, but with a little country tinge.  It also has one of the best wordless chorus’s I’ve heard in a good long time.

Grand Opinion- AM

This song starts off with a Doors like organ groove, building into some nicely placed Cake reminiscent horns, all anchored by a easy going vocal and great melody, I only wish I could find more of this band.

Winds of Change- Fitz and the Tantrums

Oh, did I forget to tell you there are two vocalists in this band, the other being a woman? Sorry about that I know its rare in a soul  band, but they use it to great effect, and this song is amazing within itself anyways, bright keyboards, dirty horns, an uplifting vocal and a perfect bridge.

Who Knows Who Cares- Local Natives

If as many people listened to the Local Natives; a band with tremendous talent, as they do Lady Gaga and what not, the world would be a better place.  A beautiful song, with quite interesting interludes, and beautiful harmonies.

The Ghost Inside- Broken Bells

DJ Dangermouse is no stranger to creating interesting arrangements and great hooks, so it should come as no surprise that his collaboration with former Shins member James Mercer  is a wonderful album, full of interesting little numbers like this.


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