It’s time for another Mixtape Monday. This week has it all; great indies ( New Pornographers,Destroyer,Surfer Blood, Blitzen Trapper, Rosewood Thieves, Voxtrot, and the Morning Benders) some forgotten classics (Bill Withers, Jorge Ben, Paul McCartney, Freda Payne) and some great covers (Barbara, M. Ward). A little rain and a little sun and as always for free. Please check out the artists included because they’re all great bands that deserve some well earned cash. The full mix after the jump
1. Swim- Surfer Blood
Part Bruce Springsteen melody and part Talking Heads Afro-Pop, a bombastic echo bursts this song open and within its opening minute it already declares itself as an anthem with its chord progression, and its earnest delivery.
2. Stolen Shoes & A Rifle- Blitzen Trapper
Part Grateful Dead harmonies and a country melody lead this track, Blitzen Trapper is a band that can take many forms, and only seems to be getting better with every subsequent album release, their new album Destroyer of the Void should be dropping soon.
3. That Would Be Something- Paul McCartney
That Would Be Something features McCartney laying down an old style blues groove, handling all the instruments on his own, as on the entire McCartney album. Featuring an Elvis Presley type vocal style he rarely used in his Beatles days, the song is pure McCartney, beautifully simple and melodically catchy, and some beat boxing to boot.
4. Another Day to Run- Bill Withers
Much like McCartney in the early 70’s Bill Withers handled all of his own production and songwriting. Another Day to Run is a lost classic from his Still Bill days, with a great rhythmic groove and a vocal delivery par excellence.
5. Cold War- The Morning Benders
Much like The Beatles in their glory days, The Morning Benders have crafted a song that’s pure pop perfection and at 1:44 it begs repeat listens, simply because you want that euphoric feeling back, great production as well, with jangly acoustic and heavy booming percussion as well as otherworldly tight harmonies.
6. Junkyard Julie- The Rosewood Thieves
Why this band isn’t more well known is a crime, with a narrative songwriting style on par with Dylan and a vocal delivery only Lennon at his most visceral could match, Junkyard Julie melds the best of both words, a Dylanesque lyric and arrangement that sounds like John Lennon behind the mic, and playing the bridges.
7. Mas, Que Nada!- Jorge Ben
Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66 may have made this song popular and introduced it to English audiences, but Jorge Ben wrote it and his hands its no less powerful, his vocal sound like George Harrison singing Portuguese which is charming within itself.
8. Pursuit of Happiness (Kid Cudi Cover)- Barbara
Originally a rap song, the laid back country/acoustic arrangement brings this song beyond the original, the melody is delivered beautifully and its almost easy to forget that its a cover.
9. Excuses (Yours Truly version)- The Morning Benders
Do Not Sleep On This Song! Everything, from the orchestral arrangment, to Chris Chu’s solid vocal work to the vocal breakdown. This is a melody, much like At Last (of which the violin lines almost echo note for note) that will stand the test of time.
10. The Start of Something- Voxtrot
An upbeat chord progression leads the song with a endearing vocal performance and a great guitar solo to boot. Unfortunately Voxtrot has now gone by the way side but this is one of the finest examples of their craft.
11. Band of Gold- Freda Payne
Surprisingly, Band of Gold is not a Motown song. Unsurprisingly, Freda’s got the Funk Brothers (The Motown Studio Band) backing her and the subject, a broken marriage (right after the wedding) manages to convey both hope and dismay in the way that only the best Motown songs could.
12. Let My Love Open The Door- M. Ward
M. Ward gives the synthesizer heavy Pete Townshend original a laid back steel pedal infused acoustic treatment, the mellow result is perfect for a rainy afternoon, or a sunset on a sunny afternoon.
13. Beautiful Morning Light- Fruit Bats
I beg you, listen to this song, and seek out more of this band, they’ve got a great singer and a great sound.
14. Lovefool (The Cardigans)- The Morning Benders
A simple low-fi acoustic backing provides the instrumental soundscape behind Chris Chu’s soft and affecting vocals, and in a way, this stripped out version outstrips the original.
15. Black River Killer- Blitzen Trapper
Imagine Bob Dylan teaming up with Dr. Dre….Yeah then you might have an idea how this song sounds, and its a great mix.
16. When My Plane Lands- The Rosewood Thieves
Great organ intro and a great overall song.
17. I Am The Changer- Cotton Jones
I featured this song a while back but its so good I had to feature it again, a perfect rainy night song, mellow instrumentation with a slow reverbed guitar line, no matter your mood, this song will relax you.
18. Wet Cement- The Morning Benders
My favorite arrangement on the entire Big Echoes album, and its an album chock full of great ones.
19. The Littlest Birds- The Be Good Tanya’s
A light sunny folksy melody with some great acoustic guitar play and organic female harmonies.
20. All Day Day Light- The Morning Benders
The Morning Benders meets Spoon, a great danceable rhythm.
21. Crash Years- The New Pornographers
With a melody that seems stolen from George Harrison’s “You” this is nonetheless a great song that proves the New Pornographers are back.
22. English Music- Destroyer
If anyone deserves the David Bowie mantle, its this Canadian band, sounding more like Hunky Dory era Bowie sometimes than even Bowie did himself.
23. Everlasting Light- The Black Keys
Brothers comes out real soon, and if you need reason to get it check out this track, yeah you’re welcome.