This weeks mix comes out as a mixtape should, i.e. its meant to be played in the order presented, treat it like its a CD, the tracks are in their order for a reason. This one is yet another summer inspired mix with an eclectic range of musicians and styles, and toeing the line between both retro and modern, all the artists are great, and if you like them, support them. And let me know what you think of the mix, leave me a comment. But without further ado, your mix ladies and gents, after the jump.
1. When Your Mind’s Made Up- The Swell Season
This song is a welcome opener, a showcase of powerful intimacy and confessional prose. “So,” the vocalist begins “if you ever want something
And you call, call/Then I’ll come running/ To fight, and I’ll be at your door/When there’s nothing worth running for” Without commonality of love worn cliche, Glen Hansard already declares his blinding faith in passion in one stanza that not many songs reach on any level. The instrumentation is sublime, an organic weave of a delicate piano and bounding rhythm along with the guitar’s intimate melody.
2. Two Weeks of Hip-Hop (Dead Prez vs. Grizzly Bear)- The Hood Internet
Like an alarm clock out of a reverie this eclectic and excellent mash-up manages to sound organic in a way that a lot of mash-ups fall short. Like my sister said “I’m glad they finally used Two Weeks in a hip-hop song, because the drumming is meant for it” And unlike most mash-ups that fall prey to keeping the same sample over and over, The Hood Internet manages to interlope different parts of the song, giving a melody line and hook to what was a beat.
3. Twist and Shout- The Beatles
Although recorded almost 50 years ago, the vivacity and veracity of this recording will never grow old. The story is the stuff of rock and roll legend, Recording well into the early morning for their first LP, The Beatles needed one last number, and with John Lennon fighting pneumonia and ripped vocal chords, he rips off his sweat soaked shirt, downs a(n ill advised) carton of milk, and the band performs the song as is in one take. For being a man known for his vocal talents, all he has going for him on this one is pure grit and passion, and it really shines through.
4. Reckoner’s Encore- Jaydiohead
The interplay between the two sources (Jay-Z & Radiohead) comes off with such a natural vibe that its hard to imagine this recording was a test tube creation, something devised by an outside influence, its clear they did their homework, because the instrumental backs Jay-Z perfectly, giving his raps more depth than they possessed in their original format.
5. I Say A Little Prayer For You- Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin manages to do the impossible here, which is taking the sap out of a David/ Bacharach composition and giving it soul. If Rolling Stone gave one song to back up its claim of Franklin as the greatest vocalist of all time, this song would be the only evidence they needed.
6. Bring It On Home To Me- Eddie Floyd
Eddie Floyd takes the absolutely soul-stirring Sam Cooke original and turns it into an uplifting toe-tapping warm number. Funny thing is despite the nature of the lyric, this warmer arrangement doesn’t hurt the song in the least.
7. Carolina- Matt Wertz
While he borrows the hushed-gruff delivery from John Mayer’s early days, Wertz proves to be adept at making hooks of his own also while leaving the musical stylings of his past (He was originally a Christian musician). Some of the best blue-eyed soul I’ve heard in a long time.
8. Numbers Don’t Lie- The Mynabirds
I featured this song a while back, but it deserves a recall in this summer weather, a soulful chord progression and vocal lead the proceedings with some interesting production giving the song its retro flavor. Just one of those songs that will stick in your head for days.
9. Fallen From The Sky- The Swell Season
Absolutely love the production on this song, once again intimate, weaving beautiful harmonies and an electronic synthesizer/drum line. It’s almost like hearing a young Cat Stevens singing over a Radiohead arrangement, albeit one with much lighter feel. Simply beautiful.
10. Night Vision (Daft Punk Cover)- The Twelves
A little electronica meets 70’s disco instrumental never hurt nobody, and its a trip with headphones.
11. Twistin’ The Night Away- Sam Cooke
And all the sudden you’re swept into the late 50’s, with a charged Sam Cooke leading the performance, along with a great sax solo, a great mood setter and a classic song.
12. Nothin’ On You (Featuring Bruno Mars)- B.o.B.
It’s usually not in my nature to fall prey to current top 40 hits, but B.o.B.’s instant classic brings memories of Outkast at its best, as well as rap song that portrays women in a flattering light, look out Kanye West, your heir seems apparent.
13. 5:19- Matt Wertz
A great hook and great vocal delivery lead this one, John Mayer couldn’t have written something better than this at that stage of his career, in fact, the songwriting on this one surpasses even Mayer’s most recent (and unfortunately soft-rock driven) work.
14. Express Yo’Self- N.W.A
The beat that Dr. Dre lays down for this is worth the entire song, a great rework of Express Yourself by Charlie Watts and the 103rd street band.
15. Anything But The Truth- Jack Johnson
It’s not so much that Jack Johnson’s gotten worse that his fan base has dwindled, by contrast he’s actually gotten much better, just his musical style isn’t the rage it used to be. Here he comes off as a much more direct and less whiny James Taylor, and that’s a good thing.
16. Finer Feelings- Spoon
The finest guitar hook of the 2000’s, off of their great recent work, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.
17. Why Tell The Truth (When It’s Easier To Lie)- Brakes
What starts out as Yo La Tengo influenced jangly acoustic rock constantly builds into a rip roaring rock song, a fun little number that could be inserted perfectly into any indie movie.
18. 99 Problems (Ballard Remix)- Jay-Z
Imagine, Jay-Z performing this song in a club, filmed in black and white, Jay rocking a fedora and absolutely polished spatz and a stunning black suit white shirt black tie combo, backed by an absolutely tight funk band. Thats how much old school swagger there is coming from this song. Got the picture? Good.
19. It’s Growing- Otis Redding
There was never a vocalist who suited the fat sound of Stax better than Otis Redding. And this passionate performance proves this pretty aptly.
20. Rosa Parks- Outkast
One of Outkast’s most underrated and well-written songs of their career, and a great finisher.