After a little hiatus Mixtape Monday is back! Enjoy the rootsy, organic, and acoustically heavy mix featuring some great bands both old and new and some you’ve probably never heard of. Everything’s free (if you want to download a song, just right click and save target/link as) but please do try to support the artists responsible for the tremendous music. The full mix after the jump.
1. Take Me Into Town- Dr. Dog
This little barn-stormer is eerily reminiscent of The Band-era The Band with its grungy drunken Americana feel as well as some Ram era Paul McCartney. And one of the best Dr. Dog songs you won’t find on any album
2. Comin’ Through- The War on Drugs
With an intro reminiscent of Coldplay’s “Don’t Panic” this reverb drenched song with its’ Lou Reed styled vocal is a aural pleasure from the get go.
3. The Way That You Are- Paul and the Patients
This perhaps the closest a white band will ever get to sounding like Prince, and Prince at his best at that. Scary good, and that guitar hook is damn catchy.
4. Powers- Blackalicious
“Powers” is supposed to be just a fun song, but with its rock based hook and strong chorus, Blackalicious delivered a hit that only the likes of Outkast could match in crossover ability.
5. How I Got Over- The Roots
The Roots are to rap what Miles Davis was to jazz. Un-compromised and unlimited in their vision. That they are all accomplished instrumentalists on their own right only helps. They feature one of the best drummers of the era (?uestlove) and their original trio of keys, vocals, and drums is what drives this song. When the first rap verse hits, its like Muhammed Ali stepped into the ring, and with the guest vocalist, the Roots manage to capture a Marvin Gaye circa What’s Going On vibe.
6. Fight Test- The Flaming Lips
This crazy little number seems to take off right where Pink Floyd left off, the arrangement unique, almost a Beck meets Oasis kind of groove.
7. Vocal- Madrugada
This slow burner is driven by perfect dynamics and a affecting deep baritone that sounds like the love child of Jim Morrison, Chris Isaak, and Nick Cave. A hauntingly beautiful song by a little known band. It’s grand arrangement almost begs a movie backdrop.
8. Trap of Mirrors- The Pass
This band sounds like it had two eureka moments, a) when they first heard The Strokes, and b) when MGMT came out with Oracular Spectacular. This peculiar marriage of a frenetic guitar attack with the electronic styling that made MGMT media darlings makes The Pass their own, and entirely catchy.
9. Everything is Spinning- Vandaveer
For all the advancement in music there is still something immortal about a man only armed with a guitar and vocals, and the harmonies are beautifully delivered with a Cat Stevens-esque croon and a beautiful backing chorus. Yet the beauty is the simplicity of the arrangement, there’s no separation between performer and listener.
10. Angela Surf City- The Walkmen
This one comes off sounding like it owes its heritage to the 70’s New York City punk scene, only with a bit more polish, and yet the singer has a delivery of his own, a reedy vocal, but he doesn’t shout, with all the energy of the band, his almost talk-sing style makes the lyrics that much more potent.
11. Carolina Days- Megafaun
Megafaun doing what it does best, upbeat, vocally strong slices of Americana, with acoustic backing. Sorta sounds like something you could expect from a supergroup of CSNY, Grateful Dead, and The Band.
12. One More Night In Brooklyn- Justin Townes Earle
I’ve heard it about 4 times, and its sparkling clarity and organic arrangement and beautiful vocal melody already make it one of my favorite songs of the year.
13. Love the One You’re With- Stephen Stills
One of the greatest, albeit strange, messages that has ever been delivered through rock and roll, with a grand arrangement to boot.
14. Fistful of Mercy- Fistful of Mercy
I’ll admit that I seized upon this band when i heard it was a collaboration of Dhani Harrison, Ben Harper, and Joseph Arthur, yet their eerily constructed harmony is what really makes them great.
15. Houston, TX- Deer Tick
Not unlike something Dylan might have written during his Blonde on Blonde years, if he had only been from Texas.
16. Write About Love- Belle and Sebastian
A great little pop masterpiece; jaunty, sunny, and very upbeat to the point of almost cynical.
17. Big Wave- Jenny and Johnny
Unabashed rock-pop duet fun, the more commercial version of the hipster friendly She & Him.
18. Right Next Door (Because of Me)- Robert Cray
Not only was Robert Cray an amazing guitarist when he hit the scene in the mid eighties, he was also a great singer and songwriter, and “Right Next Door” is one of his best of all three.
19. Ram On- Paul McCartney, The Morning Benders, The Parson Redheads
I chose to feature Ram On in both its original form and in two great covers. The original by McCartney is unmistakably, well, McCartney, with its jaunty ukulele melody and intriguing arrangement, part homespun, part studio genius. The Morning Benders version is a shorter, more stripped down version of an already short and stripped down song, though it works in its own appealing way, in a modern R&B incarnation. The Parson Redheads version stays closer to the original, yet almost in a more Brian Wilson styled vibe. All three are great.
Paul McCartney (original):
The Morning Benders:
The Parson Redheads:
20. The Fade- Megafaun
It’s just a great end of the day number, with tight-knit harmonies and with the Local Native’s “Airplanes” becomes the second song written about passed on grandfathers within the year.