It’s been far too long since I’ve done a Mixtape and far too long since I’ve updated the site in general so enjoy this latest mixtape packed full of both old and new, some classics, some you never will have heard of…all of it good. So sit back, relax, get that right-clicking hand ready and enjoy the full mix after the jump.
(As always, if you like the artist, support them! All the songs on here are for promotional purposes and are free to download, just right click and save target as)
1. Audience of One- Cold War Kids
Think of these guys as in the same hyper literate boat as The National, but sonically they’re entirely their own, and this number is a dynamic performance I haven’t seen out of these guys since their debut.
2. Weekend- Smith Western
Marc Bolan may be dead, but to Smith Western T. Rex is alive and well, and “Weekend” is a number that benefits from the better studio production afforded them by their lo-fi debut.
3. Look On The Bright Side- Levek
A funky little number reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield’s best, Levek had formerly gained popularity through his amazing a capella arrangements of bands like Grizzly Bear, but Look On The Bright Side brings along a full band for the ride and this majestic number is original and retro all rolled up in one.
4. People and Private Music- Adam Acuragi
Sometimes music just sounds better live, and the little known Acuragi is definitely a perfect example, the piano becomes a living breathing force, with some nice trumpet flourishes, and Acuragi reining it all in.
5. Mamunia- Paul McCartney & Wings
Band on the Run, arguably the only solid Wings record ever made, was given a re-release this year and along with it I stumbled upon this little number, an in between the cracks song that incorporates McCartney’s knack for melody with an African rhythm and a world friendly narrative.
6. Snake- Frightened Rabbit
Frightened Rabbit has made its way through the indie circles with its more recent release of The Midnight Organ Fight but this toned down, acoustic guitar led and harmony driven number is worthy of its own merit.
7. Neighbors & Cousins (Are We Lovers?)- Santah
This little known band has quite the knack for a classic chord progression with a driving beat, it’s hard not to be moved listening to this song.
8. Maggie’s Farm- Solomon Burke
We unfortunately lost Solomon Burke recently and he was a talent sorely under-appreciated (his song “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” was credited to Wilson Pickett on the original Blues Brothers movie soundtrack). His take on Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” gives it a little more than just a kick of rhythm and blues, it transforms it into a raunchy case of reverse sexism.
9. Trust- Generationals
Generationals made it big last year with the number “When They Fight They Fight” a retro flavored upbeat number. “Trust” takes their sound to a whole new level, with a driving and loping bass line, some sharp guitar lines, and a nice vocal melody.
10. Ready To Start- Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire is most known for their more vast ventures, songs that are by all means made up of a collective of 8 or more people, “Ready To Start” of off their recent LP The Suburbs is a much more standard rock number, but full of the propulsive rhythm that made them famous.
11. Waterfall- Fresh & Onlys
A strong vocal and guitar hook dominates this nice little pop number.
12. Nobody Knows You You Are- Dr. Dog
Dr. Dog has done what most retro styled bands never manage to do, which is to say they’ve moved on, their sound has progressed and no longer are they imitators of the real deal, but their something of their own.
13. Good Kind of Crazy- Brighton, MA
This richly arranged and plaintively sung finger picked number evokes a sound of a young Bob Dylan in a modern time. Love the drums in the interludes.
14. Where My Fortune Lies- Auld Lang Syne
A great quiet acoustic number, timeless in its beauty and its lyrical message.
15. I’m On Fire- Bruce Springsteen
The feeling that Bruce manages to get on this stark number is remarkable, even with all of his popularity as a songwriter he knew more writing how it felt to feel on the outside looking in than anyone else in rock music. The imagery of the lyrics and arrangement are a perfect match.
16. Tougher Than The Rest- Camera Obscura
A great cover of a little known Bruce Springsteen song, the melody gets fleshed out in the slower tempo and the bittersweet vocal delivery couldn’t have been done better than the man himself.
17. Freak Out- Tapes ‘n Tapes
A more propulsive and modern Talking Heads.
18. That’s Not The Part of Him You’re Leaving- Elvis Costello
He adapted to a more country western style in a way that Mark Knopfler only wished his career had, and this T. Bone Burnett produced number has that warm and achy feeling delivered in that inimitable vocal style can only be Elvis Costello.