Campfire Songs

Hello folks, welcome back to a brand new year of Art of the Mixtape.  To help kick it off I bring you a nice bucolic little mixture of some great songs.

1. Greatest Show On Earth- The Felice Brothers

On their eponymous debut, The Felice Brothers very much earned their label of following in the tradition of Bob Dylan and The Band.  Perhaps what is most impressive is their narrative ability, delivering slices of Americana in a world weary mood.  However, “Greatest Show On Earth” stands out with its jaunty New Orleans infused melody.  Come for the story, stay for the music.

Greatest Show On Earth- The Felice Brothers

2. Fables-  The Dodos

The Dodos burst onto the San Francisco music scene with a unique drumming centric sound, but don’t let that scare you, they’re very much a rootsy rock band with a percussive twist.  Many of their other songs showcase a more daring aesthetic but “Fables” is a very endearing acoustic standout with a nice vocal to boot.

Fables- The Dodos

3. Jackhammer- The Spinto Band

This song has a bag full of production tricks around every corner, and it’s done very well. I love songs that continue to surprise their listener.

Jackhammer (Slim Version)- The Spinto Band

4.  Oslo Campfire- Port O’Brien

You’ll be hooked from the very beginning of this number by the unfortunately little known Port O’Brien, very much a cousin to The Shins output circa “New Slang”, the guitar/vocal/drum hook is amazing.

Oslo Campfire- Port O’Brien

5. Snake- Frightened Rabbit

A nice little lilting acoustic number.

Snake- Frightened Rabbit

6. Stepping Stones- G. Love and Special Sauce

A delightful little modern blues number with a very catchy chorus

Stepping Stones- G. Love and Special Sauce

7. Ruminant Band- Fruit Bats

Hearing this song, you’d be very surprised to learn that it was not recorded in the 70’s, but in a good way.

The Ruminant Band- Fruit Bats

 

8. I’ll Be Back- The Beatles

One of the oft-overlooked numbers from a tremendous album,  A Hard Day’s Night

I’ll Be Back- The Beatles

 

9. The Cave- Mumford & Sons

A very energetic number from an up-and-coming folksy band out of England.

The Cave- Mumford & Sons

 

10. Hiroshima- Blake Mills

Blake Mills came out with a very under-promoted debut and his number “Hiroshima” is delightful ear candy that grows from the likes of worthy predecessors such like the homegrown material of Paul McCartney’s McCartney and Ram, absolutely beautiful melody, before a slide guitar solo comes out of nowhere sounding like Duane Allman coming from the dead.

Hiroshima- Blake Mills

11. Mightiest of Guns- A.A. Bondy

One of those perfect songs.

Mightiest Of Guns- A.A. Bondy

 

12. Steel On Steel- J. Tillman

A very charming and upbeat number, with a great horn melody and diverse instrumentation.

Steel On Steel- J. Tillman

 

13. I Summon You- Spoon

Spoon has been hard pressed to beat the overall feeling of this song and for good reason, it’s a straight up classic.

I Summon You- Spoon

 

14. All Day Day Light- The Morning Benders

Great production, arrangement, vocal, on “All Day Day Light” The Morning Benders do everything right.

All Day Day Light- The Morning Benders

 

15. Timshel- Mumford & Sons

Detractors would say that they took this directly out of the book of previous acts like Fleet Foxes, they would be right, but they do it so well that its hardly an insult, their harmonies are gorgeous.

Timshel- Mumford & Sons

16. Let The Distance Keep Us Together- Spoon/ Bright Eyes

Spoon can create a great melody out of anything, but when they write great lyrics to go with it, there’s hardly a modern band that can compete with them.

Let the Distance Keep Us Together- Spoon/Bright Eyes

17. Change of Time- Josh Ritter

Perhaps no man is better qualified to write a finger-picked acoustic piece of Americana than one who went to Oberlin and graduated with a self made major in “American History through Narrative Folk Music”

Change of Time- Josh Ritter

18. Frankie’s Gun- The Felice Brothers

If you had any doubts about the following in the footsteps of Bob Dylan and The Band label, well here’s your proof.

Frankie’s Gun!- The Felice Brothers

19. Ain’t No Tellin’- Mississippi John Hurt

This beautiful little ending number is reaching your ears all the way back from 1928.

Ain’t No Tellin’- Mississippi John Hurt

Mixtape Monday 2010 vol. 2

Lives of Crime- Fruit Bats

Remember how Garden State made the little known band The Shins smash hit indie darlings, how exciting it was to be hearing, discovering this new band along with Zach Braff’s character when he put on those huge headphones.  Well the Fruit Bats just might be next with one of there songs (When U Love Somebody) featured on the soundtrack of Youth in Revolt the new Michael Cera vehicle, which is bound to attract the indie masses because it’s Michael Cera.  Fruit Bats are from the same mold as The Shins, refreshingly inventive and retrospective at the same time.

New Kind of Love- Plants and Animals

Few bands have the skill to make a song 6 + minutes entirely listenable.  Plants  and Animals are one of the few, this song comes off like a mellowed Arcade Fire meeting with an ethereal Nick Drake, the arrangement is vast but at the same time endearing and homespun, and an absolute blast with headphones.

The Bed’s Too Big Without You- The Police

The Police weren’t entirely unknown at the time, Roxanne and Can’t Stand Losing You and So Lonely had guaranteed that on their previous debut effort.  Regatta de Blanc showcased their new signature sound and pushed them into stardom and this song is an oft forgotten highlight of the album.

Witness Blues- A.A. Bondy

Bob Dylan affected his audience so well due to his direct approach and wonderful narrative lyrics, A.A. Bondy may just be the closest comparison to the Dylan mystique and he well deserves it.

La Mar – The Beautiful Girls

Achingly introspective and beautifully understated, this song reaches into your emotions and doesn’t let go.  The lo-fi production and simple acoustic arrangement only make this song better.

Anne- John Frusciante

Sans the Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Frusciante is a wholly new animal.  Featuring a Cat Stevens-esque croon, Anne starts out stark with beautiful acoustic accompaniment before expanding into a full blown creative arrangement.  A wonderful talent.

Joe’s Waltz- The Dodos

Many bands have their own sound, but the Dodos go even further, there is no other band that features their musical DNA, inventive in their arrangements and deceptively simple, they make a waltz sound like an entirely new style.

The Danger Zone- Susan Tedeschi

Susan Tedeschi isn’t the only country and blues styled guitar slinging singer but she’s one of the best, with a voice that belongs in a category alongside Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, and Aretha Franklin.

Willow Tree- G. Love and Special Sauce

I dream for the day that Beck and G. Love collaborate for they both have their own genius touch on blending musical styles, for now this is the closest I’ll get. Creative, laid back groove and tight soulful harmony.

Caught by the River- The Doves

The song you wished Coldplay and Oasis had written so you wouldn’t feel so guilty for saying you liked them, vast and beautifully arranged.

Help Yourself- Sad Brad Smith

Featured in Up in Air, this song harkens back to the best of CSNY and Simon and Garfunkel with beautiful harmonies and acoustic guitars going back and forth and yet with an arrangement that’s completely original, just one of those songs where beautiful seems to be the only word that fits perfectly. I don’t care if Up in Air wins any awards for its film merits, but it should for this song.

Please Be Patient With Me- Wilco

As great of a full band Wilco is, they have a magical quality when they tone it down to just guitars and vocals.

For No One- The Beatles

Eleanor Rigby gets a lot of credit for it, but mark my words; in terms of arrangement, production, lyrics and delivery, For No One is simply one of the best songs in the entire Beatles catalogue and is Paul McCartney’s lonely masterpiece and its over far too soon.

Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll)- George Harrison

Simply put, the best all around song on All Things Must Pass the arrangement is full of mystical and haunting beauty and proves once and for all George’s ability as a songwriter.

Futures- Zero 7

Wonderfully unique in its arrangement and production with a beautiful voice to boot.  One of those melodies that will just keep rolling around in your head, a brooding kind of song.

American Hearts- A.A. Bondy

The most beautifully written piece of Americana this decade, Dylan himself would be green with envy.

Take Me Out of the City- Dawes

Not many bands can tone down their arrangement and let their harmonies dominate to create a song of utter beauty.  Dawes is one of them and it would be hard to find a band who does it better.

New Music Sunday! Vol 3- A.A. Bondy, As Tall As Lions, Jason Diaz, Justin Townes Earle

A.A. Bondy-

A.A. Bondy is blessed with the talent of taking the age old guitar and harmonica duo and breathing new life into it. While his lyrics match those of another famous guitar and harmonica wielding folkster, Bob Dylan, his voice is much less scratchy, warm and endearing.  He’s got a new record out as well, which shows he has a knack for arrangements, something Bob Dylan didn’t really flesh out.  His voice rings out against the dark moody instruments in the background and its hard to shake his warm spirit.  Troubadour say some,  but he seems to possess a depth beyond labels.

American Hearts

When the Devil’s Loose

There’s  A Reason

Witness  Blues

Hey Preacher

Black Rain, Black Rain

The Mightiest of Guns

I Can See the Pines are Dancing


As Tall As Lions-

As Tall As Lions is a group that thrives in its technical ability, its crazy modern arrangements, and its talented high register singer.  It would not be a stretch to compare them to Radiohead, nor an insult to either.  Beautiful these melodies are, derivative they are not.   The moods this band is able to create with each different song is remarkable and reason enough to listen

Circles

Sleepyhead (acoustic version)

Love, Love, Love (Love, Love)

Song for Luna


Jason Diaz-

I heard Jason Diaz on a music blog site, unsure at first of what his particular talent was until he opened his mouth.  Soulful, stunning, and absolutely exquisite, Jason Diaz’s voice can be a little too moving sometimes,  but the biggest highlight here is Foresaken which melds his croon with great jazz piano and guitar that seems like its right out of the Hendrix songbook, its an odd trifecta to be sure but one not to be missed out on.

Pleasure in Pain

Forsaken

Take Me or Leave Me

The Prodigal (Sweet Caroline)

Unholiest War

When You Lay Down Your Life


Justin Townes Earle-

Now, the one genre I have generally had no respect for is country.  It’s easy to hate on and make fun of since it is such a pigeonholed genre with little variation involved.  It seemed Justin Townes Earle would not fall far from the tree.  His father Steve Earle had already been a famous country singer and he seemed fated to fall in his footsteps.  Yet with Midnight At the Movies, his latest album, he manages to break free from the mold, he lets the style breathe with his simple arrangements and his voice has a slight twang that doesn’t overpower his singing abilities.

What I Mean To You

Poor Fool

Can’t Hardly Wait

The Ghost of Virginia