Maybe you’ve heard the Fruit Bats before, but in case you haven’t, try this game on for size. Step 1) Find a friend who likes The Shins, but isn’t obsessed, Step 2) Play this record, Step 3) Enjoy while friend tries to find these songs on iTunes from the Shins and instead finds the disappointing Port of Morrow album. Fun right?  Nevertheless, Fruit Bats have been a band that constantly flies under the radar with a similar sound to The Shins. Eric Johnson also majored in 18th century literature, so there’s that. Surprisingly enough for an English major with that small niche, Fruit Bats aren’t afraid of pop culture in writing, like the off the cuff mention of “Raspberry Beret” during this beautiful song “The Earthquake of ‘73”. Johnson is a man who loves the 70’s songwriting style but has the melodic sensibility of more modern music. It’s a sneaky little love song, but perhaps I shouldn’t say more. I’m also putting in “Lives of Crime” the album opener on Spelled In Bones.

The Earthquake of ’73- Fruit Bats 

Lives of Crime- Fruit Bats

Listen If You Like: The Shins, Michael Cera movies, Acoustic Guitars, 70’s Singer Songwriters, Lennon-esque vocals, People who have degrees in Literature, Pop Culture References

Campfire Goes Electric: Campfire Songs Vol. 2, A Mixtape

I had so much fun making the last Campfire Songs Mixtape that I decided to make another one. Both retro and modern with that warm familial feeling that makes a campfire so fun to be around. As always, the mixtape is free but feel free to support all the artists by buying their albums. To download a song just right-click the song link after the description, hope you enjoy.  The full mixtape after the jump.

Continue reading Campfire Goes Electric: Campfire Songs Vol. 2, A Mixtape

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

Missing My Baby (Gone on A Tuesday Afternoon)

This week is more of an ode to my girl than a mixtape, going away for a month in the wilderness of Tanzania, a continent away without any means of communication. Featuring warm and wistful numbers from the likes of the Allman Brothers, Blake Mills, Frank Sinatra, Fruit Bats, The Shins, The Beatles, Velvet Underground, Dire Straits, James Taylor, The Band, The Kills, and Richie Havens.  This week also features great classics from Joe Jackson, Ryan Bingham, G. Love, Paul Simon as well as two great classic covers by Vetiver and The Derek Trucks Band.  Hope you enjoy, the mix after the jump

Continue reading Missing My Baby (Gone on A Tuesday Afternoon)