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.

Echonational

Its time for a new mix, unfortunately I’ve been far too busy to remember to constantly update my site but i hope this makes up for it

echonational

1.  Black Like Me- Spoon

Spoon to me is a band that perfectly captures the sound of the Beatles circa Revolver and the White Album.  Britt Daniels doesn’t exactly have a beautiful voice but its perfect for rock.  Black Like Me is a song off of  Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, and it builds perfectly from the opening duet of guitar and a faded compressed piano to when the full band drops in, its a song that fully describes the starkness of the situation and how things go on whether you want to or not.

2.  When U Love Somebody- Fruit Bats

Don’t be fooled by the Prince like title or the strange synthesized opening, this song opens into a beautifully harmonized love song by an under-appreciated band.  The guitar line is very Simon-Garfunkel, rhythmic and natural with hand claps and foot taps to boot.  Then the synthesized line comes back in and it all makes sense.  Just like how when you love somebody you might not understand it at first, but when you recognize it and it keeps coming back it only fits more and more

3. Lola Stars and Stripes- The Stills

I’d like to say that this would be U2  if they were just a little more experimental, but I hate U2.  Dynamics rule supreme in this song with crazy guitars sweeping in and out of the picture fading to let the vocals stand out.  Tim Fletcher is very tuneful and the band flits in between soothing and energetic.  Very catchy and beautiful song

4.  Unless It’s Kicks- Okkervil River

Swagger.  Its what you’d expect to accompany the Rolling Stones, The Faces, Jim Morrison of The Doors, not a band named Okkervil River.  But Will Sheff delivers, with a great guitar riff that accompanies him and a band that knows exactly when to put the oomph in.

5.  It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me- Billy Joel

A change of pace, but this is Billy Joel at his sarcastic new wave best.  Very catchy and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was influenced by John Lennon writing this.

6. No Matter What-  Badfinger

Badfinger never had the album that proved themselves to be a classic band but their singles were among the best the 70’s came out with in the classic rock genre.  Great hook, good harmonies and it doesn’t feel overdone, a perfect single.

7.  Arrow Through Me- Paul McCartney and Wings

Don’t get me wrong I was one of those people who had a disdain for the Wings purely because it wasn’t The Beatles and they certainly had their share of cheesy songs.  But this song won me over because the melody is beautiful and who knew Paul McCartney could write a late night soulful song.  His delivery perfectly matches what he’s saying,  a gruff pained edge that is very moving and its very pleasing to hear him sing without being velvety smooth like most of his 70’s output.  I’d love to hear a woman cover this though like a Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi, its tailor-made for their soulful vocals.

8. Bit of Wind- The Fruit Bats

If I didn’t know this was the Fruit Bats, I’d have said it was the best Beach Boys song I’d never heard, the similarities are that striking, and yet this would be among even the best of the Beach Boys output.

9.  Run Run Run-  Phoenix

There was a band once upon a time in France, they ended splitting up into two groups, one became Daft Punk, the electronic duo, and the other became this band Phoenix who manage to take the electronic influences and mix them perfectly with rock influences, they’re big now, but alot of their previous albums, like the one this song is from, Alphabetical, are hidden gems that shouldn’t be slept on.

10.  Bring it On Home to Me- Sam Cooke

Simply put, one of the best soul songs of all time, if not the best, and also among the first.  This song has two of the greatest singers on it, Sam Cooke (with Lou Rawls backing him) and even with the strings it comes out more heartfelt than sappy.  This song just reinforces the fact that Sam Cooke died way to young for the good of music, his influence is felt, but imagine the possibilities had he lived.

11. Long Circuitous Path- Winechuggers

Best Wilco song they never made, unfortunately this band never made another album which is a shame because they make very enjoyable music and the melody on this is very tuneful, with a great old time piano in the background mixed perfectly with an acoustic guitar and a good back beat.

12. Since I Left You-  The Avalanches

A fun song, if theres a song that expresses innocence and childhood happiness better than this I haven’t heard it.  Dreamy harmonies abound with a jazz flute thrown in and the best use of a disco beat I’ve heard outside of disco.  The Avalanches are a mashup band from Austrialia and this song sounds natural, which is a great compliment.

13. To Go Home- M. Ward

One of the better build up intros I’ve heard to a song in a long time.  M. Ward happens to possess a Bob Dylan, albeit more tuneful voice and this is one of his most accessible songs in his entire catalogue.  Great drumming and a great sense of a full sound.

14.  I Summon You- Spoon

Spoon manages to be experimental in their arrangements but still sound like a great forgotten song and this is one of Britt Daniels best.  Off of Gimme Fiction.

15.  I’d Have You Anytime- George Harrison

Forget My Sweet Lord, Isn’t It A Pity, What Is Life.  I’d Have You Anytime is the best George Harrison song on the double album classic All Things Must Pass.  Harrison has a way with song structure thats undeniably identifiable as his and incredibly satisfying progressions. The lead guitar tone is also among the sweetest most soulful I’ve heard, but the jury is out on whether its Clapton or Harrison doing it, and as an added bonus, the lyrics were co-composed by one Robert Zimmerman, more commonly referred to as Bob Dylan.

16. Let’s Roll- The Stills

Nirvana meets Coldplay in a good way.  And certainly tremendously better than the Neil Young song by the same name.

17. One Time Too Many-  Phoenix

I’ll be damned if this doesnt stick in your head after one listen.  A wonderfully crafted melody and a perfect vocal performance by Thomas Mars.

BONUS

Kings of Convenience is a band out of Norway making some of the most beautiful and well recorded music today.  Think Simon and Garfunkel meet Nick Drake only more jazzy, their arrangements are sublime, especially the guitar and piano interplay.

18. Misread- Kings of Convenience

19.  I’d Rather Dance With You- Kings of Convenience