I had the pleasure of catching Blitzen Trapper play on Friday night at the Royale Nightclub in Boston.  Not only do Blitzen Trapper hold up live , but they’re quite amazing performers of all sorts, even when they strip everything down to the bare bones like they do on this track, “Jericho”.  These pitch perfect harmonies evoke the best of Americana, and this retelling of the fall of Jericho.  Check out the download for free below and do yourself a favor and see this band live.

This can be found off of their Cool Love #1 EP

Jericho- Blitzen Trapper

You can also check out their performance of “Love The Way You Walk Away” from the concert below

Turning to the News….

That’s right people, Art of the Mixtape now has a Facebook page! check it out here and as a little celebration.

New Friend Request- Gym Class Heroes

New Friend Request- Gym Class Heroes

My Friend- Jimi Hendrix

My Friend- Jimi Hendrix
Waiting on a Friend- The Rolling Stones

Waiting On A Friend- The Rolling Stones
Good Friend- Plants and Animals

Good Friend- Plants & Animals

Friends- Luke Top

Friends- Luke Top

Mostly a Friend- Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez

Mostly A Friend- Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez

Friend of the Devil- The Grateful Dead

Friend of the Devil- The Grateful Dead

My Unusual Friend- Fruit Bats

My Unusual Friend- Fruit Bats

Friend of Mine- The National

Friend Of Mine- The National

To Old Friends and New- Titus Andronicus

To Old Friends And New- Titus Andronicus

With A Little Help from My Friends- The Beatles

With A Little Help From My Friends- The Beatles

Mixtape Monday!: European Oils, Pretty Wings, and Stranger Things

Pretty Wings- Maxwell

Maxwell dominates the song with a Marvin Gaye like croon and the backing is excellent, soft but not too soft (a problem that most neo soul suffers from) and well crafted and placed vocal harmonies.  Some nice Curtis Mayfield styled horn work on this one too.

European Oils- Destroyer

In prior days, I wouldn’t have listened to the song on the assumption from the name alone that it was some average metal band but whether it was out of ironic intention or not this band sells itself short by its name.  Take Marc Bolan’s singing (from T-Rex…Bang a Gong) with a little of David Bowie and song structure and back it with absolutely beautiful (Pink Floydesque) instrumentation and you might have an idea what these guys are like.  Best use of a pitch bender i’ve ever heard.

Impressions of the Past- Megafaun

In this day and age instrumental, or in this case mostly instrumental songs are few and far between in rock bands, whether its because everyone’s focused on producing a hit single or they don’t have the instrumental ability its hard to say, however this song is nothing short of masterful. Pastoral and vast and never predictable.

What Light- Wilco

Wilco is a grower of a band, the more songs you hear by them, the more you like them.  This one? think of Bob Dylan dipped in country.

O Children- Nick Cave

When those backing gospel singers come in, this track goes from good to spectacular.

Stranger Things- Local Natives

Remember this name because they’re gonna be big in 2010 because as a emerging band they have all the pieces in place.

Black- Okkervil River

A band that should be recognized more than the fan base it has, cohesive arrangements and a good dynamic lead singer, they’re a band you can put on at anytime.

Neon Filler- Howie Gelb

A beautiful slow beginning and a voice that is unmistakable, spoken like a poem.

Ramble On Rose- The Grateful Dead

The Dead as much as they have their rabid following, also have their numerous detractors saying they often weren’t cohesive as a live band, noodling on drug fueled jams that didn’t always work, however all parts are in fine form here, taken from the Europe ’72 Double LP and Jerry Garcia contributes a fine succinct guitar solo along with it.

Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken- Camera Obscura

Is anyone really ready to be heartbroken? The music will certainly make you think so.

Chicago At Night- Spoon

Spoon already has that night atmosphere to them, their arrangements always hiding their surprises in the shadows and Britt Daniel just has enough grit in his voice to make things more interesting.

Two Tickets To Paradise (Eddie Money Cover)- Eef Barzelay

Once in a great while there comes a cover that breathes a new life into the song, an interpretation that makes you think about the song in ways you hadn’t before, this is one of those.

We Talk Like Machines- Savior Adore

A driving beat to perk your interest and an interesting harmony dynamic to keep you going.

They Never Got You- Spoon

They really know how to nail down that something’s lurking feeling don’t they.

What I Mean To You- Justin Townes Earle

Country is so often overdone in lyrical themes, drinking and heartbreak, but this organic production brings a new interest to this listener, the lyrics are understated, not overwrought and its one of those melodies that will keep with you for weeks.

When I Said Goodbye- Mayer Hawthorne

Outstanding harmonies with a classic soul vibe, not bad for a white guy from Detroit, in fact its nothing short of fantastic.

Mixtape Monday: Theme #1: Escapism

As I’ve been awfully bad at updating this old blog of mine for the past couple weeks I’ve decided to start a new kind of weekly post, a mixtape not dedicated to showcasing new artists all the time, but getting back to the roots of what a mixtape meant, which is to hold a theme through a variety of different artists and songs.  This inaugural mixtape theme is Escape.

The feeling of escape in music is one of the strongest themes in rock and roll, we find ourselves transfixed by the places it can bring us to, the painful emotions it can mute, the happy emotions it can bring out in sad times.  This mix doesn’t count on containing unknown songs by artists you’ll hopefully like, rather I composed it to enhance the feeling, to get lost in the world of music and somehow through it all the songs meshed together perfectly, as if the order was supposed to be this way.

  1. Born to Run- Bruce Springsteen

One of the most perfect escaping anthems ever put on paper, Bruce Springsteen was writing more than just a song when Born to Run came to be.  He had been the unknown maverick, a little known musician compared to the likes of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison in his poetry and story telling but had yet to find his sound.  But from the snare intro till the end, this song provides the escape he needed to make it big, and the escape of the American Dream that’s in all of us

  1. Son of a Preacherman- Dusty Springfield

From the beginning the guitar transfixes you, her voice takes you away

  1. September- Earth, Wind, and Fire

Sometimes escape isn’t always about going somewhere but about remembering the good times, and September is just that a remembrance of good times you had

  1. Midnight Train to Georgia-  Gladys Knight and the Pips

Because dreams don’t always come true, but sometimes its just making the effort that makes it all worthwhile

  1. Friend of the Devil- Grateful Dead

For the literal escape from our lives (if you’re a criminal)

  1. Tighter, Tighter- Alive N’ Kickin

For the escape that love can provide, even when its done by a bond that brings people closer

  1. Octopus’s Garden-  The Beatles

No matter how many years have passed by, this song will always bring you back to the innocence of your childhood and how you can take comfort in your imagination

  1. Take the Money and Run-   Steve Miller Band

For even if you do something bad once in a while, live a little, just live in the moment and have fun

  1. Hungry Heart- Bruce Springsteen

Sometimes you just want to take that wrong turn out of your driveway forget it all and never come back, it’s the essence of youth, the young and the restless

  1. Strawberry Fields Forever –  The Beatles

For escaping the barriers of your own perception

  1. Let’s Take the Long Way Home-  The Beautiful Girls

Sometimes the quickest way is not the most satisfying, theres always the road untaken waiting for you, when the time comes

  1. Bet You Never Thought-  Brighton, MA

Because sometimes it isn’t what you’d think, Life especially

  1. Rebel Rebel- David Bowie

For the inner rebel in all of us

  1. Romeo and Juliet- Dire Straits

Some songs in their stories become almost surreal in how real they feel, how you identify with the characters and the beauty within

  1. Fables- The Dodos

The story isn’t just in the words, but in the music that surrounds it as well

  1. All She Wants- The Kooks

When an artist covers another, it gets deeper because it shows where they escape to, outside of their own music, and what really influences them

  1. Heart it Races- Dr. Dog

Another escape, a mental journey expressed as physical

  1. Castles Made of Sand- Jimi Hendrix

Because no matter how great the escape, everything is fleeting

  1. Simple Twist of Fate- Bob Dylan

Because the change you want, the escape you long for, is sometimes just up to fate

  1. A Change is Gonna Come- Sam Cooke

Because the message is so powerful, and the voice just carries over everything, it’s no longer an escape, it’s an escape realized