Aeroplanes and Nicotine Canaries

Gone, Gone, Gone- Colin Farell

Yes, before you ask, that is Colin Farell the actor, and how did he come out better than most country acts around today? Well he’s got a great voice, you’re gonna be asking yourself is this really an irish dude the whole time? That and he’s got T. Bone Burnett who is a great producer (of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou fame) helping provide the instrumental authenticity, sure its a song from his new movie Crazy Heart but just because its part of a movie soundtrack doesn’t mean it can’t be good.

Uh-Huh- Wu-Tang Clan/The Beatles

A couple years back, The Beatles were my Bible, and any deviations or covers of their songs I could never come to terms with, they never captured the same magic as the originals.  But then mashups came on to the scene, The Grey Album was one of the first and one of the best, and shot DJ Dangermouse into being the superstar producer he is today.  What I like about this particular track is it takes the instrumental from a Beatles song that I thought always had a great instrumental backing but lacked in lyrics, the crazy (You Know My Name) Look Up the Number.  This mashup fixes the lyrical inadequacy with its rapping, and you never thought a Beatles sample could sound so fitting.

Where My Fortune Lies- Auld Lang Syne

Just a beautifully delivered, organic song with a little The Band meets The Avett Brothers flair.  The banjo is a nice touch with the hammertack piano.

Locksmith- The Gorgeous Colours

With a band name like that you have to be able to back it up with your music and they do, with a colorful guitar sound and wonderfully gorgeous and intimate vocal performance.

You Carry the Deed- Deradoorian

Some people have that special talent where no matter what surrounds them, their voice immediately brings you in.  With a softly played acoustic backing, her voice just flows out from her heart and tugs at yours.

Little Lovin’- Lissie

Another example of that special talent, Lissie is a newcomer to the music scene but has a voice beyond her years.

Lewis Takes Off His Shirt- Owen Pallett

Of of his new LP Heartland Owen Pallett is a musician in his own world, sure people might compare him to fellow violinist Andrew Bird due to their choice of instrument and vocal range, but Pallett is no one trick pony, having arranged for acts such as the Arcade Fire as well as his own material.  In short this song is otherworldly, with hooks coming in and out in ways that delight the ears.  I promise you will never hear a more inspiring song with the lyrics “I’m never gonna give it to you”.

Blue Skies- Noah and the Whale

The cathartic build up of a song that The National is famous for is played out to perfection on this song by Noah and the Whale.  Off of their new LP The First Days of Spring, a breakup album, Blue Skies has a sweeping majesty and humbleness that only the song itself can describe.

Airplanes- Local Natives

Like Modest Mouse at their finest, with better singing.

Wicked Blood- Sea Wolf

Sea Wolf, despite the unusual name manages to evoke the familiar while being entirely original, a wonderful song off of a wonderful album.

Home Sweet Home- Sad Brad Smith

Put a Sad Brad Smith song on and you’ll be hard pressed to believe that he’s only released one album, his debut, his arrangements show wisdom beyond his years and his song-craft is impeccable, just check out his song off of the Up in Air soundtrack, if you need more evidence.

The Right Place- Monsters of Folk

As The Beatles so well proved, the sum is often greater than its individual parts, all the members in Monsters of Folk have their own great respective careers, but together they have a timeless cohesive element that only bands like CSNY could match.

Nicotine Canaries- Cotton Jones

A song thats as interesting and intriguing as its name.

Getting Better- The Beatles

I don’t care what anyone says, no one will be able to ever replicate this song, the ringing guitars, the famously impeccable Beatle harmonies, the perfect mixing in of Eastern Influences and an indomitable hook.  This song is for all those times you start to wonder if they were overrated to prove just how great they were.

Hot Cookin’- G. Love and Special Sauce

I’m already sick of this cold New England winter, I want it to be summer already.  At least with this song I’m halfway, its like a beach party campfire for your ears, it just sounds, well, warm and its a catchy song to boot.

Got Nuffin’- Spoon

Driving at night throwing cares out your window.  Theres something off, lurking in the shadows but you don’t know how to explain it, you got nuffin.

Let’s Stay Together- Al Green

This song is a classic, one that solidified Al Green as a powerful presence in soul and was the soundtrack to a lot of baby making, Just to further prove Green’s genius, after hearing the instrumental he wrote the lyrics in 15 minutes, I dare you to do better.

The Mystery Zone- Spoon

Just more proof of how catchy and inventive Spoon can be.

Tides- Megafaun

A perfect closing track.

Pick Up the Pieces: Mix for the Weekend

Everybody Knows I’m Still In Love With You- Sad Brad Smith

The name might suggest otherwise, but Sad Brad Smith comes off like a happy Elliot Smith, a creative arranger, a sweet voice and a multi-instrumentalist, and its just a damn good song.

Blue Ridge Mountains- Fleet Foxes

Ethereal out of this world harmonies meets a pastoral spirit, if I believed in heaven, the angels themselves would be crying from the beauty of this song. Blasphemy? Yes, worth being sent to hell for for saying it? Also Yes.

Ragged Wood- Fleet Foxes

More grounded than Blue Ridge, Ragged Wood features a great lead vocal and supporting harmonies and a chugging rhythm, the most rocking this band gets.

Funny How Time Slips Away- Al Green and Lyle Lovett

The Reverend himself covering a song from his earlier output, a great reworking with a funky backing rhythm and great harmonies between Al and Lyle, bright and organic and a joy to put on.

Funny How Time Slips Away- Al Green

The original, a slow burner sung when Al Green was at his absolute peak, absolutely no one else could convey the power he could in a whisper.

Old Habits Die Hard- Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart

A soulful reminiscing song, originally recorded for the Alfie remake, Jagger’s performance here is perfect, you can hear the longing in his voice and its a catchy melody to boot.

Darkness of Your Love- Dave Stewart and Gary “Mudbone” Cooper

Another off of the Alfie soundtrack with bright horns and a inspirational melody, the song just grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go.

Peace Dream- Ringo Starr

Yes he didn’t have the musical talent of his famous counterparts, but the man’s almost 70, and his voice has aged miraculously and his songwriting better than anything previous, Paul McCartney provides the bass line and the melody has that Beatle catchyness written all over it, and its a good message.

Walk With You- Ringo Starr

Another great song off the new album, with a melancholy backing harmony provided by Paul McCartney, its almost a little sad how much McCartney’s voice has aged in comparison to Ringo’s but its sweet and sentimental.

Mr. Bojangles- Jerry Jeff Walker

Great song, period.

Pick Up the Pieces- Jon Cleary

Off of Cleary’s debut, Pick Up the Pieces starts off slowly, reminiscent of a song Lionel Ritchie wished he was good enough to write, before progressing into an Elton John and Little Feat like groove; funky, powerful, and absolutely golden.

Street People- Bobby Charles

A wonderful artist lost in the annals of time, a Louisiana native who achieved and perfected the sound The Band became known for after their debut The Big Pink, in fact, The Band plays the second fiddle here, backing Charles up.

Some Kinda Love- Maiko Watson

Retro funky disco soul at its best.

I’ve Never Found A Girl- Al Green

No one will ever match that warm bright punchy sound that Al Green dominated and his vocals are just without equal.

Nobody Gets Me But You- Spoon

A song off their new album Transference featuring a bubbly bassline and their always creative arrangements, I could see Phoenix covering this song its right up their alley, so if you like Phoenix or Spoon (and who doesn’t) grab this song.

Bye, Bye, Bye- Plants and Animals

No no no, its not a cover of N’SYNC or Backstreet Boys or whoever, just a great song by a great new band.

Multiply (In a Minor Key)- Jamie Lidell

The original is already a stone cold funky classic, this version has a reworked bright 70’s styled piano and a live background, Natalie Cole ((This Will Be) An Everlasting Love) would be proud.  Oh did I tell you he’s a white british guy, because he sure doesn’t sound like it.

For The Good Times- Al Green

As marvelous as his originals were, Al Green was a fantastic interpreter of well, anything thrown at him.  For The Good Times is originally a country song written by Kris Kristofferson and Al Green puts forth a powerful version, inhabiting, not just singing the lyrics.

Black Peter- Grateful Dead

A classic from the Grateful Dead, organic and beautifully done.

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.