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.

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

After hours

Last call for drinks everybody pull up a chair, this mix is for those late nights whether you’re alone in a bar or in a haze or just wanting to be whisked away by the power of music, enjoy

Drunk Hearted Boy

The Allman Brothers at their boozy, wistful best

Tears Dry On Their Own

You’ll recognize the backing track, but you’ll hear it in a clearer way than ever before

Nice Day

You can almost watch the sun setting from the porch in the midwest listening to these guys

Baby, Baby, Baby

Aretha Franklin may best be known for Respect, but I’ve never heard her more soulful

Yes it Is

A beautiful understated melody and lyric by the Beatles, sometimes called a rehash of This Boy by jaded critics but it has its merits and its all the more sweet

La Mar

Wistful acoustic  beauty

Earthquake Weather

This song belongs in a Wes Anderson movie, or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, after a character has gotten to a drunken/drugged stupor and the world around him is unfolding

Lean On Me (live)

The best anthems are those that are the most simple in their message, and this makes simple look complex

New York State of Mind

Is their anything better for those late lonely nights than a pianist with chops, i think not

Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be

Beautiful melody

Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

Bob Dylan, in a bar, at 4 am, theres no other way to describe it

You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome

There is a certain familiarity and beauty in Bob Dylans meld of harmonica and guitar that the world hasn’t heard since

Put it On

A criminally underrated Bob Marley song

Evangeline Tonight

This guy is pretty much unknown but this melody is timeless

Meeting Across the River

Bruce Springsteen, sounding more forlorn than ever, and yet the songs beauty is on parallel to West Side Story

New York City Serenade

A stunning piano intro that melds into the most gorgeous acoustic guitar and piano interplay in the history of music

Dancing on the Ceiling

Frank Sinatra simply sounds better and more talented when he’s not trying to swing

Political Science

For the cynic in all of us

Just Like A Woman

As much as Bob Dylan wrote beautiful songs, Richie Havens interprets it as if it shouldn’t have been recorded any other way.

New Coat of Paint

A nightcap to the end of a very late night, hell i can smell the bar