This week’s Mixtape Monday mixes some great up and coming bands (Cotton Jones, Field Music, The Dutchess and the Duke, and Robert Francis to name a few) established new acts (The Morning Benders, Josh Rouse, Fleet Foxes) with some old (Elliot Smith) and even older classics (The Beatles, E.L.O., The Four Tops, The Impressions). As always downloads are encouraged to promote the artists and raise awareness of all the great music out there.
The great thing about these two remixes is that they don’t do too much, rather they add to the song ever so subtly, tinkering with the rhythm here, adding bits to the song there, it does what a remix should, which is highlight the original work, and avoids taking anything away from it. These two should be listened to in succession.
This band out of the Berkeley California area showed alot of promise on their debut with strong hooks and a dynamic singer, however, their latest LP Big Echopromises to be even better, and I promise you’ll be hooked from the start. Wouldn’t be out of place on a Vampire Weekend or Grizzly Bear album, lovely changes and fantastic dynamic energy.
Starting with a simple guitar hook before building into a catchy song supported by a sublime boy-girl harmony. This is a band out of England I haven’t heard much of, and one I definitely want to hear of more.
I had never intended to find Robert Francis, but thats the beauty of music, there is so much to find out there, his voice comes across like a Johnny Cash/ Neil Young/ Bruce Springsteen love child with strong songwriting to match, and though it be a live recording, it sure don’t sound like one. Don’t miss out on this one.
More than just sharing the first word of their band name with the Beach Boys, Beach House has taken a page out of their book of melodic songcraft and the organ work on here is pure Brian Wilson, and while they don’t have the full five person harmonies, its hard not to think of the Beach Boys when the singer here reaches up into the higher register. Just a great song.
When those drums start, you almost can hear Billie Jean begin, but not to knock Fyfe, a drum beat is a drum beat and he makes it his own with an equally talented voice. And in any other hands the strings would seem a little 70’s/bombastic but the fact that he arranged the whole thing gives it a more heartfelt presence and the song is so gosh darn catchy and warm its hard not to listen to. A great use of melody.
The fact that a song this good was left off Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On just goes to show how strong the album was; the band is on full swing on this one and Marvin is holding it together with a strong vocal performance at the top.
One of the bands strongest suits is the atmosphere they create and the pitter patter guitar at the beginning sure sounds like rain if it were only more musical, with a cloudy organ backdrop and when the singer comes in, its a blissful moment, transported back to the 60’s you can swear you see San Francisco,and you swear you’re hearing Sonny (from Sonny and Cher) or Bob Dylan, and you’re happy.
Sporting simplistic arrangements and beautiful two-part harmonies, The Dutchess and the Duke ironically (and thankfully) don’t boast arrangements that live up to their name in terms of grandeur, but I’d be hard pressed to find a band that does the simple better.
This song isn’t what it seems when it starts with its electronic beat, it soon fades into a much more organic arrangement, and the vocal delivery and intensity matches the lyrics, he just can’t be tied down, he has to rise up and beat the odds, to say unbridled enthusiasm is one thing, though this is inspiring in a whole new way.
Most of the time, Beatles covers are like heresy in my book, but the laconic way he delivers the lyrics brings the song to a different place, dreamy and wistful, perfectly conveying the feeling Harrison was getting at by not being sure.