Finally a day off of work and a new mixtape to celebrate the beautiful summer weather, this mix features some new releases and old favorites, all in 100 percent summer mode, some you might have heard of, others maybe not, but this mix is meant to be played in track order, a sublime summer celebration. The full mix after the jump.
This week I am proud to feature a guest series, Dancing with Dabrowski, a college DJ and a music intern, John makes it his business finding bands on the up and up for the indie crowd. At this moment he may or may not be doing one of the following things; traveling Europe, going to a concert for an upstart new band, DJing, or working at Sony. His post after the jump.
When The Beatles came together for the Anthology series it was easy to assume it was just another cash in (after all the band had been gone 25 years and Apple was still making money off their one band, and they still are). Real Love was the second Lennon demo that they had been given access to master and do what they please. But it comes off great, George’s guitar work is fantastic, John sounds fresh and alive, a quality sorely lacking in Free as A Bird, and the harmonies are there along with Ringo’s steady backbeat.
G. Love has been around an awful long time with his hip-hop/blues genre, and while that is no longer novel, G. Love has a knack for production that is the show piece of this song. Starting with beautifully played piano interwoven with upright bass, it blossoms into nice syncopated drum and acoustic guitar work, the melody is shimmering and the music surrounds you, its not so much his words that have the flow on this song, its the music, though the words are good too.
Slow Club is an English folksy rock duo in the She and Him style, except they’re much more bright in their melody and harmony, this song chugs along at a frenetic pace and the singing is wonderful and catchy too.
This song bursts out of the gate with a Motown drum roll but keeps itself low-fi, the melody is insanely catchy and the whole thing sounds like it was recorded on one take, full of life and energy, you can just hear the fun the band is having playing this song.
Q-Tip defied common belief when he continued to have a quality career after the fallout from A Tribe Called Quest’s breakup. This song has swagger but in ways that Jay-Z wished he had, the back track is funky and D’Angelo’s backing vocals are beautifully arranged, try and hate this song, go ahead I dare you.
Boasting a Simon & Garfunkelesque harmony as well as a feel for Elliot Smith melody, Pete and J (now known as Harper Blynn) are a great up and coming group fashioned in the old style melodies and classic rock production.
Prince is never conventional, and the cello violin arrangement thrown into this song is a perfect example of his eccentric genius, and no song about this subject matter should be this catchy and the bridge is fantastic. Favorite line thunder chimes out when the lightning sees her kinda makes you feel like a movie star. Wonderfully done all around song.
Some songs just put you in a mood, overcome with love and memory, this is one of them, the arrangement is sparse and the lyrics are beautifully poetic, and Sammy Davis Jr.’s performance here is fantastic.
People love to look back at the early years of The Beatles and criticize their simplicity, but sometimes simple is perfect (Lou Reed made a career out of it). This song is very beautiful in its understatement, the harmonies are great the melody is sweet and you can just hear their youth, and the feeling is universal.
As great as he was a guitarist, Jimi Hendrix was an equally excellent arranger and lyricist. His flashy guitar work takes a backseat on this one and even without it, I rate this as one of his best songs.
At the time they hadn’t blown up yet, Use Somebody and Sex on Fire hadn’t been overplayed by every single radio station yet, the bravado hadn’t come yet, but the presence was there, great arrangement and vocal performance on this one, I’d argue this song is more powerful then Use Somebody and Sex on Fire put together.
No longer was he under the shadows of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison comparisons, he was on his own, and he exploded on to the scene with this album. She’s the One doesn’t do alot to avoid his former comparisons though, it even adds a few new ones, his lyrics are as poetic as Dylans and his vocal performance is reminiscent of Morrison and Orbison and the guitar work, Bo Diddley. But that great melody, and those hooks, and the heart, thats all his.
Robert Palmer wasn’t always the suave power rock guy his 80’s hits made him out to be, sure he always loved the suits, but in the 70’s he was funky and he had great taste. Fine Time boasts the immortal James Jamerson on bass as well as a combined backing band of Little Feat and The Meters who were both great bands on their own. The highlight of the track though is the intensity he puts into the vocal performance, he really feels the music and he drives the band in return with his powerful presence.
Keb’ Mo’s first record soungs so organic, if you closed your eyes you’d feel like he was just in front of you playing his acoustic guitar, he’s got a great voice to boot, an underrated essential to being a bluesman, and nice harmonica work as well. A real sunny Sunday afternoon kind of song.
The original demo before The Beatles put their production hands on it, the piano work is beautiful as well as his vocals, its almost as if you’ve got him playing the piano just for you and its really endearing.