Mixtape Monday: Charlemagne and the Silver Bells of Harlem

Listen in this order

You Got the Silver- Susan Tedeschi

A voice of pain that soothes, a song that is one of the sweetest odes to a lover, written by Keith Richards no less.

Guitar- Cake

An upbeat song about destroying a guitar/relationship, pulled off in Cake’s typical catchy style.

Seven Years- The Impressions

The song, the harmonies, the lyrics, are so uplifting and inspiring, this was Curtis Mayfield’s gift and its over far too soon.

Peace Like A River (Paul Simon Cover)- Spoon

The original was perfect, and yet Spoon still breathes new life into it, the bass plays the melody now, the guitar and piano the rhythm, and Britt Daniel brings along his cynical touch to the lyrics.

Jesus, Etc.- Wilco

Jesus, don’t cry
You can rely on me, honey
You can combine anything you want
I’ll be around
You were right about the stars
Each one is a setting sun

Tall buildings shake
Voices escape singing sad sad songs
tuned to chords
Strung down your cheeks
Bitter melodies turning your orbit around

The lyrics say it better than I ever could

How Long Do I Have To Wait For You- Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

The lyrics cry longing, the instruments dance and the band grooves pay attention to that little guitar lick (you’ll see what I mean) Sharon Jones’s performance, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call her the female James Brown, and sax solo is worth the download alone.

When I Get Home- The Beatles

Ah, The Beatles in their youth, a whole different polished animals, the guitars and drums burst with energy, the harmonies are tight and John Lennon proves himself as one of rocks greatest vocalists.

Tired of My Tears- Susan Tedeschi

Take Sharon Jones earlier song, dip into a Southern Gospel groove and this is what will come out, Susan Tedeschi’s vocals blur the color line on this one and the guitar work is flawless.

Bells of Harlem- Dave Rawlings Machine

From the soft pitter patter of the snare drum to the golden acoustic guitar and the warm vocal harmonies this song just breathes beauty at its most effortless.

Multiply (In A Minor Key)- Jamie Lidell

That squeak at the beginning is the opening of a door into a club where both the voice and piano shine and dance, and all anybody else can do is watch.

Breaking All The Ground- Joe Firstman

she’s swinging from my heartstrings
singing that she’s climbing up.
she drinks bourbon from her daddy’s favorite coffee cup.
and she’s flying down the highway
crying that she won’t confess.
she’ll walk to charlotte like a princess
in her mama’s wedding dress.
and i watch her break away
more and more every day.

thats just the opening verse, some people have a way with words, and heck he’s gotta thing for melody and arranging too.

Where Did Our Love Go (Live) (Supremes Cover)- J. Geils Band

J. Geils was the ultimate bar band, they had fun, they didn’t get bogged down by ambition, they rocked a dirty gritty sound anchored by Peter Wolf’s gruff vocals, you can tell they’re just having fun here, and the slide solo in the middle is absolutely euphoric.

Ragoo- Kings of Leon

The dynamics are fantastic on this, with a Police styled arrangement but more nitty gritty earth bound vocals.

Book of Moses- Beck’s Record Club

If for just one reason, get the song for its beat, because shit it is heavy.  Another? Beck is a hell of a producer and arranger, this one plays out like an updated Bill Withers song, funky, soulful and full of power.

Remember- Jimi Hendrix

Everything about this song is wonderful, youthful yet reminiscent.

Minding My Own Business- Coconut Records

Its hard to figure this guy was an actor before a musician, add the fact he plays all the instruments as well, the natural feel of the song goes even more to prove his talent, great songwriting.

Lenin- Arcade Fire

A song off of Dark Was the Night, by Arcade Fire, like you need any other reason to download it.

Gold Mine- The Union Line

I wish this band existed on iTunes because this song actually makes me want to buy more of their stuff, and buy isn’t a word i like to throw around alot.

Charlemagne in Sweatpants- The Hold Steady

From the organ to the guitars to the vocals and lyrics, The Hold Steady just grip you from the get-go.


New Music Sunday- Temper Trap, Rosewood Thieves, The Union Line, Bishop Allen, Army Navy

Three new bands for all of you out there to check out today.  The radio sometimes makes me want to give up on music but here are three bands that are keeping it fresh and yet remind you of all those good old bands that we used to remember when it was talent and originality that dominated the airwaves instead of vocoder hooks.

Temper Trap-

Temper Trap reminds me of a lot of things, they’ve got the energy that British imports like the Arctic Monkeys and the Kooks featured before them, as well as a taste for beautiful slow ballads and feature a vocalist more similar to Thom Yorke of Radiohead than the brash aforementioned brethren, low praise this is not.

Soldier On

a slower style ballad of theirs, beautiful singing

Sweet Disposition

flashes of Radiohead, The Cure, and a little of U2


heres that energy i was talking about


more of that Thom Yorke touch, with a melody thats hard to beat

Rosewood Thieves-

I don’t remember how exactly I heard of this band, but I’m sure glad I did.  Similarities abound between this group and famous rock heroes such as John Lennon and Bob Dylan.  In fact many times I’ve been asked  by Bob Dylan fans if this band is indeed Bob Dylan.  Great Melodies, great songwriting and great influences.

Murder Ballad in G Minor

basic arrangement of acoustic guitars and acoustic percussion, the story is among the best dylan could have dreamed up.

Bullet Painted Red

A song that feels like an age old drinking tune, about adultery and featuring the chorus.  Down at the tavern, where the drinks they taste just like fire, I told you I loved you and you kissed my lips like a liar. Sometimes the best melodies are the most simple ones, and this one sticks with you.

Junkyard Julie

This song is pure Bob Dylan delivered with the intensity and sarcasm worthy of John Lennon.

When My Plane Lands

Great piano and guitar interplay, another Bob Dylan meets Lennon song.  Intensity in the delivery and a nice hook.

The Union Line-

As much as simple arrangements work best for some, The Union Line doesn’t pride itself on following basics. With a singer similar to the likes of Modest Mouse, they manage to be just as different yet better with hooks.  Great taste in arrangements is their signature and its a treat to listen to their songs develop, this is really a band to watch.  They sound experienced beyond what their one album discography would suggest.

Gold Mine


Rich Man’s Tune


Wishing Well

Bishop Allen-

I first heard this band in the movie Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist which featured a strong soundtrack and a good story but I feel Adventureland tops it in pure awkward feel and accuracy.  Nevertheless I heard this band say we’re Bishop Allen before launching into a live version of Middle Management, and when the movie ended I felt like I had to check this band out, the results don’t disappoint, they feature textured arrangements that are unusual in an indie band.

Middle Management


The Same Fire


Things Are What You Make of Them

Army Navy-

Another band out of the Nick and Norah soundtrack.  This band has an eye for sweet melodies and a dynamic live sound and subtle harmonies that slip into their tracks from time to time, another band to keep an eye out for.

My Thin Sides


Snakes of Hawaii