[Charles] One of my friends, April, asked me a couple of weeks ago if I had heard any good music lately. I replied with a deer in the headlights look that surprised myself as I heard the sound of thousands of cd's crashing to the floor inside my head. Of course I have tons of music I'm listening to at any given time, but sometimes I have a hard time getting it narrowed down to favorites. I threw out a few titles but then I thought - why not? Get it together and put out a summer mix! I love doing it every year at the end of the year so surely I can come up with a dozen or so new bands and hot tracks that have wiggled their way into my inner jukebox... Easier said than done of course, but here it is two weeks later and I'm pretty psyched about it. I've listened to it a couple of days in a row on repeat and feel like it will at least open some ears and lead to a nice spin for most of my friends. Enough exposition already... here's the tracks -
1. Tokyo Police Club - Breakneck Speed
This a good track to kick it off - it feels like summer with the windows down on those few days it is cool enough to roll em down here. It has that "Let's go ride bikes" feeling that Heather refers to on her blog. This one found me a couple of months ago with simultaneous recommendations from DJ Fuego and Heather of I Am Fuel, You Are Friends. If you don't know Heather's blog then well I understand you're busy but come on even Nick Hornby is a fan so I'd give it a shot. As for DJ Fuego - check her out in town when you get a chance, she's got really awesome musical taste layed over a super chill personality sort of like a tasty Vegan dog with extra smokin hot sauce.
2. Mumford & Sons - Roll Away Your Stone
Everybody says "If you like the Avett Brothers then you'll like them." That may be true but it is really selling both bands short. I love, love, love the Avett Brothers and am unashamed to call them my favorite band right now. They are amazing live and on albums. Mumford and Sons sort of sound like the Avetts do now, but they are nothing like the raw and ragged Avetts of early albums that we fell in love with. The comparisons come more from the passion and feeling that both bands wear on their sleeve. They both are unashamed to share their feelings about love, life, and death. To me they diverge where the Avetts songs come across as intimate rural church tunes and Mumford and Sons songs feel like big church hymns that could fill an ancient cathedral. They seem a little more ambitious in their themes and attacks and that's okay, I'm happy to put both of their cd's on heavy rotation.
3. Gorillaz feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul - Superfast Jellyfish
I love Gorillaz music and this track really nails the vibe that makes them so awesome. It is catchy and groovy with a not too hidden message about the way our world is headed these days. Two spins of this song and you'll be singing along, trust me.
4. The Dead Weather - The Difference Between Us
I trust my buddy Stacey for recommendations and I trust Jack White to push the envelope so here you go. I like this track and didn't like a lot of the others on the cd. It does grow on you though and it feels like that dark vibe that seems to overshadow the news this summer.
5. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Paris (Ooh La La)
This is another catchy song by a new "chick rock" band but trust me, they don't pull any punches and guess what you'll be singing along with this one too.
6. The Ettes - Crown of Age
Missed these ladies at Heatwave this year, but I like this song and love rolling down the windows and hitting 11 on the volume. Enjoy this one, just try and not crank it, I dare you...
7. Passion Pit - Little Secrets
These guys put out a cd that has been beating around in my head since late last year but they were just in town at the Ritz and I missed it. Oh well, I'm guessing seeing this one in person might not improve it because I'm guessing they draw a crowd of annoying frat boys and hipsters. Sounds mighty fine in my car though.
8. Sin Fang Bous - Catch the Light
Heard this one day and it just caught my ear. I like it, it has a nice outside summer feel to it. This one would be nice on the lawn at Bonnaroo or Suwannee.
9. Josh Ritter - Change of Time
I like this guy and picking one song is sort of unfair but really this song is sad and sweet and hopeful all at the same time and isn't that really what life is like anyway?
10. Good Old War - Coney Island
I just blogged about these guys being in town at the Orpheum but I originally had them slated in for this spot before they cemented it at the show. Like I said in that post, these guys are comfortable and fun and heartfelt, and this song makes me think about how a town can break your heart and drag you back just like Tampa does all the time...
11. Gaslight Anthem - The Diamond Church Street Choir
Thank Elawgrrl for this one although I'm glad she insisted I check it out! Everybody wants to compare these guys to Springsteen but who cares? They are really good! This song is exactly what true American music sounds like to me (not that garbage that Toby Keith and the like pander with). Its rock and outdoors, maybe the sort of thing you'd sing along and picnic to and then they'd shoot some fireworks off on the 4th of July. Definitely worth giving a chance to listen.
12. Frightened Rabbit - The Loneliness and the Scream
These guys actually sound more like the Avetts than most bands compared to them, but I'm really hooked on their sound. This one just haunts me for some reason. I heard them one morning on WMNF and had to find every song I could of theirs. Hope you like it.
13. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
I'm a late adopter on Arcade Fire but I have some misgivings about bands with too much buzz from that hipster crowd. That being said, this is pretty awesome. I'm still letting them grow on me but I know it's just a matter of time.
14. Josh Rouse - I Will Live On Islands
It's like he bottled Paul Simon in Africa and uncorked him in the BVI. I love this song. It is impossible not to smile and sing a long to this story about a guy wrongly imprisoned and who just wants to be set free. It's a great island vibey one and might even have you shaking your hips a bit!
That's it folks. I don't know how to post all the files and all that but if I figure it out I'll post em here. Until then, let me know if you want a copy and I'll "burn one down" and give it to you when I see you. Hope you enjoy the mix and that it livens up your summer...