And so begins the Summer Sounds series of mixes. Previously I’ve posted a slew of EA mix albums for download, and those will continue again this autumn when I return to my studies in East Asia. For now, it is summer, and here we go.
for individual song downloads click below
01 : Dashboard Confessional – Don’t Wait : Yes, this song is on every list over the past few weeks. Yes the album is out and waiting for you to own it [overstock.com has it for 7.99]. But, it serves as a great kickoff to the summer. This is what summer music has always been for me, and in this mix you’ll find more of the same. Breezy, light, lovely, made to spin on the beach, it’s all here.
02 : Guster – New Underground : Everyone has said that the new Guster album is a departure for their original sound, but let us all face it, every band out there grows up and matures. In fact, the best bands are the ones that change over time. Trust me, turn to any band that has staying power [at least 10 years] and compare track one of their first album to track one of their recent album and you’ll see that this is just the standard of growing up.
03 : Phoneix – Long Distance Call : Sounding like the fresh new mashup of The Strokes and Maroon 5, this French group has a clean, crisp sound that in one way or another grabs your attention. Earlier in the year I recommended their latest album, and I say again, it will not disappoint you. This is my favorite track of the disc, but the rest is really solid.
04 : The Magic Numbers – Love Me Like You : I got their album almost seven months ago, listened to it twice and almost threw it away. Instead I filed it away and let it collect dust. And then a few weeks ago I saw them play this song live on Conan and they blew me away. Since then their disc has been getting heavy rotation and here I go promoting them again.
05 : The Weakerthans – (Hospital Vespers) : One of the most underrated bands since the year 2000. I don’t know if it’s due to marketing or bad word of mouth. Maybe they play horrible live shows. I just don’t understand why this band isn’t up there alongside Death Cab or Dashboard as undergound breakout artists. They’re talented, they play superbly, and their lyrics tell stories that you care about in the end.
06 : Zach Williams and the Ramparts – Hospital Bed : Zach Williams is on the same level as Asher Lev. Great folk revival that pulls a lot of its morals and lessons from their Christian roots. Much akin to Page France or Sufjan Stevens. I am a firm supporter of Zach Williams and am even considering a myspace petition to get them to change their ridiculous band name. But, I will allow them to call themselves whatever they want as long as they keep making songs like this.
07 : Band of Horses – The Funeral – I just realized that on this mix there are two songs with the word hospital in their titles followed by a song called The Funeral. Maybe I should quick throw something by The Arcade Fire on here. Maybe that would be a bit cliched. Maybe it’s all a subconscious reflection on the fact that while I was making this mix my father passed away. I’ll never know. But I do know that if I die, I want this song played at my viewing, preferably as a live show by the Band of Horses.
08 : Thom Yorke – Like Spinning Plates : Radiohead will always and forever be at the top of my list of favorite bands. They are far and away the best live show I have ever seen, and I have been around the block. This little rendition comes from when Thom Yorke played a solo show where it is basically Thom and a piano. I love how this song captures the idea of total heart and head confusion. How it captures what it feels like to be lost, and to know that you are gone.
09 : American Dollar – Everyone Gets Shot : In almost every single one of my mixes I’ve found a way to include an instrumental piece, and here it takes a prominent position. The mix takes a definite left turn after this piece, assuming before this slice of heaven from American Dollar was going in a straight line of melancholic and mostly new music. The next five tracks focus mainly on the voice of lead singer, and so this track serves as a little musical sorbet to reset your palate.
10 : The Strokes – I’ll Try Anything Once : Originally a demo take for what would later become You Only Live Once, my first band to hit the obsession mark in my collection, The Strokes, gave this song away for free on their website as well as including it as a b-side on their second single from the album First Impressions of Earth. Although it’s obviously a rough cut with some fuzzed keyboards and Julian’s scratchy vocals I think I like this version more than the jazzed up, full band version that’s on their third album.
11 : Regina Spektor – Samson – I can never decide if she uses Biblical imagery because she believes it or because it tells compelling stories. But in the case of this song I don’t care what her motives are. Now, true to Spektor’s past, this is one of two or three great songs off of the album it’s found on, where the rest are mediocre at best. And I would say that she benefits from the age of digital downloads, where kids buy one song at a time. Anyway, this song is great.
12 : Snow Patrol – Set the Fire to the Third Bar : I don’t know why bloggers and critics have trashed on the latest effort by these lovely Brits. This is exactly the type of music they’ve always made. Strong anthemic ballads. Songs that soar and reach peaks reminiscent of Coldplay or earlier Radiohead. And on this track there’s a nice duet vocal with Martha Wainwright, quite a fine catch for such a song.
13 : Feist – Mushaboom (Postal Service Remix) : The original version of this song was included on an earlier mix, one of the EA mixes, and it was good enough to make a second go round. This time Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard have put their own twist and some of their own vocals on it. They don’t change the chemistry too much, but they easily give the song a little bit of an upper, a nice beat, and the pure genius of Ben Gibbards voice.
14 : The Long Winters – Ultimatum (Live at WOXY) : What do you get when you combine one of my favorite bands with one of the best radio stations out there? You get sheer genius. Where the album rendition shines with it’s production, sometimes, almost to the point of being overproduced, this live version illustrates how the song is brilliant regardless of how it’s reworked. And, if you read this blog enough, you’ll find that I’m almost always a sucker for the stripped down version of anything.
15 : The Beta Band – Al Sharp : This song is truly a blast from the past. Very rarely do I find a friend who actually has a Beta Band album on their shelf. And also, just as rarely, do people not fall in love with this quirky little band after the give them a chance. They’ll probably always be a fringe band, but I’m not sure that will ever phase the Beta Band at all.
16 : Sufjan Stevens – The Perpetual Self : Everything is lost, oh oh, but I know that you can take it to the Lord. Everything you want, oh oh, is it all that you can gather for yourself? I love Sufjan not simply because his music sounds great. Although a huge part of his allure is the fact that he is a master when it comes to arrangements, the bigger draw for me is that his lyrics are intensely intelligent. He writes brilliant songs, and I guess he would after basically going to school to be a creative writer.
17 : The Walkmen – Another One Goes By : What a perfect ending to this mix. I probably should have saved this song for the ending track to the summer, but it found it’s way into my heart and thereby onto this site. I can see this song being played on season finale’s from The O.C. to North Shore to the end credits to any big romantic comedy over the next five years. I would even go so far to request this as the last dance at prom, if I was ever to go back in time to attend that wickedly weird even we call prom. It fits great as an ending.