Last week’s mix wound up being mostly rocking music so I’ve had some mellower stuff piling up. This week I want to catch up on that. This isn’t sleepy stuff or even all ballads, but these have a consistent relaxed feel. This would actually make a pretty nice mix in your living room, which some of my themed mixes would not.
- I Don’t Know What to Do – Pete Yorn and Scarlet Johansson
I will be writing this entire album up next week, I think. It is surprisingly good. Johansson has a sweet voice and this track has an appealing organic pop vibe.
- Cosmic Rays – Helium
This is a beautiful and contemplative song with passages of pretty harmony vocals and passages of heavy chords and strings.
- Free Until They Cut Me Down – Iron & Wine
The ominously quiet acoustic groove persists for about half the song before the percussion kicks in. It never really builds much, though. The vocals stay almost whispered while banjo and acoustic guitar see us to the dwindling end.
- Birthday – The Sugar Cubes
Before Bjork struck out on her own, she was with The Sugar Cubes. I like exactly two songs by that band and this is one of them. It might be my favorite song Bjork ever did, too.
- Ain’t It So – Pigeonhed
Shawn Smith is the voice behind Pigeonhed, Satchel, and Brad. He’s a great songwriter and a singularly talented vocalist. His voice works particularly with this funk/soul vibe.
- Letters from the Sky – Civil Twilight
This track has gotten a lot of run in TV soundtracks lately, which is how it came to my attention. It has kind of a Coldplay meets old U2 thing going on. I like it.
- Go Get Some – David Lynch & John Neff
The David Lynch movie Mulholland Drive really stuck with me. There were a couple songs from the soundtrack that did the same. This instrumental is over 7 minutes long and it gets weird at times, but it’s a great vibe.
- Failure – Kings of Convenience
The Kings remind me of Simon and Garfunkel in that many of their songs are pretty, mellow, and feature guitar and two-part harmony. This one actually has a bit more of an arrangement with some strings and horns joining in by the end. They are my favorite group that fits into the indie category.
- Why Did You Call? – The Magic Numbers
I just wrote up the Numbers’ debut album a few weeks ago, but this is from their new album. Their sound on this one is much more produced, though not overly so, and the songs are as appealing as ever. This is a minute-long sample on YouTube.
- Wilted Daisies – Joshua James
My ex turned me onto this guy last week. He’s got the most interesting and expressive new voice I’ve heard since Ray LaMontagne and this track comes in pretty and small before becoming a big, country-influenced jam.
- Sugar Never Tasted So Good – The White Stripes
My girlfriend recently turned me onto this track, which had somehow flown under my radar even though I’m a big Jack White fan. It’s simple but catchy and sparkles with lyrical genius.
- On and On and On – Wilco
Jeff Tweedy used to write a lot of cute and goofy songs, but as he has matured and seen greater success, his songs have deepened and now Wilco routinely puts out songs that are daring or complex or moving, like this one.
- Inside and Out – Feist
The album version of this song sounds like disco-era Abba or something, but when she plays this unaccompanied on her guitar you hear what a beautiful melody this is.
- Machines – Mason Jennings
Jennings grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and dropped out of school to pursue his musical career… in Minneapolis, MN. I didn’t realize MN had such a hot music scene but it seems to have been a good move. Or maybe that tells us this guy would have succeeded no matter where he went.
Enjoy this mix with a mimosa, because mimosas are yummy and not too hard. Have a great weekend.