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Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Mixtape with Concert Video Footage

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 9:56 AM

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This week, Nels Cline—the lead guitarist from alt-rock band Wilco—played two shows with jazz guitar virtuoso Julian Lage at the very intimate Royal Room in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle and the Source was there.

The duet were promoting their new instrumental album ROOM; a collection of beautiful—and yet temperamental—experimental guitar tracks that apply the seasoned improvisational chops of Cline and the youthful exuberance of Lage; who by age eight was playing with artists like Carlos Santana. Together their two different, yet complimentary, Avant Garde styles made for a wonderful display of rich instrumentation that softened the walls surrounding the seated crowd at The Royal Room.

This Friday Mixtape takes a look at two tracks from ROOM that highlight the pair’s forward thinking approach and its coupling with traditional jazz. Also included are eight other songs that showcase some of the best artists who either have or currently are performing instrumental guitar music. Legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Wes Montgomery as well as contemporaries like fingerstyle guitarists Tracy Bundy and Andy McKee. There are also two must-listen-to tracks from Julian Lage’s debut solo album Sounding Point that really show off the young talent’s skills.

After the break, check out 3 & 1/2 minutes of Nels Cline and Julian Lage playing at The Royal Room.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Friday Mixtape!

Posted By on Sat, Jan 3, 2015 at 1:53 PM

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As one astute reader pointed out on the Source’s Facebook page last week, there were some quality albums that didn’t quite make the list of 2014’s top 100. Unfortunately the frenetic crunch to fit all of a year’s best music into one list—even one with 100 slots—means that something is going to get squeezed out.

So before moving on to all of the great music sure to come out of 2015—Father John Misty anyone?—this Friday Mixtape tidies up the last year and highlights some records that fell just short of making the final cut.

One of the records Mr. Penpek rightly picked out in that post as needing some recognition is the debut album from Australian pop star Jessica Anne Newham, who records under the moniker Betty Who. Her soaring voice and punchy synth make for an album squarely pop and sweetly delectable.

Also included in the playlist is the latest album from the power soul group Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings as well as the 2014 offering from bluesy singer/songwriter Ryan Adams. Although his most recent album feels like a tiny step backward for the deeply vulnerable artist, it is still filled with gritty tracks that many fans fell in love with including one of Bend’s favorites from the genre, Eric Tollefson.

If any track in the Mixtape inspires a little bit of digging deeper, it should be that of Philly’s Damon McMahon and his project Amen Dunes. His third album Love features members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and trudges dutifully through psych folk.

And once you've checked out songs from these albums in the playlist below, be sure to dig into some of these other year-end lists from our dear friends Let Your Ears Decide and New Music Michael.

LYED: Top Albums of the Year
LYED: Top EPs of the Year

NMM: Top Albums of the Year
NMM via Gig City: Top 10 Edmonton Records of 2014

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday Mixtape! Top 100 Albums of the Year

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 9:48 AM

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The top ten albums of the year received a little more pomp and circumstance with each album getting a write up.

The remaining best albums of 2014 include a Scottish reggae-rap group, two entries by a French-Canadian singer turning in soundtracks for a dramatic Canadian television series as well as a video game, probably the most technically advanced vinyl record ever made, and a father/son rock duo. It was a very eclectic year in music.

Jack White’s newest album Lazaretto may only be ranked 85th on this year-end list but the actual record is tops in vinyl innovation. With hidden tracks revealed by playing it at different speeds, three dimensional etching and a song with two different beginnings depending on where the needle is placed, it’s hard to imagine anyone ever topping White’s vision. Oh yeah, the rock and roll on the record isn’t bad either.

Other highlights include strong social commentary by quirky experimental pop songstress St. Vincent, classic-rock-inspired music from Hospitality and tons of lo-fi rock from the likes of The Fat White Family, Tweens, Temples and Cloud Nothings.

It was also a good year for sullen, R&B-esque music as albums by Broods, Gem Club and Grouper made the list. There were fewer quality pop albums released this year but for those hankering for a little sunshine as winter descends on the High Desert, look for music from Bleachers, Misterwives and sugary synth from Little Daylight.

The main takeaway here is that with the absence of a lot of pop, the bulk of the best albums from 2014 require quite of bit of digging into in order to unlock their greatness. These records represent the best in dramatic themes, complex instrumentation and challenging lyrics.

(A full listing of all 100 albums appears after the jump)

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday Mixtape! 25 Best Songs of 2014

Posted By on Sat, Dec 20, 2014 at 9:34 AM

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Music streaming service Spotify knows a thing or two about trends in the songs people want to hear and according to their data no track was more popular this past year than Irish singer/songwriter Hozier’s ballad “Take Me to Church.”

Of course just because the masses enjoyed a particular song doesn’t mean it truly is the best of the year, but, in this case, it actually is.

Writing about a pretty painful break up, Andrew Hozier-Byrne crafted not just a musical tale filled with substantial emotion but dang, it sure is catchy to sing along with too! Utilizing a booming chorus and a pop-inspired cadence, “Take Me to Church” appeals to kids and adults alike and it stands alone a top our Best Songs of 2014 Friday Mixtape.

Following Hozier’s track are 24 other songs that both capture the kind of populist spirit that can stand the test of time and also flaunt creative styles paired with meaningful lyrics. Offerings like the spoken word poetry of Kate Tempest’s girls’-night-out tirade “Marshall Law” and the infectious pop-rock track “Unkinder (A Tougher Love)” from Thumpers.

There’s a lot to love in these 25 songs from both established artists like Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst as well as newcomers like Alvvays and Misterwives. It was a great year for music—as usual—and this list hits all the highlights.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Mixtape!

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 12:54 PM

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When emotions are too raw to be satiated by listening to pop music, it’s not a bad idea to turn to rock. The vocalist for Leeds’ psych, punk rock band Hookworms—who simply goes by his initials, MJ—confirmed as much in a recent interview with Wondering Sound about his band’s new album The Hum.

“The new record still has songs about depression. “On Leaving” is about a friend who has mental health issues, so I’m seeing it from the other side, when you don’t know how to help someone. “The Impasse” is very much about depression, and even just leaving the house, which is something I still struggle with all the time.”

That song, “The Impasse” is a blistering track with tortured lo-fi vocals set against distorted guitar and antagonistic drums that expels the very distressed emotions MJ talks about in a less-than-three-minute tirade. From there, Hookworms transitions into the rather lengthy—but just as palpable—“On Leaving” that MJ also mentioned.

Both of these tracks along with twin spins from other newly released rock albums are featured in this week’s Friday Mixtape. There’s music from Content Nausea, the second release in 2014 by oft talked about fuzzy punk rockers Parquet Courts, the return of Scottish favorites The Twilight Sad as well as feminist angst from Washington D.C. glam band Ex Hex.

It’s the perfect mix to listen to when trying to indulge and then loosen the grip of negative feelings.


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Friday Mixtape!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 11:07 AM

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This week, whether on the road headed for home, sitting around a fire stuffed with, well, stuffing or calling up loved ones on the phone from a distance, queuing up this Friday Mixtape ought to provide the perfect accompanying music.

The playlist centers around music from Florida based singer/songwriter Ben Cooper—who records as Radical Face—and his project The Family Tree. With two of the trilogy’s albums released thus far, Cooper is on the verge of completing the ultimate musical delineation of heritage and familial tribulation. It appears to be a bit of an extension of the song that got Cooper’s Radical Face noticed back in 2009; the swooning anthem “Welcome Home, Son.”

Along with Cooper’s music are other songs with a homeward bent, including “A House is a Home,” a lovely duet by Ben Harper and his mother Ellen from their new album Childhood Home. There are other new songs sure to conjure up the same kind of ideas as well from the likes of Talisco and brother/sister duo Angus & Julia Stone.

Classics from Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills & Nash are also here as is perhaps the most popular song about home released in recent memory that isn’t by someone named Skylar; namely “Home” by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes.


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Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Mixtape!

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM

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The third installment of the Hunger Games franchise reaches theaters this week and with it comes another soundtrack filled with hip artists who will earn whole new audiences simply because one of their songs appears on the album.

Previously, relatively unknown bands like The Weeknd, Mikky Ekko, The Civil Wars and The Secret Sisters have benefited by being featured in the music accompanying the dystopian films, and that trend continues with the release of music from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

This time around, power synth pop group CHVRCHES—who turned in one of last year’s best albums—get a turn at mass exposure with their song “Dead Air” and melancholy songstress Lorde returns for her second Hunger Games offering with the Kanye West remix of her song “Flicker.”

Or course, bands benefiting from soundtrack appearances is nothing new, serving to launch or re-introduce careers as well as—in the case of Kenny Loggins—keep them going. Sometimes, soundtracks have proved so prolific that they have been honored with awards for their completeness and quality of original work, as it was with O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

This Friday Mixtape takes a look at some of those Hunger Games songs as well as notable soundtrack appearances from the past including Suicidal Tendencies from the cult classic Repo Man, Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” from Less than Zero as well as 1990’s introduction to Pearl Jam via the movie Singles.


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Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Mixtape!

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 8:13 AM

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DID YOU KNOW? Even if you don't pay for Spotify preimium, you can still listen to our Friday Mixtapes on your mobile device in shuffle mode. There is no need to wait for our BENT post on Fridays to start listening on your desktop client. Simply make sure the free Spotify app is downloaded to your phone or tablet, scan the QR code in the paper when it comes out on Wednesdays and start listening on your device!

There are only a handful of Tuesdays—the day of the week new albums are typically released—left in 2014. That means soon enough, it’ll be time to focus on ranking all the best music of the year instead of touting new releases.
But before that day comes—in about nine weeks—there are still artists releasing music that just might earn themselves a spot on the year-end list.

And that includes the bands in this week’s Friday Mixtape.

Groups like Oklahoma’s lo-fi punk outfit BRONCHO and garage rockers Warm Soda; who each turn in feel-good tracks on the playlist.

New York City favorites Cymbals Eat Guitars are also back in 2014 with their temperamental album Lose as is the 2012 breakout roots rock husband/wife duo Shovels and Rope with thier sophomore release.

But perhaps the most exciting new music on the list comes from two newly releases singles from Wisconsin native Zola Jesus which will appear on her yet-to-be-releases 2014 album Taiga. Her dark vocals and thundering keyboards are stronger than ever, yet these two tracks strike a pleasing pop note in contrast to her previous work.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Mixtape!

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 4:24 PM

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In this double-sized Friday Mixtape, the music trek advances from all kinds of pop—rock, EDM, and soul—to pit stops with R&B and hip hop; eventually meandering to lo-fi indie and alternative rock. It’s quite the nearly two hour playlist stretching out over 30, mostly brand new tracks from 2014.

Joyful music lovers will embrace synth-heavy dance tracks like HOLYCHILD’s “Happy with Me” and “Swim” by Fickle Friends.

Anyone reeling from a breakup—even simply one with summer—should be comfortable wallowing in the experimental and sullen sounds of “Lir” by Garden City Movement as well as Brooklyn’s Baby Alpaca and their modern take on the music of The Smiths with the moody song “Sea of Dreams.”

Kansas City rapper Mac Lethal turns in an impressive rapid-fire, alphabet-inspired cut that needs to be heard to be believed and lo-fi punk rockers King Tuff continue churning out new tracks with the mid-century tinged “Eyes of the Muse.”

All but metal-heads and classical/jazz aficionados should find something they love here, but even they will likely find it hard to resist the infectious sounds of U.K. band Thumpers and the decidedly British pop rock sound of their track “Unkinder (A Tougher Kind of Love);” a song making its second appearance in a Friday Mixtape because, well, it’s just that good.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Mixtape!

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 9:00 AM

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Bend may still be experiencing days with high temperatures in the eighties, but there is clearly a softening of the air and crisp mornings are the now norm as autumn begins to peek through on the High Desert.

As such, this Friday Mixtape is full of mood setting music for that transition.

One of the best fall/winter albums of all time is the self-titled 2009 debut of singer/songwriter and pianist Laura Groves, who recorded as Blue Roses but has since switched to using her own name. Her chilling track “Greatest Thoughts” is the perfect tune for a dark autumn evening.

The playlist also hosts string folk from Portland’s Horse Feathers via their song “Like Lavender” from their 2006 debut album Words are Dead as well as a brand new vintage rock track from Avi Buffalo.

The back-to-back tracks from avant garde jazz group Balmorhea that round out the mixtape are really meant to be an inspiring glimpse into their catalogue; since every single one of their albums captures the allure of sweet smelling fall air, warm bowls of soup and scented candles.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Mixtape! The Whole Wilco

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 2:04 PM

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It’s been 20 years since alt-rock, singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy parted ways with Son Volt’s Jay Farrar and started his own venture with the band Wilco. Eight studio albums later and Wilco has yet to turn in a commercial hit; but still their music is often heralded by rock aficionados as ground-breaking.

To celebrate this milestone, Wilco is soon to release their first ever best-of, box set.

It’s never been a secret that I love Wilco’s music and Tweedy’s lyrics more than most anything else out there; so in honor of this announcement, this week’s Friday Mixtape takes a look at my 20 favorite Wilco songs.

There’s the experimental rock/country hybrid track “Via Chicago” as well as some great imagery thanks to the song “A Shot in the Arm.” I might catch some flak for including Tweedy’s R&B inspired “Hate it Here,” but that song is certainly one of Tweedy’s smoothest efforts.

Stick around for the end of the playlist and listen to “Flowering,” a tempered little ditty from Tweedy’s latest project, a collaboration with his son Spencer simply called Tweedy. Their debut album Sukierae drops later this month.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Mixtape!

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 8:11 AM

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What do a tighty-whitey-wearing, Ron Jeremy look-a-like R&B singer, a collaboration between rapper Astronautalis and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and a British pop-hop duo called Rizzle Kicks have in common? Pretty much nothing, other than the fact that all three have songs on this week’s Friday Mixtape; one full of randomness.

Nashville’s Tyler James and Jessica Maros—recording as Escondido—turn in a dusty, Southwestern ballad and U.K. pop songstress Banoffee sings as sweetly as the dessert she’s named after on her song “Let’s Go to the Beach.”

In all, 18 extremely likeable and very different sounding songs covering just over an hour of music are included. Just be sure to stick around for a dance party courtesy of Snakehips and the remixed track “Days With You” as well as handclaps from Shakey Graves’ brand new song “Dearly Departed” featuring the beautiful harmonies of Esme Patterson.

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