Break’s wrapping up and the long winter is about to set in. You may need some help to get through it. It is my hope that this mixer will give you something to listen to and help you through this cold final week of break. It’s going to be a little heavy on the hip-hop side.
1 – “Dirty Paws” – Of Monsters And Men
The opener off of this past year’s album, “Dirty Paws” features exactly what the Icelandic group does so well. A harmony between male and female lead singers combines with varied rythyms to bring a great variety, which starts off one of the best albums of the year. Why not let it start off this mixer as well?
2 – “Bud Billiken” – Kids These Days
I know I’m a sucker for anything KTD, but this truly is the best song off of their 2012 project Traphouse Rock. Though the subject-matter of the song may be a little taboo (our friends in Colorado or Washington may have a different opinion), the mixture of Nico Segal’s trumpet, J.P. Floyd’s trombone and Macie Stewart’s keys make something that pleases the ears and is sure to pick your spirit up in the cold winter months
3 – “Sympathy For The Devil” – The Rolling Stones
This song has the best opening line of any song. Ever. And thus, it has earned its place on this list.
4 – “Thrift Shop” – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
You’d have to be living under a rock for the past few months to know that this song is not blowing up the internet as of late. Paired with a slew of electrifying festival performances, the Seattle-based duo has put together one of the funniest videos/songs of the year. Even if it is just for novelty factor, the novelty is golden.
5 – “Closer to Free” – The BoDeans
Yes, this used to be the theme song for the TV show Party of Five (which was a great show, might I add). Thus, it is a song that is embedded in my brain from my childhood. Even in its early-90′s nature, it is rousing and even a little bit inspiring!
6 – “Hurt Me Soul” – Lupe Fiasco
I’ll say it: Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor was easily on of the best rap albums (and maybe total albums) of the past 10 years. The lyrical mastery, especially in this track, defined a new standard for lyricists coming from Chicago and inspired many youths (including myself) to delve even further into the craft that is hip-hop with a purpose.
7 – “Under Cover of Darkness” – The Strokes
This song gave a false representation that Julian Casablancas and Co had returned to their former selves. Unfortunately, the rest of the album from which this track comes (Angles) could just not compare to this song, and thus could not compare to the rest of the Strokes’ stellar catalogue. At least we got one really good track out of it, though.
8 – “Boys Are Fine” – Smith Westerns
This record was recorded in a basement and you can definitely tell. But the raw talent and musical prowess definitely shines through the low-fi nature of the song, and ultimately adds more to it’s charm. While this comes from the seldom-known freshman effort form Smith Westerns, Dye it Blonde gained a ton of success in 2011. From what I can tell, the Chicago-based rockers are back at work for their third LP and I can only hope the rest of the world is as excited as I am.
9 – “About You” – XXYYXX
This may be the creepiest music video ever made, but the 16-year-old Orlando-based producer sure can create some damn good music.
10 – “Us” – Regina Spektor
This track was the signature track for the hit movie (500) Days of Summer, and I am not at all ashamed to say that that is where I discovered it. The violin combined with Ms. Spektor’s beautifully full voice create the perfect atmosphere for which to close out the mixtape.