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The Mix #6: Some Good Things

I haven't put up a mix since early April, though I have been accumulating songs since that time. This one covers songs I liked from 2014, excluding ones from bands I already used on that earlier mix. It ballooned to 30 songs. Oops. Anyway, I hope you enjoy...

1. Goshen '97/Strand of Oaks - This great slice of rock is the lead track from HEAL. It's about Tom Showalter's musical beginnings and features J Mascis on lead guitar. For those who don't know, Goshen is in Indiana.

2. Turtles All the Way Down/Sturgill Simpson - I don't listen to much country music and have no idea what the popular songs of the genre are these days. This, though, reminds me of the country I listened to back in the early 80s. It's got a great little groove.

3. Don't Wanna Lose/Ex Hex - This is the only exception to leaving off bands that were on the You Gotta Get Back Out There mix; that one included Ex Hex's "Hot and Cold." This band rocks so much and has gotten so many plays since it came out that I couldn't leave this 147 second nugget. Listen to that lead guitar!

4. Don't Tell Our Friends About Me/Blake Mills - I haven't really delved into this album but this track hooked me immediately. A plea from someone who messed up set to a steady beat and a lilting melody at times.

5. I Don't Know You Anymore/Bob Mould - Mould's renaissance continues on his second album with Jason Narducy on bass and Jon Wurster on drums. These guys know how to put together great power pop nuggets such as this one. I almost included "Hey Mr. Grey" instead but it's hard to argue this song.

6. She's Not Me/Jenny Lewis - It had been a long time since Lewis put out a solo album, so I was happy to have her back. After hearing the album, I was even happier because I think it's her best one yet. She worked with Ryan Adams but you can't really hear any traces of him. This is a pure pop record with great lyrics.

7. Seasons (Waiting On You)/Future Islands - Their performance on Letterman in the spring was one of the music on TV highlights this year. After that, I felt like the song was inescapable and for good reason. It's a bouncy pop song and he sings the hell out of it.

8. Time/Nude Beach - I had a hard time deciding which song to pick from their double album because 77 is filled with power pop gems. I went with this slower one because it felt like it went thematically with the songs around it.

9. Inside Out/Spoon - I love Spoon. The band has been on an incredible run of albums since 2001's Girls Can Tell (and the stuff before that was really good too) but it had been 4 years since their last one. They Want My Soul is spectacular and this song gives us a new sound for the band. I could live inside this song.

10. Fault Lines/Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - It had been 4 years since the band put out Mojo, which I thought was okay. The new album, however, is really good and I think it's their best since Echo. This song has a great bass line and I love how prominent the cymbal is in the percussion. Add those to a good lyric and Mike Campbell's guitar riding over top and you have a winner.

11. The Tower/Wye Oak - The new album from Wye Oak has a different sonic palate than the last one did. I think people probably overlooked the new one; I know I did. This song, however, stuck with me the moment I heard it. Spooky and menacing.

12. Early Bird Tavern/Chris Staples - A singer/songwriter with just his voice and guitar singing about music. How can I not love it?

13. Gimme Something Good/Ryan Adams - Built on a Petty-esque riff, this song opens his new self-titled album in a tremendous way. This song might have been the one that took up the most headspace in the second half of the year. It also supplies the title for this mix.

14. My Silver Lining/First Aid Kit - Folk pop with sisters harmonizing with each other is something I can get behind, especially when it's all utilized in a song this good. I liked their last album but the new one is a step up.

15. Milwaukee/The Both - Aimee Mann. Ted Leo. A loping Mann bass line. Slabs of Leo's guitar. A creation story of sorts for the band in the lyrics. Mann and Leo harmonizing with each other. Power pop greatness.

16. Teenage Wasteland/Wussy - I heard and liked this song back in the summer maybe but had totally forgotten about it until last week. I hadn't known before the last few days that the guy in this band was in the Ass Ponys. Anyway, none of that has anything to do with this soaring anthem.

17. War on the East Coast/The New Pornographers - The new New Pornos record is great and as always, it includes at least one Dan Bejar stunner. This song is said stunner. Also, dig the harmonica - a new sonic element for the band. Also, it's pretty synthy.

18. We Only Come out at Night/The Sugar Stems - Pretty sure I first heard this on a music podcast but I can't remember which one (maybe KEXP's Music That Matters). It's a buzzy rush of a power pop tune and as I may have mentioned a time or fifty, I'm a sucker for those.

19. Waiting for the Sun/Split Single - This is Jason Narducy's band; on the album he had Britt Daniel from Spoon on bass and Jon Wurster on drums. Not bad, right? The record isn't available on Spotify, so this song gets a spot by default; still, it's a sweet little tune. Also not on Spotify in any form in Ty Segall's record - "Feel" would definitely be included if it were.

20. Saturday's Song/Hiss Golden Messenger - I will always give a listen to everything Merge puts out. This album didn't grab me on one listen but I really like this folky tune.

21. Low Key/Tweedy - There is so much to absorb on the Tweedy double record but this song is one of the instant standouts. Lyrically, it seems like it could by Jeff's theme song. Musically, it boasts a nice bass line, good melody, added backing vocals from the women from Lucius, and a nice drumbeat from Spencer.

22. Taking Chances/Sharon Van Etten - This one certainly sets a mood, doesn't it? Haunting, perhaps? Love the how the guitar comes in on the chorus to add some extra mood. Her voice is great too.

23. Cleopatra/Weezer - This one builds steam as it rolls along. By the time it gets to the "5, 10, 15..." chant, I'm with it. Then comes to guitar solo, followed closely by a second guitar and I am all in on this song.

24. Cleopatra/Sloan - Yes, this playlist has two songs about Cleopatra. I could have chosen a bunch of other songs from Sloan's new double album but I couldn't resist including this one right next to the Weezer. This is from Jay Ferguson's side of the record (each band member has their own suite) and the "you've got a lot on your mind" at the end of the song is a callback to his song only two spots before this one on the album. I love you, Sloan.

25. My My/Reigning Sound - It's been a few years since Reigning Sound put out an album and I'm glad to have them back. Greg Cartwright has a great rock voice and this is a great rock song in lyric and music.

26. High Ball Stepper/Jack White - I haven't spent much time with White's album this year. I'm at the point where I have a hard time separating the public persona from the music. That said, this is a monster of an instrumental and reminds me why I fell in love with The White Stripes.

27. Lazerray/TV On The Radio - I think if I put this song on a mix to run to I would go super fast and want to fist pump. Sold.

28. Archie, Marry Me/Alvvays - Yes, those are two "v"s but you say "always." Whatever. What's more important here is this piece of jangle pop goodness. The band as a whole reminds me of Camera Obscura, if that means anything to you.

29. Eyes of the Muse/King Tuff - The riff is what gets me and the guitars are what get me to stay. There's some jangle and a lot of rock. Those drums are doing some great work too. I discovered this somewhere online and I'm indebted to that person, because I like this record a lot.

30. Gotta Get Away/The Black Keys - Here is another album that isn't on Spotify; if it were, I would definitely have placed "Weight Of Love" here instead because of its awesome guitar solo. That said, I'm not unhappy to have this song closing out my mix as it closes out their album. It's a rock song that sounds like it's always existed in the best way possible. Thanks for listening and reading!

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