Then & Now: Your End-of-Summer Mixtape

Lianne La Havas (Photo Credit: Alex Lake/Nonesuch Records)

Discovering bands that are fresh for your end-o-summer playlist — and actually good to listen to — can be tricky and time-consuming. And you have to know who to trust (“But Aunt Margit, Carly is AWE-some!”)

To that end, we’ve compiled a few bands  you might like, based on some old sounds you probably already know. Our picks aren’t all brand new, but a few have gone under the radar, and we insist you listen:

1. Slightly sappy, ’70s singer songwriters

Then: Seals & Croft, “Summer Breeze.”

Now: The Autumn Defense, “Back of My Mind.” While their album Once Around (2010) isn’t new, we can’t get enough of these two ex-Wilco bandmates and their California, easy, breezy pop groove. “Back of My Mind” is a standout for September.


2. Edgy, unclassifiable R&B

Then: Erykah Badu, “On & On.”

Now: Lianne La Havas, “Forget.” Is Your Love Big Enough (2012)  is a melange of jazz, pop, R&B and rock, and this 24-year-old’s emotional debut album is a stunner (and woefully overlooked.)


3. Peace, love and head shops

Then: The Rolling Stones, “She’s Like a Rainbow.”

Now: Foxygen, “San Francisco.” Alright flower children, here’s your end-of-summer ditty from Foxygen’s We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. Trippy and fun, this laid-back San Francisco outfit is a paisley-shirted throwback.

4. Sounds like The Pixies

Then: The Pixies, “Where Is My Mind.”

Now: The Pixies, “Bagboy.” When it comes to The Pixies, there’s no comparison. “I’m not feeling your buzz, I only smell your crock of stew” talk-sings Black Francis — that same voice that defined 1988 college parties. They’re back, and while they’re sans Kim Deal (although it sure sounds like her singing the title) this is a fun, crank-it-LOUD number.

5. Raw, vintage Country

Then: Loretta Lynn, “Fist City.”

Now: Brandi Carlile, “Raise Hell.” I’m still shocked that more people aren’t obsessed with Brandi’s incredible pipes. I know our pal Jesse over at has been talking her up for a while. Last year’s Bear Creek was her best yet, but you may know 2007’s passionate hit “The Story.” Raspy-voiced and intense, Carlile’s got a  Nashville soul and a rock and roll ‘tude.

 6. A fuzzy segue into September

Then: The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Happy When It Rains.”

Now: September Girls, “Ships.” This Dublin-based five-piece has a garage ethos and a distortion-laced output. Delightfully dark for your moody, almost-fall weekend. They’re releasing the song “Ships” as part of Cassette Store Day.




Tell Us in the Comments

What do you think?

8 Responses

  1. ks_ros

    i had a hard time focusing on the new music, with the old mix tapes still refreshing me.

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