It's summertime, and without really even thinking about, July's mixtape is kinda summery, at least by my standards. Sure, it starts off with the Pope of Mope, but then things pick up with the Latin grooves of Pacha Massive, Balkan sounds of Gogol Bordello and bouncy ska of the Pietasters. Also be sure to check out great tunes from rockers Jay Reatard and Donny Hue and the Colors.
"You Have Killed Me" (YouTube video) -- Morrissey (Wolf Trap, July 2)
"There is no point in saying this again / I forgive you." Thanks, Moz, appreciate it. The lead single off the Pope of Mope's 2005 album finds him at crooning, clever best. Just hope his voice has recovered from some recent woes when he visits Wolf Trap.
"To Live and Die in the Airport Lounge" -- My Teenage Stride (DC9, July 2)
Fans of the classic C-86 Brit-pop sound will love the jangly goodness this Brooklyn band offers up. If the names Another Sunny Day, Felt or Biff Bang Pow! mean anything to you, you're in for a treat.
"Don't Let Go" -- Pacha Massive (9:30 club, July 7)
Like the band they are opening for, Los Amigos Invisibles, this New York group throws a little bit of everything its tasty mix -- rock, funk, Latin and electro grooves.
"Private Life of a Cat" -- Lovekevins (DC9, July 10)
It's Swedish pop, so you pretty much know what you're getting into: smooth-as-can-be, danceable electro sounds with gentle vocals in which about 95 percent of the words are pronounced the way you'd expect.
"Uptown Top Ranking" -- Scout Niblett (Rock and Roll Hotel, July 14)
No, this isn't b-side from Cat Power's "The Covers Record." It's British-born singer-songwriter Scout Niblett's surprisingly effective solo acoustic take on one of the greatest songs of all time, Althea and Donna's sunsplashed reggae classic.
"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (MySpace stream) -- Miranda Lambert (Nissan Pavilion, July 14)
Skip the silly phone message and click on this tune, one of the many fiery barnburners on the young country singer's standout sophomore effort of the same name.
"Should've California" -- Two Cow Garage (The Red & the Black, July 16)
For the most part, this Columbus, Ohio band lives up to its name, delivering punked-up country rock. But this is one the band's tender moments, a raspy, largely acoustic lament; maybe this is the song that comes 20 years after all that stuff from "The O.C." theme never came true.
"93 'Til Infinity" (MySpace stream) -- Souls of Mischief (Black Cat, July 16)
If you're nostalgic for the old-school, pre-bling/krunk era of hip-hop, enjoy this classic from the Oakland crew, an offshoot of Hieroglyphics.
"Sharks" -- Cadence Weapon (The Red & the Black, July 18)
Just your usual underground Canadian rapper, y'know? Harsh synths give this track a distinctly modern feel, but an old-school aesthetic remains.
"Start Wearing Purple" -- Gogol Bordello (9:30 club, July 18)
Not many shows get as raucous as ones by these gypsy punks, and this Balkan-flavored stomper is sure to inspire some mayhem on the 9:30 club dance floor.
"Rock and Roll the Second" -- J Roddy Walston and the Business (Iota, July 20)
Exuberant, catchy, old-fashioned roadhouse rock from Baltimore. I can see fans of the Band, Jerry Lee Lewis and ZZ Top all liking this.
"Cold Cold Water" -- Mirah (Black Cat, July 21)
Prediction: This sweeping, epic track, which sounds like it was made for a Sergio Leone film, will one day be on some best-of "indie" rock box set released by Rhino Records. The Pacific Northwest singer-songwriter penned plenty of memorable songs over the past decade, but this easily stands as her finest effort.
"Maggie Mae" -- The Pietasters (State Theatre, July 21)
The local favorites have progressed to a more R&B and Motown-inspired sound as of late, but this old fan favorite is perhaps the best ska drinking song ever.
"Someill" (YouTube video) -- Outputmessage (DC9, July 21)
Local electronica producer flies under the radar but cooks up some smooth and chilled beats, perfect to cool you down during the peak of summer.
"Fading All Away" -- Jay Reatard (Black Cat, July 23)
"Time may heal wounds / But I will kill you," Reatard sings at the start of this snarling 90-second blast of garage-pop. The world can always use more songs like this; if you download just one song on the July Mixtape, make it this one.
"Every Single Line Means Something" -- Marnie Stern (Rock and Roll Hotel, July 24)
A girl with a guitar ... been there, done that. Right? Wrong. Stern can shred and she's not afraid to show it. Her skills are on display on this abrasive, noisy rocker.
"Afterworld" -- Tiger Army (Merriweather, July 25)
L.A.-based Tiger Army tries to pass itself off as psychobilly, but really it's just better-than-average Warped Tour power-pop with a more rolling drum beat.
"Real Long Time" -- Donny Hue & the Colors (Velvet Lounge, July 28 and Millennium Stage, July 31)
Local boy does good -- really, really good -- on this bouncy, jaunty pop singalong from his debut album. Highly recommended.
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