July 1, 2011

Spilling Our Ice Cubes On The Lawn: The Fuel/Friends Summer 2011 Mix

This morning, my car sits packed to its dear 2001 Sentra gills. I am heading off into the southwestern climes of the United States, across six states with my seven year-old, a stack of good music and audiobooks, and a hankering for the open road. We’ll hit Mesa Verde, see family in Phoenix, sun in San Diego, attend a Dodgers-Padres game (so I can teach him to properly boo LA), camp along the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and stay in various KOA cabins along the way. We plan on s’mores and stargazing, and maybe finding a swimming hole or two.

While I check out of here for that time, I’m leaving you all with my 2011 Summer Mix, which we will be rocking in the car (as long as the speakers hold). Consider this my out-of-office autoresponder. Now go outside and play.

The Fuel/Friends Summer 2011 Mix

Someone Else Can Make A Work Of Art – First Rate People
The first rule of summer is that of measured procrastination. Someone else can make a work of art; we’ll have our toes in the pool (“down to the water / where the water is cold”).

Constructive Summer – The Hold Steady
“Me and my friends are like the drums on ‘Lust for Life’ / we pound it out on floor toms, our psalms are singalong songs….” – Some of the best opening lines of any album, ever, I’ve been waiting a few years to use this on a summer mix; I wanted it to get far removed enough from its original release (on the fabulous Stay Positive) so that the urgency and heat of young summers blazed through fresh. I love everything about this song. We’re gonna build something this summer.

Perfect Games – The Broken West
I took the title of the mix from this fantastic little forgotten gem of a song from the (I just learned now-defunct) Broken West, a great power-pop band that was signed to Merge Records. This was on 2008′s Now or Heaven, and it’s about kickin’ around, placing bets on the evening. I’ll bet on a summer evening anytime.

Rio – Hey Marseilles
There are always Brazilian boys to discover. Every line in this song makes it a perfect summer song: Drink til the morning becomes yesterday. Think of the shorelines you have yet to see / where the days left to breathe are not gone, are still long… Can’t wait to see Matt Bishop (hopefully) perform this at Doe Bay, under the August pines.

Singing The Devil’s Tune – Nick Jaina
This one gives off an anachronistic Elvis Perkins-y vibe, and starts with a lament about feet burned from dancing on your roof in the summer’s heat. It’s also the first of our hearty “la la la laaaa”s on this mix, because summer is for singing along (thanks Sean).

When They Fight, They Fight – The Generationals
I was surprised to find that this is a duo of guys from New Orleans, and not a doo-wop girl group with bouffants and pastel taffeta. In this instance, that is a very good thing.

Vocal Chords – Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr
Starting here like the Beach Boys and quickly toe-tapping their way into Paul Simon territory, this entire album is a glimmering summertime delight.

I Need A Dollar (Blogotheque version) – Aloe Blacc
…because most of us could use an extra dollar or two in the summertime. Aloe Blacc strips this song back to its spiritual traditional roots in a Paris cafe for his Blogotheque session, and it becomes a timeless acapella lament of the boss man and the price of artistry. And all he needs are foot-stomps, snaps, and some water-glass percussion.

Blackout – Pickwick
A bunch of white kids from Seattle reinvent themselves as makers of music infused with retro-60s soul, after falling for Sam Cooke (a noble path). 100% terrific as an accompaniment to watching the ripples of heat rise off the sidewalk.

Summer Home – Typhoon
Portland’s multi-membered Typhoon has been a magnificent constant for me since the Springtime. This one sings about childhood memories and how those halcyon summers always are especially cemented in our seasonal psyche.

My Body – Young The Giant
And then this one starts like an ignition turning over and I am excited for all the roadtrips we are collectively taking in these hot months, tires humming on the softening black asphalt.

Wonder Why – Vetiver
Alongside the Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr album, the new Vetiver album is my other summer soundtrack. This San Francisco outfit is on Sub Pop Records, and the album landed in my mailbox in May, just as the apple blossoms were getting their act together. The whole album sounds real nice with the windows down, and I can’t stop listening.

Cold Feet – Lost Lander
This Portland band was featured on the PDX Pop Now! compilation, and sounds wildly Celtic to me, a voice ululating about a million tiny flashlights over a gently growing sonic gleam. It’s addictive. (oh — Kickstart them!)

Demons (live on Daytrotter) – AgesandAges
Even though I know this happened in a rad studio in Rock Island, Illinois, I think it sounds just like it could have been around a campfire somewhere on a coast, embers floating off into the salty air, hands clapping in time.

North of Town – Bryan John Appleby
Another stunner from BJA’s debut EP, this one has a jubilant streak in it that made it one of the highlights of his live show, as we all clapped and “la la laaaa”d together with a wish to run off to the north of town. Also, since we last spoke, BJA reached his Kickstarter goal! Yeehaw.

The Least I Can Do – David Wax Museum
I saw David Wax Museum a few months ago in Denver and this was one of the most stunning songs they did, about hearts opening up like flowers and not being able to unbloom. And that is such a good thing.

Let’s Go Down – Family Of The Year
I first wrote about this song back in January with teeth chattering, just envisioning campfires on the beach, and now it’s here. “First we take our shoes off, then we take our socks off, it doesn’t even matter – there are rocks that we can jump off…” My anthem these days.

Slipping Through The Sensors – Fruit Bats
I love the permeating, fresh-green laziness all through this whole damn song. I’ve thought of this as the quintessential summer song for a few years now.

Peaceful Mind – Ryan Tanner
This song by some Salt Lake City friends slides into the mix laden with a simple warm grace, like a benediction. I could listen to this one over and over and gain a new measure of peace each time. It also features Paul Jacobsen on banjo and backing vocals – you guys really really liked his cover of Kathleen Edwards that I posted once. This is a summer twilight song to me, fireflies flickering.

Where’d All The Time Go? – Dr Dog
Because before we know it, this summer will be past us.


[cover art image by the wonderful Ryan Hollingsworth; original image from Shenandoah Davis]


  • Oh yay!! This made a long holiday weekend even better! Thanks Heather! (Also, I’ve been obsessed with Aloe Blacc since I heard him on World Cafe. “I Need a Dollar” and the green lights song are so damn good.)

    Claire Helene — July 1, 2011 @ 8:42 am

  • Thanks so much for this. Love your site and always look forward to your mixes. Have a wonderful trip, it sounds like it’ll be a blast!

    Claire — July 1, 2011 @ 8:49 am

  • As always, Heather, we rely on you to give us our summer soundtrack! Thanks! I’m loving this already…

    John Barber — July 1, 2011 @ 8:53 am

  • I squealed when I saw that you posted this. Switching over from Blind Pilot to this mix…it’s becoming clear that all I ever listen to is exactly what you tell me to listen to.

    Mallory — July 1, 2011 @ 9:09 am

  • Great mix! Enjoy your road trip.

    Frog — July 1, 2011 @ 10:07 am

  • This is excellent. Hard to beat your ‘Stomp/Clap’ mix but this is pretty close.

    Adam — July 1, 2011 @ 10:46 am

  • I love how this mix comes to its close. Fruit Bats are tops with me (and especially anything from Mouthfuls, which feels like a lush, mossy Summer all the way through) and the lovely vocals of Ryan Tanner to help, too? Nice touches, you.

    Dainon — July 1, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  • The last four hours of my work day are now tolerable.

    Mike — July 1, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  • Heather-

    Nice to meet you! Just wanted to say thanks so much for including us in your summer mix.


    Galen — July 1, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  • [...] awesome summer beast unleashed on us, this one in the form of Fuel/Friends’ summer mix Spilling Our Ice Cubes On The Lawn. The whole thing is perfect for all your summer needs, but my favorite track is ‘Cold [...]

    ‘Cold Feet’- Lost Lander | songsfortheday — July 1, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  • [...] by one Heather, of the Fuel/Friends blog.  [Ed. Note: I want to be Heather, her life is the shit; download that mixtape, yo.]  While I picked up quite a few new bands to obsess over via that mix perhaps the [...]

    6am repeat :: pickwick // ‘blackout’ « folk hive — July 2, 2011 @ 7:02 am

  • I came here today for my usual check in, and thought it’d be cool if you did a summer mix. So happy to find this today.

    My music listening life has been enriched by your blog. Thanks.

    szg — July 2, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  • I almost started dancing even before I started the music, just from excitement…
    Thank you so much for this wonderful summer soundtrack! I’m completely in love first with the Ryan Tanner song, and then with the whole mix and how it unfolds and how it ends and how every song evokes summer sights and sounds and smells in my mind.
    Have a fab roadtrip!

    Antje — July 3, 2011 @ 3:57 am

  • I just made my own summer mix and it kinda overlaps with yous. If anyone sould question my music taste I’ll use your list as a proof of quality in my music taste :)

    I choose Run Run Run with Vetiver though, it’s great for the roadtrip, you know.

    Thanks for a great list!

    Christoffer Levandowski — July 3, 2011 @ 5:14 am

  • yes! extra yeses!1!!!! for the hold steady choice and the david wax museum choice. oh oh oh so choice.

    Charles — July 4, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

  • what i look forward to every summer :) thanks a million for the great filter :)

    robert — July 5, 2011 @ 5:18 am

  • As time goes on, your mixes are slowly creeping their way into the soundtrack of my life :)

    MissZabone — July 6, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  • [...] Download This: Spilling Out Ice Cubes On The Lawn – Fuel/Friends Summer 2011 Mix [...]

    Hidden Track » Bloggy Goodness: Spotify Comes Stateside — July 7, 2011 @ 9:01 am

  • Love the album cover for this mix and have good feelings about the songs! I am far to tired to navigate it right now, but I will be scoping out all of these songs in the morning!

    The Internet Garbage — July 7, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

  • I love this mix. I would add my own bonus track as my summer song. It’s called ‘Broken Record’ by jonathan inc. It has no summer references but the bridge makes me think of driving with the windows down in the warm summer evening. Hope you love it with all your heart. http://jonathaninc.bandcamp.com/track/broken-record

    Bart Wang — July 9, 2011 @ 9:24 am

  • Your mixes are always the greatest! You’re continuing to feed my new (thanks to your earlier posts) obsessions with Typhoon, David Wax Museum, and Dr Dog!

    Nick — July 9, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  • Hi Heather. Many thanks for you make me discover the music you love. I live in France, and, without you, it would be difficult to hear real US music, because here, we can just hear “business music” on our radios. I’m 51, but I always have the same feeling with new sounds and new bands that when I was a teen. Please continue to enjoy my days with the music we both love !

    Thierry — July 10, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  • Love your mixes. Your Laramie House party mix (?) is my go to lawn mowing mix (I use it for other tasks too, gym, running, drive to work.) I cannot wait to give this mix a listen.

    Kev in STL

    Kevin — July 17, 2011 @ 7:40 am

  • [...] summery mix from I Am Fuel, You Are Friends has also gone a long way towards taking my mind off the yucky [...]

    There is no other voice I want to hear but yours « It All Started With Carbon Monoxide — July 18, 2011 @ 4:22 am

  • Yet another of your fine mixes … I love ‘em!
    Thanx and have a nice trip!

    OCBoddity — July 22, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  • check out Apex Manor – Under The Gun. for your Broken West fix. former members of BW + others.

    Ziebs — July 29, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  • thank you so much! great mix! new seasons=new mixes and that always makes my day.

    kenzie — August 2, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

  • Loved the “Head & the Heart” band. Looking forward to their deluxe CD release, August 23, with the live tracks recorded live at Shove Chapel in Colorado Springs this past March!

    Michael Graziano — August 9, 2011 @ 11:02 am

  • Wow, what a great mix – thank you! I can’t stop listening to the song by First Rate People. They have quite a few songs on YouTube but I can’t find an album or any songs available for download. Do you know where to find more by First Rate People?

    Thanks! Jordan

    Jordan — August 31, 2011 @ 4:43 am

  • jordan, the only place i know of is bandcamp: http://firstratepeople.bandcamp.com/track/funny-games

    browneheather — August 31, 2011 @ 7:10 am

  • Thanks! this makes me happy every time I play it.

    BondiBen — September 17, 2011 @ 4:18 am

  • [...] cruel summer – stereogum. spilling our icecubes on the lawn – i am fuel, you are friends. june mix – we all want someone to shout [...]

    cruel summer « Dionne Design | web + graphic design services — July 17, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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