June 20, 2012

Smooth Sailing From Here: The Fuel/Friends Summer 2012 Mix

Just to make sure that we get the point that summer starts today, the air along Colorado’s Front Range has been hovering around 100 degrees this week and every time I ride my bike to work or downtown to see a friend, I show up looking red-flushed and sweaty. It’s pretty glorious. Makes me feel like P.E. in the fifth grade all over again (also: remember what tanbark smells like when it gets really hot outside?).

I’ve had so much fun stringing together this mix of songs that are soundtracking the heat thus far. I am driving solo out to Portland (via Rock Springs and Nampa) at the beginning of July, and then roundabout home, close to the ocean out the passenger-window side, all through San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Yosemite, and then some other places we haven’t figured out yet. These are the incandescently sunny tunes that will go with me.


Smooth Sailin’ – Mike Clark
One quiet night in May, my friend Conor played me this demo that local treasure Mike Clark had just recorded earlier in the week. There in the darkness, I completely fell in love with this song and everything about it and what I want my summer to sound like. Lazy, appreciative, and unhurried. I turned to Conor as we laid there, and said “Um, I know how my summer mix is starting this year.”

Sebastian – Reptar
Then once you drift off relaxed and smiling, trailing your fingers into the water with that opening Mike Clark song, let’s dig into all the bright, dancey parts of summer. You’ll be humming/whistling/singing the chorus to this one, with that squiggly guitar line that sounds engagingly mischievous.

This Summer – Superchunk
Yep, Superchunk has written the song of the summer. Ocean views, sweaty seats, clear paths, and sleeping bags on the floor. This is your anthem. Go forth; drive fast. “Oh, your shoulders look good to me.”

Who Knew – You Won’t
Effervescently-strummed mandolins should be the official instrument of summer. Every song on this record is delicious.

Nashville – Tyler Lyle
I’ve been spending a whole lot of time lately listening to Tyler Lyle’s wonderfully evocative songwriting, and this one is no exception. In addition to just being tailor-made for backporch listening, I picked this song for the lovely line, “I have only known two teachers in my life, one is summer and one is fall.” Tyler also gives a shout-out to taking his time with paperbacks and boxes of wine, which incidentally are two of my favorite summer activities.

Broadway (feat. No BS! Brass Band) – Black Girls
Black Girls are neither black nor girls, but they are friends of friends in Virginia, and they opened some shows for The Head and the Heart earlier this year. This song is swaggery and impudent like a nineteen-year-old, and a ton of fun with that brass band and ragtimey piano.

For You (Travelin’ Bags) – WolfRider
Hailing from the oft-foggy Sebastopol, just north of San Francisco, this band has nonetheless a whistly sunny jam that makes me feel all Foster-The-Peopley, without having to go see that Beach Boys tour.

May This Be Love (Waterfall) (Jimi Hendrix) – Michael Kiwanuka
I knew I wanted to put Michael Kiwanuka on this summer mix because his voice is all warm and redolent, and every time I listen to his record it feels like a still July Sunday afternoon, no matter where the clock and the calendar point. Finding this cover was like a double win.

Swim Club – Cave Singers
I’ll be gettin’ to see these guys on Orcas Island in the San Juans come August, and this song of theirs feels like you are heading out on a dusty road, specifically and precisely: in an old truck, to go fishing.

Late July – Shakey Graves
The way this song starts from squawky, slow blues electric guitar to full-on midnight werewolf yowls seems to perfectly fit in with late July. The word-picture person in me also loves the death-penalty line “to fry like bacon, hang like lace” (if not supporting the general sentiment).

Welfare – Tom Eddy
Another artist I’ll see this summer at Doe Bay Fest – he’s playing the stage on the bluff that overlooks the water under pine trees and I think this sounds just about right.

50 Lashes – Floating Action
The opening beat here makes me do this exceedingly lame little “push-it-down, push-it-back” move with my hands and my hips. You’re so sorry you’re not here to see it.

Stay At Home – Yellow Ostrich
I loved The Format and I miss The Format and this song makes me feel pleasantly awkward and heart-pounding, maybe sophomore-year summer all over again, and like The Format never broke up. I saw Yellow Ostrich opening for Of Monsters & Men recently and whoa, they were a furious explosion.

Anthem – King Tuff
Sub Pop artists King Tuff have a bright orange album cover that makes my head hurt when the sun hits it, and the whole damn album, from these opening notes, is a flawlessly pugilistic summer soundtrack that evokes all the best smartasses like the Dandy Warhols and here, the Stones Roses. Also very good for air-drumming.

Blame It On The Tetons – Modest Mouse
Oldie but a goody, this one feels late-August summery at its essential core, especially once those indulgent strings kick in — like we’re reminiscent for things that haven’t happened yet. I also gravitate strongly towards the lyric, “language is the liquid that we’re all dissolved in.” Summer should be for dissolving.

Must Be In A Good Place Now (Bobby Charles) – Vetiver & Fruit Bats
I’ve been waiting to post this since last September when these two fantastic bands played an in-store together at our rad Twist & Shout Records in Denver, and covered this song. It is perfectly blissful — wild apple trees blooming all around, and catching the sunset in the hills, with those harmonies. So, so good.

Silent Way – Milo Greene
When, when, when we’re older / can I still come over?

Everybody Needs Love – Drive-By Truckers
This expansive, golden song feels rough-hewn and right at that point of acquiescence, unclenching the fists and recognizing all those simple messy feelings. Ah, summer. You siren.

Beacon Hill (Damien Jurado) – The Head and The Heart
One of the best songs from Damien’s Saint Bartlett gets the deluxe three-part harmony singing-on-a-rooftop treatment from one of my favorite bands. I listen to this one a lot; feels spontaneous and full of real joy.

Fatal Shore – Andrew Bird
Y’all: THE NEW ANDREW BIRD RECORD IS FANTASTIC. I have it on constant repeat and will probably tell you more about it at a later point but just go get it now. This luminescent song ends the mix and the evening and the summer by floating off on our backs, eyes upwards towards all those stars.


[cover art, as always, by the wonderful Ryan Hollingsworth – check out his stellar Southern Heat, Summer Hearts mix]


  • Just got to work. Just read about your summer mix. Now I have plans this evening (download summer mix) and plans tomorrow morning driving to work (listen to summer mix). Thanks Heather.

    Kev in STL

    Kevin — June 20, 2012 @ 8:15 am

  • Oh!! I can’t wait to listen. Summer is HERE!

    Claire Helene — June 20, 2012 @ 8:19 am

  • This looks fantastic! Thank you for continuing to do what you do.

    Brian — June 20, 2012 @ 8:28 am

  • Thanks so much for doing these, always thrilled when they appear….unfortunately, you must be getting slammed cause I can’t play or download right now….

    jason — June 20, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  • [...] and I’ve discovered many bands through her work. If you’re in the mood, head on over and check out her summer mix tape since, you know, today is the summer solstice and all. Happy summer people! Posted in [...]

    Smooth Sailing From Here » Seminarianzilla!* — June 20, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  • Great compilation. Kept me up past 2 a.m. going through these tracks. Well worth it. – Brad, Tupelo, Miss.

    Brad — June 21, 2012 @ 1:13 am

  • [...] Download This: Smooth Sailing From Here – Fuel/Friend Summer ’12 Mix [...]

    Hidden Track » Bloggy Goodness: Fleetwood Mac Tribute Album — June 21, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

  • Hey Heather, I just wanted you to know you’ve put together a pretty kick ass mix this time! So good! I’ve all ready give’n it many spins! I all ready cant wait till the next one! :) Thanks for all you do!


    Timothy Belcher — June 22, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

  • [...] 4. Anticipation of digging into the new fuel friends summer mix. [...]

    Things that I love right now! | required writing — June 24, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  • [...] is summer mix season, which is the best season. Heather over at Fuel/Friends unleashed her fantastic summer mix last week, which you should go download immediately and play [...]

    Monday Links | songsfortheday — June 25, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  • On behalf of the people of Australia I thank you!

    BondiBen — June 27, 2012 @ 4:31 am

  • You did it again girlfriend! Knuckles from your Georgia soul sister. Keep ‘em coming. Can’t wait for the autumn mix. – Kris

    Kris — July 1, 2012 @ 8:12 am

  • Thank you for posting these songs! I will be further checking out many of these bands. Cheers, Barton Hartshorn

    Barton Hartshorn — July 1, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  • I love all your mixes!

    Kyla — July 8, 2012 @ 7:47 am

  • Brilliant mix as always! I’m such a fan. Fell in love with the Shakey Graves track, so I just bought the album.

    Alyssa V. — July 13, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

  • can you help me find this mike clark song??? it’s sooo good but I can’t find it anywhere!

    joe — August 4, 2012 @ 12:14 am

  • [...] On a lighter note; Who else could perfectly cover this great song which Jimi wrote for his mum who died when he was still young, than Uganda’s native son/UK based, BBC Sound Of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka who’s been performing in sold out venues across Europe (check out the image below). Taken off the Smooth Sailing from here: The Fuel/Friends Summer 2012 Mix.  [...]

    ZEEK NATION (zetu east kwetu) – MAY THIS BE LOVE (WATERFALL) (JIMI HENDRIX COVER) – MICHAEL KIWANUKA — August 17, 2012 @ 7:57 am

  • Savage collection of tunes, mighty work!

    Mark — September 10, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

  • Always love all of your compilations… but just realized you included Shakey Graves in this one! (somehow I missed it even though I downloaded back in the summer… must have been distracted by playing Tyler Lyle and You Won’t multiple times…).

    Anyway, I saw Shakey live in Austin over Thanksgiving. He puts on a great show! Awesome track.

    Erin — January 16, 2013 @ 11:10 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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