MM’s Best Of The Month: May

Here is our usual end of the month round up of the very best tracks posted on Mad Mackerel, with a couple of new ones too. A perfect mixtape for May.

Wilderness of Manitoba – Hermit mp3

Intimate and gorgeous, with haunting guitar lines and beautiful harmonies.

Buffalo Moon – Beach Boy mp3

Summery pop, beach references, breezy beats and sweet lounge vocals.

Sun Kil Moon – Australian Winter mp3

Sparse, bleak and mesmerising.

Lille – Tall Shoulders mp3

Elegant and aching acoustic folk

Mountain Man – Soft Skin mp3

Ghostly, Appalachian folk with an old-timey feel

Boy & Bear – Mexican Mavis mp3

A glorious cacophony of joyous harmonies and devil-may-care attitude, like the Fleet Foxes on speed

Wooden Wand – The Fly mp3

MM fave delivers downbeat standout from limited edition new CD-R about buzzards, annoying flies, and baseball diamonds.

The Diamond Center – WTT mp3

Psychedelic folk-rockers who pair a wall of reverb and noise with an eerie gothic country creeper

Howling Owls – My World mp3

Ominous, forbidding, baleful, another standout track from our favourite discoveries of 2010 so far

Futurebirds – Johnnny Utah mp3

Off-kilter, psychedelic and slightly ramshackle country rock

Wild Nothing – Chinatown mp3

From Cure-like synths to the catchy ultra-hip rhythms of The Drums. Blissed out pop and classic indie melody

Delta Spirit – Bushwick Blues mp3

An anthemic stomper that brilliantly showcases their country rock roots and ear for a tasty lyric

Alejandro Escovedo – Street Songs mp3

Snake-hipped swagger and groove

The Streets On Fire – No Ones Fucking To The Radio mp3

Dirty riffs, pounding drums and howling vocals – furious and raw raggedy-assed rock and roll

Hearts And Daggers – Convict Blues mp3

Drips dust, sweat, blood and whiskey in equal measure

Wooden Shjips – Drunk Girls mp3

LCD Soundsystem given a truly cosmic makeover by the Californian stoners

The War Crimes – Stillness Beckons mp3

Wilfully down-tempo, unnerving, chamber pop

Felt Letters – 600,000 Bands mp3

Fall-like diatribe propelled by electro-Kraut repetition.

Le Sang Song – Gingerella mp3

Oppressive and skittery – underpinned by a hypnotic groove and a frugal, tense guitar line that determinedly burrows its way into your head.

And a couple of new ones for you to finish off:

Pontiak – Young mp3 (from Living)

Spare stripped back stoner groove and one mighty, mighty riff!

Julian Lynch – Just Enough mp3 (from Mare)

Psych pop with breezy sixties feel and sunshine instrumentation

There – don’t ever say we’re not good to you!

New from Eddy Current Suppression Ring

You know what you’re going to get with Australian four-piece Eddy Current Suppression Ring. You’re going to get high octane, garage rock and proto-punk, drawing influences from The Troggs through to Wire and The Fall.

There are no pretensions, no apologies, no surprises, no airs and graces and frankly they are all the better for it.

The last album Rush To Relax was energetic, good humoured and great fun and now they have a new single out, Wet Cement, via the excellent Mexican Summer label. It is hook laden, vital and features lead singer Brendan Suppression’s trademark laconic, half sung-half drawled lyrics.

Visit their MySpace here. Buy the single here.

Download Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Wet Cement mp3 (from Wet Cement 7″)

Mad Mackerel Recommends…Le Sang Song

Le Sang Song are a folk band of sorts. However theirs is a skewed folk, mixing in all manner of styles and instruments, but never at the expense of the song or the rhythm. Their self-titled album was actually recorded in 2007, but only got a limited release at the start of this year.

Gingerella is a case in point. It is right up MM’s street – oppressive and skittery on the one hand, but underpinned by a hypnotic groove and a frugal, tense guitar line that determinedly burrows its way into your head. Overall the feel is bleak and uneasy, and imparts a sense of foreboding that makes the song both memorable and compelling.

Visit their MySpace here. Buy here.

Download Le Sang Song – Gingerella mp3 (from Le Sang Song)

Introducing…Felt Letters

We’re a little late to this one, 600,000 Bands being a 7″ single that came out at the tail end of 2009. However, it is one of those songs that once you’ve heard it, you shake your head, play it again and see if it was quite as original and surprising as you first thought. It is!

The band, Felt Letters, are a trio from Washington DC with Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty propelling the song along as vocalist Ian Svenonius intones a lyrical diatribe about the vast number of bands that are trying to make a name for themselves. You can be sure the sarcasm fair drips from each line.

It is a debut to remember.

Visit MySpace here.

Buy from M’Lady here.

Download Felt Letters – 600,000 Bands mp3 (from 600,000 Bands 7″)

Saturday Round-Up

Here is a lazy blogger’s round-up of some of the new tracks that we’ve come across and enjoyed over the past few days and weeks, some of which might tickle your ears in a good way.

The Moondoggies delivered a cracking album in 2008′s Don’t Be A Stranger and have a follow-up due in September titled Tidelands. In the meantime they are releasing a five track limited EP of songs that didn’t make the new album, and which will mostly be sold on tour or via Hardly Art. This track from it is another first-class example of their graceful, countrified Americana.

Download The Moondoggies – Fly Mama Fly mp3 (from You’ll Find No Answers Here EP)

Similarly Acorn release No Ghost in little more than a week’s time, the follow up to their much acclaimed 2008 release Glory Hope Mountain. Reviews suggest they will be delivering another gem of gorgeous harmonies, crackling folk rock and acoustic strumming. Check the subtle, swelling melodies of Restoration for proof.

Download Acorn – Restoration mp3 (from No Ghost)

By contrast Gabe Holcombe aka Vehicle Blues has a debut 4 track EP just out via Bridgetown Records and the title track is a fuzzy, lo-fi rush of swirling guitars and mumbled lyrics that is held together by a catchy rhythm that bobs and weaves just under the surface. You can get a free Bridgetown sampler here.

Download Vehicle Blues – Changer mp3 (from Changer EP)

Brother and sister duo The White Ravens draw from a variety of musical influences, ranging from The Beatles to the Fiery Furnaces, yet manage to create a distinct sonic experience for their listeners. They have a album titled Gargoyles And Weathervanes due on on July 6th, here are a couple of tracks from it.

Download White Ravens – Sparks mp3 (from Gargoyles And Weathervanes)

Download White Ravens – Tick Tock mp3 (from Gargoyles And Weathervanes)

Naked Hearts released their album Mass Hysteria earlier this month. The Brooklyn boy/girl duo offer fuzzy indie pop that suggests a lot of time listening to Sonic Youth and The Lemonheads and it is none the worse for all that.

Download Naked Hearts – Mass Hysteria mp3 (from Mass Hysteria)

The Cave Weddings final single is out on Bachelor Records (buy here) and is called Never Never Know. It is two minutes of glorious sweet-as-sugar, 60s drenched rock’n’roll that can’t fail to put a silly grin on your face.

Download The Cave Weddings – Never Never Know mp3 (from Never Never Know 7″)

Long Voyage are a folk band who evoke the backwoods and sunlight streaming through trees. They are offering their thoroughly enjoyable Spring Fair EP up for free download (get it here).

Download Long Voyage – Hot Air Balloon mp3 (from Spring Fair EP)

Similarly fans of Gillian Welch or Jenny Lewis will find much to like in Gwyneth & Monko’s 5 track EP Good Old Horse. Steady acoustic guitar, trickling mandolin and pure vocals contribute to a scaled back and earthy folk sound.

Download Gwyneth & Monko – Lexington Ballad mp3 (from Good Old Horse mp3)

I Can’t Move is a track from a new charity compilation Mixtapes for Haiti (info here). It is by Woodsman, a spacey, psychedelic four-piece from Denver and the submerged vocal drones and swelling, echoey backbeats combine to give a spectacular other-worldly presence to the song.

Download Woodsman – I Can’t Move mp3 (from Mixtapes For Haiti)

Finally The Mind Spiders have released a 7″ single on Dirtnap called Worlds Destroyed which is getting repeat plays here at MM. Reminiscent of the Ramones crossed with the Beach Boys with backing vocals from the Ronettes, it’s a soundtrack for cruising the beach with the top down, the volume up, and the sun shining.

Download The Mind Spiders – Worlds Destroyed mp3 (from Worlds Destroyed 7″)

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday

Hey, a lot can happen in a week. MM has had a spell in hospital; one of the sprats is being very teenaged before his time, and another is too far away. And I’m more tired than I’ve felt in a very long time.

So I’ve rather run out of steam (most of it’s been given to an insatiably stroppy 12 year old) this Friday, so here we are, with a rather finger-snappingly good ditty from the Back Porch Vipers.  When we get low in this house, we fall asleep/have a drink/play music very loud – all in no particular order.

Get well soon MM.

And to everyone else, watch out for low flying missiles.  Enjoy the weekend.

Mrs M

Download The Back Porch Vipers – When I Get Low I Get High mp3 (From Light Up We Never Have Too Much Fun)

MM salutes the genius of The War Crimes

Ever since we first posted about The War Crimes at the start of the year we’ve gone back time and time again to their wilfully down-tempo, unnerving, chamber pop. Sometimes orchestral and sometimes folkish, the songs offer literate (occasionally surreal), half-spoken lyrics, quietly insistent melodies, and an air of regret and bitterness that all adds to the overall sense of unease.

They simultaneously conjure up the grey, suffocating monochrome of dreary Eastern European streets and the relentless, inexorable decline of our industrial heritage, of jobs lost and hopes evaporating. It is a mix that they seem to pull off brilliantly with each new track we hear.

Ed from the band has been in touch again to send us a new track, Stillness Beckons and guess what? They’ve done it again. He typically calls it ‘succinct and to the point’, we call it brilliant. It’s on repeat here at MM.

“The pills will kick in, how slow they begin to find us,

so with ten-a-penny words we curse all others and their kindness”

Compare it with the equally good Enamour Me And Roll and try and pick a winner. Download these now and know what it feels like to be a pig in muck – they’re that good!

Visit their MySpace here. Buy previous stuff from Shifty Disco here.

Download The War Crimes – Stillness Beckons mp3

Download The War Crimes – Enamour Me And Roll mp3

Introducing…Daddy Lion

Washington DC trio Daddy Lion dropped us a line to recommend their fuzzy indie rock and we’re glad they did. Having given their self-titled EP a few plays while stuck in bed, I’m pleased to report it has more to it than the all too common indie-by-numbers approach that we are often exposed to.

No we’re pleased to confirm there’s meat on these bones. The EP, featuring the single (and advance taster) Divine, is being released by 24 Hour Service Station on June 8th digitally, and on August 10th on CD

Visit their MySpace here.

Download Daddy Lion –  Divine mp3 (from Daddy Lion EP)

Check out our new site…for writers

Being laid up on a week’s bed rest means at we’ve at least managed to finally get our longstanding idea for a blog/website for wannabe writers up and running.

Roundthecampfire.wordpress.com is a new idea where we regularly give you a couple of titles, and you use that stimulus and your imagination to write something. You can write whatever you like, in any genre and any style. It can be long or short, a novel or a verse. Go crazy!

You send it to us and we publish the ones we like. Then other folk get to read them. Simple as that.

You can download a submission form by clicking here or direct from Roundthecampfire.

The first two titles are up for all would-be authors. They are plucked, as you might imagine, completely at random from our iTunes library (our one golden rule) and they are Low Tide or The Sound Of The Crowd. All the details you need folks at Roundthecampfire.wordpress.com

And in honour of that, here are those two songs to mark the occasion. Classic 8os synthpop and some malevolent, twisted Americana. You’ll probably know which is which. Enjoy.

Download O’Death – Low Tide mp3 (from Broken Hymns, Limbs And Skin)

Download The Human League – The Sound Of The Crowd mp3 (from Dare)