MM’s Best of the Month: July

Here we are again. A round up of our favourite postings of the month. Twenty one outstanding songs from July plus three new ones to make the perfect mix tape. From folk to garage to stoner rock and summer pop it is all here for you. Download, burn to CD, play – groove!

1) Sharon Van Etten – Love More mp3

A slow burning, mesmerising song that envelops like a soft blanket with that always captivating and haunting voice to the fore

2) Roadside Graves – Everything mp3

Another absolute gem of ramshackle, atmospheric country rock

3) Bombay Bicycle Club – Jewel mp3

Acoustic folk standout from classy new album

4) Vanish Valley – Bad Things mp3

Short, mournful folky lament about being used by the Devil as “the sun slips down the ceiling“.

5) Best Coast – Boyfriend mp3

More 60s inspired lo-fi pop goodness from flavour of the month…

6) Dax Riggs – No One Will Be A Stranger mp3

Scuzzy, hypnotic blend of swamp rock with buzzsaw guitars and a healthy dose of psychedelia

7) Javi Garcia & The Cold Cold Ground – The Pills mp3

A mix of gothic country, bitter folk, full on righteous, reverb heavy southern rock, and straight-up country. All with ominous, brooding fiddle

8) Big Blood – Lay Your Head On The Rails II mp3

Comes across like an outtake from Rust Never Sleeps – feedback buzz and a big fat riff powers from the speakers while the reedy, but determinedly unbreakable vocals fight to the finish to make themselves heard

9) Ten Kens – Screaming Viking mp3

Heavenly vocals appear hauntingly over dark sludgy guitars with a surprisingly spiky post-punk riff

10) Lower Dens – Hospice Gates mp3

Weirdly beautiful, it is throbbing, insistent drone-pop on the one hand and haunting, ghostly freak-folk on the other

11) Rare Grooves – Cause For Concern mp3

Hybrid of anthemic chanting, finger-picked twang, and sometimes experimental sounding guitar

12) Fungi Girls – Doldrums mp3

A shuffling groove and dynamic hook – three minutes of pure joyful escapism that tips its hat to Bo Diddley by way of the Jesus & Mary Chain.

13) Secret Colours – Jellybean mp3

Psych-pop with warm, hazy guitars and vocals to match. Evocative of lava lamps, kaleidoscopic displays and some heavy weed man.

14) The Bees – Silver Line mp3

A little summer breeze of a taster, trademark harmonies and the sunshine are there in equal measure to put a smile on your face

15) Bridal Party – Made Me mp3

A freak folk extravaganza, a heady concoction of pulsing rhythms, drone and echoing, downtrodden vocals

16) Screaming Females – I Don’t Mind It mp3

Grungy, distorted and catchy as hell

17) Ghost Animal – In Shrouds mp3

Frantic, but eerie, slice of garage psychedelia that is fuzzy, distorted and deliciously sleazy.

18) The War Crimes – Levin As I mp3

More down-tempo, minimalist pessimism from MM faves

19) Black Mountain – Hair Song mp3

Classic rock. Enough said.

20) Moulettes – Talisman mp3

Avant-garde folk with strands of classical, gypsy, jazz, and rock that create a complex yet accessible whole.

21) Minks – Ophelia mp3

Reflective, 80s tinged dream pop

And three more corking new ones. Enjoy the jangly, indie pop perfection of French Films and the breezy summer pop of The Knocks and then immerse yourself in rock ‘n’ roll’s sleazy underbelly that is Nick Cave’s brilliant Grinderman.

Download Grinderman – Heathen Child mp3 (from Heathen Child 7″)

Download The Knocks – Make It Better mp3 (from Make It Better 7″)

Download French Films – Golden Sea mp3 (from Golden Sea 7″)

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday

If I’d started this week’s post about MM and his persistent apostrophe crimes, perhaps I could have selected Vampire Weekend’s Oxford Comma? Or perhaps that would have sung in his favour! But maybe, just maybe, I should let it go…

After a great family outing to Truck 13 last weekend, I’m taking a brief solo visit to see my good friend Isla (White) tomorrow. Truck highlights for me were Stornoway, Chapel Club, Blood Red Shoes, and Steve Mason. Hats off to Chapel Club for playing in the smelliest venue I’ve ever graced – in the cow barn!

Next week, it’s the long road home to Sunderland and, as ever, we will have a CD or three to keep us company. I was sifting through some old compilations (and peeling chewing gum off some of them – oops) when I came across this Friday’s track: Sparklehorse’s Hundreds of Sparrows.

Mark Linkous was a complicated character and a huge talent, who is very much missed. There’s a fragile sentiment captured in this song: “every hair on your head is counted; you are worth hundreds of sparrows”. It works for me on many different levels.

Enjoy your weekend.

Mrs M

Download Sparklehorse – Hundreds of Sparrows mp3 (from Good Morning Spider)

New Single from Woven Bones

You may have noticed bratty, sneering, sleazy garage rock is one of our favourite genres. And Woven Bones are one of our favourite exponents of said genre.

Their storming new single (out August 10th) titled I’ve Gotta Get delivers on every level.

Bratty – check. Sneering – check. Sleazy – oh yes. Pummelling – certainly. Snarling – check. Borderline psychotic – probably.

Catchy as hell – undoubtedly.

A perfect start to a Friday night.

You can pre-order the single via Insound here.

Download Woven Bones – I’ve Gotta Get mp3 (from I’ve Gotta Get 7″)

New from Minks

Following the pretty rapturous reception Minks received for their debut single Funeral Song, which was one of our most popular downloads, they are back with a second release on Captured Tracks.

Ophelia is less Cure-like than its predecessor. It is more reflective and strays into dreamy 4AD territory this time without ever sacrificing the rhythm and soul of the song. They have a debut album scheduled for later this year.

Order the single here.

Visit their MySpace here.

Download Minks – Ophelia mp3 (from Ophelia 7″)

Download Minks – Funeral Song mp3 (from Funeral Song 7″)

Introducing…The Moulettes

Cellist Hannah Miller, bassoonist Ruth Skipper and Ollie Austin (guitar, drums) have been playing and singing together for several years. But with the addition of violinist Georgina Leach and percussionist Rob Arcari in 2008, The Moulettes’ sinewy, melodic sound has come into true focus.

Their self-titled album (due 16th August) splices together strands of classical, gypsy, jazz, rock and even some avant-garde to create a complex yet accessible whole. Highlights include the epic, atmospheric story-song Devil Of Mine, the Zepplin-esque folk-metal of Requiem and the entrancing prog-pop of Wilderness.

Watch the video for Swing Song and then download the track we have for you, Talisman, which is another cracker. Full of melodrama, surprising twists and turns and theatrical flourishes.

Visit their MySpace here. The album is out on the Balling The Jack label.

Download The Moulettes – Talisman mp3 (from The Moulettes)

Streets On Fire Competition Winners

Congratulations go to Vanessa Nyborg in California, Ann H in California and Alex Fuller in New York – all winners of a vinyl copy of the brilliant new Streets On Fire album, This Is Fancy.

For those who didn’t win – sorrry folks, but you can always buy a copy here or download from Amie Street here.

Download Streets On Fire – No One’s Fucking To The Radio mp3 (from This Is Fancy)

Download Streets On Fire – That’s Hard To Find mp3 (from This Is Fancy)

Time to get traditional with Ola Belle Reed

We got this in our in-box the other day:

Smithsonian Folkways is excited to announce our upcoming August 3rd, release, Rising Sun Melodies, featuring the music of influential bluegrass singer/songwriter, Ola Belle Reed. One of the pioneer female musicians in bluegrass, Ola Belle had a big voice and an even bigger heart, singing her story through the music of the Appalachians. We have identified your blog as one whose users would enjoy this new album.

It went on to say:

The rich tradition of music in the Appalachian Mountain region includes the sounds of the many immigrants who settled there: string band tunes from black and white traditions, spirituals and hymns taught by the local singing schools, parlor ballads, and minstrel tunes. Rising Sun Melodies, named for Ola Belle’s childhood home, features remastered recordings of eleven of her influential Folkways recordings, including her beloved songs, High on a Mountain, I’ve Endured, and My Epitaph, as well as eight previously unreleased live recordings of Ola Belle leading a band of family and friends at the Festival of American Folklife in 1972 and 1976 [now known as the Smithsonian Folklife Festival]. Featuring all of the heart and soul that Ola Belle was known for, Rising Sun Melodies will delight all of those fans longing to hear more of the seldom-recorded songstress of the Appalachians.

Like Smithsonian Folkways we think some of you might enjoy this too, so download the taster track below and immerse yourself in some genuine traditional back porch folk from the mountains.

Buy it here.

Download Ola Belle Reed – Look Down That Lonesome Road mp3 (from Rising Sun Melodies)

New video from Hundred In The Hands

The Hundred in the Hands is Eleanore Everdell and Jason Friedman. The two live in Brooklyn and discovered their shared sensibility for early hip hop, French house and disco, ska and dub, post-punk, British invasion-mod and girl pop from the 60’s through the 80’s and decided to form a band. Their first song—the post-punk rave-up Dressed in Dresden — was written and recorded in a couple of days, released online, picked up and released as a 45 by a record shop in the U.K. where they were soon playing shows and coming to the attention of Warp Records.

In advance of their self-titled debut album (out on September 20th), they will be releasing their new single Pigeons, a song of classic teenage angst, boredom and pop heartache.

Watch the video for it here:

The single is out on September 12th.

New video from Johnny Flynn

We have previously posted a taster track from Johnny Flynn’s new album Been Listening, and will have the pleasure of seeing him live later this year when he supports Mumford & Sons at Hammersmith.

This is the animated video for Barnacled Warship, the second single to be taken from the album and is directed by Christian DeVita, lead storyboard artist on Wes Anderson’s brilliant Fantastic Mr Fox as well as Tim Burton’s forthcoming Frankenweenie, it’s a staggeringly beautiful video. Give it 5 minutes to watch – we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Buy the album from Amazon here.

Download Johnny Flynn – Kentucky Pill mp3 (from Been Listening)

Introducing…Styrofoam Ones

Blue Lines is the new single taken from Toronto based Styrofoam Ones self-titled six track EP. I guess it is what you would term dance-rock or power pop maybe, but either way, it has enough drive and oomph about it place it in the repeat category.

Driving guitars, anthemic vocals and a touch of attitude mean they stand out from the plethora of bands inhabiting this sort of space and mark them out as ones to keep an eye on.

Visit their MySpace here or website here. You can purchase here.

Download Styrofoam Ones – Blue Lines mp3 (from Styrofoam Ones EP)