Mad Mackerel Recommends…Carl Hauck

Carl Hauck, is a 23-year old solo musician (and high school teacher) from northern Illinois whose music has been compared to the likes of Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, and Sufjan Stevens.  He released his fourth album, entitled Windjammer, on November 9th.

Unusually the comparisons are more than valid on this occasion. The album is an intimate one, full of thoughtful, literate lyrics and patient and beautifully crafted instrumentation that offer up an occasionally hopeful, but more often sorrowful view of life. It is contemplative without being introspective, delicate without being flimsy and personal without being self centred, and all this makes it one of the better albums we’ve heard from a singer-songwriter in a long time.

Visit his website here, where you can purchase the album.

Download Carl Hauck – Martial Riesling mp3 (from Windjammer)

Introducing…Fistful of Mercy

Fistful of Mercy is comprised of Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur and Dhani Harrison (George’s son) –  a supergroup of sorts I guess. The band’s debut album, As I Call You Down, was released last month via Hot Records.

We’ve got a taster for you below, Father’s Son. To be honest we weren’t expecting a great deal and we were pleasantly surprised and it was a reminder that pre-judging a band or song on not very much at all is a dumb occupation. Call it folk, blues, country, whatever you will, slightly more CSNY than the Beatles is what we would say, but most enjoyable and that’s the main thing.

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Visit their MySpace here.

Download Fistful of Mercy – Father’s Son mp3 (from As I Call You Down)

 

New Video from School of Seven Bells

School of Seven Bells have released this rather good puppeteering video to accompany their track I L U (which is one of our favourites), from their album Disconnect From Desire.

Watch it, and then download below. They will be heading out on a North American tour with Interpol in January starting in Vancouver on the 27th and ending in Boston on February 19th.

Buy the album from Amazon here.

Download School Of Seven Bells – I L U mp3 (from Disconnect From Desire)

New video from Leland Sundries

A short while ago we posted about folky Brooklyn troubadour Leland Sundries and his debut EP The Apothecary.

Here is a video for one of the tracks, Elegy, that was filmed at the Staten Island tugboat graveyard, in a canoe among the rusted, half-sunken boats.

Visit his MySpace here.

Download Leland Sundries – Elegy mp3 (from The Apothecary EP)

New Releases Round Up

Here again is a short round-up of some of the better new releases we’ve come across recently. Once again, they all deserve more in the way of a narrative, but time can be a hard taskmaster on occasion.

First up is the rather strangely named EP’s Trailer Park and their strangely compelling folk song tribute to Mario Vargas Llosa – this year’s Nobel Laureate in Literature.

Download EP’s Trailer Park – Did You Know That The Name Of My True Love Was Vargas Llosa? mp3

 

Next is the woozy, lush, dream jangle of Le Sera and their single Never Come Around. Melt-in-the-mouth, marshmallow pop.

Download Le Sera – Never Come Around mp3 (from Never Come Around 7″)

 

And talking of dreams, Dream Song is in fact more akin to a nightmarish excursion into the more experimental side of rock, making Britches Britches self proclaimed infuences of Deerhunter, Liars and Brainiac easy to understand. More demo tracks can be downloaded for free from their Bandcamp page here.

Download Britches Britches – Dream Song mp3

 

Meanwhile The Luyas new album is described as a picture-perfect collection of echo-drenched space-age pop songs, check out the vintage effects crackling throughout advance track Tiny Head.

Download The Luyas – Tiny Head mp3 (from Too Beautiful To Work)

 

Big High School / Avalanche is the self-released debut 7″ from San Diego’s Moviegoers, it is understated and coolly elegant indie-pop that is as charming as it is urbane.

Download The Moviegoers – Avalanche mp3 (from Big High School / Avalanche 7″)

 

White Laces on the other hand mix live garage-style instrumentation with subtle samples, loops, and archaic synthesizers. The resulting slab of dream punk/noise pop can be found on their forthcoming eponymous EP out in early 2011.

Download White Laces – Motorik Twilight mp3 (from White Laces EP)

 

New Mexico play a no-frills, no fuss brand of top notch heavyweight garage rock that asks for no quarter and certainly gives none. Abused And Amused is a great, bruising taster from their forthcoming EP Have You Met My Friend?

Download New Mexico – Abused And Amused mp3 (from Have You Met My Friend? EP)

 

Tripwires are a new four piece from Reading who offer a thoroughly modern, and original take on noise pop. Try Cinnamon which combines sky scraping guitars with honeyed melodies and rock dynamics to excellent effect.

Download Tripwires – Cinnamon mp3

 

Tristen’s blend of indie pop and up tempo folk calls to mind Neko Case or even Caitlin Rose. Baby Drugs is the catchy b-side to single Eager For Your Love, which can also be downloaded for free from her website here.

Download Tristen – Baby Drugs mp3 (from Eager For Your Love Single)

 

Cheese Sandwich is the new single (and free giveaway) from Wayter, with repetitive, melancholic guitar licks and strained poignant vocals, the alt-rock foursome manage to evoke the feeling of both menace and vulnerability simultaneously.

Download Wayter – Cheese Sandwich mp3 (from Cheese Sandwich Single)

 

Lastly And The Wiremen are a revolving cast of musicians creating music that evokes images of a gothic deep South combined with the rhythms of South America and the grainier elements of barroom jazz and avant-pop. One listen and it’s easy to imagine their sound coming off the muddy waters of a Louisiana swamp.

Download And The Wiremen – Lines mp3 (from And The Wiremen)

Download And The Wiremen – Sleep mp3 (from And The Wiremen)

Mad Mackerel Recommends…Englishman

Englishman is the musical project of Lexington, KY native Andrew English.

Englishman’s self-titled debut full-length was cut to tape in the converted barn he helped to build on a rural Ohio farm, it is at once familiar and haunted. The ten snowy days of recording were broken up by family style meals of summer vegetables and winter toddies and the result is a record that is wonderfully simple. It is full of sparse, minimal folk melodies and lovely harmonies offering subtle musical shades of heartbreak and enchantment in equal measure.

This is likely to be the coziest new album for the coming cold, and any stormy weather hereafter.

Visit MySpace here or buy for $5 from Bandcamp here.

Download Englishman – Boy T.Rex mp3 (from Englishman)

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday (26th Nov)

Oh dear, after a spot of Mother Theresa, the week only got worse. I’ve given up on karma, perhaps wax effigies and pins are the order of the day? This time it’s a matching set and not a mixed pair. Nothing for a pair in this game …

This week saw the mackerel daughter reach double figures. In her loveliness, she is the perfect antidote to the blacker side of human nature: bonny, smart, kind and rather good at football. Her fledgling music tastes were of initial cause for concern here at Mackerel Towers, but happily we have managed to break her, or should I say at least widen her repertoire. This was the song that clinched it – Sons & Daughters where have you gone? – and when I cast a fishy eye over the lyrics, they were perfect. Don’t you just love it when that happens?

Mrs Mackerel

Gilt Complex by Sons & Daughters. Check out their back catalogue – there’s some great stuff in it. And listen up for the latest Timberland tv ad too; hope it earns them a few bob.

Download Sons & Daughters – Gilt Complex mp3 (from This Gift)

Introducing…Wade Williamson

Got this in our inbox with no information. Nor can we find anything out about Wade Williamson anywhere, no MySpace, records for sale, nothing.

Irrespective, we’re loving this foot stomping, folk protest in the vein of William Elliott Whitmore, Frank Turner or even any one of those sixties dudes trying to stop the Vietnam war.

Watch the video, then get the song below.

If you know anything more about this guy then please tell us!

Download Wade Williamson – Uncle Sam Don’t Give No Damn (’bout Me) mp3 (from Tomorrow Could Have Been Yesterday EP)

Mad Mackerel Recommends…My Disco

Like Iowa from our earlier post today, My Disco hail from Melbourne.

Like Iowa, My Disco like to shred their sound into a dark, pummelling tribal noise. There is certainly no nod to the glitter balls, falsetto vocals or anything else we would associate with disco….

Their new album (their third)  Little Joy will get a worldwide release early in 2011, and the tracks we’ve heard to date already make it much anticipated here at the MM residence.

Try out the twisting, sinewy ominous build of first single Turn, and the magnificent Closer with its repetitive intro riff, rumbling drums and sonic interference. Two absolute gems we think – this lot and Iowa make us want to visit Melbourne – something good is going on there….

Visit their MySpace here.

Download My Disco – Turn mp3 (from Little Joy)

Download My Disco – Closer mp3 (from Little Joy)

Introducing…Iowa

It seems appropriate on the first day of the new Ashes series to start the day with a butt-kicking band from down under.

And despite the geographical name, Iowa, for it is they, hail from the fertile breeding grounds of Melbourne’s alternative music scene. Seemingly begat from the loins of sonic forefathers like J&MCSonic Youth, or even Mrs M’s old favourites Ride – they easily and confidently meld catchy, nagging rhythms under an occasional squall of distortion and reverb.

And they do it to great effect. It would be so easy for the band to fall into the trap that ensnares so many in this genre – that of sounding derivative and cliched, but Iowa have no such problems with their new 7″ Lose Yourself / Reasons. Try the title track below, and revel in its sleazy, grimy, fuzzed up delights. So good, it oozes an sunglasses-indoors kind of cool.

Keep an eye on these folk…

Visit their MySpace here. Visit their Bandcamp page here

Download Iowa – Lose Yourself mp3 (from Lose Yourself / Reasons 7″)