Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday (31st December)

Doing those things you do at Christmas. Watching a film. Quietly crying a few tears at a sad story. Feel a small hand cover mine. I’ll look after you mama. A little time passes. A few more tears cried, this time belonging to the owner of the small hands. Empathy. Compassion. Love. One moment to treasure a whole lifetime.

Happy New Year.

Mrs Mackerel

I watch my mama float away and fade to watercolour. I already miss you. Oh, my mama.

Download Alela Diane – Oh! My Mama mp3 (from The Pirate’s Gospel)

MM’s Best of the Month: December

Despite all the ‘best of’ lists, the top tens/twenties/fifties/one hundreds etc. and all the Christmas songs too, there has still been a cracking amount of new releases in December as well. So lest you missed out, here is our monthly round-up of the best tunes we’ve posted in December and, as always, a couple of new ones too.

That’s the New Year’s Eve mixtape sorted at least.

Download The Sweaters – Can’t Stop Winnin’ mp3

A syrupy, garage gem. It’s upbeat and has as much soul as it does jangle and is driven along by solid percussion every bit as muscular as you would hope.

Download Harlan Pepper – Great Lakes mp3

Slyly mischievous lyrics over a vintage country refrain - a song you could imagine still being sung on back porches in fifty years time.

Download Eulogies – You Hide mp3

Belying the tragic inspiration behind the new Eulogies album, this is a surprisingly positive track.

Download Wye Oak – Civilian mp3

Taster from folk duo’s forthcoming album is a gem.

Download Howling Owls – My Kinda Luck mp3

Picks away at the edges of domestic strife and family troubles, gleefully revealing a queasy, black-hearted underbelly.

Download The Babies – Run Me Over mp3

Rather charming, fuzzed up, doo-wop drenched opener that comes from their forthcoming debut album.

Download Yo Soybean – Anticipation mp3

Alternative folk that bounces with slide banjo and djembe delivering an impassioned stream of consciousness concerning the mundane intricacies of twenty-something year old existence in the twenty-first century.

Download Two Wounded Birds – Night Patrol mp3

Twangy menace behind a velveteen croon.

Download The Handsome Family – Drinking Beer On The Roof mp3

Classic black-humoured Americana from new album of covers, demos and outtakes.

Download The Range Rats – Colt 44 mp3

All Johnny Cash rumble and gun toting lyrics.

Download White Fence – Lillian (Won’t You Play Drums) mp3

More top notch lo-fi, retro indie pop.

Download The Mountain Goats – Tyler Lambert’s Grave mp3

Latest from the respected and influential lo-fi, indie do-it-yourselfers. A suitably prophetic tale.

Download Beach House – I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun mp3

Our most popular download of the month. More dreamy, reverb laden pop.

Download Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place mp3

Experimental and ethereal in equal measure.

Download Western States Motel – Country & Western Song mp3

A deceptively simple and straight forward tune that bounces along on a great rhythm and has quickly grown to be a firm favourite here at the Mackerel abode.

Download Jeremy Joyce – 18 Wheels mp3

A dark and groovy rocker with a great Hammond Organ solo.

Download Lisa Will Insult You, Darling – Give A Fuck mp3

A beautifully simple construction of the desolate and the downtrodden.

Download The Skeleton Dead – Gather Up Your Clothes mp3

It’s a lament, a regret. It’s both memorable and hypnotic.

Download Duke Garwood – Jesus Got A Gun mp3

An air of quiet menace, Garwood’s vocals whispering and murmuring over hollow knocks, piano and drones.

We also have a quite wonderful track from Sonny + The Sandwitches, it is from a recently released new four-song self-titled 7″ EP and features appearances by Heidi Alexander and Grace Cooper of the Sandwitches. The songs were inspired by a near-drowning, hence this track Throw My Ashes From This Pier When I Die. Superb.

We also have Religious To Damn who describe themselves as gypsy-psych and have an album Glass Prayer due for release in early 2011. This track Drifter has echoes of some of the classic 80s 4AD bands right through to Zola Jesus and Esben & The Witch.

Download Sonny + The Sandwitches – Throw My Ashes From This Pier When I Die mp3 (from Sonny + The Sandwitches EP)

Download Religious To Damn – Drifter mp3 (from Glass Prayer)

Mad Mackerel Recommends…Duke Garwood

Master bluesmen are probably pretty thin on the ground in South London, but it is down there, amidst the grey arterial routes, Victorian terraces and leafy parks that Duke Garwood makes his home.

Garwood’s new album, Dreamboatsafari sees him expanding on the spacious, dusty room blues found on previous albums Emerald Palace and The Sand That Falls. The genesis of this LP came when Garwood was on tour with (Mrs Mackerel’s fave) Mark Lanegan and he had an inkling to release a “space cowboy record”, and this was realized at home recording sessions, with long-time collaborator Paul May on drums.

Dreamboatsafari is a record with many moods, Garwood’s picking and quiet vocal undertones act in a dialogue with an ever-expanding palette of sounds. Underlying all is an air of quiet menace, Garwood’s vocals whispering and murmuring over hollow knocks, piano and drones.

It offers a glimpse of what is yet to come. With a joint LP with Mark Lanegan also due next year, along with plans to work with the Master Musicians of Joujouka in Morrocco, Duke Garwood looks set for a deservedly fruitful 2011 – one things for sure, Dreamboatsafari is going to be a great start to the year.

Dreamboatsafari will be released on the wonderful Fire Records on the 25th January.

Visit his MySpace here.

Download Duke Garwood – Jesus Got A Gun mp3 (from Dreamboatsafari)

Introducing…Duchess Leo

New York’s Duchess Leo is Dan Ryan and Todd Buchler. The duo have been friends for most of their lives, having grown up a few blocks away from each other in the suburbs of New Jersey.

The songs on their debut album Golden Gray roll in melancholy and shimmer with triumph. From majestic strings to tribal rhythms and from piano led ballads to driving acoustic tunes, the music builds into a release of guitars, voice and drums and confidently shows off the band’s penchant for creating visual and cinematic music.

At heart, Duchess Leo is a duo comprised of an electronic music producer and a singer/songwriter. Golden Gray expands that sonic pallet to include more players while focusing on the songs, and the result is a confident, elegant record.

Golden Gray is released on Whale Heart Records on the 25th January.

Visit their MySpace here.

Download Duchess Leo – Bloom mp3 (from Golden Gray)

Introducing…The Skeleton Dead

The Skeleton Dead are a fledgling band of only six months but this is something to marvel at rather than use as any sort of rationale. What sets the bar at a different level is the Greek/bouzouki-style guitar rhythm that hooks you in from the very first bar: it’s both memorable and hypnotic.

This is like a combination of many of my favourite musical influences – and I have absolutely no idea what the Skeleton Dead’s are – a little bit of Willard Grant Conspiracy, coupled with a bit of Lanegan and Campbell, even a hint of Magnetic Fields.

The dark with the light; the bare and transparent; a simple arrangement that works so well with the intensity of this song. It’s a lament, a regret. It’s time for him to leave – but will she leave with him? I’m hoping this is the first of many from the Skeleton Dead. Intense.

Visit their MySpace here or their Soundcloud page here.

Download The Skeleton Dead – Gather Up Your Clothes mp3

Introducing…Lisa Will Insult You, Darling

Despite the first impressions the name gives, Lisa Will Insult You, Darling is actually the work of one man, Sebastian Jegorow. And pretty fine work it is too.

And despite the first impressions the name gives, it is not garage rock, bedroom chillwave or electro noodling. Instead it is lo-fi folk, recorded on an old tape deck and carrying with it the hiss of genuine songwriting authenticity. His latest collection, Jingle Man is available for free download from his Bandcamp page (as is previous album tam.tam).

Try a couple of tracks below (they reminded us of Bill Callahan or Damien Jurado) being beautifully simple constructions of mainly low-key tales of the desolate and the downtrodden. Just the antidote for all that false festive cheer and faux bonhomie maybe?

Visit his MySpace here.

Download Lisa Will Insult You, Darling – Give A Fuck mp3 (from Jingle Man)

Download Lisa Will Insult You, Darling – Kill Your Love mp3 (from Jingle Man)

Mad Mackerel’s 2010 Top Ten Series: No 9, Favourite New Artists

Now that we’ve had the top tens from all the Mad Mackerel contributors, we will give you a definitive overall top ten in a couple of days. Before that is our penultimate top ten list of the year – the favourite new bands and artists that have come our way in 2010 which was perhaps the hardest list of all to compile.

So with honourable mentions to Gaoler’s Daughter, White Noise Movement, Pop. 1280, The Vaccines and White Dress, here we have our favourites. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more of them all in 2011…

10. Pulled Apart By Horses (MySpace)

Pulled Apart By Horses play hard, and fast, and mean and remind us in a good way of the wonderful Mclusky. They also released one of our favourite singles of the year in Back to the Fuck Yeah and followed it up with a quite excellent debut album. Brutal, noisy, tongue in cheek, marvellous.

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Download Pulled Apart By Horses – I Punched A Lion In The Throat mp3 (from Pulled Apart By Horses)

9. Grass House (MySpace)

A favourite in the MM household ever since we first heard the ominous growl and heavy drums of A Cockroach from their Plough More Sky EP. They followed up with the equally good Ant Giant Ant release.

Download Grass House – A Cockroach mp3 (from Plough More Sky EP)

Download Grass House – Mind Can Walk ‘n’ Wall Can Stay mp3 (from Ant Giant Ant EP)

Download Grass House – Lazy Bones mp3 (from Ant Giant Ant EP)

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8. The Sunderbans (MySpace)

Offering the perfect blend of UK indie rock, The Sunderbans meld classic influences like the Cure, the Bunnymen and the Smiths into a modern, fresh sound that first captured our attention with the excellent Roadkill single. They’ve followed it up with a couple of excellent singles and we’re hoping for big things in 2011.

Download The Sunderbans – Road Kill mp3 (from Road Kill 7″)

Download The Sunderbans – Death Stalks The Forest mp3

Download The Sunderbans – We Only Can Because We Care mp3 (from We Only Can Because We Care 7″)

Download The Sunderbans – Saw You In The Dark Light mp3 (from Demos)

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7. Pancake Breakfast (MySpace)

Announcing themselves with the utterly infectious The Ballad of Maynard Noe, Pancake Breakfast served up an album of country songs and folk songs and rock songs – there are songs about truckers, songs about angry birds, songs about magic cards, and songs about unfortunate fish.

Download Pancake Breakfast – The Ballad Of Maynard Noe mp3 (from Pancake Breakfast)

Download Pancake Breakfast – Little Bird mp3 (from Pancake Breakfast)

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6. Vanish Valley (MySpace)

Vanish Valley hail from Los Angeles and offer a lovely mix of rootsy folk and hazy country psychedelia that has quality stamped all over it.

Download Vanish Valley – Become The Night mp3 (from Vanish Valley)

Download Vanish Valley – Bad Things mp3 (from Vanish Valley)

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5. The Migrant (MySpace)

With his blend of wonderful psych-folk and tall stories, The Migrant provided one of our favourite albums of the year with Travels In Lowland. Effortlessly drawing you in to a world of his own making, it was somewhere we were happy to come back to again and again.

Download The Migrant – The Organ Grinder mp3 (from Travels In Lowland)

Download The Migrant – In The Sun mp3 (from Travels In Lowland)

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4. Red Clay River (MySpace)

The songs on Red Clay River’s demo CD Cover Our Faces With Soot And Dreams take a trip through gypsy dances to somber drifting nights. Using string-band instrumentation mixed with creative percussion including an oil drum and bare walls, Red Clay River tell their stories with shadows and characters that slip through the pines and get lost in the night.

Download Red Clay River – Rattlesnake Mountain mp3 (from Cover Our Faces With Soot And Dreams)

Download Red Clay River - Ain’t No Blues mp3 (from Cover Our Faces With Soot And Dreams)

3. The War Crimes (MySpace)

Describing themselves as wilfully uncommercial, it didn’t detract from the fact that this duo produced some of the most unsettling and lyrically vicious music we heard in 2010. 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.

Download The War Crimes – Enamour Me And Roll mp3

Download The War Crimes – Stillness Beckons mp3

Download The War Crimes – Levin As I mp3

Download The War Crimes – The Cost mp3

Download The War Crimes – Calling Time mp3

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2. Two Wounded Birds (MySpace)

A late gatecrasher to the top ten. Two Wounded Birds released their EP Keep Dreaming Baby towards the back-end of 2010 and still managed to get two of the five tracks into MM’s Top Ten series (Barry-Sean’s and Mrs Mackerel’s). It’s all menacing twang over a sultry, velveteen croon – Mrs M said they belong to a different era, where women had beehives and men wore hats and chain-smoked. Just fabulous.

Download Two Wounded Birds – Night Patrol mp3 (from Keep Dreaming Baby EP)

1. Howling Owls (Myspace)

From the moment we heard Snake Charmer (No Money In The Bank), we knew Howling Owls were going to be MM faves. A brilliantly named and slightly mysterious three piece from Orlando that trade in the sort of sparse, sinister, dark-hearted folk that resides in the shadows, and all too easily suggests the flickering ghosts of the Everglade swamps. Ominous, baleful, and captivating.

Download Howling Owls – Snake Charmer (No Money In The Bank) mp3

Download Howling Owls – Family Tree mp3

Download Howling Owls – My World mp3

Download Howling Owls – Mood Ring mp3

Download Howling Owls – My Kinda Luck mp3

Introducing…The Angry Years

We received this track at just past midnight on Christmas Eve and have to admire a band that is still plugging away as Santa is readying his sleigh.

The band in question are a three piece from London and are called The Angry Years. They profess a liking for everything from These New Puritans, early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Queens of the Stone Age, to DOOM and the De Stijl movement.

They recorded this song Dress Yourself as Someone Dead last week – it is well worth a listen.

Visit their MySpace here, where you can download more demo tracks too.

Download The Angry Years – Dress Yourself as Someone Dead mp3

New from Solar Temple Suicides & Asteroid #4

What music could be better suited to a Boxing Day than a woozy, hazy, ‘Where am I? What day is it?” kind of psychedelic rock?

In fact, we have posted about both these bands before, but both have new tracks from their albums available and thankfully Solar Temple Suicides and Asteroid #4 both mine the space rock theme, and both do it well.

So, after too much drink, too much food, and too much everything else, this is just what the Mackerel ordered.

Solar Temple Suicides’ debut full-length album, Sentinels of the Heliosphere, was self-recorded and was released December 14th on Sleepy Records, with an east coast tour to follow in early 2011. Here’s a third track for your edification and enjoyment.

Download Solar Temple Suicides – Close Your Eyes mp3 (from Sentinels of the Heliosphere)

Asteroid #4 will release their sixth studio album Hail to the Clear Figurines in February on The Committee to Keep Music Evil label. With a clear love of Spacemen 3 and a most pleasing devotion to reverb, krautrock, shoegaze and even a bit of folk and country rock, the album is a winner in MM’s eyes. Here’s a second track from it…

Download Asteroid #4 – Wild Opal Eyes mp3 (from Hail to the Clear Figurines)

Previously Posted:

Download Solar Temple Suicides – Pale Blue Dot mp3 (from Sentinels of the Heliosphere)

Download Solar Temple Suicides – A Rough Road Leads To The Stars mp3 (from Sentinels of the Heliosphere)

Download Asteroid #4 – Ignition Slated For Eight mp3 (from Hail to the Clear Figurines)