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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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