The Kills Are Back

The Kills have long been one of our most favourite bands here at MM, and Fried My Little Brains would definitely still rank near the top of my hypothetical “favourite songs of all time” list that we all carry around in our heads.

So after a too-long hiatus, we’re delighted that they’re back with a new album, Blood Pressures, released on Domino Records, which is scheduled to see the light of day in early April and supported by what seems to be a one-off live date at London’s Heaven on the 31st March.

But for now be satisfied with streaming Satellite, a track from the album and count down the days to release.

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New EP from Alcoholic Faith Mission

Danish indie-folk quintet, Alcoholic Faith Mission will be releasing their new 5 song EP entitled And The Running With Insanity in North America on March 29th.

Though they hail from Denmark, the band was actually formed in Brooklyn in 2006 by high school friends Thorben and Sune. Last year, their third and most renowned album, Let This Be The Last Night We Care, was released in the US  through Paper Garden Records. This EP is the first of two planned releases in 2011.

They are purveyors of some marvellously spontaneous and off-kilter tunes, but appear to be equally at home with Local Natives style soaring melodies as they are with more experimental and unusual orchestration that strays more into psychedelia and even Sigur Ros territory.

Try a song from the EP, the effortlessly good title track and plunge into a world of extravagant, rollicking fun!

Visit their website here. Visit their MySpace here.

Download Alcoholic Faith Mission – Running With Insanity mp3 (from And The Running With Insanity EP)

 

Haunted Windchimes Prepare Live Album For Release

As you may know The Haunted Windchimes have become favourites of both Mrs M and myself over the past twelve months, making it into our Best of Lists for albums and tracks at the end of 2010.

They will be releasing a live album soon with, as they say, all your favourite Windchimes songs, and to tempt us have offered up this short video teaser to whet the appetite.

Visit their MySpace here or their website here.

Download The Haunted Windchimes – Lordy Lordy mp3 (from An Evening With: The Haunted Windchimes)

Download The Haunted Windchimes – Don’t Take My Baby Away (Baby Back) mp3 (from Honey Moonshine)

New Album from Danielson gets limited cassette release

Joyful Noise is a label we like for their eclectic range of cassette releases and they have just announced the release of the new Danielson album on cassette (w/ digital).

Best of Gloucester County is Danielson’s first album in five years – and the follow up to their widely acclaimed album Ships. Featuring the banjo/vocal work of Sufjan Stevens, and a cameo from Jens Lekman, the album displays Danielson’s trademark bizarre, squeaky art-folk and theatrical spiritualism in it’s most mature and refined state.

It also contains what is surely an early contender for song title of the year in the album’s opening track, Complimentary Dismemberment Insurance.

On February 22nd, Joyful Noise will releasing an extremely limited edition of Best of Gloucester County on cassette, alongside Sounds Familyre’s release of the LP and CD.

The cassette edition of the album…

…is limited to just 300 hand-numbered copies, includes digital download (mp3 & FLAC), includes full 8 panel artwork, and is pressed on a white cassette with high-quality chrome tape.

You can pre-order the cassette from Joyful Noise here.

Download Danielson – Grow Up mp3 (from Best of Gloucester County)

Introducing…James Vincent McMorrow

James Vincent McMorrow’s debut record, Early In The Morning, is an album he originally self recorded, played and released in Ireland last year, and which got its US release just a few days ago. For those unfamiliar with McMorrow, the record is laced with haunting melodies, mythical storytelling, and musical structures that bring a singular and unique vision to the traditional folk style that emerged in the states in the 1960s.

The story really begins in January of 2009 when he moved to an isolated house by the Irish Sea, about an hour outside of Dublin, with the intention to record a demo. Within a month James found he loved the sound he was getting, and decided to create an album. “It took six months. I recorded and played everything myself, using one microphone and a computer, and all the equipment and instruments I’d used to make my first demos. In June 2009 I played it for people for the first time and everyone seemed to really get it.”

Early In The Morning begins with a five-part harmony echoing over the sounds of an organ and folk guitar in the eerie opener, If I Had A Boat. Towards the latter half of the record a darker tone emerges, creating ominous figures, and a wholly tangible sense of tension and foreboding. Drawing on his childhood love of Roald Dahl, as well as his fascination with American novelists such as John Steinbeck and F Scott Fitzgerald, James draws life from their writings because “they all examine the darker less spoken about aspects of life, solitude, disillusionment. I’m not one for defining a lyric, or what it definitively means, but songs like Follow You Down To The Red Oak Tree, From The Woods, and Down The Burning Ropes are certainly me exorcising the underside of my personality. The characters I create in those songs, the ones existing in the shadows, they are all elements of me for sure.”

You can buy via iTunes in the US (but not the UK yet) from here or order the album, and some other merchandise, by clicking here.

Download James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had A Boat mp3 (from Early In The Morning)

Debut album from Alexander (of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros)

The self-titled solo album from Alexander Ebert of the wonderful Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros will be released on the 1st March on Community Music (via Vagrant) and on 28th February via Rough Trade.

The album consists of ten brand new songs that Alexander wrote and composed entirely himself while touring with his main band. Alone in his room, he had his guitar, a Lowery organ he picked up at a St. Vincent’s thrift store in Los Angeles for seventy bucks, a clarinet he used for the bridge on the record’s first single, Truth, and a violin he’d found somewhere in Tucson on tour. He had his own voice, his breath, his knees to slap, his fingers to snap and his toes to tap. Every single sound on the record is of his own making.

Taking influences from all sources, from all-time-favorites of his like the 1970 chart-topping ditty In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry to children’s clapping games like Patty Cake and infectious and optimistic Disney tunes like Zip A Dee Do Da, all served as loose inspirations for him.

Here are the first two singles from the album, you can listen to Million Years and download the aforementioned Truth - you won’t be disappointed, both are cracking tracks.

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Download Alexander – Truth mp3 (from Alexander)

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday (28th Jan)

Having grown tired of being cross on a Friday (see various preceding TFIs – if you’re bored), I have revisited the joy of a gin and tonic, with a gimlet, of course … I have avoided reading the football press and the pressing legal case that has menaced our business, avoided the hatchet faced lying psycho at the school gate, and decided that regarding life through a Friday glass is far, far better.

Why didn’t I think of it sooner? Perhaps one week I might just write the whole thing in fragments of song lyrics for a change – something else I quite like doing. And perhaps the next week I might not write anything at all because I will have chained myself to the railings of our little local library that Dave and his mates are threatening to shut. (Oops. Where did that come from? Better have another gin.)

But let’s end on a sunnier note for a chilly January Friday, and throw another chair leg on the fire, mother, and listen to a good tune.

Mrs Mackerel

“Listen to me, butterfly” – oh, if you insist; download the timeless and wonderful Handsome Family classic, So Much Wine.

Download The Handsome Family – So Much Wine mp3 (from In The Air)

Introducing…Earth Girl Helen Brown (sort of)

A while ago we posted a track from the recent, self-titled Sonny + The Sandwitches EP, which has rapidly grown to be a massive favourite here at MM.

However, it was only recently that we discovered Sonny Smith’s 100 Records project in which he created more than 100 fictional bands, then wrote songs for them and enlisted musicians (including Ty Segall and Kelley Stoltz amongst others) to turn some of them into reality. Not only that, he worked with artists all over the US to provide imaginary 7″ cover art for each ‘release’. Some, in fact most, of these sleeve designs are fantastic.

He has released Volumes I and II containing a selection of tracks from his efforts and there is also a travelling art show heading from city to city which I’m guessing is pretty spectacular.

Earth Girl Helen Brown is just one of these creations, with vocals from Heidi Alexander of the Sandwitches, this is the fictitious back story for Helen Brown, a soulful, nomadic, psychedelic folksinger…

Helen Brown was born in Vancouver, Canada, but raised in an Athens, Georgia-based religious cult, and was blinded in one eye from a childhood baseball injury. As an adult, she dropped out of Evergreen and traveled the country for a while as a nomadic psychedelic folksinger, before forming her first band One Eyed Tramps. For years, she lived alone in a mountaintop in southern Alaska, where she befriended a Cherokee Shaman (later revealed as a fake) who encouraged her to pursue a frustrating academic career. Rampant drug use, frequent fainting on stage, and occasional self-inflicted knife wounds on stage led to more interest in her stage antics than her music. However, a few sides did emerge in the late ’90s (recording dates unknown), which feature a unique mix of country, girl group, R&B, and ghoulishness. Crude and amateurish at best, these recordings are appreciated for their sincerity and intensity of feeling.

Fantastic stuff – Sonny Smith is a fair dinkum genius.

You can now pre-order a six track ten inch EP by Earth Girl Helen Brown from Forest Family Records here.

Download Earth Girl Helen Brown – I Wanna Do It mp3 (from 10o Records Volume II)

Download Earth Girl Helen Brown – Hit After Hit mp3 (from Story Of An Earth Girl EP)

Sweet Lights cover Sharon van Etten

Sweet Lights sent over this cover of Sharon Van Etten’s wonderful track One Day, which is from her (also wonderful) album Epic.

Download it below and check out their Bandcamp page here for more free downloads as well as their self-titled album which is available for $8 or more.

Download Sweet Lights – One Day mp3 (Sharon Van Etten cover)

New track from The Luyas

February 22nd sees the release of the Luyas album, Too Beautiful To Work. We’re pleased to share another taste from the LP.

Title track Too Beautiful To Work is futuristic pop with elastic wordplay dancing atop rhythmic keyboards and a motorik beat. The layers of sound are dense and lush, augmented by the virtuosic violin of sometimes Luya and all the time Arcade Fire member Sarah Neufeld, and swirling sounds of clarinet and saxophone, courtesy of Colin Stetson.

The Luyas are finalising worldwide touring in support of Too Beautiful To Work, including several appearances at SxSW…Oh how we wish we were going to SxSW.

Anyway, you can pre-order the album here.

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

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