Brown Bird’s 2009 album The Devil Dancing was an unheralded, under-rated classic bursting with sparse, haunted folk tunes, outlaw country and gypsy riots. In the brilliant and menacing Wrong Black Mare was a tune that turned up in plenty of the MM contributors end of year best of lists.
So cue much rejoicing and metaphorical high fives when we discovered Brown Bird had a new 4 track EP up on their Bandcamp page, The Sound of Ghosts is available now digitally and, from May, on CD – first edition limited to 500 copies, hand silkscreened in Providence, RI.
There will also apparently be a new album later this year too…something we are already very much looking forward to!
Visit their MySpace here or website here.
Download Brown Bird – Bilgewater mp3 (from The Sound of Ghosts EP)
Here is Rotten To The Core from the Builders & The Butchers latest excellent effort, Dead Reckoning.
It is the song that is, to us here at MM at least, the rollicking, hollering centrepiece of the record. The song that calls to mind the blood and thunder preachers in dusty pulpits, the hellfires and the brimstone, and the intense fury of both the righteous and the scorned .
Yes sir, there’s no doubting the apocalyptic folk-rock credentials of this scorcher.
You can buy the album in the UK here from Amazon or in the USA here from Insound.
Download The Builders & The Butchers – Rotten To The Core mp3 (from Dead Reckoning)
Download The Builders & The Butchers – Lullaby mp3 (from Dead Reckoning)
Rowdy London five-piece The Amusements have released debut digital single The Trip – with loud-as-fuck guitars punctuated with a catchy keyboard riff you can strut to – the track packs a crippling punch to the senses in its short 1.56 running time.
The tune is firmly rooted in its influences from 60s-psych garage to early 80s hardcore, with singer Luke Barshack’s erratic, growling vocals recalling Keith Morris-era Black Flag, but it still manages to sound contemporary as a guitar anthem for the twenty-somethings credit-crunch generation.
Ugly lyrical content aside, this follows the grand traditions of rock ‘n’ roll at its most pure – the unashamedly bombastic sound of guitar, bass and drum recalls that youthful abandon we had a few years back – it is the sound of growing up but staying young, of drinking too many snakebites and letting loose in a moshpit, of meeting your mates and then sharing a freshly rolled cigarette.
Those were the days….
Download The Amusements – The Trip mp3
(from The Trip Digital Single)
Back in June last year we posted about Alegrias, an exceptional album from Howe Gelb with his Band of Gypsies that was recorded atop a Cordoba roof in the Andalucía sun.
Originally only available in Spain, where the record enjoyed considerable success due in part to the wondrous contribution from Flamenco guitar virtuoso Raimundo Amador, Fire Records will be releasing the album in the USA in May.
Many have tried to blend Flamenco with their native style without success – not this time! Alegrias is a special moment captured by a collection of musicians who have seamlessly married rich Flamenco rhythms to Howe’s own unique sound.
Like many of the best things, the record record came about by chance after Howe met Fernando Vacas in Cordoba. What started as an organic coming together of minds soon enjoyed input from local flamenco musicians that led to the exploration of uncharted territory somewhere between American roots rock, southern and border, and the purest flamenco.
You can order direct from Fire Records here.
Download Howe Gelb & A Band Of Gypsies – 4 Door Maverick mp3 (from Alegrias)
They may look like shy bookish types, but the ten librarians of the baroque indie pop group Michael J Epstein Memorial Library know how to make some noise. Their songs are sweet with tinges of darkness and bring to mind Magnetic Fields and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.
Michael J Epstein Memorial Library’s, Volume One, which is full of cleverly written tunes taken from true stories, will hit the shelves on 10th May.
To call Epstein unorthodox or quirky does not do him justice. He recruited non-musical band members through Facebook and Craigslist. The group formed in July, played their first show in September, recorded in November and finished the record in February. Concerned people might too easily dismiss it as an innocuous folk album without listening to the lyrics, he deliberately included a cover of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ darkly desolate The Weeping Song. In their hands, it becomes a song to haunt you.
By contrast the other song we have from the record is Amylee – this is merely the surreal tale of a brave shark that takes on a suicide mission in space to fight evil dolphins bent on destroying Earth. The shark hero is the perfect astronaut because sharks never sleep, can’t get cancer from gamma rays, and they have to keep moving to stay alive. Simple.
Visit Michael J Epstein’s website here.
Download Michael J Epstein Memorial Library – Amylee mp3 (from Volume One)
Download Michael J Epstein Memorial Library – The Weeping Song mp3 (from Volume One)
Check out the new video for the new Two Wounded Birds track called All We Wanna Do being released on limited edition 7″ vinyl and digital download, April 18th via Moshi Moshi.
Visit their MySpace here and grab the brilliant free track from their previous EP below.
Download Two Wounded Birds – Night Patrol mp3 (from Keep Dreaming Baby EP)
Coming Home is a solo outing from Denmark’s Maggie Bjorklund, released via the excellent Bloodshot Records.
The album is a wonderful mix of instrumentals and collaborations with other artists such as Rachel Flotard, Jon Auer and best of all, Mrs Mackerel’s fave, the gravel voiced crooner Mark Lanegan. Meanwhile more Mrs M faves in the shape of Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico provide the backing ensemble. As you might hope, it delivers a wonderfully low-key and atmospheric mix of alt-country and folk, that is by turns spectral, haunting, and evocative.
Check out one of collaborations with Mr Lanegan, the marvellous Intertwined.
Order from Bloodshot Records here or in the UK from Amazon here.
Download Maggie Bjorklund – Intertwined mp3 (from Coming Home)
For anyone who has been with MM since the early days you may recall our affection for a band from Montreal called My People Sleeping. They were one of the first bands we posted about, and their brilliant song Seahorse ranked highly in our top ten of 2008.
Sadly the band is no more, but former member James Irwin will be releasing a solo album on May 1st. Titled Blue Dust, it is a collection of music he has written over the last several years and recorded this winter in Montreal with help from Patrick Gregoire and many friends.
The first single, and title track, has been released digitally as a free download by the ever brilliant Bad Panda Records. You can also grab it below and it is a fine example of his songwriting prowess, being indie-folk of the very best kind.
Download James Irwin – Blue Dust mp3 (from Blue Dust Digital Single)
And if you don’t have it already, grab that song Seahorse while you can too. Marvellous!
Download My People Sleeping – Seahorse mp3 (from My People Sleeping EP)
Melbourne Australia’s Boomgates could be called a garage rock supergroup including as they do members of Eddy Current Suppression Ring, The Twerps and Dick Diver. They have a new 7″ coming on the 19th April on SmartGuy Records – their second outing to date.
The two-song platter is limited to 500 copies and is pressed on black vinyl. Check it out below as well as previous single Bright Idea, a couple of cracking tunes.
Visit their MySpace here.
Download Boomgates – Nothing mp3 (from Boomgates 7″)
Download Boomgates – Bright Idea mp3 (from Bright Idea 7″)
Through The Floor is the second single to be released from Crystal Stilts hotly anticipated second album In Love With Oblivion.
Taking a more conventionally “pop” tack than Shake The Shackles, Through The Floor is a two-and-a-half minute thrill ride reminiscent of late Velvet Underground or perhaps some of those legendary early Creation label singles.
Watch the explosion of colours in the video and download below.
Download Crystal Stilts – Through The Floor mp3 (from In Love With Oblivion)
And grab yourself the echoed guitar strum and droning keys of previous release Shake The Shackles if you missed it.
Download Crystal Stilts – Shake The Shackles mp3 (from Shake The Shackles 7″)
In Love With Oblivion is out April 12 on Slumberland Records in the US and April 11 on Fortuna Pop! in the UK. Pre-order from Piccadilly Records here.