Mad Mackerel Recommends…Dark Mean

Ontario’s Dark Mean have built up quite a buzz and a following since 2007 when they started recording their debut album. During this period band members Mark Dean, Billy Holmes, and Sandy Johnston released two “work in progress” EPs without expectation. However, Frankencottage and Music Box ended up being downloaded in more than 100 countries and expectations certainly were set by their brilliant blend of folk and alt-country.

Their debut album will finally see a release on June 14th – it’s a record built over time with precision, patience, and perseverance. We think it will be worth the wait, but for now we must make do with enjoying the contagious indie folk of Happy Banjo.

Download The Dark Mean – Happy Banjo mp3 (from The Dark Mean)

Try Before You Buy…

Here are four corking singles for you to listen to and, should you be so inclined, subsequently purchase.

First up are Scumbag Philosopher and their second single, God Is Dead So I Listen To Radiohead. It is typically English in it’s odd spoken word style, wry black humour and deadpan observations of the ludicrousness of life. Out on May 23rd, visit their website here for more details.

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Long time MM faves, The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club also plough their own singular furrow of often spastic art-rock. Latest single, A Conversation is a conversation between a woman and her executioner just before her beheading. It’s made of one hundred and ninety-five seconds of a mandolin like a fairground, a guitar like an organ, falsetto singing and lots of heavy breathing. There’s no bass, and no drums in the chorus – this is on the sound advice of the late, great Buddy Holly: ”take the drums out of the chorus and you’ll have a massive hit on your hands”. Here’s hoping…get it from iTunes here.

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Barry Sean’s favourites Chapel Club follow their excellent debut album Palace and sold out UK tour with a new single on May 16th. Blind is taken from the LP – watch and enjoy.

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Buy the album here or a signed copy of the single here.

And lastly we have The Wave Pictures another resolutely British band and their new single Little Surprise the first from the new album Beer In The Breakers. Buy it here.


Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday (29th April)

Well I’m sure there will be enough column inches devoted to the (mainly) collective swelling of the nation’s breast in tribute to today’s royal nuptials. Funny old thing all this patriotic malarkey – not really my bag – but cheers anyway.

Personally, I’m far more excited that in two days time it will be May – and that means The Cave Singers! – and now, joy heaped upon joy, it also means Hurray for the Riff Raff. I may have to swim solo this time, but I’ll just sit and be scaly at the back. [See today’s earlier post for the UK tour dates.]

It’s been a new broom sweeping clean in this house. A bit of clearing and cleansing, painting and decorating. Psychologically, it’s rather good for the soul and the mind too. Actually, there could be something in why my teeny tiny office continues to get so unbelievably cluttered.

The door is locked and the blinds are down; I’m peeping out through one of the slats. There’s a little bit of regeneration at work here and I’m feeling a touch secret squirrel.

Enjoy your weekend.

Mrs Mackerel

A sunny sort of song for a sunny sort of week. This was one of Joe’s first ever favourite songs. His cheeks were rather plump and he knew all the words, which he sang in his lovely little voice. We devised our own dance – and I suggest you do the same.

Download Noah And The Whale –  5 Years Time mp3 (from Peaceful The World Lays Me Down)

Hurray For The Riff Raff – UK Tour

It is fair to say that Hurray For The Riff Raff are a very close second to The Cave Singers in Mrs Mackerel’s must see bands for 2011. This came after we fell in love with the band’s self-titled UK debut of haunting and melancholy Americana that was released in late March on Loose Music.

So join Mrs M in London or check out the rest of the dates for their first UK tour next month, grab the chillingly beautiful Too Much Of A Good Thing below and order the album here.

On Tour:

19 May: London, The Windmill

20 May: Liverpool Sound City (venue tbc)

21 May: Winchester, The Railway

23 May: Leeds, The Wardrobe

24 May: Nottingham, The Glee Club

25 May: London, The Old Queen’s Head

26 May: Bedford, Civic Theatre

27 May: Hull, Adelphi

28 May: Glasgow, King Tut’s

29 May: Newcastle, Evolution Festival

Download Hurray For The Riff Raff – Too Much Of A Good Thing mp3 (from Hurray For The Riff Raff)

Introducing…The Pear Traps

Formed in 2009, The Pear Traps are a 5 piece band from Chicago who mix lo-fi garage rock and alt-country, and do it well.

Come Home is from their new six track self-titled EP. The band describe it as “a rolling tune flush with alt-country drive, a rhythmic back-beat and echoing vocals” and having played it a few times, it seems a pretty fair description. The EP is chock full of strong tunes sometimes heavy with reverb, sometimes easy on the harmonies, but always resolutely lo-fi.

It is well worth the $4 they are asking and can be picked up from their Bandcamp page here.

Visit their MySpace here.

Download The Pear Traps – Come Home mp3 (from The Pear Traps EP)

New from Okkervil River

We’ve kind of missed the boat so far with Okkervil River – for whatever reason we’ve just not fallen for their slightly quirky and densely literate charms. Hopefully that may change with their latest album I Am Very Far, which seems to be picking up uniformly good reviews.

First single Wake And Be Fine is typically sinewy in composition but at its heart lays something bruised and fragile. We’re liking it and looking forward to hearing the full album – it could be the start of something beautiful!

The album is out next month in the UK. Pre-order it here.

Download Okkervil River – Wake And Be Fine mp3 (from I Am Very Far)

Introducing…My Goodness

Sleazy punk-blues duo My Goodness hail from Seattle and manage to drum up a fantastic cacophony of noise. They have just released their self-titled debut album on the excellent Sarathan Records.

We have a taste for you in the shape of C’mon Doll and all the ingredients you want are present and correct: reverb, greasy blues riffs, distortion, impassioned lyrics and attitude – all wrapped up in an uncompromising energy that is rarely seen these days.

Buy the album here or download from Amazon.com here.

Visit their website here.

Download My Goodness – C’mon Doll mp3 (from My Goodness)

Introducing…The Keys

Cardiff based band The Keys release their first full length album Bitten By Wolves on 2nd May through See Monkey Do Monkey Recordings.

Since receiving a copy in the post we have been playing it a lot – an awful lot. It is a record that cleverly mixes 60s inspired psych rock and crunchy guitars with some more modern style jangle pop and some tasty reverb – clever because the results are not derivative or formulaic, but rather create a cohesive whole that captures the imagination and holds it throughout the duration of the album. There are some obvious touchpoints in BeefheartCan and Spirit and perhaps some less obvious ones in The Coral and The Bees.

From the melancholy twang of the opening title track through the retro riffing of Teacher’s Daughter to the sleazy pulse of Everyone Loves You, The Keys have crafted a record that is as confident in its roots as it is assured of its future, and one that I’m pretty certain we’ll be coming back to a lot more over the coming months.

Check out the excellent track The Colour Red, a song to make White Denim or Tame Impala jealous…

You can pre-order Bitten By Wolves here.

Download The Keys – The Colour Red mp3 (from Bitten By Wolves)

Glorious Video from The Pierces

We meant to post about The Pierces a while ago, and were reminded when we received this new video for their track Glorious – a gothic glam pop-stomper according to Q.

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It comes from new album You & I and you can stream a taste of their dark forces below from their Love You More EP.

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Visit their MySpace here.