2012 MAD MACKEREL’S 100 FAVOURITE SONGS PART 1: 100 – 81

MM's Best of 2012 (100-81)

So the waiting is over, and here are the first twenty entries in our Top 100 of 2012, part of MM’s much expanded Best of the Year review. Over the next five days we will reveal our favourite songs and those of our contributors: Mrs Mackerel, Christy Popper, Barry-Sean, Dr Roddy, Polly Pocket, Middle Sprat, Starbie, and Toy Steve. These are not the most “popular” songs of the year, nor do they lay any subjective claim to being the “best”, but they are without doubt the favourites of all those who have written for MM one way or another this year.

So without further ado…

100 GRASSFIGHT – NASSAU
With shades of Interpol in the hypnotic, propulsive percussion, echoes of Dinosaur Jr in the swirling guitar, and a classic indie deep, monotone vocal, Nassau successfully ticks all the necessary boxes for a post-punk extravaganza.

Download Grassfight – Nassau mp3

99 FUTURE OF THE LEFT – CITY OF EXPLODED CHILDREN
Humming, hypnotic , menacing krautrock rumble over which Andy Falkous intones possibly the best opening lyric of the year:  “Chicken tikka bathsalts found at bus stops

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98 WELL HUNG HEART – DEVIL
Like the feral lovechild of Howling Wolf, Mick Jagger, Joan Jett and Suzi Quattro fronting a hybrid of Nirvana and the Black Keys. All in a good way. A very good way.

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97 FIELD REPORT – I AM NOT WAITING ANYMORE
Haunting, poignant and fragile first single that heralded a stunning debut album of more than five years in the making.

Download Field Report – I Am Not Waiting Anymore mp3

96 THE WAVE PICTURES – SEAGULLS
With an infectious guitar jangle and clever lyrics – reminiscent of classic 80s UK indie bands like The Brilliant Corners – this year The Wave Pictures finally became the UK’s answer to the brilliant Mountain Goats. (BSF)

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95 JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE – LOWER EAST SIDE
In the Spring of 2012 Justin Townes Earle released Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now. His best record to date, this song, tucked away in the middle of the album perfectly captured how it feels to be in a city of millions yet to be completely alone.

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94 BECK – I JUST STARTED HATING SOME PEOPLE TODAY
A track of three very distinctive parts. The first to the twang of country guitar and cowboy vocals telling us that he’s seen the light and that people really aren’t very nice at all. He hates them all. Then ears are suddenly assaulted by a volley of Jack White’s fury reminiscent of late 70s punk before finishing on smooth, jazzy notes as Karen Elson,with silky tones, lets a bloke called Randy know that he is “Sooooooooooo dead“. Insane but brilliant. (BSF)

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93 DAUGHN GIBSON – ALL HELL
Rarely can the opening “insane preacher monologue” approach been used as effectively as this. Yet 45 seconds of spittle-flecked insanity is taken far, far deeper into black, murky waters as over  a humming bassline and fragmented crackles and loops, Gibson’s unflinching baritone reminds us over and over again “its a long way down“.

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92 CALEXICO – FORTUNE TELLER
Gorgeous standout from the Algiers album with the ghostliest of vocals.

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91 THE MARK LANEGAN BAND – GRAY GOES BLACK
Gravel voiced soul-searching carried out over a motorik rhythm.

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90 THE MAGNETIC FIELDS – ANDREW IN DRAG
This song is really a bit of fun and it makes me smile every time I hear it. A guy turns up to see his mate, Andrew, dress up in drag. He does it on a whim for a laugh but ends up fancying him. An amusing story that bobs along with a catchy, but low-key tune. (BSF)

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89 BEN HOWARD – ESMERELDA
Murkier, darker waters abound for this highlight from this year’s Burgh Island EP. Howard’s lonely voice struggles to break free from a claustrophobic and ominous backdrop.

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88 SHOVELS & ROPE – BIRMINGHAM
Much like The Lumineers, Shovels & Rope deal in unashamed folk anthems whose harmonies effortlessly evoke good-time, back porch sing-a-longs amongst the fireflies and the moonshine.

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87 LAST AMERICAN BUFFALO – BREAK MY HEART
At the turn of the year, Last American Buffalo released a short series of free-to-download digital signals that were uniformly brilliant. The first of two entries in our Best Of listing, Break My Heart is exquisitely blended folk, blues and classic country rock with a bitter edge that spits and snarls its discontent with the world.

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86 FATHER JOHN MISTY – ONLY SON OF THE LADIESMAN
What a voice. This song is worth a listen just for Father John Misty’s delivery. It’s like bubble bath without the bathwater – a hymn to the dead ladies man. Try sitting back with a cup of coffee, closing your eyes and letting this track soothe away your mental aches and pains (BSF)

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85 S T E A K H O U S E – SPIDER BITE
Somehow crossing 70s krautrock with desert blues and a stoned rockabilly twang to create a mesmerising journey through a venom-induced surreal otherworld.

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84 THE LUMINEERS – HO-HEY
As winning a combination of catchy folk-stomp and hollered vocals as it is possible to imagine. A deserved break-out hit for one of the most heartwarming success stories of the year.

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83 THE WALKMEN – HEARTBREAKER
The first of four entries from one of the finest albums of the year. Heartbreaker is the sound of a band in complete control of their own destiny, who know their destination and exactly how they’re going to get there. Thrilling, urgent and vital. It’s not the singer, it’s the song.

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82 FREEDOM FRY – SUMMER IN THE CITY
If there was any justice, Summer In The City would have been the soundtrack of barbecues and bakeouts the world over. It was as perfect as indie-pop is able to get, it made you want to pop the top off a cold one and party on the rooftops all day long.

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81 KESTON COBBLER’S CLUB – FOR WORDS
A truly beautiful folk composition, light of touch and sure of foot.

Download Keston Cobblers’ Club – For Words mp3

Leave a comment to us know what you think.

CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR TRACKS 80 – 61

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday (24th August)

 

Mrs Mackerel's TFI Friday (24th August).

A Lord Huron of a week, but that notwithstanding it’s now time to fly rather than run. So before we’re airborne and intoxicated once more, there’s just time to squeeze out one short TFI before I sit on the suitcase, kiss the menagerie goodbye and head for warmer climes (forest fires you’re not counted).

Doubtless I’ll spent the week in the shade, book in hand, under a large hat, pouting crossly as my Dad will remind me I have done as of forever because it’s too hot or I’ve got sand in my eyes. “Let’s put Scary in the corner, she likes it there.

A little time in the corner is always good when your batteries have been flattened.

Oh, Cobblers. Their words – do you get it?

Mrs M x

Download Calexico – Writer’s Minor Holiday mp3 (from Carried To Dust)

Download My Morning Jacket – One Big Holiday mp3 (from It Still Moves)

Three Freebies From Noisetrade

Three Freebies From Noisetrade.

The wonderful free music site NoiseTrade have offered up three more cracking freebies in the recent days.

For the price of an e-mail you can grab yourself a sampler from the wonderful Calexico, a free EP of Mexican folk fused with American roots from David Wax Museum and an EP of unique folk from singer-songwriter Denison Witmer. All are more than worthy additions to your iTunes library if you don’t already have them, and you can grab a taste from each below.

Download Calexico – Black Heart mp3 (from Noisetrade Sampler) Download the whole sampler here.

Download David Wax Museum – Will You Be Sleeping? mp3 (from Noisetrade Sampler) Download the whole sampler here.

Download Denison Witmer – Abraham mp3 (from The Ones Who Wait – Part 2 EP) Download the whole EP here.

Mad Mackerel’s Best Of The Month: May 2012

Mad Mackerel's Best Of The Month: May 2012.

Another crackerjack month of new tunes on MM, all lovingly compiled and packaged up for you in one sweet playlist ready to download.

Here are 33 of our favourite tracks from our May postings and 6 new songs too. No need to thank us.

Download Virals – Gloria mp3 (from Coming Up With The Sun EP)
Shines bright with an insanely hooky vocal and charged guitar riffs, taking cues from the sunny California coast yet retaining a suitably English feel.

Download Blasted Canyons – Holy Geometry mp3 (from 2nd Place 12″)
Infectiously driven by a brilliant needling guitar refrain that is guaranteed to stick with you long after the song has finished.

Download Michael J Epstein Memorial Library – Faith In Free Part 1 mp3 (from Faith In Free EP)
Military stomp that comes across like a brilliantly vicious hybrid of Siouxsie & The Banshees and Sparks.

Download Sun Kil Moon – That Bird Has A Broken Wing mp3 (from Among The Leaves)
More starkly beautiful folk.

The Wind-Up Birds – Cross Country

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Skilfully blends influences from folk to punk to create a restless, hybrid sound that has feet in many camps, but a home in none.

Beast make Bomb – Coney Island

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Shimmering slice of indie rock played out against a backdrop of old-school punk attitude.

Dog Moon Howl – Blues Like A Hammer

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Full on sleazy blues and desert rock – imagine if you will Mark Lanegan duelling with Howling Wolf

Download The Ruminaters – Timmy mp3 (from Timmy Digital Single)
Beatnik, barnyard, hillbilly swamp rock.

Download GravelRoad – Devil’s Eyes mp3 (from Psychedelta)
Sinewy, swamp inspired grooves with a rough and raw blues groan.

Download Marissa Nadler – The Wrecking Ball Company mp3 (from The Sister)
Haunting and ethereal folk that mixes melancholy with yearning in a wonderfully unique way.

Download Hunx – Let Me In mp3 (from Hairdresser Blues)
Flamboyant 60s inspired doo-wop garage-pop.

Download Lord Buffalo – Cold Bones mp3 (from Lord Buffalo EP)
Unsettling and haunting, a blend of darkly shrouded Americana as fiddles moan and guitars ominously brood and slash.

Download Old Bricks – Waves mp3 (from City Lights)
A night’s ride through a dark, sparkling desert.

Download The Doc Marshalls – Here They Come mp3 (from Look Out, Compadre)
Crooked, shimmering folk; evocative and nostalgic.

Download The Tallest Man On Earth – 1904 mp3 (from There’s No Leaving Now)
Characterised by his trademark strum and those wonderful Dylanesqe pipes, but there is a darker twist and turn to the lyrics than we’ve been used to.

Download Hallelujah The Hills – Hungry Ghost Extraordinaire mp3 (from No One Knows What Happens Next)
Wholly absorbing and lyrically scalpel sharp track.

Download Duquette Johnston & The Rebel Kings – Roll Baby Roll mp3 (from Communicating Vessels 7″ Series)
Driving boogie and infectious holler-along refrain.

Download Spacin’ – Sunshine No Shoes mp3 (from New Directions Home- Uncut 2012 07)
Mangled graft of Velvets chug and Stones insouciance.

Download The Agnostic-Phibes Rhythm & Blood Conspiracy – Neckin’ Party mp3 (from Campfire Tales)
Hypnotic swamp rock tale of teenage lust and voyeurism gone horribly awry.

Download The Crocodiles – Endless Flowers mp3 (from Endless Flowers)
Snaking, noise pop.

Download Purling Hiss – Lolita mp3 (from Shaking Through Volume 3)
Huge slab of fuzzed-up riffage.

Download Holograms – Chasing My Mind mp3 (from The Holograms)
Clattering, garage-punk.

Download Hurray For The Riff Raff – Ode To John And Yoko mp3 (from Look Out Mama)
Gorgeous bluesy folk with a slightly retro-feel.

Download Dubious Ranger – 1999 mp3 (from Found Recordings From The Panda Valley Mining Company c.1931)
Gloriously mournful and hypnotic Americana.

Two Wounded Birds – To Be Young

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Exquisitely crafted pop gem full of their trademark surf-twang and velvet vocals – it drips with vacation nostalgia.

Download The Broken Needles – Saltflat Baby mp3 (from Terra Nullius)
Mix of country balladry and spit ‘n’ snarl punk rock that is a little like Tom Waits fronting the Mekons.

Download Jaill –  Waste A Lot Of Things mp3 (from Traps)
Their signature slack yet tightly wound musical style and self-deprecating humor retains all its charm.

Download The Virgins – Venus In Chains mp3 (from Venus In Chains single)
Charmingly nonchalant slab of garage inspired rock oozing with glam undertones.

Download Stagnant Pools – Dead Sailor mp3 (from Temporary Room)
Heavy, distorted, squally and reverb heavy, pierced with shafts of melody; would probably be prime candidates to soundtrack the end of the world.

Download The Shrouded Strangers – Drinking The Spider Silk mp3 (from Lost Forever)
Masterclass in whiskey-soaked hillbilly stompers, fuzzed-up psych freak outs, and white-noise wigouts.

Download Rainer & Calexico – Be Prepared mp3 (from The Inner Flame: A Tribute To Rainer Ptacek)
Achingly gorgeous dusty Arizona blues and moanas elegant and moving as anything you’ll hear for a long, long time.

Red Cosmos – England’s Glory

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Tale of a mother visited in the middle of the night by the pale spectre of her son dying alone, somewhere far away on a battlefield.

Download Grave Babies – Nightmare mp3 (from Gothdammit EP)
Gloomy, drone-filled Goth that manages to keep its tongue firmly in its cheek.

And here are a few new ones to round off your day and set you up for the weekend nicely. First is another taste from the forthcoming Sonny & The Sunsets album, Longtime Companion in the shape of Be The Void. We also have two tracks from our new favourite band, Broken Water: Underground and Drown are good enough to strip the paint from the walls and come from just released new album Tempest.

We have the melodic indie pop dusted with notes of surf rock from Scotland’s The Imagineers and their track The Legend Of John The Terror (Notorious) and Home Groan, a new taste from Dent May’s much anticipated new album. Finally, we have a welcome reissue of some early Silver Jews recordings by Drag City Records to celebrate, from it comes this track Secret Knowledge of Back Roads. 

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Download Broken Water – Drown mp3 (from Tempest)

Download Broken Water – Underground mp3 (from Tempest)

Download Dent May – Home Groan mp3 (from Do Things)

Download The Imagineers – The Legend Of John The Terror (Notorious) mp3 (from The Legend Of John The Terror (Notorious))

Download The Silver Jews – Secret Knowledge Of Back Roads mp3 (from Early Times)

Don’t forget to check all our previous monthly Best Of mixes in the sidebar too.

The Inner Flame: A Tribute To Rainer Ptacek

The Inner Flame: A Tribute To Rainer Ptacek.

Fire Records are reissuing the complete works of Rainer Ptacek, the much beloved slide guitarist from Tucson, Arizona, who originated Giant Sand’s sound from the band’s inception, as well as creating many remarkable recordings as a solo artist and with his own band, Das Combo, before succumbing to brain cancer on November 12 1997.

The reissues start with The Inner Flame, a compilation of accomplished and remarkably diverse artists who were brought together to honour Rainer’s inspirational work, featuring talents such as Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, Emmylou Harris, Evan Dando, PJ Harvey, Victoria Williams, Vic Chesnutt, Jonathan Richman, Madeleine Peyroux and of course Giant Sand.

Originally released in 1997, the album was conceived as both a tribute and benefit album, with the proceeds going towards Ptacek’s medical bills. Reissued now as a celebration of his remarkable life and extraordinary talent, extra tracks have been added by the likes of Lucinda Williams, Grandaddy, Chuck Prophet and John Wesley Harding.

Listen to Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino playing with Ptacek on the achingly gorgeous dusty Arizona blues and moan of Be Prepared, as elegant and moving as anything you’ll hear for a long, long time.

Released on June 26th, you can order the album from Fire Records here.

Download Rainer & Calexico – Be Prepared mp3 (from The Inner Flame: A Tribute To Rainer Ptacek)

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday (27th January)

Mrs Mackerel's TFI Friday (27th January).

Children: they really do f**k you about don’t they? In a week when our eldest sprat managed to eclipse his younger sister’s great show of academic prowess by making us all as miserable as sin, I think I should resign defeated. I blame the parents; he seems to. Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Most things in life that are worth something demand some sort of effort – sadly my darling son, that sort of self motivation is something that you have to find inside yourself.

Swimming against the tide this Friday.

Mrs Mackerel x

Download Calexico – Deep Down mp3 (from Garden Ruin)

Download The National – Ashamed Of The Story I Told mp3 (from Ciao My Shining Star – The Songs Of Mark Mulcahy)

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday (18th March)

It’s been a full on 90 mph week with barely even time to call my own Ma, and when I did it sounded very much like my wedding dress might end up out for the St John’s Ambulance linen collection. A little harsh for the dress – and me.  I was rather hoping that sprat daughter might wear it, should she decide to tie the knot, albeit as a mini, at the rate she’s growing. And of course she’d have to like dark red…

MM and I have also entered quiz fortnight (as hosts: my Debbie McGee to his Paul Daniels) with one down, just one more to go. Last year, Queen Vermin aka various witty names she wouldn’t understand, piqued in her psychotic capacity; let’s hope this year’s offering passes without incident, at least to me. Karma doesn’t touch this woman.

Still, I do have the Teenager (eldest sprat) to distract me and occasionally incense me as he continues to evolve. Into an entirely different creature – mostly delightful, I have to say; variously destructive in an unaware, oafish sort of way; but never boring or ordinary. And utterly adorable.

Wishing you a mellow weekend

Mrs Mackerel

In a strange aside to last Friday’s selections, Eric B & Rakim are now following our alter ego in the day job (and fundraising world) on Twitter. So I’ll be fully expecting Fergal Sharkey on Monday. Let’s state the bleeding obvious: Teenage Kicks by The Undertones.

And just because: Calexico’s Panic Open String from 2006’s Garden Ruin. Love it.

Download The Undertones – Teenage Kicks mp3 (from The Undertones)

Download Calexico – Panic Open String mp3 (from Garden Ruin)

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday

Today I ventured down to our local lido in the sunshine with the mackerel sprats for a birthday celebration, and boy, was it busy. I used to swim there in the silence of early summer mornings with a friend who emigrated to Colorado a few years back.

Farewells are always hard, particularly when you’re the one who’s staying put.  So this TFI Friday, I’m feeling a tad reflective and rather sentimental as another very fond friend has left these shores for the land of muesli, Toblerone and Heidi.  She will be much missed.

As TFI is all about the good old stuff, here’s the very first Calexico song that made me realise that John, Joey and I would enjoy a long and meaningful connection. Over Your Shoulder is from their second album, The Black Light, and is just about where I am today.

Enjoy the weekend – and the company of those you treasure most.

Mrs M

Download Calexico – Over Your Shoulder mp3 (from The Black Light)