As well as Insound’s latest free Vinyl News Mixtape, Noisetrade have put up four free brilliant label samplers from Anti Records, ATO, Frenchkiss and Nettwerk Music.
The Insound sampler includes within its 10 tracks, offerings from FIDLAR, Memory Tapes, Teen Mom, The Analog Girl, and The Joy Formidable.
The eight track Anti Records sampler features, amongst others, Calexico, Jason Lytle, The Coup and Sean Rowe.
The ATO sampler has tracks from many MM faves including Patterson Hood, Old Crow Medicine Show, Alabama Shakes, Alberta Cross and plenty more.
Frenchkiss are offering up 24 free tracks including Fidlar, The Guards, Fuck Buttons, Slow Animal, Tall Firs and plenty more.
Nettwerk Music’s offering includes Great Lake Swimmers, Family Of The Year, Young Liars, Current Swell and nine more.
Click here to get the Insound mix, but hurry it is only up for a limited time. Click here for the Anti Records sampler. Click here for the ATO sampler. Click here for the Frenchkiss sampler and click here for the Nettwerk music sampler.
Alternatively dip your toe in the water with a sample of our favourites from each one.
Our monthy round up of the best new tunes we’ve posted and a few brand new ones too. More than 30 tunes to set you up for the weekend. Enjoy.
Wooden Wand – Southern Colorado Song
Another brilliant example of our favourite, prolific troubadour’s storytelling prowess.
Download The Growl – With The Sharp End Of A Trowel mp3 (from Cleaver Lever EP)
Soaked in the authentic primal blues of the swamps with a twang of rockabilly, a haze of psychedelia and, at its heart, the pulsating, bloody roar of rock’n’roll.
The Shamefaced Sparrows – Ride That Seastorm
Like the Velvets fronted by Dick Dale, or the Beach Boys cage fighting with the Kinks these are crackling with surf-pop vintage – think cruising rain-slicked neon streets in 50s LA!
Download Angel Snow – Lie Awake mp3 (from Angel Snow)
Haunting, chilling vocals paired with melancholy lyrics create a gorgeous scenery for a listener’s travels.
Matthew Friedberger - Expectant Fathers – In for a Surprise VII. As if in the Car with the Kids (from Matricidal Sons Of Bitches) Inspired by the films of Poverty Row and his current city of residence, Paris – it makes for a potent combination.
Download Jenee Halstead - Rodeo Of Sadness mp3 (from Raised By Wolves)
Another fine example of her spooky, sparse approach that comes across as sounding like a slightly malevolent hybrid of Dolly Parton and PJ Harvey.
Download Skipping Girl Vinegar – You Can mp3 (from Keep Calm, Carry The Monkey)
More heartwarming hobo-pop, full of lyrical twists and sonic layers.
Download Kings Of Lowertown – Down Tobacco Road mp3 (from Kings of Lowertown EP)
Excellent primal blues chug.
Download King Of Spain – Green Eyes mp3 (from All I Did Was Tell Was Tell Them The Truth And They Thought It Was Hell)
Spacious indie rock with jaunty pop hooks.
Bromheads – Holding The Gun
Fizzes over with the energy of a can of Irn-Bru exploding full in your face. It is sharp and pithy, and fast and furious, and machetes its way into your brain like an earworm with a mouthful of razors.
Wintersleep – Martyr
Another prime example of their shimmering, pulsating indie rock.
MMOSS – Another Dream
Jangly organs, flutes and driving drums, unexpected arrangements, classic recording sounds and psychy harmonies.
Algernon Doll – Spiral Sounds
Lavish, intense and splendid, but underpinned with a creeping sense of anxiety and discontent.
Download Jason Lytle – Somewhere There’s A Someone mp3 (from Dept. Of Disappearance)
A track of wonderfully weary heartbreak and ennui from erstwhile Grandaddy frontman’s new album
Rural Ghosts – Eyes (from Eyes Single)
A little rawer, a little more powerful, but this is still Americana that overflows with haunting beauty.
Woollen Kits – Susannah (from Four Girls)
sweet, fuzzed-up pysch-garage.
Download Ending People – Beat Of My Heart mp3 (from Fill Your Lungs)
Catchy, hypnotic indie rock showcases new wave inspired sinewy guitar lines.
Hailer – Spooky Clams (from Another Way)
Calls to mind The Fall in its relentless rhythm, while the reverb swirls and drifts around the (frankly clearer) vocals.
Download Ty Segall – Femme Fatale mp3 (from The Velvet Underground & Nico by Castle Face and Friends) Maniacal take on Velvet Underground classic.
Download Fidlar featuring Kate Nash - AWWWKWAARRRDDD mp3 (from Fidlar)
Bizarre combo works a treat. Punk rock!
Download Outer Minds – Those Machines mp3 (from Behind The Mirror)
One hundred and fifty seconds of belligerence escaping with venomous joy from your speakers.
Download Deathbarrel - Merciless Winds mp3 (from Merciless Winds)
The sound of wrenches and motor oil, of Saturday night beers and truckstops, of longing and loss, of late evenings and aching muscles, of endless roads and shore leave, of the dreams of freedom that all and any working man feels deep in his soul.
Download Dr. Dog - Black Or Red mp3 (from Shame, Shame Deluxe Edition)
Scrappy yet hook-packed rock emboldened by a bare-bones aesthetic.
Download Lonesome Moses - Fisting With A Shark mp3 (from Lonesome Moses EP)
Outlaw country that celebrates unassuming heroes and heroines trying to navigate a world of booze, venereal disease, and Octoloans…
Download Dead Stars - Fractured mp3 (from Fractured)Removed at artist’s request.
Races along in a tumble of reverb, gruff vocals and a nagging guitar line that also puts us in mind of Silversun PickupsLazy Eye.
Juiceboxxx – Expressway To The Darkness
American heart of darkness anthem, like Suicide reinvented for the 21st century.
And to finish off we have a taste of Teen Mom’s effervescent fuzzed up pop from forthcoming EP Mean Tom (pre-order here), another stunning cover from Marissa Nadler – this time Daniel Johnston’sDevil Town and a new non-album track from psych-blues rockers The Buffalo Killers,Baptized is a down-and-dirty rocker that somehow melds heavy psych with gospel! Lastly we have the welcome return of Sleeping Bag’s bedroom indie-pop, addictively deadpan if you will, Walk Home comes from new limited edition EP Women Of Your Life (pre-order here).
The wonderful Dr. Dog are offering up a sampler EP via Noisetrade who had this to say about it…”Be The Void (Dr. Dog’s second release on Anti-Records) showcases the critically adored band’s renewed commitment to cultivating a stripped-down live sound. “This record comes from our pushing toward a rawer, more powerful, somewhat jittery competence,” explains guitarist-vocalist Scott McMicken. “We drew a lot of inspiration from soul music and the Rolling Stones and the Velvet Underground—music that’s got its roots in live expression rather than that studio-perfected sort of vibe.” While Be The Void bears the same style of scrappy yet hook-packed rock served up by Dr. Dog for more than a decade, the six-member outfit seems newly emboldened by its deepened devotion to a bare-bones aesthetic.”
Musically, the year is starting to really kick into gear now and February saw lots of top quality tunes hit the web. Here is our pick of the best of last month’s posts along with four brand, spanking new tracks for you to download, sample and treasure. All in all over thirty great songs in one great mix.
Download Hoots & Hellmouth – Why Would You Not Want To Go There? mp3 (from Salt)
Country rocker with a slow-burn intensity that builds in tandem with some expertly judged flourishes of piano and electric guitar.
Download Mirel Wagner – No Death mp3 (from Mirel Wagner)
World-weary, doom-laden, sparse and skeletal. Oh and stunning too.
Download Mark Lanegan – The Gravedigger’s Song (from Funeral Blues)
Brilliant electronica-style drum beat throughout, with the trademark ML growling vocal delivery.
Download Dr. Dog – That Old Black Hole mp3 (from Be The Void)
Classic vintage, ramshackle country rock from excellent new album.
Download Orpheum Bell – Poor Laetitia mp3 (from The Old Sisters’ Home)
Seductive, yet slightly mocking tale of a beautiful, but awkward girl with a haughty tango beat and muted trumpet.
Download Jesse Thomas – Fire mp3 (from War Dancer)
Raw, whiskey soaked folk.
Download The Pharmacy – Dig Your Grave mp3 (from Dig Your Grave)
As good an example of indie-pop-garage bliss as you’ll find.
Download Benjamin Shaw – Kick The Dog mp3 (from The Birds Chirp And The Sun Shines Single)
Idosyncratic, perverse folk ramblings.
Download The Chromatics – Into The Black mp3 (from Kill For Love)
Sublime chilled out cover of Neil Young’s classic.
Download Maps & Atlases – Winter mp3 (from Beware And Be Grateful)
Typically tight and dense, but still catchy indie-pop.
Download Shrouded Strangers – Featherbed mp3 (from Lost Forever)
Skuzzy slacker anthem - a glorious amalgam of surf guitars, krautrock rhythms and fuzzed up hillbilly stomp.
Download Moonface – Teary Eyes And Bloody Lips mp3 (from With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery)
A stormer – all buzzing guitars, massive keyboards and nailgun percussion.
Download Cheers Elephant – Doin’ It, Right mp3 (from Like Wind Blows Fire)
A sublime slice of upbeat sunshine pop that morphs into a brief kaleidoscopic freakout before settling back down again.
Download Black Mountain – Mary Lou mp3 (from Year Zero Original Soundtrack)
Almost eight minutes of perfect heavy riffage.
Download Wooden Sky – Malibu Rum mp3 (from Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun)
A beautifully paced folk ballad tinged at the edges with the faint wisp of melancholy – lovely.
Download Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams mp3 (from Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams)
A downtempo slow burn of barely picked electric guitar washes over sighed vocals that gradually swell to an appropriately lugubrious and mournful climax.
Download Colleen Green – Worship You mp3 (from Milo Goes To Compton)
Throbbing garagey guitars over a sweetly saccharine vocal.
Download Band In Heaven – Sleazy Dreams mp3 (from Sleazy Dreams 7″)
Visceral, pulsating industrial punk riffing of the very best kind.
Download Drifterswift – Rule Of Twelfths mp3 (from The Rule Of Twelfths EP)
Spacey dream pop, slightly fuzzy and a 100% bona fide ear worm.
Download Ray Wylie Hubbard – Drunken Poet’s Dream mp3 (from Daytrotter Session)
Sublime version of standout track from country outlaw’s last album.
Download Coke Weed – Magpie mp3 (from Nice Dreams)
Gently haunting and woozy-at-the-edges folk psychedelia.
Download Ceremony – Adult mp3 (from Zoo)
Loud, fast, uncompromising. This is searing punk rock.
And to finish off we have new tracks from These United States and their rambunctious melting pot of rock-and-roll, folk balladry, and outlaw country that went into taster track Dead And Gone as well as the psych rock influenced indie of Temporary from White Rabbits, one of the best things we’ve heard from them. Exitmusic have a new album scheduled and title track Passage is typically powerful and haunting with layered guitars and drums building to an extraordinary crescendo. Lastly it is the sonic guitar blast of Yellow Orchestra on their outstanding new track The Shakedown.
The Muse is the title of the free sampler from American Songwriter and the February mix is a stormer featuring amongst others Sharon Van Etten, Lambchop, Hacienda, Ani DiFranco and The Wrinkle Neck Mules.
Here are a couple of our own favourites from it, the wonderful Dr. Dog with an up-tempo taste of new album Be The Void in the shape of the brilliant That Old Black Hole and taken from Kathleen Edwards excellent Voyageur album we have Change The Sheets.
To grab the whole thing for the price of an e-mail address, just click here and follow the links.
Here at MM we share, chat, argue, bury and praise music on a pretty regular basis…like daily. So throughout the year, the Mackerel crew (Mrs Mackerel, Barry-Sean, Christy-Popper, Dr Roddy, Polly Pocket, Starbar, MM and others) keep their own ever-changing top tens ready for publication at the climax of the festive season.
So here are MM’s ten favourite tunes from 2010 – no claims on them being the best, but for many different reasons, these are the tracks that most struck a chord (no pun intended).
Always loved a good dose of black hearted, downbeat, gothic country and Red Clay River deliver in spades with this skeletal gem.
8 Strand Of Oaks – Alex Kona
“Alex Kona was 12 feet tall, his mother was killed by a bowling ball“, how could you not want to know the rest of the story? A standout track from a wonderful album of sparse fingerpicked folk and occasional psychedelic wigouts…Fast forward to track 5 below, or just stream the whole wonderful record.
This song steamed out of the traps like it had just been released from the punk heydey of 1977 – and there is no higher praise in my book. Turn up loud and abuse the neighbours – especially if they’re like some of ours. Wankers.
4 Blitzen Trapper – The Man Who Would Speak True
On a par with their classic Black River Killer – a wonderfully surreal and compelling story of murder, trains, truth and gardening. Exceptional.
My favourite new band discovery of the year. One after another they sent songs MM’s way and all could have been top ten contenders. In the end it was this majestically malevolent ode to a dysfunctional family life where nothing is at it seems, or as it should be, that won out.
A wonderfully poignant and nostalgic paean to a relative who is casting a knowing eye over his nephew’s mistakes and while he knows, he doesn’t tell. With lyrics that cut to the chase and tell a story that is as warm as it is personal. In a different day and age Wooden Wand would be a household name.
1 Black Mountain – Let Spirits Ride
Who cares if the riff is nicked from another song, or if it sounds like 1972. I don’t when it as good as this. Probably the one song in 2010 that I never ever skipped, that I always turned up to 11, and which, seen live at the End of the Road cemented its place as my number one.
So after much deliberation, head scratching, discussion, and more head scratching, we have MM’s favourite albums of 2010. And we choose our words very carefully here, because we would not presume them to be the best, only those that have given us the most pleasure and enjoyment, records that we have returned to again and again, and for whatever reason have captured a moment or special place in our hearts.
And while we have limited our selection to 25 albums there were many, many more that could have, and maybe should have, featured. But there that’s the beauty of music, entirely subjective and based on individual opinions not fact.
So without further ado, here are our 25 favourite albums of 2010.
25 Sharon Van Etten – Epic
Haunting, ethereal and stunning album from a modern day siren. Sad prairie folk music indeed.
The son of the peerless Steve Earle comes of age with a perfectly judged set of tales that in their honesty and unashamed frankness are worthy of Townes himself.
Listen to Harlem River Blues.
21 Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
With repeated listens the sheer power and passion of The Monitor becomes overwhelming. So what if it is a concept album about the American Civil War, its ambitious, rebellious, and rousing. Just play it loud!
Another perfectly judged record from the perfectly matched duo. Campbell’s lovely whispering tones offset by Mr Lanagan’s threatening growl.
Listen to Snake Song.
19 Lower Dens – Twin Hand Movement
An album of dreamy, unsettling rock melded with freak-folk to provide one of the year’s most unusual and most rewarding listens. At times it sounds like an evil Beach House and at others spare and caustic where hope is slowly, but firmly drowned in a swirling, atmospheric mix of twinkling guitars and alluring voices.
In the vein of the much lauded and genuinely good Tame Impala, Tweak Bird were louder, faster, and simply rocked harder. A superb mix of motorcycle rock riffs with dirty fingernail blues and even a hint of jazz. This was stoner rock for the 21st century and it was brilliant.
Indie rock with a country inflection, Delta Spirit packed History From Below full of dusty, rural Americana and bar room blues boogie. With the impassioned and distinctive voice of Matt Vasquez backed by a rumbling juggernaut of percussion and rhythms, the album was a welcome addition to the long tradition of classic American rock.
Indie gods manage to live up to, and then surpass the hype with The Suburbs, an album full of outstanding tracks that demand they be listened to as a whole – a proper music album.
Watch Ready To Start.
12 Band Of Horses – Infinite Arms
Despite some occasional iffy AOR moments, Infinite Arms was like the girl with the curl, and when it was good (which it mostly was), it was brilliant.
11 Black Keys – Brothers
Authentic blues duo cranked out their best yet and in tracks like Sinister Kid and Howlin’ For You added some more classic cuts to their catalogue.
Watch Tighten Up.
10 Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can
Showcasing her incredible natural talent despite such tender years, I Speak Because I Can truly marked Laura Marling out as a worthy heiress to Joni, Emmy Lou and the like. Darker, stronger, and more confident than her debut, she is surely poised for great things.
Watch Rambling Man.
9 Liars – Sisterworld
A brilliant collection of crushing guitars, machine gun percussion and soaring vocals that retained its experimental art-noise edge but became much more accessible and much more listenable – welcome to the big league time?
Listen to the superb Proud Evolution.
8 The National – High Violet
Overcoming the music blogger’s ‘big band’ prejudice with ease, High Violet was bigger, better and more affecting than anything the National have done to date.
Listen to Conversation 16.
7 Strand Of Oaks – Pope Killdragon
Having caught our attention with their wonderful Springsteen cover on Hear Ya, Strand of Oaks more than lived up to our expectations with Pope Killdragon. Sparse folk tunes mixed with occasional and abstract guitar wigouts and also showcased Tim Showalter’s ability to grab the attention with some of the best lyrical couplets of the year. Stand out track Alex Kona a case in point, starting “Alex Kona was twelve feet tall, his mother was killed by a bowling ball” – what’s not to like?
Spare, beautiful, mournful and melancholic, the fragile folk of Mathew Sawyer hid whiplash lyrics and biting black humour that revealed and revelled in a bittersweet world where daydreams and nightmares fought to the death for supremacy.
Backwards-looking it maybe, but that’s to miss the point of Black Mountain. This was an album bursting with rock riffs that were so good you thought they must have been invented in the classic age of rock, and in Let Spirits Ride, the band provided the headbanging anthem of the year.
Another wonderful record of rousing, country infused tunes. Each listen revealed more of its anthemic charms and spirited, rugged rock on an album full of top notch tunes from start to finish.
Watch Shadow People.
3 Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer Of The Void
A brilliant and worthy follow-up to the exceptional Furr, and in songs like The Man Who Would Speak True, Blitzen Trapper showed they had worthy successors to classics like Black River Killer and the like. Full of prog-folk, dusty rural ballads, sci-fi synths and more, Destroyer of the Void was a stunning record.
After the sublime To Willie tribute last year came the originals. From the loose, ramshackle rock of It’s Hard to Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama) to cowboy ballads, transcendental homages, and the climactic, Neil Young like, epic album closer L.A.
Despite Wither Thous Goest, Cretin only receiving an initially limited release, and despite it being overshadowed by the subsequent release of (the also excellent) The Death Seat on Michael Gira’s label, Wooden Wand delivered an album of stunning simplicity, in equal parts poignant, heartbreaking, and redemptive.
With lyrics that are the match of any songwriter we know (“He had just enough rope in his trunk to make her nervous”) allied to sparse, plucked folk on the one hand and footstomping barnyard rhythms on the other, there is not a wasted moment, nor a false step on the entire album.