Laura Marling – Born To Love & Colorado Girl

Here is a live version of an, as yet, unreleased song and a lovely Townes Van Zandt cover by Laura Marling. 

Both were recorded for US Radio station NPR’s eTown programme. Born To Love has featured regularly in her live sets over the past year or so and Colorado Girl is one of our favourite TVZ songs.

Watch both here.

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Mad Mackerel’s Favourite Albums Of 2013 (Part 2: 30 -11)

Here is the second instalment of our favourite albums of 2013, counting down from 30 to 11.

30 Nick Cave – Push The Sky Away

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29 Caitlin Rose – The Stand-In

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28 Coke Weed – Back To Soft

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27 Georgia’s Horse – Weather Codes

Georgia's Horse Release Weather Codes

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26 Alela Diane – About Farewell

MM Shorts 333: Alela Diane's New Album

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25 Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

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24 Quiet American – Wild Bill Jones

quiet american

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23 The National – Trouble Will Find Me

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22 Torres – Torres

MM Shorts 289: Torres

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21 Bill Callahan – Dream River

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20 Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt

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19 Wooden Wand & The World War IV – Wooden Wand & The World War IV

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18 Various Artists – Divided & United The Songs Of The Civil War

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17 Blitzen Trapper – VII

BLITZEN TRAPPER

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16 Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle

New Album From Laura Marling

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15 Mark Mulcahy – Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You

More From Mark Mulcahy

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14 Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin

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13 Cass McCombs – Big Wheel And Others

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12 Low – The Invisible Way

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11 Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere

New Album From Terry Malts

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See numbers 50 – 31 here.

Polly Pocket’s Top Songs Of 2013

Polly Pocket's Best Of 2013
As well as our Top 100 tunes of the year that we’ve posted over the past few days, each of the MM contributors have put together their own lists. The fourth instalment comes from Polly Pocket – thanks for putting them arse backwards Poll!

1 Junip – Line Of Fire
This has been in the top spot since the beginning of the year. Beautiful vocals courtesy of Jose Gonzalez, it all sounds so effortless whilst building up to that epic finish. Unfortunately, this song also reminds me of seeing Junip this Autumn where, having got Mr Gonzalez to sign my album I then proceeded to tell him that he and the band were ‘awesome’. He was a gentleman about it but it remains embarrassing.

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2 Cash Savage and The Last Drinks – Hypnotiser
Full of attitude and lots of swagger. This is definitely a Friday night cocktail favourite (goes particularly well with a Dirty Martini). If you don’t end up singing along with the gospel choir you are not listening to it right.

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3 Phosphorescent – Song For Zula
What an epic tune this is with its fine strings and heartbreaking lyrics to match. A timeless classic.

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4 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street
It has taken me longer to love Nick Cave than it should and I am sorry to those who have tried to show me the right path in the past. Thankfully I have learnt the error of my ways and it is Jubilee Street that helped me see the light. Storytelling at its best.

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5 Telekinesis – Ghosts and Creatures
There is something familiar and comforting about this indie tune. Love all that distortion and a beat that makes me want to dance, or at least sway a little in a kind of early 90’s way. Turn it up and you will feel uplifted.

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6 Agnes Obel – Fuel To Fire
This beautiful song stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it a couple of months ago. All a bit haunting and full of melancholy. The album is a treat but Fuel To Fire stands out at the front for me.  A great find for 2013. Lovely.

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7 Deptford Goth – Union
It’s the simplicity of this tune that first got me hooked.  Its also a song I would have been in love with as a teenager. It might be electro pop but there is a fair amount of misery and sorrow in there too so what’s not to love?

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8 HAIM – Falling
A last minute change around has put HAIM into the top ten, every time I hear this song I am reminded of just how good I think it is. Very polished, really well produced, love those harmonies and that retro feel. HAIM are like marmite. I like marmite.

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9  Tired Pony – All Things All At Once
Boasting quite a line up Tired Pony have got it all going on. All Things All At Once has a pure, unpolished feel to it, like they all just happened to be together and decided to start playing and recording and here it is. Country? Folk? Americana? Who knows. Whatever it is it sounds bloody good to me.

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10 Laura Marling – Devil’s Resting Place
I couldn’t have a top ten without Ms Marling featuring in it somewhere (23, how can she be just 23 and getting better with every album?).  I love the exotic, dark sound to this song. Once I Was An Eagle is a very fine album, if you don’t own it you should.

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11 Half Moon Run – Full Circle

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12 The Cave Singers – Canopy

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13 Gaz Coombes Presents – One Of These Days

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14 Barbarossa – The Load

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15 Cerny Brothers – Whiskey

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16 Pickwick featuring Sharon Van Etten – Lady Luck

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17 Jules Larson + AG  – Bend To The Break

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18 PHOX – Noble Heart

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19  Shadows At Play – Into The Sun

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20 Dim Peaks – Reason

Mrs Mackerel’s Top Songs of 2013

Mrs Mackerel's Top Songs of 2013

As well as our Top 100 tunes of the year that we’ve posted over the past few days, each of the MM contributors have put together their own lists. Today it is the turn of Mrs Mackerel.

20. Steve Mason – A Lot of Love
Love the piano on this song and the catchy, sing-a-long chorus – a guaranteed earworm if I had any (ears that is… being a fish, of course.) Steve Mason’s gentle vocals reflect on love lost and the hope of finding it again.

19. The Villagers – Nothing Arrived
I’m loving the piano this year and there’s a good bit of gutsy playing here. What were we hoping to get out of this boys? Nothing actually. People are so bloody disappointing aren’t they?

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 18.  Junip – Line of Fire
Sold to me in wistful and reflective mode; there’s more than a kernal of truth in these insightful lyrics: You realise it’s just a whim/And you notice it matters/Who and what you let under your skin.

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17. Sisters – Clearhead
Here are my shoes. See how I gaze at them. It says 2013 on the label, but I’ve gone back to the early 90s. Lovely.

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16. Foxygen – No Destruction
It’s the lazy, laconic drawl and the finger-clicking rhythm – just one hand if you’re me, as the other doesn’t seem to work – and the way you can sing along to ‘No destruct-shaan’ quite happily, even in modest company.

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15. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Wide Lovely Eyes
Oh clever, clever Nicholas Cave and his voice so hypnotic, deep and dark. You could imagine this as part of a recruitment drive to join a cult (yes you, with your wide lovely eyes). With a teasing yet subdued musical arrangement, this is the gospel according to St Nick.

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14. Head & the Heart – Shake
The bass drum kicks this one into action, then a little bit of clapping and the rest of the band follows. There’s a sweet change of tempo for the chorus: ‘And the memories we made will never be lost, no.’ Maybe not with the ink, pens, and prevailing wind and all that shaking.

13.  Arcade Fire – Reflektor
We are right in the mix here: a bit of dance therapy needed. Remember the hypnotic triangle of cooker/fridge/sink? Throw some shapes, make a curry, go knock yourself out; I didn’t want to dance, but they made me.

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12. Laura Marling – Devil’s Resting Place
There’s menace and a brooding darkness in this devil’s resting place as LM returns to the pared back sound of Alas I Cannot Swim.  But there are many layers to this music and her latest album has an intensity and intelligence that means she’s still my number one gal.

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11.  Jus Post Bellum – It’s a Shame
Cowboys! Gunfight! This is an upbeat folky number with a wicked drum backbeat that pulls it all together like a rolling canter. He’s a bad ‘un and it’s a shame.

10. Waxahatchee – Swan Dive
The rhythmic drumming and finger picking guitar counter balance Katie Crutchfield’s rich, husky vocal in this short, melancholic lament: you hold on to the past, you make yourself miserable/and I’m ruled by seasons and sadness that’s inexplicable. So there.

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9.   Shovels & Rope – Johnny 99
Yes, it’s a Bruce Springsteen cover, but quite frankly, so what? This is a damn fine tune and that’s one hell of a Marlboro red voice she’s got there. And did I mention the piano (again)?

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8.   Alela Diane – Colorado Blue
Sharply observed lyrics float over a gently strummed backdrop, this song is plumbed from the emotional depths of her divorce album. Might not get you in the Christmas spirit but is sure to bring a lump to your throat.

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7.   Night Beds – Even If We Try
It starts off acappela, and finishes somewhere around dawn. Yes, this is indeed a late night/wee small hours tune if ever there was one. Recorded Bon Iver-style in a self-built studio, this is an intimate song of longing and reflection:  As you watch the colours/Fleeting with the cover/Nature set on fire/Truth found in the mire. There’s space under my wing, Winston.

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6.   Water Liars – Linens
Pull up a chair, I wanna tell you a story about tormented man. To be honest, he’s too much trouble for me (cook your own bacon, change your own sheets boyo), but I like a good yarn and a telling verse: The mind is a place unto itself/ And in it makes a heaven of hell/And a hell of heaven. Quite.

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5.   Jesse Woods – Cold Blood
This one’s a bit of a swayer and despite the title, Cold Blood is lyrically beautiful and uplifting. You can drift into the rise and fall of the music and the harmonies – and, like the man says, we’ve got places to be and nothing to prove.

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4.   James Yorkston – Just As Scared
Every couple of years I seem to find the perfect smoky bar song. Here’s just such a tune: a cheek-to-cheek intimate duet that shuffles around the piano with a bluesy feel that gets my foot a-tapping. Now where’s your shoulder, let me very gently lay my head…

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3.  Wooden Wand – Southern Colorado Song
I could rename this Southern Devon song: late July, lying on the beach with the waves rushing into my ears.  Can you hear the cymbal tremor throughout this song? Nowhere seems the only place to go; aye, Captain.

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2.   Georgia’s Horse – Thistlebomb
Tales from the battlefield: an unusual, almost discordant arrangement with sublime vocals. If I was looking for an influence, maybe a hint of Kate Bush? Quite unique and utterly brilliant.

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1. Phosphorescent – Song for Zula
Matthew Houck’s ragged voice was not always to my taste. But time has altered us both and it’s his strong yet fragile vocals that stitch together Zula’s imagery, which cuts far and deep. Intensely poignant lyrics, sweeping strings, pulsing drum machine: it all weaves together to form an emotional testament to the end of a relationship. Ever had your heart broken? This is what it feels like.

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Special mentions:

School Anthem 2013

Woody Pines – Hobo and his Bride
What’s a five mile trip to school without a bit of crooning about a hobo? It’s just me and the littlest Sprat in the Minner now and it’s often a power struggle over the play list. Joe, you win: your sing-along to this is top banana.

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Best Covers:

Deep Red Sky – Kids

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Eddie Berman with Laura Marling – Dancing in the Dark

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Jessica Lea Mayfield – I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)

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Best gig:

Phosphorescent, Village Underground, London (15 May 2013)
Fab acoustics and great sound, and, of course, the warm-up for his Muchacho tour. For me, there was no finer album of 2013. Perfect.

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Wooden Wand – Winter in Kentucky
Most. Favourite. Song. Ever.

If I had to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

MAD MACKEREL’S TOP TRACKS OF 2013: 25 – 1

MM's Favourite Tracks Of 2013: 25 - 1

So this is it, the final countdown of our favourite tracks of 2013…

As voted for by MM luminaries: the luminous Mrs Mackerel (Mrs M), the newly teenaged Middle Sprat (MS), Marston’s Mr Big, Chris T Popper (CP), the criminally insane Dr. Roddy (Dr R), and patricide obsessive Polly Pocket (PP). A motley crew it is true, but all united by their love of a damn good tune.

So, here then are their final selections from 25 down to top spot.

25 Big Sun – Pants
Quirky, frothy and sardonic. Sung with tongues so far in cheeks it should have sounded funny. Instead we got idiosyncratic indie-pop genius.

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24 James Yorkston – Just As Scared
Every couple of years I seem to find the perfect smoky bar song. Here’s just such a tune: a cheek-to-cheek intimate duet that shuffles around the piano with a bluesy feel that gets my foot a-tapping. Now where’s your shoulder, let me very gently lay my head…(Mrs M)

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23 Martha’s Vineyard Ferries – Blonde On Blood
Like the best ever Fall single played at 78rpm. This is, of course, a very good thing indeed. (MM)

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22 I See Hawks In L.A. – One Drop Of Human Blood
Hypnotic, trippy, country rock par excellence.

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21 Augustines – Cruel City
Of course Augustines feature in my Top Ten again – how could they not? Their voices are my favourite of all. The music fits with the lyrics and their voices, and the whole of it captures the mood of the song perfectly! I can’t wait for to hear more songs by them! (MS)

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20 Cave Singers – Have To Pretend
What a groove this song has – it chugs away happily. Down the line the drums are pounded relentlessly, their only company is a bass line that seems to have the demeanour of a drunken Sunday afternoon. Pete Quirk’s voice is a wonderful accompaniment and his lackadaisical delivery of lyric, it’s as if it would kill him to pronounce any word properly. This just adds to the song’s swagger. (Dr R)

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19 Southerly – Desolation Low
Now I mean this in a good way, but I just love the damn ‘seriousness’ of this song. Serious without being shit that is. And for that Southerly must be congratulated and lauded. Instead we have a climatic build up and an epic finale that gave it a deserved top 3 status in my songs of the year. It just picks me up and carries me away no matter how many times I hear it. (CP)

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18 Cash Savage & The Last Drinks – Hypnotizer
Full of attitude and lots of swagger. This is definitely a Friday night cocktail favourite (goes particularly well with a Dirty Martini). If you don’t end up singing along with the gospel choir you are not listening to it right. (PP)

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17 Georgia’s Horse – Thistlebomb
Tales from the battlefield: an unusual, almost discordant arrangement with sublime vocals. If I was looking for an influence, maybe a hint of Kate Bush? Quite unique and utterly brilliant. (Mrs M)

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16 Nick Cave – Jubilee Street
It has taken me longer to love Nick Cave than it should and I am sorry to those who have tried to show me the right path in the past. Thankfully I have learnt the error of my ways and it is Jubilee Street that helped me see the light. Storytelling at its best. (PP)

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15 Phosphorescent – Ride On/Right On
While I might be at odds with my shoalmates, this track from Phosphorescent’s peerless Muchacho album was my tune of the year. A little bit of funky rhythm and a whole lot of country grit combined to make the most compelling and enduring song of 2013. (MM)

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14 Houndmouth – Casino
This song is my favourite of the year, only just though. It always has me awkwardly singing and bopping when I can! With the country twang in their voices and the electric guitar in the background, I can’t help but love this song. (MS)

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13 Wooden Wand – Southern Colorado Song
I could rename this Southern Devon song: late July, lying on the beach with the waves rushing into my ears.  Can you hear the cymbal tremor throughout this song? Nowhere seems the only place to go; aye, Captain. (Mrs M)

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12 Laura Marling – Devil’s Resting Place
There’s menace and a brooding darkness in this devil’s resting place as LM returns to the pared back sound of Alas I Cannot Swim.  But there are many layers to this music and her latest album has an intensity and intelligence that means she’s still my number one gal. (Mrs M)

I couldn’t have a top ten without Ms Marling featuring in it somewhere (23, how can she be just 23 and getting better with every album?).  I love the exotic, dark sound to this song. Once I Was An Eagle is a very fine album, if you don’t own it you should. (PP)

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11 Junip – Line Of Fire
Sold to me in wistful and reflective mode; there’s more than a kernel of truth in these insightful lyrics: You realise it’s just a whim/And you notice it matters/Who and what you let under your skin. (Mrs M)

This has been in the top spot since the beginning of the year. Beautiful vocals courtesy of Jose Gonzalez, it all sounds so effortless whilst building up to that epic finish. Unfortunately, this song also reminds me of seeing Junip this Autumn where, having got Mr Gonzalez to sign my album I then proceeded to tell him that he and the band were ‘awesome‘. He was a gentleman about it but it remains embarrassing. (PP)

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10 John Grant – GMF
This song was a real grower upon first hearing it I thought “Oh that’s alright”, then I carried on about my business. Then one day I properly listened. Any song that has the line “Half of the time I think I’m in some movie / I play the underdog of course / I wonder who they’ll get to play me, maybe / they could dig up Richard Burton’s corpse” is a winner in my book. This song really is a lyric driven tune – the melody underneath is a vehicle for some wonderfully arrogant word play but what would you expect from a song entitled GMF (Greatest Mother Fucker). (Dr R)

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9 Wild Child – Crazy Bird
Never whistle in songs goes the old adage, well tell that to Otis Redding and these guys, fuckos! This tune has a such a feelgood factor to it, it positively bristles with fun and bounce. The melancholy sound of the fiddle in the background gives it some real gravitas, so you can feel serious when you are whistling along to it. You know you will! (Dr R)

I love this song. The catchy, tuneful whistling and always get stuck in my head and the harmony in their voices when they sing together are my favourite factors of this song. This means that this song is placed at number two in my top ten. (MS)

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8 Jesse Woods – Cold Blood
This one’s a bit of a swayer and despite the title, Cold Blood is lyrically beautiful and uplifting. You can drift into the rise and fall of the music and the harmonies – and, like the man says, we’ve got places to be and nothing to prove. (Mrs M)

As traditional as the aching sadness of yet another year wasted Christmas always brings, there will undoubtedly be a latecomer to my top 10. Step forward Jesse Woods. I was listening to this song in the car when I first got the CD and when I finally heard to it on a ‘proper’ music system it blew me away. Woods has great timing to his delivery and an even better voice. It’s bloody magnificent. (CP)

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7 Water Liars – Linens
Pull up a chair, I wanna tell you a story about tormented man. To be honest, he’s too much trouble for me (cook your own bacon, change your own sheets boyo), but I like a good yarn and a telling verse: The mind is a place unto itself/ And in it makes a heaven of hell/And a hell of heaven. Quite. (Mrs M)

I don’t think I have the vocabulary to describe the beauty of this song, so I’m not going to try. If you know this song then you will know that at some point everyone has, or does, share this song’s wants, needs and ideology. If you don’t know the song, catch yourself some quiet time, a good whisky and indulge….. (Dr R)

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6 Terry Malts – I Was Not There
As my previous top 10’s bear out I do like a proper modern punk song. Terry Malts can do that. Heavy drums and a real hurry-up guitar combine to great effect. It’s an enjoyably unforgiving song.  And ‘I was not there’ are four words that have constantly come in useful throughout my own life. (CP)

To do simple, balls-to-the-floor, screw-you punk rock this brilliantly well takes real talent. Terry Malts have it. (MM)

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5 Burning Hell – Grown Ups
An instant hit. From the very start Grown Ups is a treat, with the most arresting opening lyric I’ve heard for some time. Guitar meanders along as the tale unfolds about nostalgia and the joy of hanging around graveyards being ‘little goth idiots’. I had a goth stage in my teens – trench coat, skinny black jeans, miserable outlook and an utterly appalling haircut. The quintessential goth you might say and a really great effort from me. (CP)

You were a Nazi hunter / I was a cockney punter” sings Mathias Kom. After hearing that opening line I thought, “Hello, that’s different, that’s got my attention”. A wonderful singalong track that has the sound of a heavily stoned grunge record. I still feel guilty that it isn’t higher in my list. (Dr R)

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4 T. Hardy Morris – OK Corral
Sad, sad songs eh? Love ‘em myself and T. Hardy Morris delivers a tour de force with OK Corral. You can’t help it as you’re dragged in to the drowsy chorus and it’s tangible sense of sorrow. It’s also another song from this year with a great opening line, “Swear me in / I’m pretty good at making promises“…(CP)

The sound of a ghost town set to song. (MM)

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3 Foxygen – No Destruction
It’s the lazy, laconic drawl and the finger-clicking rhythm – just one hand if you’re me, as the other doesn’t seem to work – and the way you can sing along to ‘No destruct-shaan’ quite happily, even in modest company. (Mrs M)

This was pretty much nailed on. With the opening line of “I’m sending you this photograph / Of me in my new car“, I had already signed up on the Foxygen dotted line and was awaiting further instruction. A subversive laid back and slightly peculiar song. Kept me thinking all year, as I never knew where I really had it. (CP)

We may have lost Lou Reed this year, but his spirit lives on in No Destruction, a natural pretender to his throne, and this song has the best use of “weaseled” in any song we’ve heard. (MM)

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2 Low – Plastic Cup
I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like this song after the very first listen. I think Low may have cracked it. There’s a dreamy kind of stillness to it and a perfect example of the genius of simplicity. It never tries too hard because it doesn’t need to. (CP)

One of those few songs that feels like it could have been written any time in the past 40 years. Timeless is over-used, but this really is that good. (MM)

From the first listen this song has been a real contender. Lyrically a tour de force, witty, poignant, accompanied by some beautiful harmonies and a vast yet warm soundscape. I love the song’s theme of having to piss into a plastic cup then it being dug up In a thousand years and heralded as the cup the king drank from every night. It is the kind of faux pas that wouldn’t look out of place in a Python sketch. A truly wondrous piece of work that has welded itself to my brain and is having a sit-in. (Dr R)

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1 PHOSPHORESCENT – SONG FOR ZULA
Matthew Houck
Matthew Houck’s ragged voice was not always to my taste. But time has altered us both and it’s his strong yet fragile vocals that stitch together Zula’s imagery, which cuts far and deep. Intensely poignant lyrics, sweeping strings, pulsing drum machine: it all weaves together to form an emotional testament to the end of a relationship. Ever had your heart broken? This is what it feels like. (Mrs M) 

In a recent interview Matthew Houck talked about Song For Zula and how he felt he had achieved something with the song that he thought was beyond his ability. An almost unconscious level of quality he hadn’t perceived was there. I know exactly what he means… apart from never having achieved anything to my ability or beyond it. But I can imagine, so I won’t let it hold me back. Just the best song I’ve heard in ages. (CP)

What an epic tune this is with its fine strings and heartbreaking lyrics to match. A timeless classic. (PP)

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Check out the rest of our top 100 here: 100 – 76, 75 – 51, 50 – 26.

MAD MACKEREL’S TOP TRACKS OF 2013: 50 – 26

MM's Best of 2013 - 50 - 26

Part three of our favourite 100 tracks of 2013. Today we’re counting down from 50 – 26.

50 Hanni El Khatib – Nobody Move
In Hanni El Khatib’s biog on Wikipedia he says that his “…music is for anyone who has ever been shot or hit by a train“. I think that this is a good way to describe this tune as it hits you flat out, ballsy, raw and aggressive in its lunge for your ears. Cracking bit of uptempo rock with a good nod at 70s punk. (Dr R)

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49 Vandaveer – Omie Wise
From Vandaveer’s outstanding reinterpreting of traditional murder ballads came the tale of the particularly nasty Omie Wise. He gets his comeuppance in the end.

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48 Waxahatchee – Swan Dive
The rhythmic drumming and finger picking guitar counter balance Katie Crutchfield’s rich, husky vocal in this short, melancholic lament: you hold on to the past, you make yourself miserable/and I’m ruled by seasons and sadness that’s inexplicable. So there. (MM)

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47 Public Broadcasting Service – Signal 30
Brilliant and mesmerising combination of high octane guitar riffage, retro public information film samples and electro beats. (MM)

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46 Tired Pony – All Things All At Once
Boasting quite a line up Tired Pony have got it all going on. All Things At Once has a pure, unpolished feel to it, like they all just happened to be together and decided to start playing and recording and here it is. Country? Folk? Americana? Who knows. Whatever it is, it sounds bloody good to me. (PP)

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45 Caroline Rose – Six Foot Woman
You don’t get more honky tonk than Caroline Rose’s self-effacing tale of the mighty six foot woman. Sounds like it was dug up in a 1970s Tennessee roadshack.

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44 Parquet Courts – You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now
Stoned and Starving would have been our song of the year, but for its minor self-release in 2012. No matter scrappy, swaggering, nihilistic NY punks Parquet Courts gave us this gem instead. A highlight of their performance at the Green Man festival and our undoubted gig of the year. (MM).

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43 Jus Post Bellum – It’s A Shame
Cowboys! Gunfight! This is an upbeat folky number with a wicked drum backbeat that pulls it all together like a rolling canter. He’s a bad ‘un and it’s a shame. (Mrs M)

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42 Haim – Falling
A last minute change around has put Haim into my Top Ten for the year. Every time I hear this song I am reminded of just how good I think it is. Very polished, really well produced, love those harmonies and that retro feel. Haim are like marmite. I like marmite. (PP)

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41 Drenge – Backwaters
I love this powerful two piece out of Derby. Sort of Henrys Funeral Shoe meets The Smiths. I have always been a sucker for this sort of sound – you’re just towed away on the riptide of noise. This is the kind of song you turn up to eleven when people are in the middle of talking to you about some inane shit. (Dr R)

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40 Alela Diane – Colorado Blue
Sharply observed lyrics float over a gently strummed backdrop, this song is plumbed from the emotional depths of her divorce album. Might not get you in the Christmas spirit but is sure to bring a lump to your throat. (Mrs M)

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39 Willie Nile – Life On Bleecker Street
Second entry for Mr Nile and another evocative ear worm, this time the observations on life on a certain street in Manhattan that was once a major center for American bohemia.

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38 Deptford Goth – Union
It’s the simplicity of this tune that first got me hooked. It’s also a song I would have been in love with as a teenager. It might be electro pop but there is a fair amount of misery and sorrow in there too, so what’s not to love? (PP)

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37 Wooden Shjips – Everybody Knows
Channeling Neil Young by way of Hawkwind, Wooden Shjips gave us this hypnotically evocative and brilliant slab of psych rock on latest album Back To Land (MM).

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36 Night Beds – Even If We Try
It starts off acappela, and finishes somewhere around dawn. Yes, this is indeed a late night/wee small hours tune if ever there was one. Recorded Bon Iver-style in a self-built studio, this is an intimate song of longing and reflection:  As you watch the colours/Fleeting with the cover/Nature set on fire/Truth found in the mire. There’s space under my wing, Winston.

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35 Shovels & Rope – Johnny 99
Yes, it’s a Bruce Springsteen cover, but quite frankly, so what? This is a damn fine tune and that’s one hell of a Marlboro red voice she’s got there. And did I mention the piano (again)? (Mrs M)

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34 Water Liars – Fake Heat
I kind of loved this song despite trying not to if you know what I mean? In the end I gave in gracefully (which wasn’t difficult, there’s a fair bit of imploring in this one) as the heart should always overrule the brain when it comes to music. It does have an undeniable glory to it as well though which can’t help stirring even this most cynical of souls. (CP)

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33 King Krule – Easy Easy
My friend bought me the King Krule album for my birthday this year. It was an inspired choice that lived in the CD tray for some weeks, I think they had started to bound molecularly. A gruff and untempered voice guides you through a cultural landscape that sounds empty and barren, all emphasised by the production on the lonely guitar that accompanies King Krule’s lament. (Dr R)

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32 Agnes Obel – Fuel To Fire
This beautiful song stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it a couple of months ago. All a bit haunting and full of melancholy. The album is a treat but Fuel To Fire stands out at the front for me. A great find for 2013. Lovely. (PP)

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31 Laura Marling – Master Hunter
A raging calm of Dylan referencing vitriol set to a rollicking backdrop.

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30 Telekinesis – Ghosts And Creatures
There is something familiar and comforting about this indie tune. Love all that distortion and a beat that makes me want to dance, or at least sway a little in a kind of early 90s way. Turn it up and you will feel uplifted. (PP)

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29 The River Has Many Voices – If You Gotta Go (Go With Me)
Poetically beautiful song of love, loss, sorrow and melancholy. 

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28 Big Haunt – Burn Me Up
We received an e-mail. It said, “We are a Portland, Oregon band called Big Haunt. We play spooky, gospel infused big beat indy folk. This is our first single, “Burn Me Up.”  It’s a song about ritualistic fire sacrifice and murder. We thought you might like it.“ We did. We liked it very much. (MM)

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27 Savages – She Will
Highlight from their Mercury Prize nominated album Silence Yourself. She Will is a peerless combination of icy post-punk cool and brutal hardcore.

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26 Thee Oh Sees – Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster
With a opening sound filthier than a night out with Jimmy Saville, this track has been a staunch favourite since my first listen. The bass line and guitar riff are simple, but massively addictive and unwavering in ferocity as the song crescendos during the chorus. It is the one song this year that, whenever anyone hears it for the first time, they sit there quiet then at the end, without fail say “That was awesome. Who was that?” (Dr R)

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Why not check out our picks for 100 – 76, and 75 – 51 too.

Mad Mackerel The Last Five Years – Polly Pocket Picks Her Favourites

MM The Last Five Years - Polly Pocket

Believe it or not, Mad Mackerel has been around for more than five years now. During that time we’ve posted more than 4,000 times, and offered more than 5,000 songs for your listening pleasure. And more than three quarters of a million people have paid MM a visit during our lifetime on Google’s (godawful) blogspot and since April 2010 on WordPress.

We asked some of the regular MM contributors to give us their top twenty songs since MM first went live and we’re also going to give you one big mega-listing shortly, first up was Dr Roddy, then Chris T Popper and now we have the choices of the fragrant, but often blasphemous Polly Pocket.

20) Ben Howard – Old Pine

Download Ben Howard – Old Pine mp3

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19) Barr Brothers – Beggar In The Morning

Download The Barr Brothers – Beggar In The Morning mp3

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18) One Eskimo – Hometime

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17) Annie Williams – Roll On Hills

Download Annie Williams – Roll On Hills mp3

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16) Dead Weather – I Cut Like A Buffalo

Download The Dead Weather – I Cut Like A Buffalo mp3

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15) The Cave Singers – Swim Club

Download The Cave Singers – Swim Club mp3

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14) The Low Anthem – To Ohio

Download The Low Anthem – To Ohio mp3

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13) First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

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12) The Tallest Man On Earth – I Won’t Be Found

Download The Tallest Man On Earth – I Won’t Be Found (Daytrotter Session) mp3

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11) Alt-J – Taro

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10) Emiliana Torrini – Jungle Drum
Never fails to put a smile on my face and a spring in my step. It really does capture that feeling when you fall utterly head over heels and there is nothing to be done about it.

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9) Laura Marling – Sophia
I love that this song seems to have two such distinct parts to it but they work so beautifully together. Such an incredible voice. Laura can do no wrong in my eyes.

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8) Bon Iver – Blood Bank
A timeless beauty, much loved since 2009. So far it has proved impossible to listen to without singing the end part of the song ‘I know it well’ for hours afterwards.

Download Bon Iver – Blood Bank mp3

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7) Junip – Line Of Fire
A 2013 tune and already Line of Fire is a song I’d rather not live without. I love Jose Gonzalez’ effortless vocals. Utterly emotional, a bit bleak in places and all consuming. It has a cracking (and very odd) video to go with it too.

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6) Shearwater – You As You Were
A lovely discovery for 2012. This song just gets bigger and bigger until you realise you are no longer singing along but shouting like a crazy person!

Download Shearwater – You As You Were mp3

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5) Blitzen Trapper – The Man Who Would Speak True
If you like a song to tell you a tale then this is the one for you. It will also make you want to learn to play the harmonica.

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4) A.A. Bondy – The Twist
From 2011’s top ten, a beautiful track. Very dark and brooding, like a lovely storm overhead. No idea what it’s all about but it feels most profound.

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3) We Are Augustines – Chapel Song
It was my number 1 from 2012 and it certainly deserves its place here. Is it the voice or the lyrics that are most heartbreaking? Always a stand still and listen to all the way through tune.

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2) Willy Mason – What Is This
Timeless, effortless and to my mind perfect. I have yet to find a time or a situation where this tune doesn’t fit the bill.  That pretty much sums up the entire album for me, Carry On is a masterpiece.

Watch it here.

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1) The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight
I remember the car journey when I first heard this song – it was a bit of a mind blower and hearing it live the next year cemented it as a firm favourite. The moment the strings start you know its going to be epic and it never disappoints.

Download The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight mp3

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Three much loved discoveries:

A.A Bondy
You know an artist is that good when you kick yourself for not having found them sooner – I could have been listening to ‘When The Devil’s Loose’ since 2009 but only came to it in 2011 having fallen in love with ‘Believers’.

The Tallest Man On Earth
There is a real honesty to Kristian Matsson’s songs, I think that is what I love best. He has an incredible voice and writes songs you just can’t help but sing a long to. Always a treat.

Laura Marling
An unbelievable talent. I was privileged enough to have heard Laura Marling sing in Gloucester Cathedral in 2011 – a very fitting venue for the purest of voices. If she is this good now, what will she be like in years to come? I look forward to finding out.

Wednesday Means Eight Of The Best

Tuesday Means Eight of the Best!

Its been a good while since we’ve put up one of these type of posts, but a plethora of top notch releases meant it demanded to be temporarily resurrected!

So without further ado we have another taste of Laura Marling’s much anticipated new album in the shape of Once, and another taste from the rather weirder folk songstress Amanda Jo Williams and Holster, The Gun It Hangs In There, which is taken from her new album You’re The Father Of My Songs.

Cass McCombs will release a split single with Michael Hurley in the summer and his offering is the cheery shuffle of Three Men Sitting On A Hollow Log. Elsewhere, New Zealand band Surf City’s forthcoming album We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This continues their love affair with psychedelic, reverb-swathed guitar pop, drawing from their Flying Nun forefathers The Clean and The Chills, as well as the fuzzed-up dream pop of The Jesus and Mary Chain and the loopy noise of Animal Collective. Have a listen to It’s A Common Life.

Brendan Benson has a new single out titled Swallow You Whole, which is an infectiously jaunty piano led slice of indie rock and by contrast a slow burning, semi-intimidating cover of TLC’s  No Scrubs by Scout Niblett is a gem right out of left field – it comes from her critically acclaimed new album It’s Up To Emma.

Next, turn up the volume for another taste of White Mystery’s high octane garage-punk blues with their new single Telepathic from recent album of the same name, and finally we have the insouciant indie of Smith Westerns new single 3AM Spiritual which comes with a free, lightly sprinkled tinge of 60s psychedelia.


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Another Taste From Laura Marling’s Once I Was An Eagle

More From Laura Marling

We have already posted Where Can I Go? the first offering from Laura Marling’s forthcoming album Once I Was An Eagle (out 27th May).

The album is picking up uniformly good reviews and sounds like it may well be her best yet. This second taste from it is the altogether more insistent and threatening Master Hunter, which comes across as equal parts angry and frustrated, and is one of our new favourite LM tracks.

Listen below.

New Album From Laura Marling

New Album From Laura Marling

It is hard to know what to say about Laura Marling without falling back into cliche at the earliest opportunity. As a songwriter, hers is seemingly a very old head on young shoulders as she effortlessly is able to create whole albums of extraordinary material that would be the pinnacle of many other’s careers – and then she goes and does it again, and again.

With three full length albums already to her name, suffice to say then she is undoubtedly one of the very best singer-songwriters these shores has produced for a very long time and she releases a new album Once I Was An Eagle at the end of May.

And on the evidence of the beautiful Where Can I Go?, all we can say is that the quality doesn’t appear to have diminished one little bit. Unbelievably she might be getting even better still.