Eight Songs You Should Have Heard This Week

Here is our regular gathering up of some of this week’s best new releases for you. Enjoy.

1. Daughn Gibson – Shatter You Through
2. Laura Marling – Strange
3. This Is The Kit – Silver John
4. Bully – I Remember
5. Tame Impala – Let It Happen
6. Adam Torres – Dusty Wing Spirit
7. Lower Dens – Ondine
8. Mikal Cronin – ii) Gold

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PS – Phil, I hope that’s better! ;-)

Nine Songs You Should Have Heard This Week

Here is our regular weekend feature highlighting the songs that you really should have made time to hear this week. Enjoy offerings from Laura Marling through to Thee Oh Sees by way of Vetiver and Joanna Gruesome amongst others, as well as the very welcome return of Holly Miranda.

1. Laura Marling – I Feel Your Love
2. Mexican Slang – Fever
3. Chastity Belt – Joke
4. Joanna Gruesome – Honestly Do Yr Worst
5. Tom Williams – Oh Boy
6. Vetiver – Loose Ends
7. Thee Oh Sees – Web
8. Creepoid – American Smile
9. Holly Miranda – All I Want Is To Be Your Girl

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Another New Laura Marling Track…False Hope

Laura Marling returns with her new album Short Movie which will be released through Virgin Records on the 23rd March – we’ve already posted the title track here.

The new album is a departure from previous releases, a freer and loser sound with a much bigger, electric feel. The latest track to be shared from it is False Hope.

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Best of the Year: Mrs Mackerel’s Top Twenty

Mrs M's Top 20 2014

Our penultimate offering comes in the shape of Mrs Mackerel’s favourite songs of 2014…

I think, being a fish of some advancing years now, I know what I like – but at least that ranges quite widely (she says, defiantly). As usual, though, I’m late to deadline, so without further pontification or procrastination, here are my favourite songs of 2014.

20. War On Drugs – Red Eyes

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19. Cate Le Bon – He’s Leaving

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18. Mark Lanegan Band – Sad Lover

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17. The Districts – Funeral Beds

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16. Simone Felice – Running Through My Head

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15. Wytches – Burn Out the Bruise

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14. Matt Kivel – Insignificance

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13. Smashing Pumpkins – Being Beige

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12. Water Liars – Swannanoa

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11. Shovels & Rope – Evil

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10. Dead Fingers – Twisted
Husband and wife duo, Dead Fingers, produce a finger-picking good sound here. It’s a hoedown with a twist that chases a thigh-slappingly quirky rhythm. Love it.

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9. The Vacant Lots – Mad Mary Jones
An infectious, upbeat intro to the Vacant Lots: guitar-led rock’n’roll with psychedelic undertones. I’m quite partial to a bit of pscyh-rock, as it goes. The lyrics are secondary but the driving foot-tapping rhythm means you’ll be humming this for the rest of the day.

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8. Royal Blood – Figure It Out
Play this loud – very loud, actually. And ramp up the bass while you’re at it. Led Zep meets The Darkness: just over three minutes of rock fest with a rousing finale of guitar versus drum duelling that builds and builds. Epic. My rock chick alter ego is sated.

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7. The Felice Brothers – Constituents
A move away from the usual rollicking, rootsy sound that’s trademark Felice Brothers. This weaves a slower, more brooding tempo with darker overtones: And all my constituents agree/I’ve been changed like a pebble in the sea/By the politics of time/But riddle me this: what happiness is mine?’

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6. Eels – Mistakes of My Youth
Sold to me on sentiment alone. Mistakes of my youth, of my 20s, of my 30s and so on: like a cat running at a closed cat flap, we are all stuck on repeat and yes, sometimes it really does hurt. A gentle melody that meanders through wistful moments of reflection, there’s nothing surprising or unusual in this Eels offering, but many could do worse than heed the quiet, cautionary wisdom of the gravel-voiced Mr Everett.

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5. Bombadil – Have Me
I’d forgotten all about this song until recently. One man, a piano and a cello: a sad, reflective, rather beautiful lament. You won’t be dancing in the kitchen, rather gazing out of the window. ‘You can’t have everything you want/Or even sometimes what you need/Even if you need it desperately.’

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4. Sharon Van Etten – Tarifa
Here’s my slow dance for this year, complete with saxophone, courtesy of the haunting vocals of Sharon Van Etten. Small moments captured like a photograph, a song about trying to hold onto a memory; lyrics filled with regret and longing. Everyone else/Hasn’t a chance, don’t fail me now/Open arms, rest.’ Aah.

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3. Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me?
You expressed explicitly your contempt for matrimony.’ Archie does not want to get married, but hey (hey), she does. I sense trouble brewing there. Jangly indie guitars and plenty of reverb, means that if you’re dancing, I’m most definitely asking. I had to be told twice, no less, that I would (of course) love Alvvays. Obviously, I hate it when other people are right, so I’m off to see them next month with Nightshift.

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1= Jamie T – Limits Lie
Five years away is a long time musically but he’s a complicated creature Mr Treays, and all the better for it. As with many of his songs, the music belies the lyrical weight and depth; life observed with pin-sharp accuracy: Who knows where your limit, where your limit lies/ you’re given, what you’re given and now the giver must die.’ Without question, my gig of the year (Alexandra Palace), and Carry On the Grudge, my album of the year.

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1= Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud
It’s a temporary fix/In case you don’t come down’ – and maybe it is. A lingering air of melancholy over a simple soaring musical arrangement, this is (in a way) the musical religion of Damien Jurado. All seeing, all knowing, quietly anthemic and ethereal. I played nothing but Brothers and Sister of the Eternal Son for at least the first six weeks of this year: endings and beginnings, beginnings and endings, sometimes you never know what you’re seeing.

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Special mentions:

School Run Anthem 2014:

The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice
Cos I’m high on Halloween candy again/And your lips are sweet as brandy.’ Yes, it’s absolutely true; I often operate in a sugar-induced trance, even while driving. This will be the last school run anthem (sniff), as primary school will be no more for my youngest after the summer. So we might as well go out on a high, with his favourite band, at their rambunctious best.

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Best Covers:

Phosphorescent – Tomorrow is a Long Time
Matthew Houck sings Bob Dylan: bellisimo.

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Low – I’m On Fire
I love Bruce Springsteen and I’ve been on fire a couple of times. Mainly because I used to wear hippy skirts, drink too much cider, and then light fragrant candles. It was a long time ago, but you know what they say about moths and flames.

Guilty Pleasure:

Lonelady – Groove It Out
Yeah, it’s disco – what of it?! I like dancing.

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And hello, hello; look who’s back…

Laura Marling – Short Movie

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Happy New Year, fishy friends.

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

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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.