Polly Pocket’s Top Songs Of 2012

MM's Top Songs Of 2012: Polly Pocket

As well as our Top 100 tunes of the year posts over the past five days, each of the MM contributors have put together their own lists. Kicking us off is Polly Pocket

This has been the hardest year ever to pick the best of – it has been a cracking year for top tunes but here goes…..

30. Sinead O’Connor – The Wolf Is Getting Married

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29. Two Gallants – Broken Eyes

28. Tame Impala – Elephant

27. Sera Cahoone – Deer Creek Canyon

Download Sera Cahoone – Deer Creek Canyon mp3

26. Sun Kil Moon – The Bird Has A Broken Wing

Download Sun Kil Moon - That Bird Has A Broken Wing mp3

25. The Dandy Warhols – Sad Vacation

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24. Rachel Sermanni – The Fog

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23. Matthew Perryman Jones – Land of the Living

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22. Fort Atlantic – No One Will Know

Download Fort Atlantic – No One Will Know mp3

21. Dubious Ranger – 1999

Download Dubious Ranger – 1999 mp3

20. The Wilderness of Manitoba – The Ark

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19. Zachary Cale, Mighty Moon and Ethan Schmid – Love In Vain

Download Zachary Cale, Mighty Moon and Ethan Schmid – Love In Vain mp3

18. Shovels & Rope – Birmingham

17. Strand Of Oaks – Little Wishes

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16. Ben Howard – Oats In The Water

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15. Mumford and Sons – I Will Wait

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14. Magic Arm – Put Your Colour Up

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13. Trampled By Turtles – Keys To Paradise

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12. Field Report – I Am Not Waiting Anymore

11. Grassfight – Nassau

10. Wild Nothing – Paradise
Well, this is way more retro electro pop than I was anticipating having in my top ten, but damn it, I just like it. Whenever I hear it I feel I have gone back about 20 years, sitting round the edge of a village hall hoping not to dance. I never thought it would end up at number ten, but I admire it for doing so.

9. Houndmouth – Penitentiary
Just when I thought I might have found a tune before MM I was of course put right, but I was happy to share my love of Penitentiary nonetheless. Its an old fashioned, whiskey drinking, tobacco chewing kind of a song, and its a song sung well.

8. Angel Snow – Lie Awake
This was a late arrival into my top ten and I am thrilled to have it here. Those beautiful haunting vocals stay with you long after listening – its a sad story perfectly told and I love it. Not the happiest song in my top ten but certainly one of the most beautiful.

7. Tom Williams and The Boat – Too Young
For me, this tune has all the energy of being young with the class of being a little older! I have loved it for months and it does what a good song should – makes you smile, makes you get up and dance or certainly tap a foot. Lovely guitars and violins, with nice gentle vocals – great stuff.

6. The Tallest Man On Earth – Wind And Walls
Why this song? I guess it just makes me happy. When Kristian Matsson starts to sing, its hard not to smile, such a powerful voice. There is no place to hide with this tune – just a guitar, some words and a man telling a story. Nothing wrong with that combination in my mind.

5. First Aid Kit – The Lions Roar
This has been in with the best since the beginning of the year, and rightfully so. Brilliant vocals – all pure and clean and I still marvel at the number of words you can get into one sentence and still sound melodic. Certainly one of the best of the year.

4. Shearwater – You As You Were
I only found Shearwater this year, and what a lovely band to find. Animal Joy is a very fine album and to me, You As You Were is the stand out track. It a massive song, full of energy from start to finish. I kind of wish I’d had this song with me a decade or so ago, it would have suited me down to the ground.

3. Emil Friis – Sand In Your Eyes
A very elegant tune, a quiet beginning and then the dark and brooding piano arrives slowly building before the lyrics kick in. It feels like it should be the soundtrack to a very brilliant film (is it?) Any how, it’s worth several listens, especially with a glass of wine or a cocktail or two.

2. Alt-J – Taro
It was a hard to know which track to pick from (in my humble opinion) the album of the year, An Awesome Wave. In any given situation this song always sounds perfect. I understand none of it but love all of it, particularly the instrumental twiddly middle which always takes me to far away lands, even when stuck on the M4. This song, like much of the album creates something brilliant.

1. We Are Augustines – Chapel Song
This song certainly stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it earlier in the year and continues to do so – always something new to ponder over in those heartbreaking lyrics. Thankfully I am normally left feeling more upbeat than melancholy but its a close call. This has held the no.1 spot for many months now, and rightly so. A song of genius

You can find downloads, streams, or videos for all the other tracks above by checking out MM’s Top 100 tunes here: 100 – 81, 80 – 61, 60 – 41, 40 – 21 and 20 – 1.

Joe’s Birthday Mix

One of the advantages of having a blog like this is being able to make up the rules as you go along, and today that means giving the limelight to our youngest Joe, who reaches the ripe old age of seven today. Now, we are all guilty of bias and of nepotism at times (and this is one of them), but I think you’d be hard pressed to find another seven year old with music tastes as good as his. From age five he chose to go to sleep to the soothing strains of Mclusky loudly singing along, “My dad’s better than your dad” and playing air guitar, and we know with each mix CD we put in the car that he will soon be making selections from the back, “can we have number three then number seven” before creating his own mix CDs for his room.

He has a brilliant ear for a riff, a rhythm and a melody, and picks out lyrics with the best of them. Best of all his choices are all his own – independently reached and determinedly defended.

And for those that are interested, his current ‘hot picks’ are the outstanding Honda Civic from the new Felice Brothers album and the gentle acoustics of Wire from Alessi’s Ark’s Time Travel album.

So, here we have twelve personally hand picked tracks from the coolest seven year old we know. From rockabilly twang to visceral punk to woozy pop and protest folk, he loves it all. And we love him. Way to go Joe!

Download The Magnetic Fields – Drive On Driver mp3 (from Distortion)

Download The Range Rats – Colt 44 mp3

Download Port O’Brien – My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) mp3 (Ramones cover)

Download Joe Pug – Hymn 35 mp3 (from Nation of Heat EP)

Download The Sheepdogs – I Don’t Know mp3 (from Learn & Burn)

Download Mumford & Sons – Unfinished Business mp3 (White Lies cover)

Download Grass House – A Cockroach mp3 (from Plough More Sky EP)

Download Jones Street Station – The Understanding mp3

Download Mclusky – To Hell With Good Intentions mp3 (from Mclusky Do Dallas)

Download Pancake Breakfast – The Ballad Of Maynard Noe mp3 (from Pancake Breakfast)

Download Katherine Hepburn’s Voice – Out Like This mp3 (from Unlimited Nights & Weekends EP)

Download The Felice Brothers – Run Chicken Run mp3 (from Yonder Is The Clock)

Mad Mackerel’s 2010 Top Ten Series: No 8, Mrs Mackerel

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 last, but very much not least, is the lovely (though flu-stricken) Mrs Mackerel and her choices for 2010.

We all sweat a little over our top tens and I don’t know why really. This is just what I think, you will undoubtedly think a little different. But I’ve always found my fellow top ten contributors a great source of new sounds that maybe I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen myself. And if you find one song you like that you didn’t know before, then job done really. So to all the musicians that kindly let us post their wares, a heartfelt thank you – here’s to the next 12 months.

10. Kurran & The Wolfnotes – Your Four Limbs (Download here)

Sunny upbeat music with a beautiful harmonies, juxtaposed with a rather a dark message. A masochistic love of complete surrender; one-sided blind devotion and infatuation. It doesn’t end well.

9. Adam Green – What Makes Him Act So Bad  (Download here)

Appeals to the latent rock chick in me: she may lie sleeping, but she’s still in there. The laconic, growling delivery of the lyrics makes this tune twist and dip. Late night smoky bar sort of song, bit of a hip swayer over a cocktail or two. “I know you’re a wonderful dancer” – why thank you, Adam, I expect I’m the one with the answers too.

8. Lykke Li – Get Some  (Download here)

A proper bit of girl power in the form of a punchy, irrepressible foot-stomping beat. It’s not one to get your daughters to sing along to, but I love the rhythmic no-messing attitude of this song. It’s not often you hear such a drum/percussion-dominated track but this only means it beds into your mental song library very easily. And unlike with say, Two Little Boys (sorry Rolf), you don’t end up irritating yourself.

7. Two Wounded Birds – Night Patrol  (Download here)

A sleazy, sultry mix which tips a nod to Chris Isaacs and maybe even the Raveonettes too; the drums sound like a heartbeat, the guitars borrow a little from Hank Marvin. This song belongs to a different era, where women had beehives and men wore hats and chain-smoked. Just fabulous.

6.  Tallest Man On Earth – King Of Spain  (Download here)

Off we gallop at a rollicking pace before yep, here he comes, the Tallest Man on Earth, this time masquerading as the King of Spain. He has a unique and idiosyncratic voice that truly sets him apart from many of his contemporaries, and my great musical regret of 2009 is that MM and I were unable to make his London gig in last autumn.

5. The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

Oh I do like a man with a voice as deep as the night. Matt Berninger’s unmistakeable baritone cuts through this lament, with the drums bringing up the rear. Hypnotic offering from a band that have been waiting in the wings for some much deserved recognition from the wider world.

4. Haunted Windchimes – Sea Bride  (Visit their website here. We can’t post the song or find a stream or a video…but you can listen via spotify here)

I loathe wind-chimes. Pointless instruments of aural torture. But once I got past the name, well this is a finger-pickin’ good tune. One of my outstanding films of 2010 was Winter’s Bone and there’s a scene in it where a hill-billy Nan and her mates are sat round in what looks like someone’s front room/bar. What they make is real music for the soul. I could imagine the Haunted Windchimes pulling up a chair and being right at home – and I mean this musically, not in an in-bred, gun-toting sort of way (she adds hastily).

3. Stornoway – I Saw You Blink

To me this is our MM summer of 2010 song: it’s sunshine and dreaminess and love. There’s self doubt and possibly even a Shelley-esque metaphor used (eyes being the window of the soul and all that). All sung to a back-drop of retro, up-tempo, carefully layered music. He’s in love, distracted, missed his train, and constantly wondering what she’s thinking. Dammit, Lucy, he needs to know – are you one he’s been waiting for so, so long? I’m rather glad I’m not 20-something any more …

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2. Laura Marling – What He Wrote

What she writes, what she sings, what she plays is incomparable to any of her peers. But age sometimes belies wisdom. I struggled to choose from the riches of her second album, but this wins over Goodbye England by a smidge, simply because I prefer the latter in its unaccompanied arrangement. Here we have a piece of Greek mythology entwined with some war time letters; cause and effect; love and loss. “I am broken too and spoken for, do not tempt me.” A talent of rare and precious mettle.

1.Avalanche City – Ends In The Ocean  (Download here)

This snuck up when I wasn’t looking: the more I listened, the more I liked it. Kiwi Dave Baxter is Avalanche City; he taught himself to sing, plays all the instruments (apart from the drums) on this track, and recorded his debut album, solo, armed with a week’s supply of veggie curry. I like that in a person. And the song? It’s about losing yourself, and finding yourself again. It’s uplifting and positive and life-affirming – and it has a goodness that radiates through my very skin. “But now all that I see is life breaking free, so long captivity for me.” Not a bad way to end the year.

This year’s honourable mention goes to…

Jason Ward – Bless You  (Download here)

Bless you, Jason Ward. And bless you, MM. It’s quite a feat to make someone laugh when they’re in that much pain. Lies, deceit and fraud just ain’t enough for some people – let’s chuck in assault and battery too. Bless You is the anthem for the lesser common psycho. Delusional and toxic, they often hunt in pairs. Napoleon and Squealer. The Liver Turds. All should be sealed in a room and made to listen to Alexandra Burke on a loop. All together now, “How horrible are you …”

Bubbling Under:

5. Isobel Campbell & Willie Mason – Cool Water

4. Gorillaz – Melancholy Hill

3. Pancake BreakfastBallad of Maynard Noe

2. Mumford & SonsUnfinished Business

1. Port O’BrienMy Brain is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg)

And the Mrs Mackerel “Missed the Boat” or Songs I love that are not 2010

She Keeps Bees & Sharon Van EttenCuddle Alone

Just about the saddest song ever written. There’s nothing else to say really. Haunting.

The Dutchess & The DukeScorpio

Well, often timing is everything; I became aware of D&TD about ten days after they split up. Was it something I said? Scorpio is a particular favourite, a painfully observed lament about a dying relationship.

Mad Mackerel’s 2010 Top Ten Series: No 6, Cover Songs

Following most excellent Top Ten submissions from Starbar, Polly Pocket, Dr Roddy, Barry-Sean and Mr Popper come MM’s top ten covers of 2010.

Now, we’ve said on many occasions that we’re not great lovers of covers. However, some of the cover versions we heard in 2010 may well have done enough to change our minds permanently.

So without further ado…

10 Holly Miranda – Nobody Sees Me Like You Do mp3 (Yoko Ono cover)

9 First Aid Kit – When I Grow Up mp3 (Fever Ray cover) Link removed by DMCA – no reason given…

8 Emily Reo – On The Beach mp3 (Neil Young cover)

7 Fever Ray – Mercy Street mp3 (Peter Gabriel cover)

6 Dead Luke – Ghost Rider mp3 (Suicide cover)

5 Mumford & Sons – Unfinished Business mp3 (White Lies cover)

4 Morning Benders – Outlaw Blues mp3 (Bob Dylan cover)

3 Wooden Shjips – Drunk Girls mp3 (LCD Soundsystem cover)

2 Japandroids – Racer X mp3 (Big Black cover)

1 Port O’Brien – My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down(Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) mp3 (Ramones cover)

And an honourable mention for this 2009 cover that we only first heard this year.

Download Phosphorescent – Big Red Sun Blues mp3 (Lucinda Williams cover)

And finally, we don’t post remixes because by and large we can’t be bothered with them. This was one exception to prove our rule. The Mystery Jets given the classic spacerock treatment by The Wooden Shjips.

Download The Mystery Jets – Dreaming Of Another World (Wooden Shjips remix) mp3

Mad Mackerel’s 2010 Top Ten Series: No 4, Barry-Sean

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.

Time for our fourth instalment, the meandering mind of Barry-Sean…

Hmmmmmm! A few weeks ago I said to Mr MM that although I’ve enjoyed my music this year more than last, I thought I had heard fewer decent tracks this year (I choose my words carefully here seeing as just because I hadn’t heard them doesn’t mean they didn’t exist). At time of saying it, I meant it. My musical highlight of this year was the End of the Road festival but I just wasn’t feeling it for much of 2010 music generally.

The good news is that upon doing my 2010 top ten, I realised just how much great music did come out this year. Here’s my pick of them …

10. The Hold Steady – Rock Problems

I love The Hold Steady and although this is no Your Little Hoodrat Friend, it’s still brilliant. A great riff and Craig Finn’s distinctive vocal has brought on bouts of dad dancing in my kitchen on a number of occasions throughout the year. That’s why Rock Problems creeps into my top ten of 2010 at number 10.

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9. Two Wounded Birds – My Lonesome

I’m not a sleazy kind of chap but I do like a sleazy beat. My admiration of War Crimes’ brilliant Treatise is testament to that. This is another one with a laid back vibe that for some reason makes me want to go and listen to it whilst playing pool in a smoky bar (fat bloody chance nowadays). It’s a latecomer to my top 2010 ten which just goes to show how instantly likeable it is. Am I right Mrs Mackerel?

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8. Scott Fant – 8lb Sledge (Download here)

This might come as a bit of a surprise to the Mackerels because I’ve not made a song and dance about it. But it is a great track and worthy of its place in my top ten at the cost of other great songs such as I Don’t Care if There’s Cursing by Phosphorescent and VCR by The XX. Nice one Mr Fant … I hope there’s many more where this came from.

7. Lykke Li - Get Some  (Download here)

Is this wrong? Does it seem wrong to you that a forty-something bloke should like such an anti-pop, gritty but very listenable track. I’ve no aspirations to be ‘down with the kids’ but I love this track even if it does make me the ‘oldest swinger in town’ … and I do mean ‘oldest swinger’ in the Fred Wedlock sense.

6. Chapel Club – All the Eastern Girls

It’s no secret at Mackerel Towers that I love Chapel Club. Most of us here do. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of seeing them at The Jericho Tavern in Oxford which only served to increase my respect for the lads. Okay, so All the Eastern Girls doesn’t feature as highly in my top ten as Surfacing did last year but this is still a great track. I still think Chapel Club will go onto great things and really, really hope the do. At least they’re proof that someone in this country is doing something original … bloody X Factor!

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5. The Vaccines – Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)

Short, aggressive and like a 21st century Ramones track. Grab yourself a snakebite, put on your dockers and put this on full blast. You’ll be back in the late seventies in no time.

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4. Local Natives – Airplanes  (Download here – Daytrotter Session)

Now we’re really getting serious. I fell in love with this track on first time of hearing back in the spring and still listen to it frequently. A total contrast to the Vaccines at no. 5, a great harmony and truly lovely song.

3. Mumford & Sons – Unfinished Business  (Download here)

Ahhhhhh! It’s a cover. It’s a White Lies cover. Nobody cares. This is a great ghost-story song. You’ve really got to listen to it. That shouldn’t be hard because everyone’s listening to Mumford & Sons at the moment aren’t they? Proof once again that original musicians with integrity can still make it in these days of Cowell-dominated, manufactured pop.

2.The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio

Deciding between the year’s number 1 and number 2 is always difficult and 2010 was no different. This is The National, I think, at their best. It dominated Radio 6 early in the year and I’ve not stopped playing it since. No bloody idea what the message of the song is but it is brilliant. Sad, atmospheric and uplifting at the same time. So close to being my number one … but beaten by the beautiful tones of a young American girl.

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1. Caitlin Rose –  For the Rabbits

That girl would be the massively talented Caitlin Rose. She of the beautiful, enchanting and addictive voice is the first woman to ever take the number one spot of my annual top ten. Okay, so the song reminds me of a happy time of year; standing in a chilly, Dorset field late at night at End of the Road and swaying along to it with hundreds of other festival-goers. Sitting by open French doors on a warm Sunday evening in Ventnor breathing in the fresh sea air. But that’s what music is about isn’t it? To me, For the Rabbits is my sound of 2010, my memory of 2010 and the best tune to come out of 2010.

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Darn, I missed these …

Ones that I heard for the first time in 2010 but wish I’d heard in the years they were released:

Wolf Parade – You are the Runner, I Am My Father’s Son

Makes me wish I’d become a lead guitarist … just to play this and pose really.

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kiss Me Again

Beautiful song, beautiful voice and a great mentor in the form of the brilliant Dan Auerbach of Black Keys fame. I love this song.

Mountain GoatsDance Music

I reckon the Goats are probably one of the Marmite bands of the music world. Me? I love them. They sing songs about life … not my life but life all the same … in a quirky, original way that usually brings a smile to my face. And any music that brings a smile to someone’s face can’t be that bad, can it?

The Low AnthemThis God Damn House

This is one of my most played songs of the year. I heard the Low Anthem sing this at EOTR and I’ve loved it since. Beautiful, sad and the story is still up for discussion at Mackerel Towers.

Forest FireFortune Teller

Simply a great song. I mean, who couldn’t love a song with the lyrics ‘Tonight I’m gonna melt some faces with Gatling gun social skills’. These guys are just cool personified in an oddball sort of way. A bit like me really … not.

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday

It’s been a week of away fixtures. First, a trip to Cardiff with my dearest friend and today, I cast my net across the water to Ventnor, where me and big brother will undoubtedly regress into a bit of sibling banter. I’ll be missing the rest of the mackerel clan big time and undoubtedly the sprats will have eaten more than their fair share of pasta by the end of the weekend …

My first trip of the (Mackerel) week was the hotly anticipated Mumford gig last Friday night. They didn’t disappoint and were every bit as good live as I’d hoped. Shame about the crowd. It was like being trapped in a giant crowd of starlings, a constant twittering throughout the whole live set, people up and down to go to the bar, text their mates (actually, I’ve never seen a starling texting before), discuss their plans for the weekend and so on. La la la.

This drone is lost in the faster Mumford numbers, of which there are thankfully many, but the slower more acoustic songs – and the new stuff – were sadly accompanied by a background hum. Ho hum. Not good. A zeitgeist moment? Who knows?

Last year, MM and I saw The Low Anthem at a small venue in Oxford and it was the same there, but more acute because of their set and the size of the room. Call me old-fashioned, but if I go to see a band, I’m there to listen, dance, enjoy. (I’m not a whooper myself, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of well-placed whooping either). Maybe I’ll launch myself as some gig vigilante – the Mardy Mackerel – “show some respect and hush up” before slapping some gaffer tape on the gobby folk. And then maybe someone will break my fins and post me down the loo.

Let’s hope Ventnor is ready for a pair of opinionated Northerners tonight. Hehehehe.

Mrs Mackerel

Here a little bit of what I fancy this Friday, for no other reason than I think the Dutchess & the Duke are rather excellent (if sadly no more).

Download The Dutchess & The Duke – Hands mp3 (from Sunset / Sunrise)

Download The Dutchess & The Duke – Reservoir Park mp3 (from She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke)

Download Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man mp3 (from Sign No More)

Download The Low Anthem – To Ohio mp3 (from Oh My God, Charlie Darwin)

Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday

Well, Mrs Mackerel unbound! Shaking free from the rather genteel tethers of a typical Friday night in downtown Charlbury, we are heading towards the Big Smoke for a gig where I reckon MM and I could be the oldest fish there. And hurray, we have seats! I’m far too old to stand up for too long, even if it is Mumford & Sons.

Poor little Joe was a bit down in the mouth about his exclusion from the trip. As he is still only six, there should be plenty of time for gigging yet. (Continuing his trend for cover versions, the Mumford cover of Unfinished Business has now eclipsed the Bonzo Goes to Bitsburg phase with Port O’Brien, hence the acute misery).

And for me, the Mumford Boys symbolise moving on: energetic, heart-felt, honest music discovered earlier this year when life needed a more positive soundtrack.

So down with the kids we go; country mouse to town mouse; bright lights, big city. Can’t wait.

Mrs Mackerel

Here’s something to rouse you on a Friday night, a foot-stomping offering from Broken Records.

Download Broken Records – A Good Reason mp3 (from Until the Earth Begins To Part)

Download Mumford & Sons – Unfinished Business mp3 (White Lies Cover)

Download Port O’Brien – My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) mp3 (Ramones Cover, from the Peace Project)

MM’s Best of the Month: September

So here we are again. A round-up of our favourite posted tracks from September, all beautifully compiled and presented for you to put on one lovely mix. And as always, a couple of new tracks for you too. Enjoy.

The RakehellsLost Weekend mp3

Aggressive, yet danceable pop with an in-your-face attitude and catchy hooks

The MoondoggiesIt’s A Shame, It’s A Pity mp3

Ramshackle country-rock with a big nod to Neil Young

Summer CampGhost Train mp3

Shambling, languid and really rather captivating

Nathan Wade & The Dark PioneersLake Of Fire mp3

Mighty fine purveyors of apocalyptic, twisted Americana, offering fire & brimstone-laden tunes

Heavy HawaiiTeen Angel mp3

Like an illicit visit to an old time carnival – full of the smell of greasepaint, sawdust and woodsmoke and populated by dark, fantastic characters and their fantastic promises. A harmony drenched, hazy gem

The Gay BladesTry To Understand mp3

Crushing just about every musical genre going into a seething mass of their own confident construction – from sneering garage-punk to folk to dance to glammed-up funk

The Tallest Man On EarthLike The Wheel mp3

Set-closing song that became a fans’ favourite on folk troubadour’s recent tour

JapandroidsHeavenward Grand Prix mp3

Loud, aggressive, and the slightly feral vocals are a bit more to the fore, but by slowing things down a touch they’ve added a palpable air of menace

The WidowersBeacon Street mp3

Insistent, repetitive twang and groove that somehow manages to come across like the cocksure and impudent offspring of a Johnny Cash song overdosing on 70s US punk attitude

Sharon Van EttenDon’t Do It mp3

Slow burning, and overwhelmingly alluring

SuunsUp Past The Nursery mp3

Sexy, menacing electro and arena-sized psych complete with droning guitars and pulsing synths

Fresh & OnlysBe My Hooker mp3

Jangly garage-pop perfection

WarpaintAshes to Ashes mp3

In a month of great covers, here is one of the standouts. Bowie given the Warpaint treatment

Pancake BreakfastThe Ballad Of Maynard Noe mp3

Catchier than a dose of crabs in a brothel!

Kurran & The WolfnotesYour Four Limbs mp3

Plaintive, resigned lyrics and a darker undertone than most can manage. A sinuous melody and smoothly picked guitar gives it a hook that stays with you long after the song has concluded

The MoanersCowboy Bob mp3

Porch-swing singalong mixing an appealing garage stomp with Mississippi style blues into a hypnotic southern groove

Blank DogsNorthern Islands mp3

Smothered lo-fi dance-punk fuzz

And a couple of new ones to finish off: firstly in a month of many covers here is another, Mumford & Sons doing Old Crow Medicine Show. Secondly, French duo The Limianas with some rather fetching sultry garage pop and lastly from the excellent Sparrow & The Workshop comes their first new track since their much acclaimed Crystals Fall album.

Download Mumford & Sons -Wagon Wheel mp3 (BBC Radio 2 Session)

Download The Limianas – Funeral Baby mp3 (from The Limianas)

Download The Sparrow & The Workshop – Tired Of This Town mp3 (via the NME)

MM’s Best of the Month: August

Here is our usual round-up of the best songs we’ve posted in August together with a couple of our favourite covers and three new songs to tempt you. Another perfect mix tape we think.

Black AngelsTelephone mp3

Gentler psych-pop approach from new album calling to mind classic era Zombies

DreamendMagnesium Light mp3

Superb psych-folk from the loosely joined and hellish story of a serial killer

The Migrant The Organ Grinder mp3

Gentle, low-key start before the swelling, insistent guitar strum builds and builds while the plaintive vocals keep pace the whole time

EfrenStay High mp3

Psych-folk tale of trying to lose love, dreams of family past, tall boys, gambling, and whiskey stills…

TV TorsoI Can See Your Face mp3

Excellent, hypnotic pulses and sixties harmonies

Amen DunesBy The Bridal mp3

Hazy, sunlit psychedelic folk

Nick MarshBest Shag In The World mp3

Like an evil Richard Hawley on smack singing something from Blue Velvet

Victorian English Gentlemens ClubA Biting Wind Followed By An Occasional Drift Of Snow (Was No Way To Cure A Hangover) mp3

Excellent new track from post–punk, art-rock weirdos

White Noise SoundSunset mp3

Corrosive feedback, pulsating krautrock rhythms, floating vocals and wall-of-sound guitars combine into an ear-shattering, blissed out climax

White Dress No Solid State mp3

Noir rock, taut and quivering with all kinds of emotion poured into the vocals

Small BlackPhotojournalist mp3

Lilting sliding beat dropping into a gorgeous moment of ambient wash

Paul Hawkins & The Awkward SilencesI’m In Love With A Hospital Receptionist mp3

Anti-folk masters of oddball lyrics, black humour, biting satire and sometimes poignant political comment

Ono PalindromesBlack Lungs mp3

Ferocious energy, vicious circling guitars and gunshot percussion

The NationalYou Were A Kindness mp3

New, suitably downtempo piano ballad

American GraveyardCommon Ones mp3

Debauched Americana, delivered in the timeless style of all classic protest songs

Truman Peyote Featuring Emily ReoTurn Into Feathers mp3

Like something from a banned 1970s horror flick it quickly transforms into a delightfully skewed three minute pop song for freaks and outsiders

Haunted WindchimesDon’t Take My Baby Away (Baby Back) mp3

Authentic, bewitching folk that draws you in and holds you tight

Baby EagleDay Of Our Departing mp3

A corking track with echoes of Neil Young, Gram Parsons and Pavement

We Are TreesDear Chan Marshall mp3

Deceptively simple song with some lovely flamenco style guitar and clever lyrics

Pepper RabbitOlder Brother mp3

Folk with chamber leanings and a twisted, slightly psych-pop edge

The War On DrugsComin’ Through mp3

Strummed guitar delight from forthcoming album

Roy PaymonImonetta mp3

Simply georgeous, fragile pop song

Our cover versions of the month are these two:

Download Fever RayMercy Street mp3

Download Mumford & SonsUnfinished Business mp3

And three excellent new tracks to finish off with: firstly another cover – The Drums doing Arcade Fire, the new taster track from indie-folk God Sufjan Stevens and finally some superb, caustic, drone punk from The Band In Heaven.

Download The DrumsWe Used To Wait mp3

Download Sufjan StevensI Walked mp3 (from The Age of Adz)

Download The Band In HeavenSuicide Pact mp3 (from The Band In Heaven / Weird Wives Split Tape)

Mumford & Sons Cover White Lies

Already Mrs M is getting highly excited about the forthcoming Mumford & Sons gig in Hammersmith in October.

So when we came across their cover of the White Lies track Unfinished Business we thought it would be churlish to keep it to ourselves…a dark, gloomy goth-rock anthem turned into a banjo led folksong…

It is from a recent trip to Australia and a session they did at the radio station Triple J.

Buy Sigh No More from Amazon here.

Download Mumford & Sons – Unfinished Business mp3