The wonderful Daytrotter recently announced their 2,000th session and managed to get none other than Country music legend Glen Campbell in to record it, followed swiftly by a new session from the brilliant Delta Spirit.
For those that don’t know Daytrotter sessions are typically four songs in length, recorded live to quarter-inch tape in a matter of a couple hours, with no overdubs. They are then made available for download and streaming on the site and its various apps. Since beginning in February of 2006, Daytrotter has given away tens of millions of downloads and countless many more streams. In addition to studios in Rock Island and London, Daytrotter sessions are also occasionally taped in San Francisco, CA, Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN and Montreal.
Accessing all these sessions plus all the upcoming ones by all the bands you know and love costs a paltry $2 per month. For your ongoing listening pleasure we can’t think of anything anywhere that will give you better value than that. Below are just a very few highlights from some of the sessions we have loved – listen (they should fit neatly onto a CD), and if you haven’t done it yet, go and sign up here.
Dark and light; light and dark. A week of two halves.
A source of great light: daughter sprat’s birthday. A girl who finds great joy in many things, who notices the little things that matter.
I’m probably a lot better at hiding the dark than I used to be; comes with a bit of practise in recent years, sadly. But I’m sorry to say I can’t be upbeat this week. I’ve tried and tried but I just can’t do it. My heart feel like it’s made of lead. Smiling on the outside, crying on the inside.
My nephew Harry is 11 years old. On Wednesday his dad was found dead. Harry’s life to date has been complicated, messy and, at times, profoundly disturbing. I wish I could take his pain away.
You can’t buy the things that matter most, and isn’t that the point?
For Esmé, her favourite song of the moment, and for Harry, just because: the absolutely sublime cover of Halo by Port O’Brien.
So, five go camping. Well, not quite yet; we do need a tent first – or at least one that fits us all. The last time I went camping was with MM’s predecessor. Two nights in the Black Mountains of Wales in torrential rain. We awoke in water. That cured any affection I had towards life under canvas, and to him.
Still, life moves on. I’m quite looking forward to a different sort of camping with the sprats. All previous excursions were (quite rightly) centred around music, namely festivals. Speaking of which, I was returning from a day trip to London, and was severely delayed by the volume of traffic leaving Wembley. Leaving Wembley having seen a band that rhymes with Baked Shat.
Considering that on my outward journey I’d been flanked on all sides by overweight, over-tanned, under-dressed, hyper-ventilating women, they then conspired to prevent me getting home. Sometimes it’s hard to swim against the tide; my fins are exhausted.
Best go camping and get away from them all.
As an antidote to musical blandness, there’s nothing like taking to the open air with a little of the good stuff.
“We all could use a little mercy now. I know we don’t deserve it, but we need it any how. We hang in the balance, hanging dangled between hell and hallowed ground. And every single one of us could use some mercy now.”
Well let’s try and post this by the very talented Mary Gauthier.
And also, because we like to be topical on a Friday (well, Saturday), let’s go Port O’Brien with Oslo Campfire.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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 …”
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.
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.
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.
Here’s something to rouse you on a Friday night, a foot-stomping offering from Broken Records.
In my usual working guise as a copywriter, this week’s been a bit of a punch in the face. It was with a great deal of wry irony that MM and I watched the first episode of the new season of Mad Men this week: why can’t I be more like Don?! Tell them to leave!
This week, I downloaded the Ramones’ original of My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) – and the lyrics – for the two younger sprats. Joe, in particular, is obsessed with the very fine cover of this song by Port O’Brien (a top ten contender for 2010 methinks) and we must listen to it about five or six times a day.
Doubt I’ll be hearing anything that good tonight, as I head off to a ball in me best bib and tucker. If I lose my slipper, MM won’t be there to pick it up as he’s hitting the End of the Road Festival with Barry-Sean. Look out Dorset.
So what to choose? Oh it was really quite easy. I rifled through our old CDs – his and hers. MM being the fish that he is, quickly integrated our collections a long, long time ago – alphabetically of course – which was lucky because it made it very easy to find.
“Hey, can you play the guitar?”
Download one of my old dance floor favourites Nasties by Sunshot. Best served with strobe. No explanation required.
Here is our regular monthly round up of 25 of the best tracks posted on Mad Mackerel in the past month, and three new gems too. That’s a more than decent mixtape sorted even if we were crap in the World Cup!