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.

Mad Mackerel’s Favourite Albums Of 2014 (Part 1)

Following our countdown of favourite songs of the year, here is part one of MM’s selection of the forty albums we most enjoyed throughout 2014.

40 The Orwells – Disgraceland

The Orwells - Southern Comfort

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39 Iceage – Plowing Into The Field Of Love

iceage

 

38 The Cult Of Dom Keller – The Second Bardo

cult of dom keller

37 Mark Lanegan Band – Phantom Radio

mark lanegan band

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36 Hamilton Leithauser – Black Hours

Hamilton Leithauser Solo Album

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35 Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

sturgill simpson

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34 Micah P Hinson & The Nothing – Micah P Hinson & The Nothing

micah p hinson

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33 Temples – Sun Structures

temples

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32 Avers – Empty Light

Avers

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31 Amen Dunes – Love

Amen Dunes - Love

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30 Simone Felice – Strangers

simone felice

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29 Natural Child – Dancing’ With Wolves

natural child

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28 Dead Fingers – Big Black Dog

Dead Fingers

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27 Wooden Wand – Azag-Toth

wooden wand azag-toth

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26 The Dune Rats – The Dune Rats

Dune Rats

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25 Hookworms – The Hum

hookworms the hum

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24 The Wytches – Annabel Dream Reader

wytches

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23 Ty Segall – Manipulator

ty segall

22 Parkay Quarts – Content Nausea

parkay quarts

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21 First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

First Aid Kit - M

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Mad Mackerel’s Favourite Songs Of 2014: 60-41

MM's Best Of 2014 60-41

Day three of our countdown – tracks 60 through to 41 of our favourite songs of the year.

60 Cate Le Bon – He’s Leaving

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59 Jamie T – The Prophet

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58 Mark Lanegan Band – Sad Lover

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57 The Districts – Funeral Beds

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56 The Amazing Snakeheads – Here It Comes Again

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55 Sleaford Mods – Routine Dean

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54 Simone Felice – Running Through My Head

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53 Sam Doores – Drifter’s Wife

52 The Wytches – Burn Out The Bruise

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51 Sun Kil Moon – Jim Wise

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50 Early Winters – A Thing For You

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49 Smashing Pumpkins – Being Beige

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48 Matt Kivel – Insignificance

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47 Hamilton Leithauser – 11 O’Clock Friday Night

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46 Together PANGEA – River

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45 The Dune Rats – Dalai Lama, Big Banana, Marijuana

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44 Chimes – Total Sunflower

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43 Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

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42 Shovels & Rope – Evil

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41 First Aid Kit – Heaven Knows

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Check out numbers 100 – 81 here, and 80 – 61 here.

Favourite Albums of 2014 (So Far)

MM's Best of 2014 So Far

The longest day has come and gone, and halfway through the year we are. It seemed a good point to reflect and share thirty of our favourite albums of 2014 so far, and so here they are, in strictly alphabetical order of course…

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The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads

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Amen Dunes – Love

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Avers – Empty Light

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Dan Baker – Pistol In My Pocket

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Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

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The Drive-By Truckers – English Oceans

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Dune Rats – Dune Rats

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Simone Felice – Strangers

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The Felice Brothers – Favorite Waitress

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First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

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Emil Friis – Sand In Your Eyes

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Micah P. Hinson & The Nothing – Micah P. Hinson & The Nothing

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Hurray For The Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes

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Damien Jurado – Brothers & Sisters Of The Eternal Mind

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Hamilton Leithauser – Black Hours

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Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – Chambers

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Jessica Lea Mayfield – Make My Head Sing

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Natural Child – Dancin With Wolves

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Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

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Orwells – Disgraceland

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Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

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Pink Mountaintops – Get Back

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Strand Of Oaks – Heal

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Sun Kil Moon – Benji

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Together Pangea – Badillac

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Vacant Lots – Departure

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Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

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The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream

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Water Liars – Water Liars

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Wooden Wand – Farmers Corner

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Simone Felice – UK Tour & Posters

Simone Felice - UK Tour & Poster

We were fortunate enough to receive our advance copy of Simone Felice’s new album Strangers in the mail this week and it has been in pretty constant play ever since. We’d already posted a couple of outstanding tracks from the record and happily the rest of it is just as good, if not better.

New Single & Album From Simone FeliceIt is a mix of the tender, the forlorn, the beautiful and the melancholy and an album where he certainly cements his growing reputation as one of the finest lyricists around. In particular Bye Bye Palenville, Our Lady Of The Gun, and sublime album closer The Gallows are amongst the very finest tracks we’ve heard from him to date. We’re pretty sure that it will be featuring prominently in our end of year best of lists…

All the more reason then to catch him on his UK tour, for which by a strange quirk of fate, a good friend and talented artist residing in the same small town as MM, Jon Mackay has been working with Simone Felice on the tour poster. As you can see he has done a fantastic job producing something entirely in keeping with the feel and themes of the album.

If you are quick, you can buy one of a limited number of the handmade poster (for a much more than reasonable £10) here. You can also visit his website and check his other offerings here.

Strangers is out on the 24th March in the UK. You can order from Amazon here. Read our 5:1 interview with him here.

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Ireland and UK Tour Dates:

MARCH
Thu 27 Kilkenny-Cleere’s Pub
Fri 28 Roscrea-Leap Castle
Sat 29 Dublin-Whelans
Sun 30 Belfast-Empire

APRIL
Wed 2 Birmingham-Hare and Hounds
Thu 3 Leeds-Brudenell Social Club
Fri 4 Bristol-Louisiana
Sat 5 Nottingham-Maze
Sun 6 Manchester-Deaf Institute
Wed 9 Brighton-Komedia
Thu 10 London-Bush Hall
Fri 11 Glasgow-King Tuts
Sun 13 Newcastle-Cluny
Tue 15 Edinburgh-Electric Circus

Simone Felice Reveals Running Through My Head

Simone Felice

We are looking forward immensely to Simone Felice’s new album Strangers (UK release on 24th March via Team Love Records).

If the release of the first track from it, Molly O!, fed that anticipation, a first listen to Running Through My Head has fuelled it a whole lot more. More introverted, more isolated, it amply showcases his very considerable talents as a poet and songwriter.

Strangers, is a ten song collection recorded in the Catskills with guests The Felice Brothers, Leah Siegel, and Wesley Schultz & Jeremiah Fraites of The Lumineers. Roll on March…

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Mad Mackerel’s Best Of The Month: December 2013

Mad Mackerel's Best of December downloads 2013

As you might expect, December is a quiet month for new releases, especially non-festive ones, but we’ve still managed to come up with a mix of 16 top-notch downloads for you from our monthly postings.

As always, we have a couple of new tracks too, and you can also check out our new monthly mix page here, that has every single monthly mix we’ve posted available to browse – over 1,000 songs to download should you so desire.

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This Frontier Needs Heroes – It’s A Lonely Kind Of Christmas
Melancholy, saxophone led festive Americana.

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The Breedings – Big Blue Christmas
Partisan based festivities for the Kentucky Wildcats!

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Simone Felice – Molly-O
Brilliant taste from forthcoming new album, includes guest vocals from the Lumineers.

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The Explorers Club – Christmas Must Be Tonight
A yuletide free download from indie rockers.

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Tiny Spiders – Nervy Hulk
Channels the aggression of classic noiseniks like Fugazi and the Jesus Lizard with the experimentation of Radiohead or Portishead.

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Ned Roberts – Blues #6
Gorgeous finger-picked tune featuring guest vocals from Sarabeth Tucek.

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Li-On Grevier – Cxristmas
Freaked-out festive psych.

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Adrianne Lenker – Lighthouse
Mix of sweet folk and acoustic pop.

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Brown Bird – Weathering
Welcome return of the gothic-folk duo.

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Porno Mags – Get On Top
No-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners  garage rock / proto-punk of a most pleasing kind.

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Shallow End Divers – Fuzzy Caterpillar
Intriguing blend of rock ‘n’roll melding psychedelia, garage, soul, and blues to mighty good effect.

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Blessed Feathers – Everyone I Love Is You
Pastoral folk with a sting in the tail.

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Gorgeous Bully – Sinking Feeling
Self aware, self inflicted ditty celebrating misery, loneliness and self-loathing, and all perfectly moulded into a three minute grungey pop song.


[Click through for free download]

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And to finish off we have tracks from Dead Waves with the grungey-punk of Instead, more quirky indie-pop from Big Sun, and finally folkster Zachary Cale’s cover of Brian Eno’s Golden Hours.

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New Simone Felice Single & Album

New Single & Album From Simone Felice

Taken from the forthcoming new album Strangers, set for release through Team Love Records in the UK on March 24th, songwriter, and longstanding MM fave, Simone Felice returns with the record’s opening single, Molly-O!

It comes draped in the additional vocal talents of Wesley Schultz & Jeremiah Fraites of The Lumineers, and the song is described by Felice as “a song where we get to go off the rails a bit.

Listen/download it here.

Videos of the Day: Simone Felice || Ivan & Alyosha || The Shilohs || The Eversons

Videos of the Day

New videos this morning from Simone Felice and a wonderful version of Splendor In The Grass from a recent session for the 316 Queens project, and from Ivan & Alyosha and their auditions in front of a cheerleaders group for their uptempo folk stomper Be Your Man. We also have a road trip of jangle pop from The Shilohs, and finally some cool animation from The Eversons for their Creepy video.

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Mad Mackerel’s Favourite Albums of 2012 Part 1: 30-16

To finish off our favourites of the year, here are numbers thirty to sixteen of the albums we have most enjoyed in 2012.

Don’t forget to check back for our 100 Favourite Tunes and the MM contributor’s best of lists too.

Joe Pug GD

30 Joe Pug – The Great Despiser

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dcw

29 David Cronenberg’s Wife – Don’t Wait To Be Hunted To Hide

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boh mirage rock

28 Band Of Horses – Mirage Rock

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lord huron ld

27 Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams

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jbm stray ashes

26 JBM – Stray Ashes

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mama rosin bbb

25 Mama Rosin – Bye Bye Bayou

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red river dialect awell

24 Red River Dialect – Awellupontheway

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damon moon lungs

23 Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams

Download Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams mp3 (from Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams)

Download Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Loose Ends mp3 (from Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams)

diamond rugs

22 Diamond Rugs – Diamond Rugs

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gravenhurst gid

21 Gravenhurst – The Ghost In Daylight

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daughn gibson ah

20 Daughn Gibson – All Hell

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wof thirst

19 Waves Of Fury – Thirst

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felice bros gbya

18 The Felice Brothers – God Bless You Amigo

Download The Felice Brothers – Lincoln Continental mp3 (from God Bless You Amigo)

bjh ytcn

17 Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – Yours Truly Cellophane Nose

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simone felice album

16 Simone Felice – Simone Felice

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tmoe tnln

15 The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now