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

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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 Life

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

2012 MAD MACKEREL’S 100 FAVOURITE SONGS PART 5: 20 – 1

MM's BEST OF 2012 Nos 20 - 1

And so the moment to reveal Mad Mackerel’s final favourites of 2012. Here are numbers 20 down to top spot. Dig in and enjoy.

20 OF MONSTERS AND MEN – LITTLE TALKS
Duelling male / female voices from Iceland’s finest and bitter sweet lyrics (only with igloos and saunas instead of pubs and football). They also shout “Hey!” a lot which can’t be a bad thing. (TS)

Anything from this lot always lifts my mood. However this one just edged it for the catchy nature of the chorus, and for the fact that I thought they were saying “shit will carry on” which I thought was a good point of view to have. (SB)

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19 RICHARD BUCKNER – WILLOW
This is a lying-in-a-daisy-meadow-looking-at-the-scudding-clouds sort of song. A gentle guitar arrangement coupled with some tender lyrics and softly sung vocals, all of which appeals to the latent hippy in me. Clippety clop: do you know Mr Buckner, I always remember. (Mrs M)

Download Richard Buckner – Willow mp3

18 BLACK MOTH – BLACKBIRDS FALL
Long live the guitar riff! Heavy but with a funky tune and words you can understand. With an album produced by Nick Cave, not surprising they are getting glowing reviews. Raw power describes them well. (SB)

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17 THE MACCABEES – PELICAN
This track bounces along at a pace in a confused ensemble of instruments that feel like they shouldn’t make sense … but do. It just works. But what’s the song about? It’s a 3 minute 45 second run through life. From being born to when we push up the daisies. Sounds miserable but it isn’t. If it doesn’t raise a smile, it’ll get your foot tapping. (BSF)

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16 GHOST WAVE – HIPPY
Unstoppably stomping, unrelentingly catchy, Hippy cranks up the riffage and was made for burning rubber on a sunburnt highway somewhere. (MM)

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15 MICHAEL AINSLEY – RAINY LONELY DAY
Despite the air of melancholy I found this a strangely uplifting song, reminiscent vocally of the great Ray Davies (although it does not suffer by comparison). Piano and guitar combine with the haunting voice of Michael Ainsley to produce the most heartfelt tune I’ve heard all year. I’m in awe of the lyrics – “yes I know you’ve got to go – from my group of friends, you’re the best one that I know”… I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate the wonderfully awkward nature of this song and to showcase the genuine talent of Mr Ainsley. (CP)

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14 WILLY MASON – CARRY ON
When I was much younger my dear old Pa used to say of classical music that it was music that spoke to him: this is a song that speaks to me. The poetic lyricism is felt; the metaphor carried is subtle and reflective; and the guitar, the guitar plays softly to my heart. A song of such fragile beauty for 2012: this is a song that speaks to me. (Mrs M)

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13 SIMONE FELICE – HEY BOBBY RAY
Yay! It’s another murder ballad. This time the perpetrator is young Bobby Ray. A young man born on 4th July who gets himself into a whole load of trouble when his ‘pick-up date’ doesn’t think too much of his advances. Bobby Ray doesn’t think too much of her refusal. So he kills her. This song is a lament. The fragile tones of Simone Felice complimented beautifully by a choir in the background of the chorus. A beautiful tune, intelligent lyrics and sung as only a Felice can. Hey Bobby Ray, you’re going to get yours, sunshine! (BSF)

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12 TOM WILLIAMS & THE BOAT – TEENAGE BLOOD
This is another dark look at life through the eyes of a young man who is obviously ahead of his years in so many ways. Who’d have ever thought that Tom’s hometown of Tunbridge Wells would ever give rise to such grim lyrics. Carrying some of the meaningful insanity of Nick Cave with the miserable wisdom of Morrissey, Tom Williams and his Boat crew have delivered another dark gem in Teenage Blood. (BSF)

A modern twist on a country classic. It is a catchy and memorable song with great harmonies, despite the slightly depressing theme. (SB)

A great recommendation from PP here and real foot stomping stuff. Plus, anything that counts you in with a 1-2-3-4 is always a winner. (TS)

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11 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 standout 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. (PP)

Download Shearwater – You As You Were mp3

10 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. A song of genius. (PP)

This is The Jam’s The Bitterest Pill brought bang up to date and made better. The song is from the view of a fella stood in a chapel whilst the love of his life walks down the aisle … with another bloke. Suffice to say, he’s not in a good place and the vocals lend to this feeling of impotent misery perfectly. Strained, angry and a little menacing, the lyrics match the tune perfectly which is … well … strained, angry and a little menacing. (BSF)

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9 TOM WILLIAMS & THE BOAT – TOO YOUNG
It has a guitar riff which burrows in to the brain like an old News of the World reporter in a celebrity’s wheelie bin. It took a while but now I understand that it’s utterly useless to resist any longer. Probably the most hummed tune of the year, which I think you’ll agree, is one hell of an accolade (CP)

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. (PP)

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8 LAST AMERICAN BUFFALO – BABY I’M ALIVE
A lament to a lost love: “I swear I saw a ghost, I swear I saw his eyes, since when we fell in love on Mulholland Drive”. The riff is catchy and the vocals are perfect for the sentiment of the song. It’s a broken heart that will bleed all over you from the opening notes to the final chord. If you’re the lady with coffee-coloured skin who inspired this piece of art, thank you. Now go back to your lover and make him happy again. (BSF)

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DELTA SPIRIT – CALIFORNIA
How do you write such heartbroken lyrics and marry them to such upbeat music? You move to California, buy a drum machine a keyboard and off you jolly well go. Big emotion, high impact, fantastic tune. (Mrs M)

Download Delta Spirit – California mp3

KYLE ADEM – BROTHER FOLLOW
It’s a grower, this one. The momentum builds gradually, together with the tension, as it heads towards a passionate finale where the female vocal answers the male. A little bit of flute, banjo, bass drum – it’s quite a complex musical arrangement, while the lyrics hint at feudal times. Phew. It packs a punch. (Mrs M)

He really has created a brute of a song; it seems to throb with the wretchedness of the whole thing. I like music that takes you out of your comfort zone and it uses some alarmingly savage imagery to remind us just how nasty our society has become. Backed up with a fearsome delivery that makes this a real ‘sit bolt upright and ask what the hell was that’ on first listen, thankfully it doesn’t dilute with time. (CP)

Download Kyle Adem – Brother Follow mp3

5 WILLY MASON – RESTLESS FUGITIVE
From the opening beats and distinctive guitar I’m happy…  we’re in proper Chris T Popper territory here! Mason’s distinctive vocals compliment the somniferous atmosphere perfectly. (CP)

With rumbling percussion, echoing guitars and an almost reggae-like rhythm, Willy Mason announced his return after a five year hiatus with this outstanding tune, a dusty, world-weary hymn to moving on. (MM)

A slow and ominous beat that is undeniably contemporary Americana but reminds me a little of reggae and The Clash too. (BSF)

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THE FELICE BROTHERS – LINCOLN CONTINENTAL
School run anthem 2012: a fine country drawl, a fine country band. Learn the words, sing it loud; altogether now:  “I been missing you so listen/I liked to ask you can we drive through town”. (Mrs M)

A cheerful, rollicking, foot-tapper of a tune with a chorus as infectious as Chlamydia. If you’re ever feeling a bit down, stick this on and you’ll be as right as rain and imagining yourself leaving the Garden State with your soft top down. Unmistakeably Felice, understandably brilliant. (BSF)

Download The Felice Brothers – Lincoln Continental mp3

3 FIRST AID KIT – THE LION’S ROAR
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. (PP)

Incredible voices, perfect harmonies and a big slice of Americana from two Swedes (who would have thought it) which just keeps rolling along like a boat bobbing over the waves. It is made even better by what sounds like “every time it all shits one way or the other” at the end of the second verse, and it is also Mrs Toy’s favourite so it has to be high in the line-up. (TS)

There is something about this folk style that really appeals. It is a very profound and beautiful song. (SB)

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EMIL FRIIS – SAND IN YOUR EYES
Possesses a rhythmic simplicity that always manages to pick me up and transport me off somewhere else, and that’s a fairly big plus in my life. Throughout Friis effortlessly orchestrates all this with his lyrics resonating long after the song ends, which is usually when I stick it on again. Just a fantastic record full of little twists and turns with an occasional (friendly) cuff round the ear to keep your attention. (CP)

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. (PP)

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WE ARE AUGUSTINES – JUAREZ
This might not be the first song written about the troubled Mexican border city but it’s the best by a country mile. From the outset, you’re sat beside the storyteller under a ferocious Mexican sun and the car you’re in is kicking up dust as it speeds away from Juarez. The lyrics are harsh and drip with regret and sadness but they paint a fantastic, brutal picture. The vocals are unmistakeable and the tune both memorable and uplifting. Beautiful in every way except for the sentiment. (BSF)

I have neither “a saint for a brother nor a drunk for Mother”…anyway, with a great tune, and amazing vocals – my favourite of the year! (MS)

Love this, love his distinctive voice. Best line for me “I got jukebox tears under turquoise skies”, no idea what it means though… (SB)

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So there we have it – 100 great tunes to soundtrack another brilliant year of music.Don’t forget to check all the other chosen tunes that we’ve posted all week too – just click for 100 – 8180 – 6160 – 41, and 40 – 21.

Extra special thanks to the MM contributors this year: Mrs Mackerel (Mrs M), Christy Popper (CP), Barry-Sean (BSF), Polly Pocket (PP), Dr Roddy (DR), Starbie (SB), Middle Sprat (MS) and Toy Steve (TS). Starting tomorrow, you can check their individual choices on MM too.