Mad Mackerel’s Favourite Albums Of 2013 (Part 3: 10-1)

And to complete our Best of Year postings, we have our favourite ten albums from 2013. Every single one is superb…

10 Black Angels – Indigo Meadow

New Song From The Black Angels

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9 Wooden Wand – Blood Oaths Of The New Blues

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8 Vandaveer – Oh, Willie, Please

More From Vandaveer

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7 Jus Post Bellum – Oh, July

Another Track From Jus Post Bellum

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6 Wooden Shjips – Back To Land

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5 T. Hardy Morris – The Audition Tapes

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4 Water Liars – Wyoming

New Track, New Album From Water Liars

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3 Chelsea Light Moving – Chelsea Light Moving

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2 Jesse Woods – Get Your Burdens Lifted

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1 Phosphorescent – Muchacho

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Check out numbers 50 – 31 here, and 30 – 11 here.

Mad Mackerel’s Top Songs Of 2013

Mad Mackerel's Top Songs Of 2013

As well as our Top 100 tunes of the year that we’ve posted over the past few days, each of the MM contributors have put together their own lists. The fifth and final instalment is our own.

20. Colleen Green – Heavy Shit
Totally infectious, stoned punk.

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19. Harmed Brothers – Love Song For The Assumed
Mixing folk and bluegrass with a wistful twist of poignant melancholy, Love Song For The Assumed was as sweet and as simple a song of heartbreak and longed for resolution as we heard in the whole year.

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18. Black Angels – Indigo Meadow
Tribal drumming, 60s Hammer-Horror organ, and reverb.

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17. Courtney Barnett – History Eraser
A late entry – deadpan, conversational, charming, funny, literal and literate – a drunken night’s tale told with an upbeat lo-fi jangle and amiable vocal delivery.

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16. Holograms – A Blaze On The Hillside
Most thrilling riff of the year?

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15. John Grant – GMF
One part waspish humour, one part resigned melancholy and one part bitter dislocation. Superb.

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14. Fuzz – Sleigh Ride
Heaviest riff of the year?

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13. Cass McCombs – Big Wheel
Hypnotic, rumbling, country-dirt travelogue.

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12. Dune Rats – Stoner Pop
In a parallel world somewhere, this was the smash hit of the summer.

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11. Blitzen Trapper – Feel The Chill
That old wreck of a shack buried in evergreen and murky darkness at the bend in the road up on Jackson Hill where we used to drink and never failed to give me a chill driving by in the old Impala for it’s implacable mystery.” That’s where Feel the Chill takes place.

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10. Public Service Broadcasting – Signal 30
Brilliant and mesmerising combination of high octane guitar riffage, retro public information film samples and electro beats.

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9. Parquet Courts – You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now
Stoned and Starving would have been our song of the year, but for its minor self-release in 2012. No matter scrappy, swaggering, nihilistic NY punks Parquet Courts gave us this gem instead. A highlight of their performance at the Green Man festival and our undoubted gig of the year.

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8. Foxygen – No Destruction
We may have lost Lou Reed this year, but his spirit lives on in No Destruction, a natural pretender to his throne, and this song has the best use of “weaseled” in any song we’ve heard.

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7. Wooden Shjips – Everybody Knows
Channeling Neil Young by way of Hawkwind, Wooden Shjips gave us this hypnotically evocative and brilliant slab of psych rock on latest album Back To Land

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6. Terry Malts – I Was Not There
To do simple, balls-to-the-floor, screw-you punk rock this brilliantly well takes real talent. Terry Malts have it.

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5. Big Haunt – Burn Me Up
We received an e-mail. It said, “We are a Portland, Oregon band called Big Haunt. We play spooky, gospel infused big beat indy folk. This is our first single, “Burn Me Up.”  It’s a song about ritualistic fire sacrifice and murder. We thought you might like it.“ We did. We liked it very much.

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4. Martha’s Vineyard Ferries – Blonde On Blood
Like the best ever Fall single played at 78rpm. This is, of course, a very good thing indeed.

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3. Low – Plastic Cup
One of those few songs that feels like it could have been written any time in the past 40 years. Timeless is over-used, but this really is that good.

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2. T. Hardy Morris – OK Corral
The sound of a ghost town set to song.

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1. Phosphorescent – Ride on/Right On
While I might be at odds with my shoalmates, this track from Phosphorescent’s peerless Muchacho album was my tune of the year. A little bit of funky rhythm and a whole lot of country grit combined to make the most compelling and enduring song of 2013.

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Best songs we heard this year, but released prior to 2013.

Parquet Courts – Stoned And Starving
A stonewall classic and worthy successors to the currently vacant slacker indie and resigned punk rockers crown.

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Edmund Wayne (with River Giant) – To The Bugs On My Ceiling

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Hank Williams III – Country Heroes

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And The Song We Wished We’d Heard Before We’d Compiled Our Top Twenty

Clara Berry & Wooldog – Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

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You can see our favourite cover songs of the year here.

MAD MACKEREL’S TOP TRACKS OF 2013: 50 – 26

MM's Best of 2013 - 50 - 26

Part three of our favourite 100 tracks of 2013. Today we’re counting down from 50 – 26.

50 Hanni El Khatib – Nobody Move
In Hanni El Khatib’s biog on Wikipedia he says that his “…music is for anyone who has ever been shot or hit by a train“. I think that this is a good way to describe this tune as it hits you flat out, ballsy, raw and aggressive in its lunge for your ears. Cracking bit of uptempo rock with a good nod at 70s punk. (Dr R)

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49 Vandaveer – Omie Wise
From Vandaveer’s outstanding reinterpreting of traditional murder ballads came the tale of the particularly nasty Omie Wise. He gets his comeuppance in the end.

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48 Waxahatchee – Swan Dive
The rhythmic drumming and finger picking guitar counter balance Katie Crutchfield’s rich, husky vocal in this short, melancholic lament: you hold on to the past, you make yourself miserable/and I’m ruled by seasons and sadness that’s inexplicable. So there. (MM)

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47 Public Broadcasting Service – Signal 30
Brilliant and mesmerising combination of high octane guitar riffage, retro public information film samples and electro beats. (MM)

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46 Tired Pony – All Things All At Once
Boasting quite a line up Tired Pony have got it all going on. All Things At Once has a pure, unpolished feel to it, like they all just happened to be together and decided to start playing and recording and here it is. Country? Folk? Americana? Who knows. Whatever it is, it sounds bloody good to me. (PP)

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45 Caroline Rose – Six Foot Woman
You don’t get more honky tonk than Caroline Rose’s self-effacing tale of the mighty six foot woman. Sounds like it was dug up in a 1970s Tennessee roadshack.

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44 Parquet Courts – You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now
Stoned and Starving would have been our song of the year, but for its minor self-release in 2012. No matter scrappy, swaggering, nihilistic NY punks Parquet Courts gave us this gem instead. A highlight of their performance at the Green Man festival and our undoubted gig of the year. (MM).

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43 Jus Post Bellum – It’s A Shame
Cowboys! Gunfight! This is an upbeat folky number with a wicked drum backbeat that pulls it all together like a rolling canter. He’s a bad ‘un and it’s a shame. (Mrs M)

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42 Haim – Falling
A last minute change around has put Haim into my Top Ten for the year. Every time I hear this song I am reminded of just how good I think it is. Very polished, really well produced, love those harmonies and that retro feel. Haim are like marmite. I like marmite. (PP)

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41 Drenge – Backwaters
I love this powerful two piece out of Derby. Sort of Henrys Funeral Shoe meets The Smiths. I have always been a sucker for this sort of sound – you’re just towed away on the riptide of noise. This is the kind of song you turn up to eleven when people are in the middle of talking to you about some inane shit. (Dr R)

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40 Alela Diane – Colorado Blue
Sharply observed lyrics float over a gently strummed backdrop, this song is plumbed from the emotional depths of her divorce album. Might not get you in the Christmas spirit but is sure to bring a lump to your throat. (Mrs M)

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39 Willie Nile – Life On Bleecker Street
Second entry for Mr Nile and another evocative ear worm, this time the observations on life on a certain street in Manhattan that was once a major center for American bohemia.

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38 Deptford Goth – Union
It’s the simplicity of this tune that first got me hooked. It’s also a song I would have been in love with as a teenager. It might be electro pop but there is a fair amount of misery and sorrow in there too, so what’s not to love? (PP)

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37 Wooden Shjips – Everybody Knows
Channeling Neil Young by way of Hawkwind, Wooden Shjips gave us this hypnotically evocative and brilliant slab of psych rock on latest album Back To Land (MM).

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36 Night Beds – Even If We Try
It starts off acappela, and finishes somewhere around dawn. Yes, this is indeed a late night/wee small hours tune if ever there was one. Recorded Bon Iver-style in a self-built studio, this is an intimate song of longing and reflection:  As you watch the colours/Fleeting with the cover/Nature set on fire/Truth found in the mire. There’s space under my wing, Winston.

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35 Shovels & Rope – Johnny 99
Yes, it’s a Bruce Springsteen cover, but quite frankly, so what? This is a damn fine tune and that’s one hell of a Marlboro red voice she’s got there. And did I mention the piano (again)? (Mrs M)

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34 Water Liars – Fake Heat
I kind of loved this song despite trying not to if you know what I mean? In the end I gave in gracefully (which wasn’t difficult, there’s a fair bit of imploring in this one) as the heart should always overrule the brain when it comes to music. It does have an undeniable glory to it as well though which can’t help stirring even this most cynical of souls. (CP)

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33 King Krule – Easy Easy
My friend bought me the King Krule album for my birthday this year. It was an inspired choice that lived in the CD tray for some weeks, I think they had started to bound molecularly. A gruff and untempered voice guides you through a cultural landscape that sounds empty and barren, all emphasised by the production on the lonely guitar that accompanies King Krule’s lament. (Dr R)

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32 Agnes Obel – Fuel To Fire
This beautiful song stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it a couple of months ago. All a bit haunting and full of melancholy. The album is a treat but Fuel To Fire stands out at the front for me. A great find for 2013. Lovely. (PP)

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31 Laura Marling – Master Hunter
A raging calm of Dylan referencing vitriol set to a rollicking backdrop.

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30 Telekinesis – Ghosts And Creatures
There is something familiar and comforting about this indie tune. Love all that distortion and a beat that makes me want to dance, or at least sway a little in a kind of early 90s way. Turn it up and you will feel uplifted. (PP)

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29 The River Has Many Voices – If You Gotta Go (Go With Me)
Poetically beautiful song of love, loss, sorrow and melancholy. 

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28 Big Haunt – Burn Me Up
We received an e-mail. It said, “We are a Portland, Oregon band called Big Haunt. We play spooky, gospel infused big beat indy folk. This is our first single, “Burn Me Up.”  It’s a song about ritualistic fire sacrifice and murder. We thought you might like it.“ We did. We liked it very much. (MM)

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27 Savages – She Will
Highlight from their Mercury Prize nominated album Silence Yourself. She Will is a peerless combination of icy post-punk cool and brutal hardcore.

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26 Thee Oh Sees – Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster
With a opening sound filthier than a night out with Jimmy Saville, this track has been a staunch favourite since my first listen. The bass line and guitar riff are simple, but massively addictive and unwavering in ferocity as the song crescendos during the chorus. It is the one song this year that, whenever anyone hears it for the first time, they sit there quiet then at the end, without fail say “That was awesome. Who was that?” (Dr R)

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Why not check out our picks for 100 – 76, and 75 – 51 too.

MM Shorts 462: Wooden Shjips

Wooden Shjips

The songs we’ve heard so far from the new Wooden Shjips long player Back To Land have been uniformly excellent.

Our favourite grizzly psych-rockers have now offered up the title track for streaming – dive in below.

Pre-order the album here (out 11th November).

See them live:

Mon Dec 9 Brighton Audio
Tue Dec 10 London Scala w/ kandodo
Wed Dec 11 Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Thu Dec 12 Glasgow SWG3
Fri Dec 13 Belfast Menagerie

Wooden Shjips Go Acoustic & Tour Dates

Wooden Shjips Go Acoustic

Wooden Shjips are one of our favourite bands and each successive album they have released as cemented our love for their pulsating, hypnotic and often bruising, psych rock.

They have a new album, Back to Land, due out on 11th November. On this record, the band’s scope has expanded to include more earthy, grounded tones, such as the acoustic guitar! As an introduction to those new earthy sounds, an acoustic version of their new song These Shadows has just surfaced.

Have a listen. This track is also included on a bonus 7″ available with pre-orders for the Back to Land LP from Thrill Jockey. Customers who pre-order Back to Land on CD or LP from Thrill Jockey will receive a free download of These Shadows (Acoustic Version).

UK & Ireland Tour Dates:

Mon Dec 9 Brighton – The Haunt
Tue Dec 10 London – Scala
Wed Dec 11 Leeds – Brudenell Social Club
Thu Dec 12 Glasgow – SWG3
Fri Dec 13 Belfast – Menagerie
Sat Dec 14 Dublin – Whelans

Mad Mackerel’s Albums Of The Year: Part 2 (30 – 11)

Carrying on from where we left off yesterday…

30 Josh T Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen

Download Josh T Pearson – Woman When I’ve Raised Hell…(Alternative Version) mp3

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New Album From Real Estate.

29 Real Estate – Days

Download Real Estate – Green Aisles mp3 (from Days)

Download Real Estate – It’s Real mp3 (from Days)

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28 Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest

Download Gillian Welch – The Way It Goes mp3 (from The Harrow & The Harvest)

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27 War On Drugs – Slave Ambient

Download The War On Drugs – Come To The City mp3 (from Slave Ambient)

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Mad Mackerel Recommends...Mikal Cronin.

26 Mikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin

Download Mikal Cronin – Apathy mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

Download Mikal Cronin – Get Along mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

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25 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Download Girls – Vomit mp3 (from Father, Son, Holy Ghost)

Download Girls – Honey Bunny mp3 (from Father, Son, Holy Ghost)Removed by order some uninformed halfwit – available everywhere else for free on the web

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24 Wooden Shjips – West

Download Wooden Shjips – Lazy Bones mp3 (from West)

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23 Metronomy – The English Riviera

Download Metronomy – The Look mp3 (from The English Riviera)

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Henry's Funeral Shoe Release Donkey Jacket.

22 Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Donkey Jacket

Download Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Anvil And Chains mp3 (from Donkey Jacket)

Download Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear mp3 (from Donkey Jacket)

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21 Decemberists – The King Is Dead

Download The Decemberists – This Is Why We Fight mp3 (from The King Is Dead)

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20 Dennis Hopper Choppers – Be Ready

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19 Bill Callahan – Apocalypse

Download Bill Callahan – Baby’s Breath mp3 (from Apocalypse)

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18 Moon Duo – Mazes

Download Moon Duo – Mazes mp3 (from Mazes)

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17 Black Keys – El Camino

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Wooden Wand Releases Briarwood Tomorrow.

16 Wooden Wand – Briarwood

Download Wooden Wand – Winter In Kentucky mp3 (from Briarwood)

Download Wooden Wand – Big Mouth USA mp3 (from Briarwood)

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15 Wilco – The Whole Love

Download Wilco – I Might mp3 (from The Whole Love)

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14 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

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13 Yuck – Yuck

Download Yuck – Holing Out mp3 (from Yuck)

Download Yuck – Dark Magnet mp3 (from Yuck)

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12 Hurray For The Riff Raff – Hurray For The Riff Raff

Download Hurray For The Riff Raff – Too Much Of A Good Thing mp3 (from Hurray For The Riff Raff)

Download Hurray For The Riff Raff – Take Me mp3 (from Hurray For The Riff Raff)

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11 Richmond Fontaine - The High Country

Download Richmond Fontaine – The Mechanic’s Life mp3 (from The High Country)

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Top Ten tomorrow!

MM’s 2011 Top Ten Series: No 8 Mad Mackerel

Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.So, the penultimate entry before Mrs Mackerel finishes off this year’s set of Top Ten postings tomorrow is my very own.

Without further ado…

10. Milk Music – Beyond Living

Although it was released early in the year, I only discovered it recently. A full on, no holds barred, nihilistic 70s punk attitude and the very best of the heavyweight riffs of the grunge era is a mighty powerful combination. One that makes me wish my car stereo went all the way up to eleven.

Download Milk Music – Beyond Living mp3 (from Beyond Living EP)

9. Yuck – Holing Out

Similarly, Yuck’s Holing Out effortlessly recalled the 90s with a crunchy distorted riff, reverb and a fuzz slathered hook. That it also had one of the best videos of the year was just another bonus.

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Download Yuck – Holing Out mp3 (from Yuck)

8. Wooden Wand – No Hayride

If there is one mystery to me in the world of music, then it is how James Jackson Toth aka Wooden Wand can be so damn prolific across so many genres and yet suffer no discernible dip in quality – not that I’m complaining. Another great year and too many tracks to choose from, but in the end it was this, seemingly an afterthought on his forthcoming boxset that makes up Volume 3 of his archives – a simple folk ballad that still managed to be head and shoulders above most things released this year.

Download Wooden Wand – No Hayride mp3 (from Archives Vol 3)

7. Kurt Vile – Peeping Tomboy

Top ten from the opening moments of this song; the hazy, shimmering guitar and the lazy drawled vocals intoning

“I don’t want to change, but I don’t want to stay the same
I don’t want to go but I’m running
I don’t want to work, but I don’t want to sit around all day frowning

I don’t want to give up, but I kinda want to lie down
But not sleep just rest
Give me a break how much does it really take?
Get my head outta here”

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6. Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear

It made a lot of other MM guest top tens so no need to add anything new. Anthemic, swaggering blues boogie at its fiery best.

Download Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear mp3 (from Donkey Jacket)

5. The Royal Sea – This Summer

I’ve mentioned this two or three times recently and posted it earlier today so not much more needs to be said about this either. Simply that it is pure, sugar-coated garage pop with just the right amount of surf inspired twang that in a parallel world would have been the woozy, feel-good hit of the summer.

Download The Royal Sea – This Summer mp3 (from The Royal Sea)

4. Deer Tick – Chevy Express

Deer Tick’s Divine Providence was, mostly, a rowdy, rambunctious good time rock’n’roll record that was meant for late nights of whiskey drinking and bar-room brawls. But tucked away in the middle of all the heady intoxication was this track: sombre, reflective, and undeniably sobering. It was the soundtrack to a heavy heart and lonely regret washed by the first light of an early morning dawn and may well be the best thing they’ve ever done.

3. Felice Brothers – Fire At The Pageant

Voodoo, zombies, sinister nursery rhyme chants, classic Felice Brothers lyrics and a woozy, old-timey, back porch rhythm means this song should have been an utter mess. That it was the complete opposite stands tribute to this bunch of ramshackle mavericks of increasingly experimental Americana.

Download The Felice Brothers – Fire At The Pageant mp3 (from Celebration, Florida)

2. Tom Williams & The Boat – Get Older

The most bitterly caustic song I heard all year meant it was a shoe-in for my top ten. I originally said “it drips venom over a heavy, single drumbeat, a vicious guitar strum, and spits lyrics like physical bullets”, and this still sounds a pretty fair summation to me.

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1. Middle Brother – Daydreaming

From the simple picked guitar line and weary, melancholy opening lyric, the scene is set for a raw, unflinching excursion courtesy of McCauley’s craggy vocals and beer-soaked romanticism. Loneliness never sounded so…well, lonely.

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Almost Made It

The Wooden Shjips pulverising Lazy Bones, Tom Williams & The Boat’s observationally wry and off kilter Wouldn’t Women Be Sweet, the blistering euphoria of Wye Oak’s Civilian, and LONG’s criminally ignored and under-rated Shoot Your Dog. If there was a better example of dark, claustrophobic psych-rock this year than the Ganglian’s Jungle then I didn’t hear it, while A.A. Bondy’s dark-hearted The Twist and Twilight Hotel’s epic road trip Mahogany Veneer were both superb examples of modern Americana. Back home, Metronomy’s ultra catchy The Look, and Male Bonding’s fuzzed up, yet still sugary What’s That Scene? flew the flag for the UK – on another day, in another year, all could so easily have been in the final shake up.

Download Wooden Shjips – Lazy Bones mp3 (from West)

Download The Ganglians – Jungle mp3 (from Still Living)

Download Metronomy – The Look mp3 (from The English Riviera)

Favourite Covers

Hurray for the Riff Raff’s mesmerising My Sweet Lord and Phosphorescent’s reverent take on Neil Young’s Are You Ready For The Country? were both outstanding, but just pipped by Siskiyou’s own Young cover, the skeletally menacing Revolution Blues. Titus Andronicus payed due homage to Nirvana’s classic Breed, but best of all was Middle Brother’s version of the Replacement’s Portland.

Download Phosphorescent – Are You Ready For The Country? mp3

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Best Tunes First Heard This Year But Not 2011

How on earth had Okkervil River escaped me for so long, particularly John Allyn Smith Sails and the superb For Real. Likewise with Wilco’s Misunderstood – I’d heard it, but this year I actually listened to it. Shellac’s Prayer To God is the most vicious song I’ve ever heard and one of the best, and so too Fugazi’s Waiting Room. Richard Buckner’s heartbreaking Emma was a revelation and James McMurty’s rollicking live version of Choctaw Bingo was eight minutes of pure, adrenalin fuelled Americana.

Download Shellac – Prayer To God mp3 (from 1000 Hurts)

Download Richard Buckner – Emma (Devotion & Doubt Outtake) mp3

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year. Here’s to 2012 when it all starts again!

The End of The Road Festival: A Review

The End of The Road: A ReviewIt is true to say that our first visit to the End of the Road Festival last year was without doubt the best music event (bar SxSW) we had ever attended. A superb line-up, brilliant layout, and festival goers who were there for the music rather than the ‘experience’ ensured three days of superb entertainment.

It meant we bought tickets immediately they went on sale for 2011, before we knew the line-up, before we’d even washed the dust off from 2010, and waited impatiently for September to come around again. Granted, for us the line-up this time didn’t quite match the quality of last year (but then we were spoilt by The Felice Brothers, Deer Tick, Phosphorescent, Forest Fire, Joe Pug, Wolf Parade, Black Mountain, Elliott Brood and The Low Anthem et al) but there was still much to get excited about.

Car problems and traffic trouble meant we arrived much later than planned, missing Micah P Hinson, Caitlin Rose and Best Coast into the bargain. We had to park further away and soon discovered the festival this year was considerably bigger – a new main stage was testament to that, but more so was the crowds – lots of people, lots and lots and lots of people.

Doubts were immediate. I’ve never been a lover of the huge stages that most big festivals have, and the increased numbers surely meant the fantastic, pure love of the music that the audience had and so set the End of the Road apart from others would be seriously threatened.

Once the tent was popped up and mattress inflated it was into the big top for a first taste of Bo Ningen, and while tunes were in limited supply, the guitar shredding histrionics and theatrical rock ‘n’ roll moves thrown by the four Japanese band members, all dressed as women, was more than ample consolation for a large crowd.

The End of the Road Festival: A Review By contrast Joan As Police Woman delivered a cooly confident set of indie ballads, poppy electronics and the occasional folk flurry, which were well judged and well crafted, preventing any hint of predictability from setting in. She was followed by The Walkmen who upped the energy and excitement levels considerably – their set was one of the weekend highlights with favourites like Juveniles, Angela and of course The Rat receiving rapturous acclaim.

A first visit to the main stage to see headliners Beirut confirmed all previous misgivings about big stages. While clearly good, clearly popular, and clearly pleasing the large crowd, it was still hard to connect with the set, despite excellent renditions of our favourites East of Harlem and Santa Fe. So it was back to the Garden Stage (is there a better festival setting in the country?) to see the legendary Mark E Smith prowl and chunter around the stage with the latest incarnation of the Fall. Either terrible or brilliant as a live spectacle, and rarely in between, they were the former, with a superb set of pummelling krautrock inspired anthems held together with his unique vocal incantations.

The End of the Road Festival: A Review Saturday saw Beth Jeans Houghton take the stage first and while we hadn’t been hugely taken when we’d seen her supporting Phosphorescent a couple of years ago, this was an entirely different proposition. A beefed up band, a boost in confidence and stage presence meant a sparkling set of indie pop and folk that contained a couple of absolute stand out tracks in Shampoo and Queen Of This Town – still quirky, still irreverent but now with top quality tunes, her debut album is out in January and on this evidence will be a must-have.

The End of the Road Festival: A Review Allo Darlin’ were (like all the best things at the End of the Road) another pleasant surprise – a toe-tapping set of classic British indie pop bursting with melodies and sing along harmonies, which was in stark contrast to the portentous gloomy folk of Timber Timbre that followed. Jolie Holland provided relief with a solo set of beautifully crafted, classic country tunes delivered with her honeyed southern vocal that we could listen to all day long. Another solo set from Matthew Houck aka Phosphorescent was hugely well received, mixing a cover of Dylan with compositions spanning the old (A Picture of our Torn Up Praise) and the new (Mermaid Parade, Los Angeles), and of course a sublime Wolves.

Avoiding the main stage, it was time for a double dose of high octane riffing and pulsating psychedelia from first The Wooden Shjips and then the Black Angels. Despite a slightly muddy sound (deliberate probably) both were triumphant with the former’s Lazy Bones and the latter’s Phosphene Dream being particular highlights.

Lastly it was Okkervil River, a band that for some reason we had not become overly familiar with over the years despite their excellent reputation. The live set we witnessed will change that for good, being one of the undoubted triumphs of the weekend. A fabulous frontman’s performance from Will Sheff, pulsating and mesmerising rhythms, and superb musicianship meant the hour long set passed in a moment, but left us a whole back catalogue to explore.

The End of the Road Festival: A Review Then, as the tent called, we discovered that Bob Log III, fresh from a triumphant main stage slot in the afternoon was playing a ‘by popular demand’ headline slot in the Tipi Tent. Cramming ourselves in with the heaving masses, we enjoyed what is surely one of the best dirty blues shows you could ever see. Wearing his trademark crash helmet and playing a blistering set of raw licks that made Seasick Steve look like an absolute beginner, he held the audience enthralled for an hour with great between-song-banter and a hollered “goddamn Bob Log is good” screech at the end of each song. The set finished with two girls from the audience on his lap and three more dancing on stage.

The End of the Road Festival: A Review Sunday began with Black Mountain side project Lightning Dust and they were a perfect example of why the End of the Road is so damned good. First up on the last day usually means a sparse, lethargic audience at most festivals. Not here, and the packed crowd were treated to a sublime set of psychedelic folk with a gothic tinge and the exquisite vocals of Amber Webber. Totally unexpected, totally mesmerising, and our best ‘find’ of the festival. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.

We took in the countrified shoegaze of Slowdown Molasses and the sparse, fingerpicked folk of Futur Primitif. We enjoyed a fabulously (and surprisingly) powerful set from an (also surprisingly) relatively non-hirsute Megafaun. Thoroughly enjoying themselves in the sunshine it was another exceptional set of indie rock and folk that left everyone grinning. We watched the Woodsist inspired triple billing of the Fresh & Onlys garage pop, The Woods hazy, psychedelic folk and Kurt Vile & The Violators powerful mix of spacey acoustics and thrilling Crazy Horse style guitar wigouts, and jigged along to the nomadic desert blues of Tinariwen.

The End of the Road Festival: A Review Finally it was back to braving the main stage for Laura Marling, having missed most of her solo set at the Wilderness Festival. This time backed by a six piece band, her crystal clear voice hung over the festival as a thing of pure, fragile beauty. At just 21 years of age, she may well be the best songwriter in the country.

So, was bigger better? In our opinion, probably not, but crucially bigger was not worse either. The single most important thing – the spirit of the End of the Road – remained intact. There was still the feeling that you were simply amongst a crowd (a big crowd) of people who were there, like you, for the love of the music and everything else was secondary. Just the way we like it – we’ll be back in 2012.

Download Bo Ningen – Psychedelic Misemono Goya mp3 (from Koroshitai Kimochi)

Download Joan As Police Woman – The Magic mp3 (from The Deep Field)

Download The Walkmen – Canadian Girl mp3 (from You & Me)

Download Allo Darlin’ – My Heart Is A Drummer mp3 (from Allo Darlin’)

Download Wooden Shjips – Lazy Bones mp3 (from West)

Download The Black Angels – Telephone mp3 (from Phosphene Dream)

Download Phosphorescent – Reasons To Quit mp3 (from To Willie)

Download Phosphorescent – Wolves mp3 (from Pride)

Download Okkervil River – Wake And Be Fine mp3 (from I Am Very Far)

Download Lightning Dust – Never Seen mp3 (from Infinite Light)

Download Megafaun – These Words mp3 (from Megafaun)

Download The Fresh & Onlys – Waterfall mp3 (from Play It Strange)

Download Kurt Vile – In My Time mp3 (from In My Time)

Download Woods – Blood Dries Darker mp3 (from At Echo Lake)

Download Tinariwen – Tenere Taqqim Tossam mp3 (from Tassili)

Download Laura Marling – Night Terror mp3 (from Alas I Cannot Swim)

And don’t forget our previous free End of the Road mix we posted last week.

Free End of the Road Festival Mix

Free End of the Road Festival Mix. Today Barry-Sean and I head off, pop up tents in tow, to the marvellous End of the Road festival in lovely Dorset. Once again sold out, last year’s inaugural trip turned into the best festival visit we’ve ever had, and we’re looking forward to more of the same over the next few days. Even the weather forecast is good!

Once again we have a huge number of superb bands scheduled to play and to follow our free Truck Festival Mix (RiP) and our Wilderness Festival Mix, here’s the third and final instalment – our free End of the Road Festival Mix. Enjoy.

Download Beirut – East Harlem mp3 (from The Rip Tide)

Download Joanna Newsom – Good Intentions Paving Company mp3 (from Have One On Me)

Download The Walkmen – Angela Surf City mp3 (from Lisbon)

Download Lykke Li – Get Some mp3 (from Get Some Single)

Download Phosphorescent – Are You Ready For The Country? mp3 (from Harvest Revisited, Mojo cover disc).

Download Phosphorescent – Mermaid Parade mp3 (from Here’s To Taking It Easy)

Download Okkervil River – Your Past Life As A Blast mp3 (from Your Past Life As A Blast 7″)

Download tUnE-yArDs – Bizness mp3 (from Insound March Digital Mixtape)

Download Best Coast – Sun Was High (So Was I) mp3 (from Sun Was High (So Was I) 7″)

Download The Black Angels – The First Vietnamese War mp3 (from Passover)

Download Micah P Hinson & The Red Empire Orchestra – We Won’t Have to be Lonesome mp3 (from Micah P Hinson & The Red Empire Orchestra)

Download Kurt Vile – Invisibility: Nonexistent mp3 (from Square Shells EP)

Download Caitlin Rose – Shotgun Wedding mp3 (from Dead Flowers EP)

Download Zola Jesus – Vessel mp3 (from Conatus)

Download The Fall – Hit The North Part 1 mp3 (from The Frenz Experiment)

Download The Fresh & Onlys – Be My Hooker mp3 (from Play It Strange)

Download Other Lives – For 12 mp3 (from Tamer Animals)

Download Darren Hanlon – Electric Skeleton mp3 (from Electric Skeleton 7″)

Download Dan Mangan – Road Regrets mp3 (from Nice, Nice Very Nice)

Download Timber Timbre – Trouble Comes Knocking mp3 (from Timber Timbre)

Download Bob Log III – Bumper Car mp3 (from My Shit Is Perfect)

Download The Woods – I’m Not Gone mp3 (from Welcome Home Diggin’ the Universe: A Woodsist Compilation)

Download The Wooden Shjips – Vampire Blues mp3 (from Vampire Blues / I Hear The Vibrations 7″)

Download Josh T Pearson – Woman When I’ve Raised Hell…(Alternative Version) mp3

Download This Frontier Needs Heroes – Firefly mp3 (from This Frontier Needs Heroes)

Download Megafaun – Carolina Days mp3 (from Heretofore)

Mad Mackerel’s Best Of The Month: July 2011

Mad Mackerel's Best of July Mix. Oh yes, it is that time again. Here is a round up of the very best of what we posted in July, plus a couple of new ones to add to the mix. Enjoy.

Download Dennis Hopper Choppers – Good To Me mp3 (from Be Ready)

Morricone inspired spaghetti western feel and Tijuana style horns combine to give an authentic dusty desert twang.

BTW: Whichever knob alleged infringement of copyright and reported to DMCA – get your facts right or contact us direct! This track is shared with full permission of Top Button Digital who represent the band.

Download Jenny Owen Youngs – Great Big Plans mp3 (from Great Big Plans)

First taste of singer-songwriter’s new album. It’s good!

Download The Deep Dark Woods – Westside Street mp3 (from The Place I Left Behind)

Another lovely example of their warm, resonant folk sound – it meanders slowly and surely along on the back of some lovely harmonies and easy going instrumentation.

Download Wooden Shjips – Lazy Bones mp3 (from West)

Takes the spirit of the Velvet Underground and melds it perfectly with the pummeling space rock of Hawkwind to create one of the best tracks of the year so far.

Download The Happy Thoughts – Sweet Dirty Love mp3 (from The Happy Thoughts)

Two and a half minutes of perfect, roughly hewn, garage style power pop.

Download Grass Widow – Mannequin mp3 (from Milo Minute 7″)

A suitably jangly and messy cover of Wire’s classic.

Download Megafaun – These Words mp3 (from Megafaun)

A round-robin of gamelan, ambient sounds, frogs, and cicadas underpin a hauntingly indelible piano melody and a hypnotic beat.

Download Vacant Fever – Heavy Leather mp3 (from Heparin And Saline)

Brilliantly sparse and stripped back affair with not a wasted note or murmur from first moment to the last.

Download Blind Atlas – Mary Anne mp3 (from Iron Wall EP)

The band put down their electric guitars and picked up acoustic instruments for Mary Anne and produced a lovely, laid-back country song.

Download The Sainthood Reps – Monoculture mp3 (from Monoculture)

Gem of distortion, bludgeoning percussion, and a nagging, jagged riff that sets it well apart from the usual fare and, played loud enough, might just remove the paint from the walls.

Download Brown Bird – Fingers To The Bone mp3 (from Salt For Salt)

Traditionally dark and eerie sound that is often backed with some of the most ominous and foreboding lyrics you’re likely to hear.

Download The Parson Red Heads – Burning Up The Sky mp3 (from Yearling)

Harkens back to the most prolific and inventive elements in the canon of West Coast psych-folk, the band’s music is intricate, gorgeous and rich.

Download The Tallest Man On Earth – Weather Of A Killing Kind mp3 (Adult Swim free single)

Gravelly tones and strummed acoustics.

Download Pepper Rabbit – Murder Room mp3 (from Red Velvet Snow Ball)

The dark undertone takes its time to bubble to the surface before dragging you back down in to its hidden depths.

Download St. Vincent – Big Black Mariah mp3 (live at Rain Dogs Revisited at The Barbican)

Cover of the month?

Download St. Vincent – Surgeon mp3 (from Strange Mercy)

And a brilliant taster from forthcoming new album.

Download We Were Promised Jetpacks – Act on Impulse mp3 (from In The Pit Of The Stomach)

An absolute cracker, featuring two minutes of tribal drumming and building guitars as an intro before launching into an anthem of stadium proportions.

Download Carter Tanton – Murderous Joy mp3 (from Freeclouds)

Our first point of reference was Sparklehorse: it is elegant, forlorn, and intimate.

Download The Pack A.D. – Sirens mp3 (from Unpersons)

Treat yourself to some trademark full on blues-rock riffage a la Zeppelin or Sabbath and that throaty Joplin like roar. Marvellous.

Download The Roadside Graves – Double Feature mp3 (from We Can Take Care Of Ourselves)

Country rock and whiskey raw vocals from stalwart MM faves.

Download Rhubarb Whiskey – Bears In The Lot mp3 (from Cautionary Tales)

Unique tale of bears and booze whose lyrics were penned by the infamous award winning horror author Poppy Z. Brite.

Download Case Studies – The Eagle, Or The Serpent mp3 (from The World Is Just a Shape to Fill the Night)

Download Case Studies – You Folded Up My Blanket Like We Were Already Lovers mp3 (from The World Is Just a Shape to Fill the Night) (via RSTB)

Two brilliant tracks that tell the tales of the dysfunctional and the disenchanted, the dreamers and the hopeless. Faultless folk!

Download Mikal Cronin – Apathy mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

Download Mikal Cronin – Get Along mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

And two brilliant blends of sweet melodies and chords with chunky, psychedelic guitar freak-outs – a California fuzz take on gorgeously unexpected psych garage pop.

Download Amen Dunes – Lower Mind mp3 (from Through Donkey Jaw)

Dark-hearted psych-folk over a repetitive almost drone-like rhythm – it calls to mind another MM fave in Wooden Wand.

Download Peg Simone – Wait For Night mp3

An eerie, otherworldly approach to blues and folk featuring lingering, ghostly guitar riffs and silver-tongued vocals.

And to finish off a cracking mix we have the dreamy pop loops of Gauntlet Hair, the easy-going folk-pop of Book Club (via MOKB), Jeff The Brotherhood’s faithful Nirvana take for their contribution to SPIN magazine’s free tribute album (get the whole thing here) and finally The Fungi Girls offer up a taste of their wonderful mix of psych-pop hooks and garage fuzz from forthcoming album Some Easy Magic.

Download Gauntlet Hair – Top Bunk mp3 (from Gauntlet Hair)

Download Book Club – Meal Of Dreams mp3 (from Ghost)

Download Fungi Girls – Velvet Days mp3 (from Some Easy Magic)

Download JEFF The Brotherhood – Something In The Way mp3 (from Newermind: SPIN Tribute to Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’)

See all our previous Best of The Month mixes in the side bar on the left. You might also like our recent free Truck Festival mix here or Big Hitters Round Up here.