Best Of The Year – Chris T Popper’s Top Twenty

Chris T Poppers Top 20 2014

20) Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

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19) Hamilton Leithauser – 11 O’Clock Friday Night

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18) Faces On Film – Percy

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17) Early Winters – A Thing For You

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16) Sleaford Mods – Routine Dean

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15) Eels – Mistakes of My Youth

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14) Chimes – Total Sunflower

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13) Dust From A 1000 Yrs – Smoke Em Up

12) Screaming Females – Ripe

11) The War On Drugs – Red Eyes

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10) Houndmouth – For No One

Any song which opens with a tortured reference to dropping acid will naturally pique my interest and coupled with Matt Myers vocals and stark production my curiosity is aroused further. Deftly suckering you in, For No One then tries to lead you down a darkened alley for a damn good kicking. It also proves you don’t necessarily need anything more than a guitar and a great vocal to pack an extraordinary punch.

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9) Sleaford Mods – Tiswas
Sleaford Mods’ album Divide & Exit (undoubtedly my favourite record of 2014) grasped the moment perfectly with it’s skewering of modern British life. I won’t try and dissect Tiswas, it’s just a banging tune with the lyrical equivalent of having your ears punched quite a lot. “I don’t want my dog on a string… that’ll hurt the thing” is my favourite line of the year. The humour, frustration and utter contempt is breathtaking at times. They are unlike anything else I’ve heard all year.

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8) Wooden Wand – Waveland
Ah, Mr Wand, I’ve been expecting you (sorry). A regular contributor over the years to my top 10’s Mr James Jackson Toth delivers yet again. It’s a song which appears to be absolutely straightforward; Toth recorded this by himself at home with his guitar and an 8-track recorder. However, like a particularly enormous onion there seems to be layer upon layer that reveals itself upon each further examination. And with the added onionesque quality of bringing a tear to the eye – through joy and sadness, my ridiculous metaphor is complete. With every listen I get a bit more from Waveland, it’s one of the hardest tricks to pull off but as usual Toth does it perfectly.

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7) Jonah Tolchin – Mockingbird
Opening up with kick-ass harmonica before the fiddle and guitar join the party Mockingbird is Tolchin’s sideways look at the nursery rhyme Hush Little Baby. So far so intrigued. It certainly has a strangely traditional feel and a classic break/riff stomp to it. It reminds me in a strange way of the climax of the classic 1981 film Southern Comfort where Powers Booth and Keith Carradine are serenaded by a full on Cajun hoedown. Brilliant deep, dark country on a low burn, just how I like it.

6) Horse Thief – Little Dust
Pretty much a sure thing for my top 10 from the first listen, the Oklahoma quintet Horse Thief (even the name makes me love them more) have struck gold with this perfectly formed piece of Americana. It begins with the piano before the guitar and rhythm section slide in forming the ‘taking it real easy…’ groove. It already feels like a country classic.

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5) The Amazing Snakeheads – Where Is My Knife
Take this song on in a fight – go on. I dare you. It will win hands down. In May this year I watched the Amazing Snakeheads deliver the best live performance I have seen for a long time and it blew my tiny mind. Dale Barclay is a man to be admired first and foremost. Mainly because he looks unfeasibly hard and secondly because he fucking means it. Menacing serial killer lyrics and a guitar picking out threats with a drum beat to rival any Tarzan film kind of works for me. Try it live when you’ve only ever heard one song by them before – quite an eye opener. Barclay growled at the audience ‘are youse my friends?’ my hand shot up like a rocket. Yes, I am, just don’t hurt me or get your knife.

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4) Elijah Ocean – Ride It Out
The other day this song was playing and my girlfriend was on her laptop, watching faces or something, when I noticed she was unconsciously singing along to the chorus. That’s what this song does; whoever you are (providing you have a soul) it touches you. The melody is simple enough, gently building throughout with the message of just getting through it, which is fairly universal. It actually becomes quite inspirational by the end with its catchy chorus infecting your brain. Life can sometimes feel like it’s on a continual loop of making you ride something or other out – good to have Elijah there to sing the soundtrack.

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3) Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud
Been a firm favourite from the moment I heard it. Jurado’s voice sounds amazing, and the string section is nothing short of magnificent. It’s one of those songs where you can be listening in the car and when it finishes you realise your turning was a couple of miles back and you never noticed. Or, you’ve not seen one of those bastard mobile speed cameras because you’re singing along so loudly and enjoying the moment. Let’s see if I enjoy my Speed Awareness Course as much in the New Year…

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2) Girl Band – Lawman
Fucking chaos. That’s why I signed up; as soon as that guitar started I was dug in like a tick on a hound. Experimental without being utterly awful (which lets face it you don’t hear that too often.) The drums halfway through are pure moony, just listen to it. Keith Moon banging on your brain or Reverend Moon washing it…. take your pick, same result applies. The long drawn out guitar with heavy feedback compliments/adds to the cacophony perfectly. To paraphrase the band themselves this song is ‘…driven by insistent low-end skronk’. Quite.

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1) Sleaford Mods – Smithy
It’s all over in under 2 and a half minutes but still manages to make me grimace, smile and cower in equal measure. A brutal bass line and drum riff accompanies singer Jason Williamson’s verdict on the state of the nation. Not so much angry as bored with the sheer futility of it all, Sleaford Mods drill down until they reach (or is that retch) in to the unpleasant shitty bits of our modern culture. I like absolutely everything about this record, right down to Andrew Fearn throwing in a bit of chopper noise at the end. ‘Who cares about rock stars anymore?’ asks Williamson – not me mate. I’ve watched all my old heroes become parodies of themselves or even worse John bloody Lydon and I’m well and truly out of it.

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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: 40 -21

MM's Best of 2014 40-21

Day four of five – reaching the top of the MM charts for 2014. Here are our favourites from 40 down to 21.

40 Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

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39 Dead Fingers – Twisted

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38 Alt J – Left Hand Free

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37 Screaming Females – Ripe

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36 Sleaford Mods – Tiswas

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35 Sun Kil Moon – Dogs

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34 Jamie T – Zombie

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33 Spookyland – Silly Fucking Thing

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32 Dream Police – My Mama’s Dead

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31 The Felice Brothers – Constituents

 

30 Jonah Tolchin – Mockingbird

 

29 Mac DeMarco – Brother

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28 The Vacant Lots – Mad Mary Jones

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27 Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Body Electric

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26 Sharon Van Etten – Everytime The Sun Comes Up

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25 Wooden Wand – Waveland

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24 Mark Erelli – Ice Fishing

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23 Bombadil – Have Me

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22 Faces On Film – Percy

 

21 The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice

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Don’t forget to check out numbers 100 – 81 here, 80 – 61 here, and 60 – 41 here.

Mad Mackerel’s Favourite Songs Of 2014: 100 – 81

MM's Best Of The Year 2014

Today the countdown begins of Mad Mackerel’s favourite 100 songs of 2014. From Monday to Friday check back to see what tickled the earbuds of MM’s contributors, followed by our Albums of the Year at the weekend and then our individual contributors’ choices.

So without further ado….

100 Micah P Hinson – The Same Old Shit

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99 Wooden Wand – Dambuilding

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98 Juan Wauters – Water

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97 Shellac – Dude Incredible

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96 Broncho – What

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95 Shunkan – Wash You Away

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94 Martyr Privates – Someone’s Head

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93 Slaves – Hey

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92 Tense Men – RNRFON

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91 Dead Fingers – Big Black Dog

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90 Jamie T – Peter

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89 Avers – Girl’s With Headaches

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88 Mazes – Astigmatism

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87 New Bums – Black Bough

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86 Thurston Moore – Detonation

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85 Spray Paint – Cussin

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84 White Sands – The Wait

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83 Eagulls – Possessed

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82 Happyness – Naked Patients

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81 Steve Gunn – Milly’s Garden

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Check back tomorrow for numbers 80 – 61.

Wooden Wand – Uneasy Peace

More From Wooden Wand's Farmer's Corner

Wooden Wand hits the road on the back of his recent album Farmer’s Corner, another outstanding release, which came out in May on Fire Records. For most of these shows, he’ll be headlinging and playing solo, performing songs from the new album as well as from his extensive back catalogue. He has also announced a couple of shows with Jolie Holland, one is a sold out date at The Water Rats in London on 25 September and the other is at the Soup Kitchen in Manchester the day before.

Listen to the excellent Uneasy Peace from the album and then buy a ticket for one of the dates below.

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Tour Dates:

September 11th – UK, LONDON, FIRE SHOWCASE (with The Saints and Sterling Roswell)
September 12th – PT, VALADA, REVERENCE FESTIVAL
September 13th – SP, SANTIAGO COMPOSTELA, WORKONSUNDAY
September 14th – PT, VILA REAL, COVILHETE NA MAO
September 15th – PT, PORTO, PASSOS MANUEL
September 16th – PT, COIMBRA, SALAO BRASIL
September 17th – FR, PARIS, POINT EPHEMERE
September 18th – NL, DEN HAAG, PAARD VON TROJE
September 20th – NL, TILBURG, INCUBATE FESTIVAL
September 22th – DE, MUNCHEN, GLOCKENBACHWERKSTATT
September 24th – UK, MANCHESTER, SOUP KITCHEN (with Jolie Holland)
September 25th – UK, LONDON, WATER RATS (with Jolie Holland)
September 26th – UK, WINCHESTER, THE RAILWAY
September 27th – UK, HEBDEN BRIDGE, MASONIC HALL
September 28th – UK, GLASGOW, BROADCAST
September 29th – IE, DUBLIN, WORKMAN’S CLUB
September 30th – IE, CORK, BLACK DOG SALOON & MEZCALARIA
October 2nd – IE, LIMERICK, KASBAH SOCIAL CLUB
October 3rd – NL, UTRECHT, DB’S
October 4th – BE, GHENT, VOORUIT

Wooden Wand – Waveland

Wooden Wand - Waveland

Lightning have announced their first quarterly, part of a larger subscription series the label has put together with four quarterly gonzo style magazines and a 20 album series where artists have been asked to contribute a unique side project or edge creative statement.

Lightning quarterly one includes:
Five new albums by early Brooklyn infamous rock legends People of the North (Oneida), mythological songwriter and long standing MM fave Wooden Wand, Arizona desert outlaw (and another MM fave) Ohioan, primitive futurist guitar poet William Tyler, and rebel rocker and virtuoso guitar shredder Cy Dune.

Here is a track from Wooden Wand’s AZAG-TOTH, a record (apparently) exploring the musical idea of Metempsychosis and recorded at home onto his trusty Tascam 8 Track digital recorder without band or producer. Waveland is classic James Jackson Toth, deceptively simple, profound, intelligent and more proof (were it needed) of a songwriter who seemingly can effortlessly deliver what others strive for years to do, and fall short.

“the off season, it’s always hell,
you can tell each highway from the smell,
Mama’s borders they would scream and shout,
My half-brother kissed me on the mouth”

It doesn’t get much better than this. Treat yourself.

 

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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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Mad Mackerel’s Best Of The Months: March – May (Part 1)

Mad Mackerel's Best of the Months: March to May (Part 1)

Previously we’ve just offered Best of the Month postings with downloads, but that excludes so many quality songs we’ve decided to just post our favourite tracks – irrespective of whether they are free to download or not. If you like them add them to your Spotify playlists or do the old fashioned thing and download them from iTunes, Bandcamp, or wherever.

Anyway, with a bit of ground to make up here is the first part of March to May’s selections. Nearly forty tracks – enjoy!

Twin Berlin – Buzzkill
Heavy, slow burnin’ garage punk.

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The Ukiah Drag – Dirt Trip
Wields a heavy creep-beat that cleans your dusty clock and takes you for a bourbon afterwards – self-conceited punk hypnosis.

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La Sera – Losing To The Dark
Sounds like Lesley Gore fronting Black Flag – in a good way.

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Dan Baker – Pistol In My Pocket
Skeletal, tortured alt-country and folk delivered with Baker’s mix of wavering, unforgiving howls and whispered confessionals.

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S. Carey – Crown The Pines
Glorious, delicately cascading folk.

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Secret Colours – Heavy & Steady
Bass-heavy single showcases the quintet’s maturing psych-pop sensibilities.

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Wooden Wand – Dambuilding
Beautifully judged slice of acoustic melancholy unhurriedly delivered with a slightly crestfallen air that imbues the narrative with a gorgeous poignancy.

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Benjamin Shaw – Goodbye, Kagoul World
Ramshackle psychedelic folk with a healthy splash of darkly black humour.

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WATERS – Got To My Head

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Split Screens – Close My Eyes
Over a backdrop of lush vocal harmonies, meditative fingerpicking and expressive brush work, delves into the theme of escapism and the freedom of letting go.

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Tele Novella – Trouble In Paradise
Charming, mellow indie psych-pop and subtle vocal harmonies.

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Donkeys – Scissor Me Cigs
Laid back, easy-going, breezy country tinged rock.

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Paradise – Born And Bound
Vintage-inspired, nuggets style garage-psych.

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The Leaf Library – The Greater Good
Hypnotic, krautrock disco, which is reminiscent of Stereolab at their best.

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Cate Le Bon – Sisters

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Timber Timbre – Curtains?!
Insistent groove of disquieting Americana.

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Creepoid – Wet Bread
Slow burn sonics from noise rockers.

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Heart Beach – Hours
Sad, minimal, skuzz pop drone harmonies.

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Amen Dunes – Lilac In Hand
Sweetly resigned vocals are carried along on a simple acoustic strum, piano and deft percussion.

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Brian Jonestown Massacre – What You Isn’t
Grandfathers of modern-psych deliver again.

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The Peach Kings – Be Around
Smooth and smoky vocals above bluesy guitar riffs

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The Orwells – Southern Comfort
Swaggering, infectious lead off track from the much anticipated debut Disgraceland, out on the 3rd June.

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The Delines – I Won’t Slip Up
Smooth, slow moving and sorrowful Americana.

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Horse Thief – Little Dust
Relaxed, undulating slice of Americana that sets expansive, chiming guitars behind an rolling, easy-going vocal.

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Strand Of Oaks – Goshen ’97
A superb full-on, incendiary, ballsy roots-rocker with screaming guitars and relentless percussion.

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Clouder – Lost In Reverie
Romping rock track about a faceless female presence that’s propelled by antsy guitars that morph in and out of surf and psychedelic jangles.

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Dune Rats – Funny Guy
Two and a half minutes of pumped up, guitar-fuelled stoned, garage rock that is impossible to resist.

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Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – Sealed Scene
Get locked into the space rock groove…

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Free Swim – Meal For One
Brilliant track of catchy indie insouciance, scalpel sharp lyrical minutiae, and overall inventive quirkiness.

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The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice
Classic ragged, uptempo rocker – no one does this stuff better than the Felices.

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The Vacant Lots – Mad Mary Jones
A full on head rush of punked-up psychedelia.

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CRUISING – You Made Me Do That
As lo-fi and DIY as it comes – grimy, distorted, brooding and depraved.

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Old Smokey – Dead Man’s Pose
An upbeat scorcher with rolling, brushed drums, chanted group vocals, and a clarinet that brings to mind a New Orleans second line.

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Tijuana Bibles – Toledo
Somewhere in between the nostalgic Americana of Tom Waits and the sludgy riffs of the grunge resurgence.

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Triptides – Moonbeams
Dreamy, meandering slice of psych-rock with hints of surf.

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And a couple of new ones to finish off…the new single Mainline from indie rockers Teleman, and the driving, hook-filled urgency of PUJOL’s Circles.

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Download all

Another From Wooden Wand’s Farmer’s Corner

More From Wooden Wand's Farmer's Corner

Farmer’s Corner, the new album from Wooden Wand promises to be a rawer, more personal affair than the brilliant Blood Oaths Of The New Blues and we have already shared the wonderful Dambuilding with you here.

Now we have Alpha Dawn for your listening pleasure, another sublime cut of relaxed, informal, wandering folk that evokes all those classic intimate campfire and back-porch scenarios, as acoustic strings meander sweetly beneath James Jackson Toth’s gently sung vocals.

Absolutely gorgeous. Listen/download it below.

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Wooden Wand Announces Farmer’s Corner

Wooden Wand Announces Farmer's Corner

We’re putting up the bunting at Mackerel Towers because long-time favourite, Wooden Wand will release a new album, Farmer’s Corner on May 5th via Fire Records.

This time it is an album recorded on his travels, in fits and starts, and wherever and whenever he felt like it. It means nine new songs captured in six sessions in four studios in three different states.

Amongst them is Dambuilding, a beautifully judged slice of acoustic melancholy unhurriedly delivered with a slightly crestfallen air that imbues the narrative with a gorgeous poignancy.

Appetites are well and truly whetted, 57 days to wait.

Grab it below.