The second instalment of our favourite tracks of 2018. Enjoy…

75 Holly Miranda – Golden Spiral

 

This wonky, horn-led track taken from her excellent Mutual Horse album, dips its toes into the swirling whirlpools of off-kilter indie pop with a buoyant rhythmic pulse and nods to glam rock and funk.

 

74 Ezra Furman – Suck The Blood From My Wound

 

Suck The Blood From My Wound is a choppy, hook filled indie rocker that dials up the intensity and paranoia from the outset (check the horror film opening sample) to create a visceral, desperate dash from government pursuers. Throughout the narrator’s pain and defiance remain constants, “Angel, don’t fight it – to them, you know we’ll always be freaks.”

 

73 Fontaines DC – Boys In The Better Land

 

Fontaines DC are our favourite discovery of 2018. Boys In The Better Land, the b-side to the excellent Chequeless Reckless, is a resolutely retro nod to classic Irish rock’n’roll – a concise, gritty and utterly irresistible slice of indie-punk that conjures up images of the Stooges jamming with the Fall.

 

72 Flat Worms – Melt The Arms

 

Furious, buzzing, magnificent, garage-punk that will put hairs on your chest and then melt them off again – all in just over two minutes.

 

71 First Aid Kit – It’s A Shame

 

There isn’t much that sounds better than the gorgeous harmonies created by Swedish sisters First Aid KitIt’s A Shame is a perfect case in point. Simply lovely.

 

70 Deaf Wish – FFS

 

FFS erupts out of the speakers like a runaway train and over the next 130 seconds or so simply picks up the pace even further – unstoppable. A fizzing, furious, outburst of potent punk rock.

 

69 Eric Church – The Snake

 

Built on a sinewy, swampy acoustic riff, The Snake is classic country protest. America’s two polarised parties are portrayed as two serpents greedily preying on the electorate. Church’s wonderful spoken drawl vocals add just the right tinge of bleak menace and give extra depth to the bitter lyrics, “Rattlesnake said to the copperhead / Ain’t no way they win / ‘Cause the mice are sheep / And the shepherd’s asleep / And the copperhead said “amen

 

68 Drahla – Twelve Divisions Of The Day

 

A naggingly insistent earworm of a tune, blending the band’s wiry art-rock with krautrock inspired experimentalism, all underpinned by singer/guitarist Luciel Brown’s captivating spoken drawl.

 

67 Dr. Dog – Buzzing In The Light

 

Dr. Dog have long been the purveyors of perfectly judged psych-tinged Americana that draws on elements of pastoral folk, soul and jazz. Buzzing In The Light is wonderfully mellow and laid back, hazily meandering to a dreamy conclusion on the back of a slow drumbeat and keyboards.

 

66 Big Joanie – Fall Asleep

 

A fabulous amalgamation of Ronettes style bubble-gum pop and Sleater-Kinney wig-out. The high speed Fall Asleep is an instantly hummable, toe-tapping frolic through the highs and lows of dreams and nightmares.

 

65 Queen Zee – Victim Age

 

Queer-core punks Queen Zee’s energetic, politically charged call to arms – anarchic and borne of a deep frustration with the status quo. Another to play loud!

 

64 Dunes – Mountain

 

Mined from the same sonic territory that hosts the Black Angels, Warlocks and Wooden Shjips, Mountain is thick with reverb, fuzz and deliciously dark undertones.

 

63 Slaves – Bugs

 

Bugs is a classic Slaves staccato stomper. Anthemic call and response vocals and thumping percussion deliver a savage verdict on our collective politicians’ utter failure to do anything but look after their own porcine interests whilst the country slides down the drain with barely a whimper. “Two arms, two legs, two faces, That’s what they got” Exactly.

 

62 Freschard & Stanley Brinks – Going To The Bar

 

Stanley Brinks is one of indie music’s true one-offs. Amongst many other things he has recorded more than 100 albums, been part of the New York Antifolk scene, and played a lot with The Wave Pictures. On this wonderful collaboration with Freschard, the pair deliver a wistfully off-kilter and woozy gem of a tale that takes in drinking alone, the bedridden Fred (with the big round head) and broken hearts. A rueful and poignant tune for the dead of night.

 

61 Goat Girl – The Man

 

A stand-out from Goat Girl’s self-titled debut, The Man is perfectly observed garage-punk that comes wrapped in delightfully sleazy guitar and a rattling sing-a-long chorus. Seedy never sounded so alluring.

 

60 Goat – Let It Burn

 

Let It Burn was written specifically for the climatic scene in the short movie Killing Gävle, a film about the famous Gävle Goat in Sweden – every year local custodians try to protect a giant straw goat (built for the town every Christmas) being burnt down by mischievous pagans. It all sounds very Wicker Man (no doubt our very own folk horror aficionado Chris T Popper would approve) and to which the epic nature of the song – six minutes of Goat’s unstoppable hypnotic fuzzy groove – does complete justice.

 

59 Dunes – (Just Because You’re Not Being Followed Doesn’t Mean You’re Not) Paranoid

 

Another from the Aussie psych-rockers. Spacier, woozier, but just as hypnotic.

 

58 Cash Savage & The Last Drinks – Pack Animals

 

Pack Animals is a the grubby, cheeky nephew of a union between classic early 70s pub-rock and punk. Underneath it’s cheery, pumping exterior and chugging refrain is a searing indictment of the inherent arrogance of gig-goers giving the girls in the band some “helpful” advice, almost always prefaced with the opening “The gig was great, but…

 

57 Amen Dunes – Miki Dora

 

A song about the iconic 60s surfer and lifelong criminal, Miki Dora is a haunting pop gem that evokes the shimmering, untouchable horizon with its gorgeous blurry vocals and shifting, restless tones, like waves endlessly rolling up the shore.

 

56 Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Bike Lane

 

Kick off your jackboots, it’s time to unwind”. Unsurprisingly there have been many political songs this year and Lord knows from Trump to the insanity of Brexit there has been plenty of material to work with. But none have quite the impact of Bike Lane, a song dealing with the death of Freddie Grey, a victim of police brutality in Baltimore. It is unflinching and straightforward and set to a classic chugging riff. “The cops, the cops that killed Freddie, Sweet, young Freddie Gray, Got behind him with their truncheons, And choked the life right out of him“.

 

55 Young Fathers – Toy

 

Confidently and gleefully leaping between genres with nary a backwards glance, Toy effortlessly bridges a gap between rap and full on sing-a-long indie anthem.

 

54 Eels – The Deconstruction

 

A laid-back wander through some classic rock territory. Echoes of Pink Floyd and Massive Attack burble and hum behind Mark Oliver Everett’s understated vocal, “The deconstruction has begun. Time for me to fall apart.” Sometimes funky, sometimes elaborate and always unpredictable, The Deconstruction is the sound of a revised world view and a weary philosophical acceptance of the nebulous state of things.

 

53 The Callas with Lee Ranaldo – Acid Books

 

A post-punk burner brimming with frenzied energy. Opening with a swirl of droning ambiance and the rhetorical question, “Do you sleep at night?”, the track quickly launches headlong into a fever of activity. With the anxious pulse of a hard-driving bassline to lead the way, and punctuated by terse outbursts of hypnotic, scuzzed-up guitar lines.

 

52 Slaves – Cut And Run

 

Everything about Cut And Run is ridiculous. The spoof workout video, the high pitched guitars and the “You’re looking unwell” mantra, yet it still all combines to create another infectiously catchy, sledgehammer punk song.

 

51 Idles – Love Song

 

Idles somehow manage to pair howling, horror-flick guitars and thumping percussion with fierce, redemptive lyrics on the complexities of relationships and love.

 

Check out tracks 100 – 76 from yesterday here.

It’s time for MM’s annual round up of our favourite songs of the year. Thanks as always go to all our regular contributors – Mrs Mackerel, Chris T Popper, the Italian Job, Polly Pocket and a very welcome return to the fold for Dr Roddy.

So without further ado, lets start the countdown.

100 Cabbage – Preach To The Converted

 

In a year that we lost the great Mark E Smith, Manc neighbours Cabbage stepped up to the plate and delivered an album of sneering, swaggering and violently nihilistic songs that were cut from the same cloth as the Fall. Preach to the Converted is a prime example, a snarling, surf-tinged punk stomper.

 

99 Yowl – Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living

 

Yowl capture the frustration of the 9-to-5 London grind like few others (also making Chris T Popper’s best of the year list in 2016). In frontman Gabriel Byrde, they have someone who can spin poetry on songs about alienation and exhaustion. Yowl are often viciously loud, but on Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living) it is tempered with a more fatalistic, loose feel that calls to mind Lou Reed as much as it does Parquet Courts.

 

98 Teenage Cavegirl – No Good/So Bad

 

Austin, Texas boy/girl duo Teenage Cavegirl offer exactly what their name says they should. The tribal drums and trash-pop guitar lines combine to create a deceptively simple slab of primal garage rock. Throw in some plaintive lyrics, an anthemic chorus and wrap it all up in under two minutes.

 

97 Black Delta Movement – Let The Rain Come

 

Inspired by the ghosts of the Sonics and MC5, influenced by the kaleidoscopic thrum of the Black Angels and Wooden Shjips, Let The Rain Come is a propulsive, mesmerising gem of powerful psych-rock that layers an industrial sheen over it’s pummelling hypnotic heart.

 

96 Cool Ghouls – CCR Bootleg

 

A boisterous, jerky slice of indie that rambles along with an unshakeable airy confidence and a knowing nod to the great band’s chooglin’ style.

 

95 Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

 

Channelling their inner Talking Heads, Wide Awake is a shout along anthem propelled on something akin to tropical percussion and a sparse, funky and naggingly insistent guitar refrain.

 

94 Yak – White Male Carnivore

 

A welcome return from the noisenik trio. White Male Carnivore is what, in the old days, we’d have called a rip-snorter. Crunchy, muscular and prone to an odd left turn (those weird backing vocals, the wry nod to American spirituals), the song careers along moving everything out of its path with sheer force of will.

 

93 Sunflowers – Sleepy Sun

 

A mutating slab of space rock – all slurred riffs and acid-bleached vocals. Just as likely to be a nightmare as a dream depending on your drug of choice…

 

92 Strange Cages – Hypothalmus Blues

 

Brighton’s Strange Cages are purveyors of a snotty, psych-surf rock ‘n’ roll sound in the vein of The Cramps or Ty Segall. The wonderfully titled Hypothalamus Blues combines elements of krautrock and post-punk with a paranoid, schizophrenic vocal.

 

91 Sleep Eaters – Ghost On Fire

 

Just over two minutes of cacophonous, fuzzed out, desert, cowboy garage-rock, that sounds like a feral cross between The Black Lips, The Stooges and the Screaming Blue Messiahs – imagine all three dropped into a sun-baked, spaghetti western playing to a whiskey bar full of gunslingers on speed.

 

90 Ron Gallo – Really Nice Guys

 

Taking aim squarely at the music industry and those bands who are “better people than musicians“, Ron Gallo’s blackly acerbic wit is filtered directly through the prism of 60s garage rock and fuzzy psychedelia.

 

89 Nest Egg – Denied Doctrine

 

A three-piece from Asheville, North Carolina who describe their head-heavy and kosmische psych-rock wig-outs as ‘mood music for nihilists’. Denied Doctrine is a mind scrambling swirl of malevolent, chugging guitars and hypnotic reverb.

 

88 Mothers – Pink

 

Pink grips like a vice and over seven taut, potent minutes of nervy, hypnotic, krautrock it builds layer upon layer of bewitching intensity that never lets up.

 

87 Lonely Parade – I’m So Tired

 

A mix of wiry post-punk and buzzsaw guitars – disaffected dissonance never sounded so good!

 

86 Crepes – Bicycle Man

 

Infectious indie-pop par excellence. A groovy bass-line and hooks sharp enough to burrow deep under the skin.

 

85 American Pets – Forgetting

 

Taking inspiration from the likes of The Velvet Underground, Wilco, Tom Petty, and Serge Gainsbourg, LA based indie band American Pets’ Forgetting is a quietly strummed mix of bleak suburban nostalgia and nightmare.

 

84 Wharves – High School Hero

 

The naggingly, groove infused High School Hero sounds like a weird mash up of glam-rock era Bowie, Devo, Nick Cave, The Clash’s Magnificent Seven and Tom Tom Club’s Wordy Rappinghood. Even more weirdly it works… brilliantly.

 

83 Lord Huron – Ancient Names (Part II)

 

Lord Huron are not particularly known for their garage rock credentials, but Ancient Names (Part II) bursts out the blocks with a heavy, distorted sense of urgency proclaiming “gone are the days of laughter and love“, and over the course of two short minutes conveys a darkness of heart and soul that is epitome of resigned despair and hopelessness.

 

82 Thurston Moore – Mx Liberty

 

A typically corrosive broadside at the “mockery of democracy” that currently prevails in the USA. Thurston Moore’s brings his trademark barbed guitar squall and brutal, bruising percussion to the table and wins the argument. Hands down.

 

81 Flasher – Skim Milk

 

Crisp, exhilarating guitar riffs matched to a melodic ease and with some enjoyably rowdy call and response vocals, Skim Milk is a gem of sharp, precise indie rock.

 

80 LICE – The Human Parasite

 

Lyrically obtuse, melodically caustic and revelling in ugly, uncomfortable home truths, LICE’s debut single was a scratchy, skronky, instant classic. “All humans carry, through their daily lives / A compulsion to torture and destroy / Be not afeared of your impulse to despise / Your neighbour just because they have an accent you dislike.

 

79 The Men – Maybe I’m Crazy

 

A wired, pulsating, synth-driven rocker complete with wonky sax at the end. Play loud.

 

78 Phosphorescent – Around The Horn

 

The centrepiece of latest album C’est La Vie, on Around the Horn Phosphorescent calls the shimmering motorik of the War on Drugs and then raises it with an eight minute mini masterpiece of swelling, throbbing country-psych.

 

77 Gong Gong Gong – Siren 追逐劇

 

Desert psych anyone? South-east Asian freakout? Chinese blues? All this and more is thrown into the melting pot and stirred to a magnificent, galloping frenzy.

 

76 Phobophobes – Where Is My Owner?

 

The low rumble of menacing, dirty sleaze – a fetid, swampy stomp set atop twinkling drums and sweet organ flourishes. Over it all is the sardonic refrain of “Where is my owner? I thought that I came with one”

 

Big Joanie – Sistahs

Posted: December 13, 2018 in Alternative, Indie, Music, Pop, Punk, Rock
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Heard the brilliant Fall Asleep by London three-piece Big Joanie on the Marc Riley show whilst driving back from Peterborough on Tuesday night. Did a bit of googling and discovered they’d just released their debut album Sistahs.

Inspired by The Ronettes, Nirvana, Breeders and Jesus and Mary Chain, the three-piece have described themselves as being “similar to The Ronettes filtered through ’80s DIY and Riot Grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis.”

Sounds good to us and here are a couple of tracks to prove it – and you can order the album from Bandcamp here.

 

 

Falmouth four-piece Holiday Ghosts are back with their second LP West Bay Playroom, the follow-up to their very good self-titled debut album from 2017, which we featured a few times on MM.

The band have a nicely authentic, primitive rock ’n’ roll sound that’s taps into the Velvet Underground and The Modern Lovers alongside some of the more contemporary garage rock acts, but on the new record have also taken on influences from country, blues, and spaghetti western soundtracks.

Listen to Booksmart, the excellent first taster from the record, which you can order via Bandcamp here.

 

  1. Fat Earthers -Letter Bomb
  2. Howe Gelb – A Thousand Kisses Deep (featuring M.Ward)
  3. The Chills – Bad Sugar
  4. Mount Hudson – Write A Book
  5. Yak -Fried
  6. Steve Gunn – Stonehurst Cowboy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very sad to hear the news of Pete Shelley’s passing yesterday. One of the true punk pioneers and, with the Buzzcocks, created some timeless classics of irrepressible, irreverent, and thrilling punk rock.

Here’s a small selection, together with his wonderful solo track Homosapien and the Honey Ants’ poignant cover of Ever Fallen In Love, which is gorgeous and probably just about right for the mood today.

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling On is the title song from The Decemberists’ new EP, all five of which are unreleased tracks from the same sessions that produced their excellent album I’ll Be Your Girl.

Top tune.

 

It somehow seems appropriate that a band called Cabbage, an irreverent, malevolent, and downright scuzzy band to boot, should choose to share a Christmas record.

The result, Smells Like Christmas, is another addition to their catalogue of churning, scathing post-punk releases imbued with more than their usual dose of grim, observational humour and existentialist dread. This is a festive song more likely to sit somewhere between Half Man Half Biscuit and a (feral) version of the Kinks.

They’re long standing MM faves so enjoy.

 

We’ve not been able to post much recently, which is a great shame, given how much good new stuff has been appearing over the last week or two. Chief amongst them is this eerie, evocative new track from Sharon Van Etten’s upcoming new record Remind Me Tomorrow (due out on January 18th).

Titled Jupiter 4, you can stream it below or watch the particularly good video that has been released to accompany it…

 

 

It’s soon to be the most wonderful time of the year! And in the old tradition, Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert invites you to gather round the fire for Ghost Stories for Christmas.

These are the ghosts of love, haunting happy homes and fairy-lit bars; these are the ghosts of memory, of haunted mirrors, pagan festivities, and unforgettable friends. Aidan Moffat’s quiet, pensive storytelling finds a perfect partner in RM Hubbert’s intimately intricate, flamenco-flavoured guitar. Across eight new original compositions and two deftly executed covers, here they offer a very alternative view on the Season To Be Jolly.

Stream the lead single A Ghost Story At Christmas, which has some fabulous lyrics…

“he’d check his breath before he phoned,
she’d fix her hair before she answered,
But the snow must turn to slush,
and then to water, then to steam,
Impermanence is certain,
happy endings just a dream,
Another silent night in bleak midwinter,
getting drunker, getting skinter”

It’s brilliant stuff. Any justice in the world and this becomes a Christmas classic!