Archive for July, 2010

Some heavy rock is just too good to pass up.

Black Mountain push all the right buttons with this, the second track and new single, to get released from their much anticipated forthcoming album Wilderness Heart.

Even the track title calls up an era of stoned Hells Angels with straggly hair having fun on their Harleys while terrifying your mum. Marvellous.

Pre-order the album from Jagjaguwar here.

Visit Black Mountain’s MySpace here.

Download Black Mountain – The Hair Song mp3 (from Wilderness Heart)

Download Black Mountain – Old Fangs mp3 (from Wilderness Heart)

Along with Howling Owl, The War Crimes are probably MM’s favourite discovery of 2010. Ever since we fell for the sinister charms of their single Treatise we have been eagerly awaiting every new offering with much anticipation.

Now we have a new track, Levin As I for you. A bit slower yes, but every bit as disquieting and unsettling in a downtempo, fatalistic way as their previous offerings. We all know the truth of the saying less is more, and The War Crimes have mastered the skill of understatement like no one else we know.

As they say at the beginning of the song, “Forgive me my faults for one final waltz……

Visit their MySpace here.

Download The War Crimes – Levin As I mp3

The new single from The Jim Jones Revue is called High Horse and is out on the 23rd August. It is a typically frenetic slice of rock ‘n’ roll in the band’s own inimitable style and precedes their new album Burning Your House Down on 6th September.

Enjoy the video for the single…

This weekend was our first visit to Truck, an intimate and friendly music festival held on a farm near Oxford. This was their 13th such event and was blessed with sunshine throughout. Mrs Mackerel and I took the three Mackerel sprats along on both days and had a thoroughly good time whether it was learning the Poyes(? – top left) , sampling the Rotary Club’s top-notch lentil dahl, or singing along to Stornoway as the sun set over the horizon.

The line-up was full and varied offering Blood Red Shoes, MewTeenage Fanclub and Bellowhead on the main stage or Chapel Club, Pulled Apart By Horses and local ‘next big thing’ retro blues rockers Little Fish in the cowshed. Highlights were many (despite some occasional muddy sound in aforesaid cowshed), especially Holly Miranda’s set which was truly superb.

I think we will be back. Some samplers below.

Download Holly Miranda – Nobody Sees Me Like You Do mp3 (from Choose To See EP)

Download Little Fish – Darling Dear mp3 (from Darling Dear Maxi Single)

Download Chapel Club – O Maybe I mp3 (from O Maybe I 7″)

Download Common Prayer – Us vs Them mp3 (from There Is A Mountain)

There is an increasing amount of really good music being given away by artists via Bandcamp and Soundcloud. A couple of our more recent discoveries are below.

Ghost Animal offer a twisted, haunted take on surf-pop. They have a number of free EPs available from their Bandcamp page and all are well worth adding to your iTunes library. We also have their latest track for you, In Shrouds is to MM’s mind, their best yet. A frantic, but eerie, slice of garage psychedelia that is fuzzy, distorted and deliciously sleazy.

Download Ghost Animal – In Shrouds mp3

We have posted about oddball folkster King Post Kitsch before, and you can now avail yourself of a new three track digital EP called Monomaniac just by clicking here. The title track is another excellent example of his work: off-kilter, slightly unsettling and unusual. A good one to disturb the kids with.

Download King Post Kitsch – Monomaniac mp3 (from Monomaniac EP)

By contrast Superhumanoid’s Persona from their free digital download of recently released limited vinyl EP Urgency is a cracking up-tempo, slightly spacy, indie rock track that happily nods to it’s musical ancestors. Be warned, it’s addictive . You can also order the vinyl here.

Download Superhumanoids – Persona mp3 (from Urgency EP)

Lastly, we have been following Paul & The Patients efforts to release a song a week for a year. Now on week 34, the latest offering Factory is well worth checking out with a catchy riff and driving beat that grab your attention from the start – combined with gritty vocals, they create a song that evokes familiarity but sounds fresh. Check out their Bandcamp page here for the full set.

Download Paul & The Patients – Factory mp3

The Screaming Females are a band that MM likes a lot. So it is to our own detriment that we didn’t even know that before she was in the band, guitarist Melissa Paternoster had recorded for a number of years under the name Noun.

A discovery like this is always better late than never though, and Paternoster released her first official full length entitled Holy Hell earlier this month. Having sampled via eMusic, we are pleased to report that it is a cracking record full of grungy, distorted riffs and strong basslines on the one hand and some softer, piano led tracks that offer a lighter touch on the other. Call it a psychedelic ramble with punk overtones if that makes any sense at all.

However, you describe it, it sounds pretty damn good coming out the speakers and we’ll be hunting around for more stuff from Noun. In the meantime enjoy the title track from the album and as a bonus a brilliant new one from Screaming Females too. It’s from their forthcoming album (their fourth) titled Castle Talk due in September. Both albums are out on Don Giovanni Records.

You won’t be disappointed.

Visit Noun’s MySpace here. Screaming Females here.

Download Noun – Holy Hell mp3 (from Holy Hell)

Download Screaming Females – I Don’t Mind It mp3 (from Castle Talk)

Well, what a week. There really is nowt so funny as folk: if a few more of the adult population learned how to expunge a meaningful mea culpa once in a while, wouldn’t we all rub along a bit better? Is this resistance to accepting responsibility for one’s actions something we learn with age? Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, nor is making the occasional mess up – but just try owning up. Human beings are fallible: it’s what makes us interesting and beautiful and complex creatures. And in response, you usually find a softening, a deeper connection, and a bit more respect … or even a song!

After all that, the natural choice for me this Friday was none other than Mr Micah P Hinson. Quite well hidden on this side of the water, he’s an interesting character. I saw him play about 18 months ago and although it wasn’t a stand out gig, I do think he has some rather stand out tunes and rather mesmerising stage presence. This was not least because his new and rather lovely wife was on stage with him in a bit of a Linda McCartney role (and that’s meant in a good way!)

Micah Hinson live has an intensity that’s palpable: he sweats and reverbs his way through each song, every sinew of his body is taut with feeling and it’s fascinating to watch. And if you’re an old romantic, which I am, he’s written some of the most poignant love songs, some of which can make me cry and some of which you think, lucky old Mrs Hinson.

It’s hard to pick an absolute, definitive winner, but I’m rather partial to his stuff with the Red Empire Orchestra. He’s also had two albums out in 2010 already – one album of covers (All Dressed Up and Smelling of Strangers) and one of new stuff (…And the Pioneer Saboteurs). All is good stuff.

No-one has to be lonesome tonight.

Mrs M

Download Micah P Hinson & The Red Empire Orchestra – Sunrise Over the Olympic Mons mp3 (from Micah P Hinson & The Red Empire Orchestra)

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

We’re a bit late with this one we know, as it has been doing the blog rounds for a little while and we have been meaning to post it for ages.

The reason is we have caught ourselves humming and nodding along to Shadow by Grass Widow on countless occasions recently. It is from their forthcoming album Past Time, due next month on Kill Rock StarsGrass Widow are an all-girl trio from California released a self-titled LP last year which marked them out as ones to watch. This taster from the new album indicates they are more than likely to deliver on that initial promise.

Beguiling vocals with an almost pastoral feel complement perfectly the naggingly insistent and catchy guitar hook, which carries the song along in a perfect mix of contemporary psych-pop.

If you haven’t already, download it now and see if you can’t stop humming it within two or three plays.

Visit their MySpace here or website here.

Pre-order Past Time here.

Download Grass Widow – Shadow mp3 (from Past Time)

We discovered the delights of Bridal Party from the good folk over at Sonic Masala. Immediately boasting one of our favourite covers of the year so far with the Tim Burtonesque sleeve to Born Again On Dark Star, the band are offering a completely free download of the album on their Bandcamp page here. Not even asking for an e-mail address in return either.

The music is a heady concoction of pulsing rhythms, drone and echoing, downtrodden vocals. Our favourite so far is the freak folk extravaganza of Made Me, but only just, as the ten tracks are a skewed, trippy delight from start to finish. Recommended.

Download Bridal Party – Made Me mp3 (from Born Again On Dark Star)

Truth is MM was pretty ambivalent about the debut album by The Mt St Helens Vietnam Band. It was solid certainly, good without being memorable enough to make us want to hit repeat very often. However, the two tracks we have been sent in advance of follow-up Where The Messengers Meet are a different beast altogether.

Both songs, the new single Hurrah, and Leaving Trails are excellent examples of dramatic guitar-led indie rock that you just don’t hear very often nowadays. Furthermore, it isn’t afraid of an artistic or even an orchestral flourish or two.

In fact listening to it, the guitars on Leaving Trails reminded us in places of one of U2’s rare decent songs I Will Follow. No doubt other comparisons will suggest Arcade Fire (after all what doesn’t these days), but these are much better songs than that lazy reference deserves, and we will certainly be looking out for the album on Dead Oceans when it is released on August 3rd.

Visit their MySpace here.

Download The Mt St Helens Vietnam Band – Hurrah mp3 (from Where The Messengers Meet)

Download The Mt St Helens Vietnam Band – Leaving Trails mp3 (from Where The Messengers Meet)