Archive for September, 2010

As Nightlands, Philadelphia multi-instrumentalist David Hartley makes what we would call ‘big music’, it is warm and thunderous, and very very good. Nightlands will be releasing its debut album Forget the Mantra on Secretly Canadian in early November.

Hartley has been a prolific sideman in many Philadelphia ensembles most notably, MM faves The War On Drugs. Here though, the music he creates in his bedroom is more delicate, with chiming strings and bubbling synths beneath a blanket of choral arrangements.

The album is one of psych-pop hymns, dealing with themes of anxiety, fear and limits of concentration, that add both an experimental element to the album as well an almost ghostly feel and a deeply personal resonance.

You can check out two tracks from the album below, 300 Clouds and Suzerain (A Letter to the Judge). Pretty sure to whet the appetite we think…

Visit their website here.

Download Nightlands – 300 Clouds mp3 (from Forget The Mantra)

Download Nightlands – Suzerain (A Letter To The Judge) mp3 (from Forget The Mantra)

We have to confess it was Mrs Mackerel’s ears that pricked up yesterday when listening to 6 Music and Kurran & The Wolfnotes came on. Their latest single Your Four Limbs immediately sets them apart from the busy Brit-folk scene that so many are trying to inhabit these days with plaintive, resigned lyrics and a darker undertone than most can manage. A sinuous melody and smoothly picked guitar gives it a hook that stays with you long after the song has concluded.

As much the Decemberists as Johnny Cash, try a couple of tracks below and keep an eye out for their debut album.

Visit their MySpace here. Buy the vinyl 7″ from Record Drop here.

Download Kurran & The Wolfnotes – Your Four Limbs mp3 (from Your Four Limbs Single)

Download Kurran & The Wolfnotes – Here To Fill You In mp3

Introducing…Pancake Breakfast

Posted: September 22, 2010 in Country, Folk, Music

This morning, in the mail, we received a copy of the forthcoming self-titled Pancake Breakfast CD.

By lunchtime we had a new favourite song.

The Ballad Of Maynard Noe opens the album and is, to MM’s ears, a classic – one of those songs we’ll be playing years from now. It opens with one of those instantly memorable, repetitive guitar riffs that sound like they have been around for ever (only they haven’t). The song builds around it, on the back of smart lyrics and a mid-song folky wig-out that can only leave you with a big, dumb smile on your face and an urge to hit the play button again.

The album is eleven songs of pure, unadulterated pleasure. There are country songs and folk songs and rock songs – there are songs about truckers, songs about angry birds, songs about magic cards, and songs about unfortunate fish.

It is out on October 19th, watch out for it.

But for now get this song. It’s catchier than a dose of crabs in a brothel!

Visit their MySpace here.

Download Pancake Breakfast – The Ballad Of Maynard Noe mp3 (from Pancake Breakfast)

And another cover for you…

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Country, Folk, Music

Following on from our very recent Covers post here, featuring everything from Warpaint to Phosphorescent, we have another cover for you now.

It is by MM faves The Deep Dark Woods and comes from a new 18 track Townes Van Zandt tribute compilation due out on the 25th October. It’s titled More Townes Van Zandt By The Great Unknown.


Visit the Deep Dark Woods MySpace here.

Download The Deep Dark Woods – Silver Ships Of Andilar mp3 (from More Townes Van Zandt By The Great Unknown)

Today sees the release of two excellent new albums from Denmark’s The Migrant and from North Carolina’s The Moaners.

We have already posted about the former, giving you The Organ Grinder, a quite exquisite slice of catchy psych-folk which has never been far from our playlists ever since. The Migrant’s album Travels In Lowland is an excellent record and to mark the official release we have another track for you, the equally impressive In The Sun.

Download The Migrant – In The Sun mp3 (from Travels In Lowland)

Download The Migrant – The Organ Grinder mp3 (from Travels In Lowland)

By contrast, The Moaners are more of a porch-swing singalong mixing an appealing garage stomp with Mississippi style blues into a hypnotic southern groove that is as eerie as it is joyful and as primitive as it is distinctive. New album Nocturnal is aptly named and is filled with mysterious tales and textures that are beautifully balanced by Melissa Swingle’s vocals, the often rockabilly-esque percussion, and Earl Poole Ball’s wonderful piano playing. We have a couple of tasters for you below.

If you like either then you can get the Migrant over at eMusic and the Moaners at Holidays for Quince Records.

Download The Moaners – Cowboy Bob mp3 (from Nocturnal)

Download The Moaners – Humid Air mp3 (from Nocturnal)

Last night I headed up the M40 with friend Matt (Matt Mackerel maybe…) to see Delta Spirit play the latest date of their short UK tour at the Hare & Hounds in Bimingham. Our first visit to said venue.

En route I discovered, as a toddler, Matt had been best mates with MM idol Pete Kember (of Spacemen 3 fame, aka Spectrum) – how cool is that? Anyway, childhood stories aside, we arrived early enough to see first support act and local boys This Love Affair deliver an entirely pleasant set of indie rock. “Like the Cure crossed with Vampire Weekend” said Matt sagely.

Next was Nathaniel Rateliff, friend of the headliners, and a joy to watch from beginning to end. “Like Martin Stephenson” said Matt sagely as the set began (enough to make Martin Stephenson fan Mrs Mackerel very jealous) and the comparison was true enough. It was one beautifully crafted song after another, although as you might expect from a US troubadour, there was a distinct twang and world-weariness to their sound that called to mind boxcars, dusty highways, empty bottles of whiskey and heartbreak in equal measure, but best of all the set was shot though with a perfectly judged mix of nostalgia, melancholy and downbeat good humour..

Download Nathaniel Rateliff – Early Spring Till mp3 (from In Memory Of Loss)

With the audience suitably in the mood now, headliners Delta Spirit took the stage and proceeded to up the pace and tempo with their own deeply personal take on bar-room blues and indie rock. Much more ferocious then they appear on record, a blistering Bushwick Blues, a thunderingly catchy Trashcan, a pounding White Table, and a visceral Children were all superb, and left no one in any doubt that these boys mean what they say.

All were anchored by the powerful, and appropriately gruff, vocals of Matthew Vasquez and used to equally good effect on the more mid-tempo country tinged numbers like Ransom Man, and a spectacular version of St Francis. An encore including crowd favourite People C’mon that was simply howled into the Birmingham night rounded off the evening perfectly and sent us on our way grinning and with Matt unable to find a sage comparison, and this methinks, was entirely a good thing.

If you can – go see this tour, at the risk of sounding corny, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Delta Spirit are like christmas cake and malt whiskey, a great combination and a real treat. See below for remaining UK dates and also watch out for them on Later with Jools Holland soon.

Buy Nathaniel Rateliff from Amazon here. Buy Delta Spirit from Amazon here.

Download The Delta Spirit – Bushwick Blues mp3 (from History From Below)

Download The Delta Spirit – Trashcan mp3 (from Ode To Sunshine)

Download The Delta Spirit – People C’mon mp3 (from Ode To Sunshine)

Tour Dates:

Tonight The Barfly, London

22 Sep The Ruby Lounge, Manchester

23 Sep Captain’s Rest, Glasgow

American four-piece Filthybird have been putting the finishing touches to their brilliant new album, Songs for Other People.

The follow-up to the lauded Southern Skies, Filthybird’s latest record reveals an astounding depth, effectively marrying the lilting vocal melodies of Renee Mendoza with Brian Haran’s layered guitar atmospherics and anchored by a powerfully inventive rhythm section, these songs are both soulful and dreamy, familiar and fresh.

While it may easily recall classic moments of Gram Parsons, Jefferson Airplane, and Roky Erikson, don’t think Filthybird are anything but unique, reassembling the most colorful fragments of a mythic American music into something warm and resonant with just a little topping of gentle psychedelia.

The album is out on Holidays For Quince Records on October 19th.

Visit their MySpace here.

Download Filthybird – Pick Me Up mp3 (from Songs For Other People)

While we think that we’re not great lovers of covers here at MM, I’m beginning to suspect that this is actually a pretty long way from the reality of things. Especially, as just lately, there seems to have been a plethora of excellent cover versions hitting our iTunes playlists.

So here are a few that we’ve picked up from over the net and fellow bloggers that are well worth a listen or two…we have Phosphorescent covering Lucinda Williams, The Sparrow & The Workshop doing The Cars, Duke Spirit’s take on Sham 69, Warpaint and A Place To Bury Strangers on Bowie, Alex Bleeker & Evan Brody’s reverential cover of Guided By Voices, The Jim Jones Revue tackle the BeatlesDead Luke doing a Suicide classic and J.Tillman’s sparse, plucked Neil Young.

In fact, you can pick up Tillman’s loving, and thoroughly enjoyable, take on the whole Neil Young classic Tonight’s The Night over at Aquarium Drunkard for free.

Download Alex Bleeker & Evan Brody – Motor Away mp3 (from Guided by Guided By Voices)

Download A Place To Bury Strangers – Suffragette City mp3

Download Dead Luke – Ghost Rider mp3 (from Digital Single via Raven Sings The Blues)

Download Duke Spirit – If The Kids Are United mp3 (from 50 Years Of Dr. Martens)

Download The Jim Jones Revue – Get Back mp3

Download Phosphorescent – Red Sun Blues mp3

Download Sparrow & The Workshop – Just What I Needed mp3 (via Song By Toad)

Download J.Tillman – Tonight’s The Night mp3 (from J.Tillman Sings ‘Tonight’s The Night’)

Download Warpaint – Ashes To Ashes mp3

Introducing…Roosevelt Dime

Posted: September 18, 2010 in Blues, Country, Folk, Music

Imagine yourself relaxing on a steamboat as it lazily floats down the Mississippi River all the way to The Big Easy. Suddenly, the band strikes up a tune, music fills the air and everyone is on their feet, clapping, dancing and singing along.

And so we welcome you to the world of Roosevelt Dime, a five-piece, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based band that blends elements of acoustic jug-band blues, classic Motown soul and modern alt-country to create an original sound best described as King’s County Steamboat Soul. The band’s non traditional lineup — consisting of banjo, electric or washtub bass, percussion, trumpet/cornet and woodwinds — gives them a pretty unique and engrossing sound.

New album, Steamboat Soul, is due in the fall (or more correctly, the autumn). Try a couple of tracks and see what you think.

Visit their MySpace here.

Download Roosevelt Dime – Wishing Well mp3 (from Steamboat Soul)

Download Roosevelt Dime – Temperance mp3 (from Steamboat Soul)

We’ve long been admirers of San Franciscans The Fresh & Onlys and their catchy, jangly, garage-pop.

They’ve finished recording new album Play It Strange which gets a release on In The Red on October 12th.

Here are a couple of taster tracks from the album – as good as ever and certainly makes the full length something to look forward to…

Visit their MySpace here.

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

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