Here at MM we share, chat, argue, bury and praise music on a pretty regular basis…like daily. So throughout the year, the Mackerel crew (Mrs Mackerel, Barry-Sean, Christy-Popper, Dr Roddy, Polly Pocket, Starbar, MM and others) keep their own ever-changing top tens ready for publication at the climax of the festive season.
Now is the time to reveal all…
Our third contribution this year comes from the mighty Dr Roddy, house-mate, chef, Leeds fan, and occasional soiler of his own trousers.
10. Strayfolk – What Wouldn’t I Do (Download here)
A peach of a song to start me off with, a sparse and beautiful track. Maybe not the most uplifting of tales that is to be told in this song, but that only seems to compliment the voice of Swedish vocalist Henrik Thoren, who has, for my money, the sound of a man who has been smoking cornpipes and drinking ‘shine on porches in the south of America, for many a moon.
9. Murder By Death – Foxglove (Download here)
This song sets its stall out right from the start. I was smitten immediately with the haunting sound of the cello and the military/marching band drum’s are like a heart beat running through the song. The music and sound of Adam turlas voice, may lead you to think that this fevered hunt for a lover is doomed for bad times and worse, but knowing that “It was always You” puts a smile on my face.
8. Pancake Breakfast – The Ballad Of Maynard Noe (Download here)
From the first sound you have an idea that this tune could have a real groove to it and you’re not to be disappointed. The guitar plays a funky rhythm, whilst Mike Midlo leads us into a tale of a hard, uncompromising, thug of a man who eventually gets his comeuppance. The lyric “And he’d cruise up every night, like a dog in a bin looking for a fight” paints a great image of Maynard Noe. When the song breaks it does so with gusto, it also has a fantastic guitar and trumpet solo.
7. Yeasayer – Ambling Alp
There is a great bassline to this song and the chorus is contagious, once heard you can’t shift it (in a good way, not a pop ear rot way). The drums are simple, but resounding and there is some great work on the keyboards that create a kind of electro feel, but with a real modern twist. There are some gems of lyrics in this song too concerning “old man Schmelling”. And Ambling Alp. All in all a ripsnorter of a tune.
6. Fist Fam – S. F. Bay (Download here)
This song is a real piece of feel good hip hop. From its first listening, it put a smile on my face, I just couldn’t stop my head from nodding. For 3 minutes and 52 seconds I felt “street”, then, remembering I was a 30 something year old British male, that all came crashing down around my ears. But I thank Fist Fam for those fleeting moments. The harmonica has a real summery, Stevie Wonder type sound and the bassline is something that Rick James would have been proud of. The lyrics set the scene of a carefree summer city. As I write this there is about two feet of snow outside, so that is a welcome thought.
5. Nathaniel Rateliffe – Brakeman.
I find this song has an almost lullaby quality to it. The lyrics just seem to drip with regret and despair. The piano seems to frame that perfectly as Nathaniel Rateliffe sings a tale of a man who seems to be at the shit end of work, love and life. The song itself seems simple and uncomplicated by heavy production, which is by no means a bad thing. A definite case of less is more. And at 2 minutes 25 seconds that makes it perfect.
4. Street Sweeper Social Club – The New Fuck You.
Great name for a band, great tune. There is nothing wrong with a power chord riff that is more infectious than MRSA. This also has some of the greatest lyrics I have heard in one song, ever! I could repeat some of them here, but that would just mean writing the song pretty much verbatim. The only thing I can say is get yourself some understanding neighbours, beers and turn this one up!!
3. The Tallest Man On Earth – King of Spain (Download here)
What a song. It couldn’t be any simpler, just a man and a guitar. Filling the speakers with such a rich sound you almost think there is a whole band there. This track was a instant hit in my house, you could listen to it in any frame of mind and take something from it. Because of this it has become the sound track to many a refined night of co-co and slippers obviously? The pace of this track is excellent it gallops along like a giddy mare. While the lyrics leave you pining for rioja and siesta in warmer climes. A great winter warmer.
2. Wooden Wand – Ragtop Ruby
This song has the lyric of the year of the year for me “Mr Kyle from Saint Charlies, I guess you met a man there, He’d just enough rope in his trunk to make you uneasy”. A work of genius. Although this is the opening line the rest of the song doesn’t disappoint with more inspired lyrics, while the guitar creeps along at a nice rhythm to accompany Wooden Wand’s drawling delivery. It was hard to choose between the WW songs I’ve heard this year but there could only real be one winner. Ragtop Ruby.
1. What Would Jesus Drive – The Girls Are In Charge (Download here, live version)
Here it is: without question song of the year. As soon as heard this on a CD of Mr Mackerel’s latest offerings I knew it was going to be my number one. It has everything I love – thumping drum beat, power chords and a good bit of wit. Listening to Amy Casey and Tim Box banter the lyrics back and forth at one another is a nice touch. But it’s the guitar riff that makes this song a sure fire winner. The bass and drums are the backbone but it’s that riff. Oh and I don’t know if I mentioned the killer riff?
Bubbling Under (Songs That Came So Close)
5. Overmountain Men – Looking For Dr. Caligari
4. Gaoler’s Daughter – Nine Pieces Of Silk
3. Uncles – Settler’s Song
2. Sheepdogs – I Don’t Know
1. Wooden Wand – Uncle Bill
Best Songs First Heard this Year, But Not 2010
5. Frank Turner – Try This At Home
4. Willard Grant Conspiracy – Drunkard’s Prayer
3. Get Busy Committee – My Little Razor Blade
2. Wooden Wand – Son Of Wand (Hard Luck Prince)
1. Wilco – Handshake drugs
Guilty pleasure (I’m in no way repentent)
Lena Meyer – Satellite