Mad Mackerel’s 2010 Top Ten Series: No 4, Barry-Sean

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.

Time for our fourth instalment, the meandering mind of Barry-Sean…

Hmmmmmm! A few weeks ago I said to Mr MM that although I’ve enjoyed my music this year more than last, I thought I had heard fewer decent tracks this year (I choose my words carefully here seeing as just because I hadn’t heard them doesn’t mean they didn’t exist). At time of saying it, I meant it. My musical highlight of this year was the End of the Road festival but I just wasn’t feeling it for much of 2010 music generally.

The good news is that upon doing my 2010 top ten, I realised just how much great music did come out this year. Here’s my pick of them …

10. The Hold Steady – Rock Problems

I love The Hold Steady and although this is no Your Little Hoodrat Friend, it’s still brilliant. A great riff and Craig Finn’s distinctive vocal has brought on bouts of dad dancing in my kitchen on a number of occasions throughout the year. That’s why Rock Problems creeps into my top ten of 2010 at number 10.

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9. Two Wounded Birds – My Lonesome

I’m not a sleazy kind of chap but I do like a sleazy beat. My admiration of War Crimes’ brilliant Treatise is testament to that. This is another one with a laid back vibe that for some reason makes me want to go and listen to it whilst playing pool in a smoky bar (fat bloody chance nowadays). It’s a latecomer to my top 2010 ten which just goes to show how instantly likeable it is. Am I right Mrs Mackerel?

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8. Scott Fant – 8lb Sledge (Download here)

This might come as a bit of a surprise to the Mackerels because I’ve not made a song and dance about it. But it is a great track and worthy of its place in my top ten at the cost of other great songs such as I Don’t Care if There’s Cursing by Phosphorescent and VCR by The XX. Nice one Mr Fant … I hope there’s many more where this came from.

7. Lykke Li – Get Some  (Download here)

Is this wrong? Does it seem wrong to you that a forty-something bloke should like such an anti-pop, gritty but very listenable track. I’ve no aspirations to be ‘down with the kids’ but I love this track even if it does make me the ‘oldest swinger in town’ … and I do mean ‘oldest swinger’ in the Fred Wedlock sense.

6. Chapel Club – All the Eastern Girls

It’s no secret at Mackerel Towers that I love Chapel Club. Most of us here do. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of seeing them at The Jericho Tavern in Oxford which only served to increase my respect for the lads. Okay, so All the Eastern Girls doesn’t feature as highly in my top ten as Surfacing did last year but this is still a great track. I still think Chapel Club will go onto great things and really, really hope the do. At least they’re proof that someone in this country is doing something original … bloody X Factor!

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5. The Vaccines – Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)

Short, aggressive and like a 21st century Ramones track. Grab yourself a snakebite, put on your dockers and put this on full blast. You’ll be back in the late seventies in no time.

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4. Local Natives – Airplanes  (Download here – Daytrotter Session)

Now we’re really getting serious. I fell in love with this track on first time of hearing back in the spring and still listen to it frequently. A total contrast to the Vaccines at no. 5, a great harmony and truly lovely song.

3. Mumford & Sons – Unfinished Business  (Download here)

Ahhhhhh! It’s a cover. It’s a White Lies cover. Nobody cares. This is a great ghost-story song. You’ve really got to listen to it. That shouldn’t be hard because everyone’s listening to Mumford & Sons at the moment aren’t they? Proof once again that original musicians with integrity can still make it in these days of Cowell-dominated, manufactured pop.

2.The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

Deciding between the year’s number 1 and number 2 is always difficult and 2010 was no different. This is The National, I think, at their best. It dominated Radio 6 early in the year and I’ve not stopped playing it since. No bloody idea what the message of the song is but it is brilliant. Sad, atmospheric and uplifting at the same time. So close to being my number one … but beaten by the beautiful tones of a young American girl.

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1. Caitlin Rose –  For the Rabbits

That girl would be the massively talented Caitlin Rose. She of the beautiful, enchanting and addictive voice is the first woman to ever take the number one spot of my annual top ten. Okay, so the song reminds me of a happy time of year; standing in a chilly, Dorset field late at night at End of the Road and swaying along to it with hundreds of other festival-goers. Sitting by open French doors on a warm Sunday evening in Ventnor breathing in the fresh sea air. But that’s what music is about isn’t it? To me, For the Rabbits is my sound of 2010, my memory of 2010 and the best tune to come out of 2010.

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Darn, I missed these …

Ones that I heard for the first time in 2010 but wish I’d heard in the years they were released:

Wolf Parade – You are the Runner, I Am My Father’s Son

Makes me wish I’d become a lead guitarist … just to play this and pose really.

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kiss Me Again

Beautiful song, beautiful voice and a great mentor in the form of the brilliant Dan Auerbach of Black Keys fame. I love this song.

Mountain GoatsDance Music

I reckon the Goats are probably one of the Marmite bands of the music world. Me? I love them. They sing songs about life … not my life but life all the same … in a quirky, original way that usually brings a smile to my face. And any music that brings a smile to someone’s face can’t be that bad, can it?

The Low AnthemThis God Damn House

This is one of my most played songs of the year. I heard the Low Anthem sing this at EOTR and I’ve loved it since. Beautiful, sad and the story is still up for discussion at Mackerel Towers.

Forest FireFortune Teller

Simply a great song. I mean, who couldn’t love a song with the lyrics ‘Tonight I’m gonna melt some faces with Gatling gun social skills’. These guys are just cool personified in an oddball sort of way. A bit like me really … not.

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