Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.Scottish Kate is a great friend of this blog and has often offered her (sometimes pithy) opinions on the world of music – and very good taste she has too.

She also runs the always excellent (sometimes pithy), and often provocative blog A Burdz Eye View for all things Scottish (of course), political and musical. Here are her aural selections for 2011.

The Burd’s Best Songs of 2011

Well it doesn’t get any easier.  Though given that all my old schticks are in here aplenty – drums, noise, shoegaze, jingly jangly guitars, quirkiness, blues and reverb – it really should be a doddle.  This girl is forever stuck in her groove and that’s just the way I like it.

10. Cashier No9  – When Jackie Shone

Gosh, why do I like this?  It’s just got that whole throbbing bass line thing I like.  Layers of sound.  Odd vocals.  And drums.  Of course. Like it? Love it.  The louder the better.

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9. Other Lives – For 12

Nearly my choon of the year.  Deceptively simple, soaring, swooping and positively swoonsome.

Download Other Lives – For 12 mp3 (from Tamer Animals)

8. Josh Schroeder and Meredith Adelaide – Where Are You

It could so easily have been So it Goes, for both choons have been on a near constant loop at various times this year.  But seeing as I have to choose – and I must, I cannot have the ignominy of a twelve instead of a ten two years in a row – then this one wins out.  Not for nothing my Twitter bio suggests I’m not nearly as scary as I pretend to be.

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7. Secret Colours – Faust

A late contender but a worthy one.  This choon is the musical equivalent of a three course meal and therefore ticks all my bluesy-rock boxes.  So long as you like your meat and potatoes with no veg.

Download Secret Colours – Faust mp3 (from EP3)

6. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Barnes’ Yard

See?  Stomping, strummy, just a little shoogly and I’m sold.

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5. We were promised Jetpacks – Medicine

Ye cannae beat a wee jangly Scottish band, especially one that throws everything but the kitchen sink into their music.  It should be a mess but it so isn’t.  After a difficult year out, with this track they exploded back onto the music scene and it was like they’d never been away.

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4. Slow Club – Beginners

A knickerbocker glory offering of shoegaze.  With a big dollop of retro on the side and some reverb sprinklings up top for good measure.  Dreamy.

Download Slow Club – Beginners mp3 (from Paradise)

3. Team Genius – Home

Boy Wonder’s favourite moshing/air guitar choon of the year.  We have pogo-ed round the sitting room to this.  Oh yes.  For those who don’t know, he’s the eight year old, supposedly I’m the responsible adult.

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2. William Elliott Whitmore – Field Song

The man with the voice that sends shivers down my spine is at the peak of his powers.  Occasionally I have to lie in a darkened room to listen to this album – all the better to wallow y’see.  The title track is truly a thing of beauty.

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1. The Low Anthem – Matter of Time

They made it into 2009 and 2010’s list and here they are again.  The grandmasters of less is more, of making a symphony out of a three minute track.

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Favourite cover of the year

Barry-Sean and I share some bizarre commonalities.  There are Killie fans in his family too, and it would appear, the influence of Buddy Holly on our musical heritage. The standout cover version for me this year? Patti Smith doing Words of Love and making it all her own.

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Favourite discoveries of the year

Actually, this was a rediscovery.  In reprising the career of the late, great Jackie Leven, I found myself falling in love with Doll by Doll all over again.  Gypsy Blood is a great album, and only recently recognised as a modern rock masterpiece.  Aye but it’s the punkish tendencies that make it so.

Guilty pleasure

Diddy – Dirty Money Coming Home

Yes really.  The year I discovered what makes the young folk tick.  This far though and no further.

Close but no Cigar

O’Death – Bugs

This is a beautifully meaningful song on so many levels.  Especially when you know the back story.

Download O’Death – Bugs mp3 (from Outside)

FOUND – Anti Climb Paint

Just about my favourite track off one of my favourite albums of the year.

The Barettas – Touche

This is the kind of band I always wanted to be in.  Still do.

Download The Barettas – Touche mp3 (from Touche 7″)

Peggy Sue – Dumbo

Two albums in two years, both of them corkers.  Quirky and winsome.

A Classic Education – Forever Boy

It’s the drums innit?

Download A Classic Education – Forever Boy mp3 (from Call It Blazing)

Coke Weed – Not My Old Man

Or maybe it’s just the all-round oddness…

Download Coke Weed – Not My Old Man mp3 (from Volume 1)

The Kills – Future Starts Slow

Did I mention I like a bit of down and dirty?  And no one does like it Jamie and Alison. Should have married her, mate.

Lykke Li – Sadness is a Blessing

More shoegaze, quirkiness and downright pop genius.  Oh, and the best video of the year.

Butcher Boy – Helping Hands

The line that sold it to me was “on yellow grass and dirty pebble dash”.  Seemingly whimsical, masking a dark heart.

The Shivers – Kisses

There’s an acoustic and a blues version of this song.  Sometimes I play them one after the other.

Download The Shivers – Kisses mp3 (from Rob Da Bank Session)

Comments
  1. Barry-Sean says:

    Love your number one and two, Kate. I listened to both tracks a lot this year. Any other year they would have been definite top ten material but this year has been astonishingly good so narrowly missed for me. I’m really glad you’ve put them in though.

    And I do love Words of Love by Patti Smith. Great choice! I was so chuffed all those artists contributed to the Rave On album. Obviously nothing is ever going to beat the great man himself but some of the covers on that album were great.

    Hope all is well with you, Kate.

    • Kate Higgins says:

      All is very well Barry-Sean. Chuffed the main man put my list up – I’ve even got others doing it on my blog too! I love all the MM lists, pick up lots that I’ve heard but not listened to properly during the year and stuff that has passed me by. Like Sissy and the Blisters! Love it.

      Your list was fab and on another day, some of yours might have made it into mine. Listened to the Deer Tick, Roadside Graves, Tom Williams & the Boat albums a lot.

      And, you can never get too much of Buddy Holly! That was an excellent cover/tribute album which I confess I was a bit feart to listen to. They did him proud.

      This year, definitely, not maybe, I am going to End of the Road festival. Third time lucky and hope to see you there.

      Happy Christmas to all at MM and JGA towers. And a Guid New Year to you all “when it comes”, as they say up here.

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