Archive for April, 2012

Bobby Conn Releases Macaroni.

Tomorrow see the official release of Bobby Conn’s Macaroni, described as a delicious bowl of cheesy noodles served up for a world of war, riots, greed and revolution.

Recorded with Bobby’s crackerjack band The Burglars and mixed by Bobby himself, Macaroni is a chronicle of our times, cheerfully spraying glitter on the chaos that surrounds us and as always, Bobby bravely battles despair with acid wit and showmanship.

The album is, like the man himself, contrary, irreverent, entertaining, confusing, enlightening and absurd in equal measure. Crucially though, it spares no-one and nothing, gleefully puncturing the pompous and exposing the flatulent excesses of those undeserving of the status they proport to hold.

Two tracks for your sampling pleasure are below. More Than You Need, chosen as the single, the lyrics stake out a moderately nihilist philosophy for dealing with modern times over a bouncy piano driven tune and with a burning guitar lead from Mr. Conn.

Underground Vktm tells the story of how, as kids we all think we’re misfits, misunderstood weirdos. But with the internet, we grow up to realize we all have the same record collection and shop at IKEA. Bobby tells his story from the 80s through the present with a pizzicato string and organ driven rocker.

Macaroni is out on Fire Records.

Download Bobby Conn – More Than You Need mp3 (from Macaroni)

Download Bobby Conn – Underground Vktm mp3 (from Macaroni)

More From The Shrouded Strangers.

We’ve already posted a couple of times about The Shrouded Strangers following our discovery of Featherbed, a skuzzy slacker anthem that is nothing less than a glorious amalgam of surf guitars, krautrock rhythms and fuzzed up hillbilly stomp.

It comes from new album Lost Forever, a sputtering fever-dream of disembodied pop tunes and psych sing-alongs that comes out a mere 13 years after their debut – apparently they got ‘sidetracked’. Mostly it features bewildered characters drifting through surreal, hallucinogenic story- songs, all tied together by a consistently damaged pop undercurrent – just the sort of thing we love. It is an exceedingly weird, sinisterly catchy, and thrillingly good record.

The album is released on May 22nd, and they have made a second track available, a wonderfully woozy sketch of childhood madness called (Don’t Look At The) Pink Lightning.

You have been warned.

Download The Shrouded Strangers – (Don’t Look At The) Pink Lightning mp3 (from Lost Forever)

Download The Shrouded Strangers – Featherbed mp3 (from Lost Forever)

Some Bandcamp Treasures.Trawling Bandcamp can from time to time reveal the most extraordinary treasures – more often than not they are free or a nominal ‘pay what you want deal’ and so here are ten of the bands that have been tickling the Mackerel’s fancy recently.

First up is uncompromising garage-punk noiseniks The Bats Pajamas who have featured on MM before and have a new EP called Totally now available here.


Next are The Graveyard Kids who have recently released this really rather good single of lo-fi bluesy garage rock, The Raft Of The Medusa.


We have also posted before about the somewhat mysterious Hypocrite In A Hippy Crypt whose sweetly judged tales of folk melancholy are a perfect accompaniment to lonely late nights. Try Bits for free from forthcoming compilation of demos, outtakes and instrumentals called All I Ask Ya Alaska.


On the face of it Cindy Lou Gooden’s EP Kitsch Tapes might be considered to be full of sweetly kooky and upbeat folk-pop, especially when you see the cover art. Not a bit of it, the six tracks contain lyrics that are so piercing and sharp you could probably shave with them…

So cut the crap and cut my tendons
Dice and poach them tenderly
And if my heart makes it to Monday
Put it on a plate to eat


Thoroughly modern and unashamedly retro duo The Two Man Gentlemen Band channel the mod, swinging lifestyle of 1950s Palm Springs, with drinks in hand, white suits, slicked-back hair, and a new album titled Two At A Time (out next Wednesday). Mixing everything from pre-war jazz to back-alley hokum, jazz guitar pickin’ to jump blues, plus countless other influences, this is a taster from the record, album opener Pork Chops.


Future History are an experimental, five-piece alternative rock band from Toronto, and will soon release their first full-length record, Loss:/self. They have made a free two-track sampler available – try it out.


The Last Temptations have a nice solid six track EP of indie rock called Penny Dreadfuls available on a pay what you want deal. This is one of the standout tracks and check out the cover art too.


The Dirty Feathers are a five-piece psychedelic garage rock band from Champaign, IL. Having already made their excellent album Midnight Snakes available via Bandcamp (here) they have also added this new track, a wonderful slab of fuzzed up mayhem, as a pay what you want deal.


By contrast Oakland’s Trails And Ways inhabit an altogether more serene world of dream pop. Tereza is the charming first single off their forthcoming debut LP Trilingual and has echoes of a more energetic Beach House or even Wye Oak.


And lastly High Diner have a jaunty indie-pop sound that is as much inspired by the Beatles as it is Hot Chip. This is new single c.k.f.


Mad Mackerel Recommends...The Danks.

Driven by small-town boredom and a severe distaste for contemporary pop, The Danks deliver a fistful of excitement with the follow-through of a wrecking ball in a Beverly Hills mansion. Recorded under sweltering circumstances in a Haligonian mini-mall, the quartet pounded out, among other things, the unflinchingly catchy Are You Afraid of The Danks.

Try Automocar and hear for yourself.

Download The Danks – Automocar mp3 (from Are You Afraid Of The Danks)

We posted a short while ago about the fragile, sorrowful folk of Finnish singer-songwriter Einar Lind. Watch his cover of the Smiths Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.


Download Einar Lind – Brother Don’t Steal My Wife mp3 (from Introducing Einar Lind)

Download Einar Lind – I’m Not Afraid To Die mp3 (from Introducing Einar Lind)

New Album From Clare And The Reasons.

Clare and the Reasons have announced details of their third record, KR-51, which will be released in July via the Frog Stand label. It is named after the moped they sped round the city of Berlin on when holed up there for eight months writing the album.

While it still carries the meticulous orchestration and innovative songwriting the band are known for, this time it also carries a little more sorrow, a lot more distorted guitar, and a little more darkness of heart.

Grab yourself the first single, The Lake, for free.


Mad Mackerel Recommends...Kyle Adem.

Kyle Adem is a tireless storyteller with a whole lot of questions who marries his own blend of orchestral and reflective folk, with a punk edginess.

Taster track Brother Follow from upcoming album, Armour has that all too rare skill of sounding instantly recognisable – as though you know the song already, even if it is the very first listen. It is like coming home to an old friend, listening to something that you know will be around for a long time to come as it deals with the age old themes of love, hope and suffering.

Maybe it is the echoes of the Cave Singers in the opening, the Mountain Goats in the storytelling, the Decemberists in the early vocal stages and even Loch Lomond towards the end. Yet despite these references, the song remains clearly, confidently and wholly Adem’s story alone as he sings:

So our sisters became whores,
and our brothers savage carnivores,
devouring the bodies of our fathers

Even after putting six studio albums and his old moniker, 4:thirtyseven, behind him Adem’s journey has not always been an easy one. It started in Syracuse, NY, where he began writing songs at 16, in between bible studies and bouts of depression. His approach to music is both a homage to the confusion and beauty in coming of age, but also a communal experience for everyone to enjoy.

Despite Adem’s own search for meaning, he writes songs to resonate, move and connect with others. With Armour he has succeeded on all counts.

The album is due out on July 24th via Ghost Motel Records.

Download Kyle Adem – Brother Follow mp3 (from Armour)

Mrs Mackerel's TFI Friday (27th April). More trains this week, but this time I’m on one. The 12.06 from Oxford to be precise, wending it’s way slowly northwards, leaving MM in charge of the home fixtures. I’ll be stopping off at Darlo to check in with Harry, before docking in the land of MON to see my Ma. It’s a bit packed underneath my wing at the moment.

It might be Friday, but the cat seems to have gotten my tongue, or has a weasel stolen my words? They’ve gone somewhere looking for some light relief, anyway.

Mrs Mackerel x

A new ditty from Crybaby, is getting a bit of play on Radio 6 at the moment. To my fishy ears, it’s somewhere between Richard Hawley and James Levy, giving When the Lights Go Out much to recommend a listen.

And in stark folky contrast, here’s a bit of The Staves. Come Tuesday, Big Sair and I will be hot-footing to see the gals in action. Hopefully this time we might (a) find the venue in good time (b) not get done for speeding (c) not be anywhere near middle aged men with continence issues. Fingers crossed.



Watch Crybaby’s When The Lights Go Out.


MM Shorts 147: And Another Insound Vinyl News Mixtape. Surely you know the score by now? The latest free Insound Vinyl News Mixtape is available for a limited time.

This one features fourteen tracks from the likes of Horse Feathers, the wonderful Joe Pug, The Dandy Warhols, Estrogen Highs, Dunebuggy and more.

Download for free (well in exchange for a Tweet, Facebook Like, or E-mail address) just by clicking here.

Two of our favourites from it here too.

Download AU- OJ mp3 (from Insound Vinyl Mixtape 4-26-12)

Download Gross Ghost – Architect mp3 (from Insound Vinyl Mixtape 4-26-12)

Mad Mackerel Recommends...Amanda Jo Williams.

Amanda Jo Williams latest offering, The Bear Eats Me, is chock full of catchy rockabilly band numbers, with multi-layered recordings featuring cherubic choruses and good ol’ honky tonk. It’s dusty jukebox rock that will wake the kids in the middle of the night for a boot-stomping, moon-invoking dance party on the back porch.

Comparisons? Try Hank Williams Jr., Joanna Newsome, Melanie or June CarterLucinda Williams as well. But that’s not all, there is a surreal taste to the album, something quirky and off-kilter. Add Devendra Banhart to the list and you’ll be getting somewhere in the vast musical playground that Amanda Jo Williams inhabits.

The Bear Eats Me is released on Neurotic Yell Records, June 19th. Grab the title track now.

Download Amanda Jo Williams – The Bear Eats Me mp3 (from The Bear Eats Me)