Here are tracks 40-31 in our countdown of Mad Mackerel’s favourite tunes of the past ten years.
40 Avett Brothers – January Wedding (2009)
Banjo, guitar, authentic romantic country and a beautiful ballad.
39 First Aid Kit – Wolf (2012)
Gorgeous folk harmonies given an almost tribal, native American feel.
38 Big Thief – Shark Smile (2017)
An airy, meandering number with a hint of Sharon Van Etten about it that tells the story of two lovers involved in a car accident, one of whom lives while the other dies, related from the perspective of the survivor. It is another very fine example of frontwoman Adrianne Lenker at the peak of her storytelling powers.
37 Django Django – Default (2012)
Crackles along with all kinds of weird and wonderful sounds. A viciously catchy and erratic tune – it never stops surprising a little more with each listen.
36 She Keeps Bees – Gimme (2008)
Fiery and reserved, seductive and vaguely crude. Gimme is simultaneously fierce, sultry and intriguing.
35 Stornoway – I Saw You Blink (2010)
It’s sunshine and dreaminess and love. There’s self doubt and possibly even a Shelley-esque metaphor used (eyes being the window of the soul and all that). All sung to a back-drop of retro, up-tempo, carefully layered music. He’s in love, distracted, missed his train, and constantly wondering what she’s thinking.
34 Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Revenge Of The Extra From Zulu (2010)
Quivering, quavering vocals, violins, a throbbing cello, guitars that flit from the minimal to the staccato and all overlaid with some of the most surreal (and entertaining) lyrics you’ll ever hear. There is a sly, knowing humour to Revenge Of The Extra From Zulu as well as regret, bitterness and a healthy dose of the macabre.
33 We Are Augustines – Chapel Song (2011)
This is The Jam’s The Bitterest Pill brought bang up to date and made better. The song is from the view of a fella stood in a chapel whilst the love of his life walks down the aisle … with another bloke. Suffice to say, he’s not in a good place and the vocals lend to this feeling of impotent misery perfectly. Strained, angry and a little menacing, the lyrics match the tune perfectly which is … well … strained, angry and a little menacing.
32 Lower Dens – Brains (2012)
Opens with a drumbeat that grips your lapels up like a rottweiler on heat. And then… well, it just gets better of course. Weirdly beautiful, it is throbbing, insistent drone-pop on the one hand and haunting, ghostly freak-folk on the other.
31 Houndmouth – Sedona (2015)
The best sing-a-long chorus of 2015 bar none. Altogether now, “Hey little Hollywood, You’re gone but you’re not forgot, You got the cash but your credit’s no good, You flipped the script and you shot the plot, And I remember I remember when your neon used to burn so bright and pink, A Saturday night kinda pink“.