Back again like a carrion crow to roadkill. Every year since 2009, Chris T Popper has shared his favourite tunes of the year, and we love him all the more for it…
10. Death Valley Girls – Disaster (Is What We’re After)
Whilst the video for this song featuring Iggy Pop eating a hamburger garnered plenty of attention it shouldn’t detract from an absolute belter of a tune. A cracking hook and melody compliment Bonnie Bloomgarden’s raucous vocals. It barrels along like a proper foot stomper should.
9. Decemberists – Cutting Stone
I am a big fan of folk horror and this one conjures up dreamy visions of green fields, vales and vistas. Oh and lots of blood. Hats off to Decemberists who consistently serve up this unsettling fare. The album this song (and the excellent Severed) comes from, I’ll Be Your Girl, wasn’t particularly well received, but I love the backdrop of sweeping synths exuding tales of wayward children and a heartbroken lover falling under the Cutting Stone’s spell.
8. Silverbacks – Dunkirk
Produced by Girl Band’s Daniel Fox (a good start) this catchy, jittery little number from Silverbacks imagines a future dystopian Dunkirk which despite it’s iconic historical status now exists as a private holiday resort. A marvellous conceit and they follow through with an effective, unsettling moody treat that’s as tight as a gnat’s chuff.
7. Ought – Disgraced In America
Disgraced In America by the marvellously monickered Ought caught my ear with absolute gems like ‘I floated round downtown, I floated round Spain. I was like a Dentist, rooting for pain’. The entire vocal by Tom Darcy is brilliantly inventive and engaging while the song’s meandering lack of structure is the ideal accompaniment. You can’t help but follow where he goes.
6. Western Scene – Strange But True
The uplifting feel of optimism in Strange But True is impossible to resist. And considering what 2018 has been like let’s be thankful for that. A heartwarming and affecting song that has lifted the spirit crushing gloom of a morning drive to work on many occasions. The message that amazing things can happen outside of your comfort zone is one I’ll try to adhere to a little bit more in 2019.
5. Oh Sees – Nail House Needle Boys
Ah man, what a frazzling opening guitar that is. It slithers in to your ears accompanied by the mellow tones of John Dwyer. It’s the song I’ve had most reaction to when I’ve played it to friends. It seems to have an instant effect, the riff is so hypnotic the famous mind bender Derren Brown is suing. Allegedly.
4. Ron Gallo – Always Elsewhere
The start of the song sounds like an alarm going off and what follows is a rage against the shallowness that seems to occupy the world, always looking elsewhere and never sated. The shame of FOMO. It’s so packed full of stuff it can take a bit of getting used to. It rushes around against a fiery backdrop of jangling guitars and Gallo’s exhortations to ‘feel what’s real’. Chaotic and unrestrained, top marks Mr G.
3. Superorganism – Everybody Wants To Be Famous
A dream of a hook, lazy synths and the deadpan innocence of Orono Noguci’s delivery combine to make this an absolute peach of electronica. Little samples pop up and float off complimenting the melody perfectly; which after one listen is scorched in to your brain long after the final till rings shut. Noguci has some wonderful lines poking fun at our wholesale desperation for fame, whatever the cost.
2. Drenge – Bonfire Of The City Boys
Rob Graham’s growling basslines starts up the madness and invites you in – you can keep your boots on. When a song gets aggression right my synapses light up like a Christmas tree and this has oodles of it. The spoken word lyrics keep the fuse burning until it erupts in to a cacophony of drums and guitar. Class war has rarely sounded so good which is useful as it’s probably happening soon.
1. Cold Soda – Anna May
Cold Soda is a side project of MM stalwarts The Cave Singers and they have produced a gem of a tune with Anna May. When the melody kicks in the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention and send the message for my goosebumps to immediately join them. This song does what all the best songs do – it instantly transports me to a different world. The arrangement is carefully constructed and deftly executed, the plaintive vocals of Pete Quirk blending in to give it just the right amount of pathos without spilling in to sickly sentimentality. A stunning song that despite repeated listening still works those goosebumps without fail.
Check Dr Roddy’s top ten choices here, and check in tomorrow for MM’s selections.Follow @madmackerel