Archive for the ‘Alternative’ Category

We rounded-up and shared a few songs yesterday that we had missed while posting our countdown of our favourite songs of the year. Here is a second helping for you…

First up is Sweden’s Second Oracle who create dreamy soundscapes where flute and organ meets heavy percussion, bass and guitar – twisting and turning psychedelia into new shapes and forms. Check out their debut single Seabird’s Lament.

 

Parquet Courts, Can, Television, IDLES, Protomartyr, PUP, Interpol and Dinosaur Jr. are all staples in Church Girls’ repertoire of rock, indie and post-punk influences. Their forthcoming EP, Cycles, grapples with the dissolution of relationships, and the responsibility one faces in setting boundaries for loved ones who encounter the quicksand of substance abuse. Listen to the excellent No Patience.

 

Nashville-based band The Prescriptions have released the latest single off their forthcoming debut album Hollywood Gold titled Broken Wing. It is a sweet cut of haunting Americana.

 

Trimdon Grange Explosion are an psych folk ensemble from North-East London. Their self-titled debut ranges from original compositions to acid-tinged group instrumentals to songs from the folk tradition, arranged for electric instruments. Check out the mournful and melancholic Weeping And Wailing.

 

angelic milk, the Saint Petersburg based project from Sarah Persephona, is back with their long-awaited debut album Divine Biker Lover. With Persephona’s vocals floating over shimmering guitars, latest singles Celebrate and Acid & Coca-Cola showcases angelic milk’s brand of catchy alternative rock.

 

Northeastern fuzz-rock favorites, Stove, recently released their sophomore full-length, ‘s Favorite Friend, on Exploding In Sound Records. Now they have shared a new music video for album standout, Duckling Fantasy.

 

 

Fine Jewelers is the duo of Dan Helmer (solo Helmer releases on Valcrond Video and Anomia) and Matt Korvette (vocalist of Pissed Jeans). Working at dangerously high BPMs, the duo create neurotic industrial rave music and inhospitable gabber. This is Unreasonable Rider.

 

Having been very focused on our Best of Year tracks recently, we’ve built up a bit of a backlog of new tunes to share, so thought we’d spend a couple of posts catching up and try to slip them in before the end of 2018.

First up, it has been nearly 13 years since his proper debut as Viking Moses, and Baltimore musician Brendon Massei is soon to release his fifth album, Cruel Child. New single Headstrong is stripped back, dark Americana for fans of Cat Power, Will Oldham, and Smog.

 

Keeping the dark Americana theme going, Old Nobodaddy has shared the rootsy, driving rhythm of new single Read ’em and Weep.

 

With a sound that is raw, expressive, and strange, Lonesome Shack’s music is part hill country blues, part urban folk rock, and owes as much to Alan Wilson’s Canned Heat as it does to Junior Kimbrough. The trio have featured a few times on MM and this is new single Past The Ditch taken from upcoming album Desert Dreams.

 

Just shy of two minutes of sonic mayhem from Cowgirl’s debut single She Picks Me Up. The raucous duo mix the Jesus & Mary Chain and the Ramones with the Ronettes, and a soupçon of Beach Boys to thrilling effect.

 

Recalling the early ragged glory of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or the Black Angels, Black Doldrums deal a nicely malevolent combination of heavy drums and sonic ferocious riffs. Listen to the relentless euphoric swirl of People’s Temple.

 

Reverend Beat-Man & Izobel Garcia have announced the release of Baile Bruja Muerto (out in January 2019), this is the video for their blues trash rework of Venom’s Black Metal.

 

Next Year Will Be Mine is an original Whyte Horses track full of joyful eccentric kitsch, chiming Christmas bells and honeyed harmonies…capturing the shedding of one year and the hope of all the next one will bring, wrapped up in wall-of-sound production, so distinctive, that anyone would be forgiven if they thought Phil Spector had a hand in making this record.

Watch / stream it here.

 

 

So here we have it – the top of the pile! Our favourite songs of 2018.

25 Ought – Disgraced In America

 

Way back in January, Montreal based quartet Ought kicked off 2018 with the bright guitar sound and ultimately noisy percussion and spaced-out synths of Disgraced in America. It was a fine start.

 

24 Spiritualized – I’m Your Man

 

I’m Your Man was the brilliant lead single from Spiritualized’s new album And Nothing Hurt. It wraps layer upon layer of gloriously transcendent sound together to create something utterly mesmerising and cinematic, and with a towering guitar solo – where the waves of blissful noise are almost overwhelming.

 

23 Jon Spencer – Hornet

 

Jon Spencer can be relied upon to deliver a sleazy, bone-shaking excursion into the underbelly of classic blues and with Hornet he delivers in spades – growling, primitive and with a suitably buzzing guitar figure.

 

22 Fat Earthers – Letter Bomb

 

We love the Isle of Wight and now we love it even more because it is home to the insane noise of the Fat Earthers whose punked-up garage rock didn’t so much explode out of our speakers, as leave them gibbering in twisted shards of plastic and cable in the corner. There is always one song that gatecrashes our favourites at the end of the year and Letter Bomb is it.  I hope they’re from Ventnor!

 

21 Western Scene – Strange but True

 

A chugging, exhilarating earworm of a song that recalls something of the best of Lord Huron or Wilco, with its irresistible melody and immediate emotional energy.

 

20 American Pets – Bad Dream

 

Sublime, sweetly melodic indie rock. The kind so many bands try to do, and so many fail to achieve. It is impossible not to be carried away on the rise and fall of the harmonies and Bad Dream’s gentle swell of mildly psychedelic beauty.

 

19 Ron Gallo – Always Elsewhere

 

Ron Gallo seems to be one of those absurdly hyperactive songwriters, flitting from one genre to another as though on a never ending quest for musical nectar. That he does it so well seems equally absurd as he rolls out gem after gem in a prolific manner. Always Elsewhere is garage rock, psych-pop, new wave, glam and 70s NY punk. It is jerky, obsessive and compelling and held together by his anxious, exasperated vocals.

 

18 FEWS – Businessman

 

Just unstoppable, pulverising noisy psych built on the most pulsating riff imaginable.

 

17 The Twilight Sad – I/m Not Here (Missing Face)

 

After too long an absence Twilight Sad returned with I/m Not Here (Missing Face) which was a driving, motorik anthem, with wailing guitars and swirling synths circling around frontman James Graham’s repeated declarations of “I don’t want to be around you anymore.” Graham describes the track’s lyrical basis as being “about my ongoing battle with not liking myself, trying to be a good person but constantly feeling like I’m failing myself and everyone I care about.

 

16 Young Fathers – In My View

 

As much spoken as sung, In My View is a fractured, down-tempo track set atop skittering percussion and synths.

 

15 Superorganism – Everybody Wants To Be Famous

 

Like a mutated cross between Uptown Top Ranking and some long-forgotten video game, Everybody Wants To Be Famous manages to take its wonderfully kaleidoscopic groove to a whole new level of infectious electro-pop flourescence.

 

14 Dr. Dog – Listening In

 

On their brilliantly assured new album Critical Equation, Dr. Dog barely put a single foot wrong, and an absolute standout for us was Listening In. Another exceptional example of their warm, psych-infused Americana, carried along on metronomic percussion and a typically plaintive and questioning vocal.

 

13 Phosphorescent – Christmas Down Under

 

The introspective smoulder and slow burn of Christmas Down Under is a pedal-steel led tale of surreal Americana. One for the sunset and the open road…

 

12 Katie Toupin – Danger

 

After a long stint with Houndmouth, Katie Toupin’s first foray into solo territory resulted in the bluesy rock of her debut EP Moroccan Ballroom. The raw, haunting beauty of Danger mixes heartbreak with a smattering of grit and her always stunning vocals to create something very special indeed.

 

11 Fontaines DC – Chequeless Reckless

 

Our third and final entry from Fontaines DC – back in February we said we were pretty sure Chequeless Reckless would end up in our best of the year lists and so it proves. Channelling past masters like the Modern Lovers, The Fall and Iggy Pop, as well as contemporaries like Idles and Shame, Chequeless Reckless is built on a driving, hypnotic, kraut-rock infused cyclical riff, and some scalpel sharp lyrics.

A sellout is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money,
An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of the thinking
A phony is someone who demands respect for the principles they affect
A dilettante is someone who can’t tell the difference between fashion and style

 

10 Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Billy The Kid And Geronimo

 

In the rich vein of classic country like Pancho and Lefty, the fantastical Billy The Kid and Geronimo – about an imagined meeting between the two 19th century outlaws whose lives became the stuff of legend in the American West has Gilmore, who is part Native American, voicing the thoughts Alvin wrote for Geronimo, the Chiricahua Apache chief who was one of the last Native American leaders to abandon his resistance against white colonisation of the American Southwest.

 

9 Decemberists – Severed

 

Channelling their inner New Order and 80’s electronic new wave, the Decemberists delivered another left-turn in their long career with I’ll Be Your Girl. Chief among them was Severed, all fuzzy synths, rolling bass and an unrelenting guitar riff. The juxtaposition of shiny, shimmering melody and bleak lyrics was just the icing on the cake.

 

8 Cold Soda – Anna May

 

Cold Soda is a Cave Singers side project, and Anna May is brilliant, brooding Americana, built on a sinewy rhythmic groove and Pete Quirk’s ominous rasp.

 

7 Silverbacks – Dunkirk

 

Brilliantly delivering their own louche take on NYC-indebted rock, Dublin art-punks Silverbacks’ single Dunkirk is underpinned by an insistent, nagging bassline and creepy crawly guitar lines, it provides the ideal vehicle for frontman Daniel O’Kelly’s stream of consciousness ramblings about martial strife, the perfect sandcastle and spotting a con artist when he sees one. The track lurches forth, pressure building from the undulating backbeat and layers of skronking guitars accenting Daniel’s increasingly frazzled yelps before finally collapsing into a sugar sweet coda.

 

6 Rod Picott – Coal

 

Coal is a tough track. A hard-driving, unflinching snapshot of an industry’s decline. It is a world of darkness, small enclosed spaces, rusted machines and steel tied boots. It is simple, unadorned folk storytelling at its spartan best.

 

5 Quiet Hollers – Addicted

 

Addicted is a powerful rumination on opiate addiction – Quiet Hollers frontman Shadwick Wilde has struggled with addiction since adolescence. Although he didn’t intend for it to be a “drug song” necessarily, its inception came at a time when his family was struggling with the loss of his mother’s brother, who died of a fentanyl overdose so he felt it was important to acknowledge how deeply vulnerable we all are to these things, and how serious that problem really is. The track is a perfect mix of alt-country shot through with grungy guitars and a resigned honesty shared through fittingly world weary vocals.

 

4 Dan Mangan – Peaks And Valleys

 

Dan Mangan is a restless troubadour, from the earnest straight up folk of Postcards & Daydreaming to the darkly experimental Club Meds, he has always been both an explorer and an observer. Peaks and Valleys comes from new record More or Less and is a up-tempo, easy going reflection on the simple things in life and the wisdom and understanding that comes with getting older. Sometimes the most obvious things can be the most revealing and so it is with this lovely reminder that optimism is not a bad weapon to have in these turbulent times.

 

3 Drenge – Bonfire Of The City Boys

 

It started with a bang” the opening line from Bonfire of the City Boys could almost be a prediction as a stuttering, repetitive bassline starts up and Eoin Loveless’ spoken word vocals cut in over the top before a crushing guitar riff takes centre stage. Heavier than they’ve ever been, with a sound more akin to Future of the Left, Bonfire of the City Boys is four minutes of joyously ferocious hardcore.

 

2 Decemberists – Cutting Stone

 

Like one of their classic ornate folk fantasies turned dark, appropriately enough Cutting Stone is cut through with a synth accompaniment that brilliantly contrasts a brittle, futuristic feel to Colin Melloy’s literate and verbose tale of wayward children and dying brides.

 

1 Oh Sees – Nail House Needle Boys

 

Nail House Needle Boys – a deliriously scorched excursion around the outer limits of prog-rock and glam, sucking in great gulps of Can, Deep Purple and King Crimson and exhaling them as little more than smoke and ash, drifting down on to the still twitching corpse of psychedelic rock.

 

Check out the rest of our countdown: 100-76 here, 75-51 here and 50-26 here.

Into the top half of our favourite songs of the year. Here are tracks 50 through to 26.

50 Murder By Death – True Dark

 

Murder By Death have built a career on gothic country rockers and sun-baked desert folk, yet even after all these years they still manage to surprise and True Dark is them at their twangiest best.

 

49 Fontaines DC – Too real

 

The second entry for Fontaines DC. The band’s latest single, Too Real is another storming track of undeniable power and swagger that just begs to be played loud, and on repeat.

 

48 Frog – American

 

Stripped back, insistently sparse folk and a lyrical gem, “Yes by God I’m American, God is great he’s hilarious, What the fuck y’all staring at? Tall, dark, bald and arrogant”

 

47 Shame – Gold Hole

 

We know this isn’t strictly a new song this year but we’re claiming editorial immunity and sneaking it in anyway as it does feature on London punks Shame’s debut long player that came out at the beginning of 2018. Gold Hole is an uncomfortably close-to-the-bone story of a lecherous older man buying the affections of a young girl – it is seedy and sordid and brilliantly observed. “Sweat stains the wrinkles/Tongue touches the hole, She feels so dirty, she knows that it’s wrong, But she feels so good in Louis Vuitton.

 

46 Conor Oberst – No One Changes

 

Is there anyone else who can make melancholia sound so stunningly gorgeous? No One Changes is an introspective, sombre beauty, as elegant as it it fragile.

 

45 Oldermost – The Danger Of Belief

 

Creating era-blending Americana-infused rock & roll with a more indie rock vibe, rollicking, anthemic  single The Danger of Belief was made for a long straight highway with the windows down and the volume up.

 

44 Kurt Vile – One Trick Ponies

 

A highlight from his most recent album, One trick Ponies has all the trademark Kurt Vile ingredients: woozy guitar lines, mumbled stream-of-consciousness lyrics, sly humour and a touch of the surreal. But this is a generous, big-hearted song and the hazy sheen he coats it in just adds the prefect amount of gentle bonhomie.

 

43 Cass McCombs – Sleeping Volcanoes

 

Almost without noticing Cass McCombs has become one of our most influential and important songwriters. Sleeping Volcanoes, the thematic centrepiece of his upcoming album, is a delight of pensive, dreamlike rock, albeit anchored by a rumbling groove and his world-weary vocals.

 

42 Wing Defence – Stuck

 

Aside from the netball connotations, Aussie duo Wing Defence delivered a sublime single of indie pop with Stuck, the infectious melody is of major earworm quality, and shot through with a core of wonderfully bitter lyrics.

 

41 Sunflowers – Castle Spell

 

The pulverising riffing and chanted lyrics of Castle Spell combine into a freakbeat spectacular of psyched-out space rock – like Silver Machine on speed.

 

40 Mary Gauthier – The War After The War

 

Rifles & Rosary Beads was an album that was four years in the making, it is a collaborative record in the sense that the eleven songs were co-written with wounded veterans in the SongwritingWith: Soldiers retreats. Taken from the album, the heartbreakingly poignant and evocative The War After The War, with its gorgeous violin backdrop and insistent guitar had one of our favourite opening verses of any song we heard this year.

Who’s going to care for the ones
who care for the ones who went to war?
There’s landmines in the living room
and eggshells on the floor

 

39 Death Valley Girls – Disaster (Is What We’re After)

 

Awash with a swirling riff and Thor-like percussion, Disaster (Is What We’re After) is a churning, boiling psych-punk rocker that rides its undeniable, repetitive groove like a drunken cowboy at a rodeo.

 

38 DBUK – In San Francisco Bay

 

DBUK, a side project of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club will return early in the new year with their second album. The first single In San Francisco Bay is a southern gothic four-de-force. Hypnotic, mesmerising and menacing – think of it as the musical equivalent of a naked preacher sat in a box full of venomous snakes.

 

37 Cabbage – Arms Of Pleonexia

 

Blending social comment with mordant black humour and a keen eye for detail, Arms Of Pleonexia was a savagely frenetic addition to Cabbage’s rapidly growing collection of brilliantly observed post-punk anthems

 

36 American Wrestlers – Ignoramus

 

Described by American Wrestlers (aka songwriter Gary McClure) as “a weird little country song with hokey lo-fi strings that bent into black memories“, Ignoramus is all that and more – in fact we’d go as far as to say it is a snidely understated masterpiece.

 

35 Stick In The Wheel – Over Again

 

Over Again is classic British folk story-telling. Hurtling along on the back of an irresistible melody, it begs to be sung along to (and there’s even room for some handclaps).

 

34 Laura Gibson – Tenderness

 

Laura Gibson’s album Goners explored themes of grief and loss and a standout was the haunting and beautiful Tenderness. An intimate and somewhat pensive fable that reflects, almost dreamlike, on how we project pain and lash out, holding on to each other’s trauma and sorrow. “Certain men can smell a wound a room away, you are melancholy well, beauty only made you lonelier

 

33 FEWS – Paradiso

 

Paradiso from brilliant Anglo/US/Swedish noiseniks FEWS was yet another example of their slashing, incandescent guitars and ferocious, pummelling percussion.

 

32 Yves Tumor – Lifetime

 

We’re allowing Polly Pocket this one… a multi-faceted tune of bright, crisp synths, ethereal backing vocals and relentless, unforgiving drums that call to mind Disintegration era Cure.

 

31 Lost Brothers – Come Tomorrow

 

A gently insistent folk song complete with the duo’s trademark tender harmonies and sense of bruised heartache. It is an absolute gem of a tune.

 

30 She Makes War – Undone

 

She Makes War (aka Bristol based artist and multi-instrumentalist Laura Kidd) wrote Undone in a daze the day after her grandmother Constance died last May. The song’s monster guitars deliver palpable rage at the bad things that happen to good people, acting as an openhearted rallying cry against the British stiff upper lip brigade. “We need to give ourselves a break”, she says. “Giving ourselves time to feel devastated doesn’t make us weak.

 

29 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Bellarine

 

A brilliant debut album and a brilliant rolling track of jangling guitars and driving motorik percussion.

 

28 Interpol – The Rover

 

The Rover opens with ringing guitars and percussion taken directly from Krautrock’s halcyon heyday. It is a relentless, menacing rush of pure rock’n’roll.

 

27 Gretchen Peters – Wichita

 

Where would we be without a good murder ballad? This is classic country story-telling given a contemporary twist as Gretchen Peters brilliantly sketches a tale of a woman driven to desperate measures to protect her little sister from a predatory male.

 

26 Parquet Courts – Tenderness

 

Ever since the brilliant Stoned and Starving, Parquet Courts have shown an uncanny ability to create some of the catchiest, toe-tappers around, whilst still managing to diversify their sound into new genres and styles. Tenderness is up there with the best of them – surprisingly slinky, jaunty and knowingly insecure, “Like a junkie going cold, I need the fix of a little tenderness“. We can all relate to that.

 

Check out tracks 100-76 here, and 75-51 here.

The second instalment of our favourite tracks of 2018. Enjoy…

75 Holly Miranda – Golden Spiral

 

This wonky, horn-led track taken from her excellent Mutual Horse album, dips its toes into the swirling whirlpools of off-kilter indie pop with a buoyant rhythmic pulse and nods to glam rock and funk.

 

74 Ezra Furman – Suck The Blood From My Wound

 

Suck The Blood From My Wound is a choppy, hook filled indie rocker that dials up the intensity and paranoia from the outset (check the horror film opening sample) to create a visceral, desperate dash from government pursuers. Throughout the narrator’s pain and defiance remain constants, “Angel, don’t fight it – to them, you know we’ll always be freaks.”

 

73 Fontaines DC – Boys In The Better Land

 

Fontaines DC are our favourite discovery of 2018. Boys In The Better Land, the b-side to the excellent Chequeless Reckless, is a resolutely retro nod to classic Irish rock’n’roll – a concise, gritty and utterly irresistible slice of indie-punk that conjures up images of the Stooges jamming with the Fall.

 

72 Flat Worms – Melt The Arms

 

Furious, buzzing, magnificent, garage-punk that will put hairs on your chest and then melt them off again – all in just over two minutes.

 

71 First Aid Kit – It’s A Shame

 

There isn’t much that sounds better than the gorgeous harmonies created by Swedish sisters First Aid KitIt’s A Shame is a perfect case in point. Simply lovely.

 

70 Deaf Wish – FFS

 

FFS erupts out of the speakers like a runaway train and over the next 130 seconds or so simply picks up the pace even further – unstoppable. A fizzing, furious, outburst of potent punk rock.

 

69 Eric Church – The Snake

 

Built on a sinewy, swampy acoustic riff, The Snake is classic country protest. America’s two polarised parties are portrayed as two serpents greedily preying on the electorate. Church’s wonderful spoken drawl vocals add just the right tinge of bleak menace and give extra depth to the bitter lyrics, “Rattlesnake said to the copperhead / Ain’t no way they win / ‘Cause the mice are sheep / And the shepherd’s asleep / And the copperhead said “amen

 

68 Drahla – Twelve Divisions Of The Day

 

A naggingly insistent earworm of a tune, blending the band’s wiry art-rock with krautrock inspired experimentalism, all underpinned by singer/guitarist Luciel Brown’s captivating spoken drawl.

 

67 Dr. Dog – Buzzing In The Light

 

Dr. Dog have long been the purveyors of perfectly judged psych-tinged Americana that draws on elements of pastoral folk, soul and jazz. Buzzing In The Light is wonderfully mellow and laid back, hazily meandering to a dreamy conclusion on the back of a slow drumbeat and keyboards.

 

66 Big Joanie – Fall Asleep

 

A fabulous amalgamation of Ronettes style bubble-gum pop and Sleater-Kinney wig-out. The high speed Fall Asleep is an instantly hummable, toe-tapping frolic through the highs and lows of dreams and nightmares.

 

65 Queen Zee – Victim Age

 

Queer-core punks Queen Zee’s energetic, politically charged call to arms – anarchic and borne of a deep frustration with the status quo. Another to play loud!

 

64 Dunes – Mountain

 

Mined from the same sonic territory that hosts the Black Angels, Warlocks and Wooden Shjips, Mountain is thick with reverb, fuzz and deliciously dark undertones.

 

63 Slaves – Bugs

 

Bugs is a classic Slaves staccato stomper. Anthemic call and response vocals and thumping percussion deliver a savage verdict on our collective politicians’ utter failure to do anything but look after their own porcine interests whilst the country slides down the drain with barely a whimper. “Two arms, two legs, two faces, That’s what they got” Exactly.

 

62 Freschard & Stanley Brinks – Going To The Bar

 

Stanley Brinks is one of indie music’s true one-offs. Amongst many other things he has recorded more than 100 albums, been part of the New York Antifolk scene, and played a lot with The Wave Pictures. On this wonderful collaboration with Freschard, the pair deliver a wistfully off-kilter and woozy gem of a tale that takes in drinking alone, the bedridden Fred (with the big round head) and broken hearts. A rueful and poignant tune for the dead of night.

 

61 Goat Girl – The Man

 

A stand-out from Goat Girl’s self-titled debut, The Man is perfectly observed garage-punk that comes wrapped in delightfully sleazy guitar and a rattling sing-a-long chorus. Seedy never sounded so alluring.

 

60 Goat – Let It Burn

 

Let It Burn was written specifically for the climatic scene in the short movie Killing Gävle, a film about the famous Gävle Goat in Sweden – every year local custodians try to protect a giant straw goat (built for the town every Christmas) being burnt down by mischievous pagans. It all sounds very Wicker Man (no doubt our very own folk horror aficionado Chris T Popper would approve) and to which the epic nature of the song – six minutes of Goat’s unstoppable hypnotic fuzzy groove – does complete justice.

 

59 Dunes – (Just Because You’re Not Being Followed Doesn’t Mean You’re Not) Paranoid

 

Another from the Aussie psych-rockers. Spacier, woozier, but just as hypnotic.

 

58 Cash Savage & The Last Drinks – Pack Animals

 

Pack Animals is a the grubby, cheeky nephew of a union between classic early 70s pub-rock and punk. Underneath it’s cheery, pumping exterior and chugging refrain is a searing indictment of the inherent arrogance of gig-goers giving the girls in the band some “helpful” advice, almost always prefaced with the opening “The gig was great, but…

 

57 Amen Dunes – Miki Dora

 

A song about the iconic 60s surfer and lifelong criminal, Miki Dora is a haunting pop gem that evokes the shimmering, untouchable horizon with its gorgeous blurry vocals and shifting, restless tones, like waves endlessly rolling up the shore.

 

56 Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Bike Lane

 

Kick off your jackboots, it’s time to unwind”. Unsurprisingly there have been many political songs this year and Lord knows from Trump to the insanity of Brexit there has been plenty of material to work with. But none have quite the impact of Bike Lane, a song dealing with the death of Freddie Grey, a victim of police brutality in Baltimore. It is unflinching and straightforward and set to a classic chugging riff. “The cops, the cops that killed Freddie, Sweet, young Freddie Gray, Got behind him with their truncheons, And choked the life right out of him“.

 

55 Young Fathers – Toy

 

Confidently and gleefully leaping between genres with nary a backwards glance, Toy effortlessly bridges a gap between rap and full on sing-a-long indie anthem.

 

54 Eels – The Deconstruction

 

A laid-back wander through some classic rock territory. Echoes of Pink Floyd and Massive Attack burble and hum behind Mark Oliver Everett’s understated vocal, “The deconstruction has begun. Time for me to fall apart.” Sometimes funky, sometimes elaborate and always unpredictable, The Deconstruction is the sound of a revised world view and a weary philosophical acceptance of the nebulous state of things.

 

53 The Callas with Lee Ranaldo – Acid Books

 

A post-punk burner brimming with frenzied energy. Opening with a swirl of droning ambiance and the rhetorical question, “Do you sleep at night?”, the track quickly launches headlong into a fever of activity. With the anxious pulse of a hard-driving bassline to lead the way, and punctuated by terse outbursts of hypnotic, scuzzed-up guitar lines.

 

52 Slaves – Cut And Run

 

Everything about Cut And Run is ridiculous. The spoof workout video, the high pitched guitars and the “You’re looking unwell” mantra, yet it still all combines to create another infectiously catchy, sledgehammer punk song.

 

51 Idles – Love Song

 

Idles somehow manage to pair howling, horror-flick guitars and thumping percussion with fierce, redemptive lyrics on the complexities of relationships and love.

 

Check out tracks 100 – 76 from yesterday here.

It’s time for MM’s annual round up of our favourite songs of the year. Thanks as always go to all our regular contributors – Mrs Mackerel, Chris T Popper, the Italian Job, Polly Pocket and a very welcome return to the fold for Dr Roddy.

So without further ado, lets start the countdown.

100 Cabbage – Preach To The Converted

 

In a year that we lost the great Mark E Smith, Manc neighbours Cabbage stepped up to the plate and delivered an album of sneering, swaggering and violently nihilistic songs that were cut from the same cloth as the Fall. Preach to the Converted is a prime example, a snarling, surf-tinged punk stomper.

 

99 Yowl – Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living

 

Yowl capture the frustration of the 9-to-5 London grind like few others (also making Chris T Popper’s best of the year list in 2016). In frontman Gabriel Byrde, they have someone who can spin poetry on songs about alienation and exhaustion. Yowl are often viciously loud, but on Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living) it is tempered with a more fatalistic, loose feel that calls to mind Lou Reed as much as it does Parquet Courts.

 

98 Teenage Cavegirl – No Good/So Bad

 

Austin, Texas boy/girl duo Teenage Cavegirl offer exactly what their name says they should. The tribal drums and trash-pop guitar lines combine to create a deceptively simple slab of primal garage rock. Throw in some plaintive lyrics, an anthemic chorus and wrap it all up in under two minutes.

 

97 Black Delta Movement – Let The Rain Come

 

Inspired by the ghosts of the Sonics and MC5, influenced by the kaleidoscopic thrum of the Black Angels and Wooden Shjips, Let The Rain Come is a propulsive, mesmerising gem of powerful psych-rock that layers an industrial sheen over it’s pummelling hypnotic heart.

 

96 Cool Ghouls – CCR Bootleg

 

A boisterous, jerky slice of indie that rambles along with an unshakeable airy confidence and a knowing nod to the great band’s chooglin’ style.

 

95 Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

 

Channelling their inner Talking Heads, Wide Awake is a shout along anthem propelled on something akin to tropical percussion and a sparse, funky and naggingly insistent guitar refrain.

 

94 Yak – White Male Carnivore

 

A welcome return from the noisenik trio. White Male Carnivore is what, in the old days, we’d have called a rip-snorter. Crunchy, muscular and prone to an odd left turn (those weird backing vocals, the wry nod to American spirituals), the song careers along moving everything out of its path with sheer force of will.

 

93 Sunflowers – Sleepy Sun

 

A mutating slab of space rock – all slurred riffs and acid-bleached vocals. Just as likely to be a nightmare as a dream depending on your drug of choice…

 

92 Strange Cages – Hypothalmus Blues

 

Brighton’s Strange Cages are purveyors of a snotty, psych-surf rock ‘n’ roll sound in the vein of The Cramps or Ty Segall. The wonderfully titled Hypothalamus Blues combines elements of krautrock and post-punk with a paranoid, schizophrenic vocal.

 

91 Sleep Eaters – Ghost On Fire

 

Just over two minutes of cacophonous, fuzzed out, desert, cowboy garage-rock, that sounds like a feral cross between The Black Lips, The Stooges and the Screaming Blue Messiahs – imagine all three dropped into a sun-baked, spaghetti western playing to a whiskey bar full of gunslingers on speed.

 

90 Ron Gallo – Really Nice Guys

 

Taking aim squarely at the music industry and those bands who are “better people than musicians“, Ron Gallo’s blackly acerbic wit is filtered directly through the prism of 60s garage rock and fuzzy psychedelia.

 

89 Nest Egg – Denied Doctrine

 

A three-piece from Asheville, North Carolina who describe their head-heavy and kosmische psych-rock wig-outs as ‘mood music for nihilists’. Denied Doctrine is a mind scrambling swirl of malevolent, chugging guitars and hypnotic reverb.

 

88 Mothers – Pink

 

Pink grips like a vice and over seven taut, potent minutes of nervy, hypnotic, krautrock it builds layer upon layer of bewitching intensity that never lets up.

 

87 Lonely Parade – I’m So Tired

 

A mix of wiry post-punk and buzzsaw guitars – disaffected dissonance never sounded so good!

 

86 Crepes – Bicycle Man

 

Infectious indie-pop par excellence. A groovy bass-line and hooks sharp enough to burrow deep under the skin.

 

85 American Pets – Forgetting

 

Taking inspiration from the likes of The Velvet Underground, Wilco, Tom Petty, and Serge Gainsbourg, LA based indie band American Pets’ Forgetting is a quietly strummed mix of bleak suburban nostalgia and nightmare.

 

84 Wharves – High School Hero

 

The naggingly, groove infused High School Hero sounds like a weird mash up of glam-rock era Bowie, Devo, Nick Cave, The Clash’s Magnificent Seven and Tom Tom Club’s Wordy Rappinghood. Even more weirdly it works… brilliantly.

 

83 Lord Huron – Ancient Names (Part II)

 

Lord Huron are not particularly known for their garage rock credentials, but Ancient Names (Part II) bursts out the blocks with a heavy, distorted sense of urgency proclaiming “gone are the days of laughter and love“, and over the course of two short minutes conveys a darkness of heart and soul that is epitome of resigned despair and hopelessness.

 

82 Thurston Moore – Mx Liberty

 

A typically corrosive broadside at the “mockery of democracy” that currently prevails in the USA. Thurston Moore’s brings his trademark barbed guitar squall and brutal, bruising percussion to the table and wins the argument. Hands down.

 

81 Flasher – Skim Milk

 

Crisp, exhilarating guitar riffs matched to a melodic ease and with some enjoyably rowdy call and response vocals, Skim Milk is a gem of sharp, precise indie rock.

 

80 LICE – The Human Parasite

 

Lyrically obtuse, melodically caustic and revelling in ugly, uncomfortable home truths, LICE’s debut single was a scratchy, skronky, instant classic. “All humans carry, through their daily lives / A compulsion to torture and destroy / Be not afeared of your impulse to despise / Your neighbour just because they have an accent you dislike.

 

79 The Men – Maybe I’m Crazy

 

A wired, pulsating, synth-driven rocker complete with wonky sax at the end. Play loud.

 

78 Phosphorescent – Around The Horn

 

The centrepiece of latest album C’est La Vie, on Around the Horn Phosphorescent calls the shimmering motorik of the War on Drugs and then raises it with an eight minute mini masterpiece of swelling, throbbing country-psych.

 

77 Gong Gong Gong – Siren 追逐劇

 

Desert psych anyone? South-east Asian freakout? Chinese blues? All this and more is thrown into the melting pot and stirred to a magnificent, galloping frenzy.

 

76 Phobophobes – Where Is My Owner?

 

The low rumble of menacing, dirty sleaze – a fetid, swampy stomp set atop twinkling drums and sweet organ flourishes. Over it all is the sardonic refrain of “Where is my owner? I thought that I came with one”

 

Big Joanie – Sistahs

Posted: December 13, 2018 in Alternative, Indie, Music, Pop, Punk, Rock
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Heard the brilliant Fall Asleep by London three-piece Big Joanie on the Marc Riley show whilst driving back from Peterborough on Tuesday night. Did a bit of googling and discovered they’d just released their debut album Sistahs.

Inspired by The Ronettes, Nirvana, Breeders and Jesus and Mary Chain, the three-piece have described themselves as being “similar to The Ronettes filtered through ’80s DIY and Riot Grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis.”

Sounds good to us and here are a couple of tracks to prove it – and you can order the album from Bandcamp here.

 

 

Falmouth four-piece Holiday Ghosts are back with their second LP West Bay Playroom, the follow-up to their very good self-titled debut album from 2017, which we featured a few times on MM.

The band have a nicely authentic, primitive rock ’n’ roll sound that’s taps into the Velvet Underground and The Modern Lovers alongside some of the more contemporary garage rock acts, but on the new record have also taken on influences from country, blues, and spaghetti western soundtracks.

Listen to Booksmart, the excellent first taster from the record, which you can order via Bandcamp here.

 

  1. Fat Earthers -Letter Bomb
  2. Howe Gelb – A Thousand Kisses Deep (featuring M.Ward)
  3. The Chills – Bad Sugar
  4. Mount Hudson – Write A Book
  5. Yak -Fried
  6. Steve Gunn – Stonehurst Cowboy