Archive for the ‘Americana’ Category

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”

 

  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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling On is the title song from The Decemberists’ new EP, all five of which are unreleased tracks from the same sessions that produced their excellent album I’ll Be Your Girl.

Top tune.

 

We’ve not been able to post much recently, which is a great shame, given how much good new stuff has been appearing over the last week or two. Chief amongst them is this eerie, evocative new track from Sharon Van Etten’s upcoming new record Remind Me Tomorrow (due out on January 18th).

Titled Jupiter 4, you can stream it below or watch the particularly good video that has been released to accompany it…

 

 

Introducing >>> Post Lovers

Posted: November 27, 2018 in Americana, Folk, Music
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Post Lovers, the Athens-based act of songwriter and vocalist Eleni Karageorgou have announced the release of their self-titled debut album, due out on December 10th via Inner Ear and they’ve also shared the album’s first single Tiger.

It is gorgeously crafted and sweetly melancholic with echoes of Cate Le Bon and is well worth a listen.

Great artwork too!

 

Moulded in the raw poeticism of Lou Reed and Nico-era Velvet Underground, sixteen year old Gabriella Rose’s dynamic songwriting comes from a deeply broken place. Her roots inject even more piercing context to the songs on her debut Lost In Translation EP, on which her voice houses her turbulent past – the loneliness, the uncertainty, and the gloom. But in analyzing her past, she has taken those experiences and written a powerful independent debut that fuses retro pop songwriting with heart and soul.

The EP also tackles themes relating to mental health, a struggle Rose is all too familiar with… songs like Welcome to the Dollhouse explore her own journey that weaves in and out of sorrow, vulnerability and an inability to understand those feelings, along with her brief stay in a psychiatric ward.

Listen to the reverb-laden title track below. The EP can be pre-ordered here.

 

Frog – Bones

Posted: November 26, 2018 in Americana, Folk, Indie, Music
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Loving this track of stripped back, insistently sparse folk from New York duo Frog.

The wonderfully poignant and unrestrained Bones comes from new album Whatever We Probably Already Had It, out on Audio Antihero, and which can be ordered from Bandcamp here.

Listen to it below, along with the (possibly equally good) frantic strum of American.

 

 

Many, many moons ago (actually back in 2009) when Chris T Popper and I went to Austin for the first time for SxSW, pretty much by happy chance we saw Phosphorescent live for the first time too.

At the end of that year in his top ten round up, Mr Popper wrote “In March I took my first trip to America and the SXSW festival, which widened my musical tastes considerably allowing me to finally accept the pure greatness of country and to some extent folk music. Both of these had been dismissed by my musical snobbery years ago and if it wasn’t for Mr Mackerel knowing one Phosphorescent song (a cover of Johnny Cash I think) meaning us checking out their performance at The Red Eyed Fly, life would have been very different… Beards, smoking and lots of tuning up (in a wonderful venue), followed by an opening song that literally made me freeze – a cover of House of Cards by Radiohead with Matthew Houck delivering a gobsmacking performance. I was hooked. Tunes from their new CD ‘To Willie’ (an album of sublime Willie Nelson covers) skilfully combined with their own stunning ballads left me vowing to grow a beard and buy every Willie Nelson album I could find.”

For years I have been waiting and hoping for Matthew Houck to share that cover more widely. Between me, Mrs Mackerel and Mr Popper, we have subsequently seen Phosphorescent many, many times (most recently Mrs M hopped over to Amsterdam with Middle Sprat to see them there) and they have never repeated that particular cover.

Not once.

Not ever.

Until now.

At long last, recorded for Sirius FM, here it is – a stripped back, spine tingler of a cover song, and you can must watch it below.

 

Nashville crooner Nicole Atkins, has shared her take on the Guns N’ Roses ballad, November Rain and enlisted the assistance of MM fave, the gravel voiced Mark Lanegan to turn it into a rather special duet.

The result is a gorgeous, sprawling country reimaging of the rock n’ roll classic.

Have a listen.

 

  1. Willard Grant Conspiracy – Untethered
  2. Preoccupations – Pontiac 87  (Protomartyr cover)
  3. Mercury Rev – Sermon (featuring Margo Price)  (Bobbie Gentry cover)
  4. Avett Brothers – Roses And Sacrifice
  5. Girlpool – Hire
  6. FEELS – Car
  7. Willie Watson & Tim Blake Nelson – When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings
  8. D.B. Rouse – About The Bite Missing From Your Sandwich