Archive for the ‘Country’ Category

  1. T. Hardy Morris – Homemade Bliss
  2. Whispertown – Never Felt Young
  3. Phil Cook – Another Mother’s Son
  4. Devendra Banhart – Shown And Told
  5. An Horse – Get Out Somehow
  6. River Whyless – Darkness In Mind
  7. Ty Segall & White Fence – Good Boy
  8. Neko Case – Curse Of The I-5 Corridor (feat. Mark Lanegan)
  9. Fucked Up – High Rise (Trainspotters cover)
  10. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – An Air Conditioned Man
  11. MOURN – Fun At The Geysers
  12. Gretchen Peters – Wichita
  13. Beach Skulls – Summer Citrus
  14. Culture Abuse – Bee Kind To The Bugs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-51, and 50-41.

We’re celebrating ten years of MM. Today we’ve reached the top 50 of our favourite songs of the past decade.

50 Discount Guns – I Heard (2012)

 

Ass kicking blend of blues rock and country and western with big riffs, plenty of fuzz and loads of reverb. Like the Black Keys with balls.

 

49 Thee Oh Sees – Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster (2013)

 

A bass line and guitar riff that are simple genius, massively addictive and unwavering in ferocity as the song crescendos during the chorus. It was the one song that year that whenever anyone heard it for the first time they sat there quietly, and then at the end, would say without fail “That was awesome, Who was that?

 

48 Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – Lilliput (2011)

 

Experimental freak-folk, pop song writing, and a slyly humorous outlook all combine in a stunning fashion. Lilliput’s gentle opening soon gives way to cantering drums, gilded strings and some marvellously versatile falsetto vocals.

 

47 Parquet Courts – Stoned And Starving (2012)

 

Two irresistibly hypnotic chords carry a song of deadpan delivery, like Wire doing slacker rock (which obviously would be a very good thing indeed).

 

46 Blitzen Trapper – The Man Who Would Speak True (2010)

Like a companion piece to Black River Killer (still to come folks, still to come), a surreal, dark fairytale with tumbling rhymes over minimal percussion and a splash of lovely harmonica and always remember “You better guard your tongue like your enemy

 

45 Water Liars – Linens (2013)

 

Gorgeous heartbroken country ballad, “And what I would give to be quiet beside you / with the window open, a record playing low / to feel your skin between the clean bed linens / inside a room where sadness never goes”

 

44 Port O’Brien – My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) (2010)

Amongst other things Port O’Brien were a fabulous covers band. This is the sweetest Ramones cover ever.

 

43 Felice Brothers – Fire At The Pageant (2011)

Voodoo, zombies, sinister nursery rhyme chants, classic Felice Brothers lyrics and a woozy, old-timey, back porch rhythm means this song should have been an utter mess. That it was the complete opposite stands tribute to this bunch of ramshackle mavericks of increasingly experimental Americana.

 

42 The Decemberists – June Hymn (2011)

June Hymn crafts pastoral and emotional imaginery into exquisite, literate, and ultimately hopeful indie rock.

 

41 Magnetic Fields – Drive On Driver (2008)

A serpentine melody couched in woozy, soft-focus feedback. The ultimate distorted road trip.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-61 and 60-51.

Countdown continues. Here are songs 60 – 51 in our favourite tunes of the past ten years.

60 Bon Iver – Bloodbank (2009)

Atmospheric, cabin-folk propelled by a woodsy, acoustic strum and cooly whispered vocals.

 

59 Jones Street Station – The Understanding (2012)

 

Like if the Beach Boys had played folk music – a wonderful sense of melody and intricate rhythms played with a joyous abandon and sense of fun.

 

58 Tired Pony – All Things All At Once (2013)

 

Cinematic and reflective. All Things All At Once is a widescreen slice of downbeat, bleakly romantic Americana.

 

57 Range Rats – Colt 44 (2010)

A shade over two minutes of rockabilly shuffle, Johnny Cash rumble, some gun-toting lyrics and a tale of righteous revenge.

 

56 The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song (2009)

Gather round, gather round, it’s another every day story of country folk. Dark tales are their speciality. For me, it’s the drumming that adds the menace and the rage. I’m sure they’re a lovely bunch of people. Really. Just don’t book them for any babysitting…

 

55 The Brakes – Two Shocks (2009)

Perfectly crafted power-pop – a wonderful rolling bassline and stomping percussion compliments lines like ‘I covered my body in bacofoil and waited for the sun to come out”.

 

54 Drive-By Truckers – Check Out Time In Vegas (2008)

Desperation tinged lament that drips with pedal steel and the sharp twang of regret. Alt-country Sin City style.

 

53 Dr. Dog – Uncovering The Old (2008)

 

Filtering warm, melodic Americana through a nostalgic soul and pop prism. The marvellous chiming guitars and Scott McMicken’s rich vocals turn Uncovering The Old into a mini masterpiece.

 

52 Haunted House – Chandaliers (2009)

 

Clattering and jerky, a chanted incantation of skewed indie rock and a long forgotten classic.

 

51 The Decemberists – Severed (2018)

Relentless, new wave synths and a glam rock gallop mix and match with moody, foreboding lyrics. Dance while the world burns…

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-71 and 70-61.

 

We’re counting down our favourite songs of the past ten years. Here are numbers 70-61.

70 Water Liars – Swannanoa (2015)

A melancholy story of searching and loss, of heroin and girls with stutters, of cowardice and looking death in the face. No one does this stuff as well as Water Liars.

 

69 Goodnight, Texas – Jesse Got Trapped In A Coalmine (2012)

 

Has the authentic twang and gritty lyrics of the very best Appalachian folk and the echoes of its rootsy Americana hangs in the air like a ghostly fog long after the song has finished.

 

68 Royal Blood – Little Monster (2014)

Mid-tempo, classic rock chug with a rousing chorus.

 

67 The Decemberists – Rox In The Box (2011)

Rustic, rural Americana, Rox In The Box is a breezy, sing-a-long gypsy stomp inspired by the deadliest hard rock mining disaster in U.S. history.

 

66 Spray Paint – Day Of The Rope (2015)

 

Heavy bass, discordant lead guitar crashing about the place like a demented baboon on acid and those metronomic drums just keep pounding. Jello Biafra and Gibby Haynes could have cooked this up in a deranged music lab somewhere.

 

65 Laura Marling – Don’t Pass Me By (2015)

A sonic polaroid. Understated, reserved and cooly melancholic.

 

64 War On Drugs – Red Eyes (2014)

 

Soulful and epic, the woodwinds, synths, acoustic guitars and pianos sharing space in a hazy, dreamlike fog inhabited by Dylan, Petty and Springsteen.

 

63 Dennis Hopper Choppers – Good To Me (2011)

 

Builds with a rhythmic hypnotism that refuses to let go. Evoking the spaghetti western soundtracks of Ennio Morricone with an outstanding vocal from Ben Nicholl.

 

62 Willie Nile – American Ride (2013)

 

Rootsy rock ‘n’ roll. Another school run anthem, and a perfect road-trip homage to American music.

 

61 Liars – Brats (2012)

Buzzing, stomping distorted synth-punk. Great video too.

 

Remember to check out tracks 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-81 and 80-71.

Time for tunes 80 thru 71 in our Top 200 of the past ten years.

80 Dr. Dog – It (2010)

Criminally tucked away on the expanded edition of Shame Shame, It is perfect Dr. Dog – nostalgic, feel-good, laid back folk inflected Americana that cries out for the back porch.

 

79 Chaika – The Mirror (2015)

 

Compulsive, hazy garage-psych to sear the soul.

 

78 Blitzen Trapper – Furr (2008)

 

At their best when they evoke their inner Bob Dylan and major on the rhyme heavy folk, Furr is a surreal, harmonica-flecked Jungle Book style tale set to a toe-tapping, bluesy rhythm.

 

77 Withered Hand – Hard On (2009)

 

With his creaky, fragile voice Dan Wilson (aka Withered Hand) might be an acquired taste. But for the connoisseur his awkward, funny and often brilliant bedroom-folk is a pure joy. A beard don’t make you a man / No, it takes something else / Something I’ll never have

 

76 The Felice Brothers – Whiskey In My Whiskey (2008)

The Felice Brothers are all the R words. Ramshackle, rollicking, raucous, rambunctious, rowdy and never more so than with this song. They are a carnival band in the best sense of the word taking in everything and spitting it back out with humour, irony, pathos and a gritty realism. This should be heard live, preferably at a party on a riverboat steamer or in a backwoods bar with old bullet holes scarring the walls.

 

75 Spector – Chevy Thunder (2012)

 

Sing-a-long indie anthem par excellence.

 

74 Snakes – Young American (2016)

 

Marvellous twangy Americana driven by a chugging, Johnny Cash style rhythm and Hank style vocals.

 

73 Natural Child – Rock Bottom (2012)

 

Whiskey soaked, doobie smoked Southern-fried blues-rock in the vein of Beggars Banquet-era Rolling Stones, played with a sloppy grit and sleazy charm.

 

72 Pete and the Pirates – Winter 1 (2010)

 

Like a 96 Tears for the modern world, Pete and the Pirates always had an ear for a catchy pop hook and this is one of their biggest. Irresistible.

 

71 Girl Band – Pears For Lunch (2015)

Unfiltered, freaked-out noise punk that perfectly marries the nervous, twitching energy of the guitars with deadpan vocal apathy. Ate eight bananas and I thought about a jog / Legged it around the gaff and took my top off / I look crap with my top off / Spend my time watching Top Gear with my trousers down.

 

Our favourite 200 songs of the past ten years… numbers 90 – 81.

90 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow (2016)

 

An epic of yearning Americana and cinematic, shoegazing guitars that combine to stunning effect.

 

89 Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Stranger Dig (2009)

 

Raucous mix of heavy rock and psychedelic blues. Heavy drumming – check, big riff – check – rough vocals – check. Turn up to 11…

 

88 The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice (2014)

 

Classic Felice Brothers. A ragged, uptempo rocker that is sure to become a guaranteed live sing-a-long as couplets like “all the lady and gents, are covered in excrement”, and “the teacher slit my wrists, for every class I missed” are destined for a roaring crowd encore.

 

87 Jamie T – Limits Lie (2014)

 

A stoned reggae rhythm and easy going vocals can’t disguise the bleakness of content, yet somehow the downcast crescendo is a triumph.

 

86 Fews – La Guardia (2017)

 

Relentless, anxious, powerful and unsettling. A few lyrics down the line – a short, unequivocal statement and then.. screams! Distant and desperate screams. Guaranteed post-punk goosebumps every time – what else would you want from a track?

 

85 Alt-J – Breezeblocks (2012)

Catchy, eclectic slice of lush folk-tronica.

 

84 Forest Fire – Fortune Teller (2008)

 

Tonight I’m gonna melt some faces / with Gatling gun social skills, oh so charming mix of weirded out country, folk and blues that delivers just over two minutes of musical perfection.

 

83 The Pines – Cry Cry Crow (2012)

 

An eerie meditation on the rural and the urban, haunting lyrics and an insistently mournful groove. Dark Americana at it’s finest.

 

82 Mummy Short Arms – Cigarette Smuggling (2011)

 

Seriously warped slice of woozy, off-kilter indie that defies description, but flat out demands your attention. Imagine Captain Beefheart fighting with Salvador Dali with a full set of musical instruments and a goodly pile of magic mushrooms…

 

81 Damien Jurado – Museum Of Flight (2012)

A big song with big meaning and a wide expansive sound that splits right open about a minute and half in. Always the moment I wish for really expensive speakers that can do its majesty justice. Sigh.

 

Halfway through. Here are tracks 100-91

100 Cabbage – Celebration Of A Disease (2017)

Simply the ultimate mix of mutated groove and indie rock. With a lineage that stretches back to the Fall and takes in The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses, it is the latest addition to a long line of infectious, sing-along Manchester anthems.

 

99 Felice Brothers – Lincoln Continental (2012)

The school run anthem of 2012: a fine country drawl, a fine country band. Learn the words, sing it loud; altogether now: I been missing you so listen / I liked to ask you can we drive through town.

 

98 Man Of Moon – The Road (2015)

 

Brilliantly insistent, pulsating psychedelia that ebbs and flows and mesmerises.

 

97 Naked Giants – Ya Ya (2016)

 

Slightly distorted but mighty catchy riff, heightened by a pounding backbeat and a relentlessly repetitive chorus.

 

96 The National – Think You Can Wait (2011)

With echoing strings and piano, it is the sparingly used backing vocal of Sharon Van Etten (whose shared harmonies with Matt Berninger sound as if they were always meant to be together), that elevates this track into solemn, understated brilliance.

 

95 Phosphorescent – Ride On / Right On (2013)

A little bit of funky rhythm and a whole lot of country grit combined to make one of the the most compelling and enduring songs of 2013.

 

94 The Bones Of J.R Jones – Hammer And Nails (2016)

 

An infectious blues stomp telling ancient tales from the deep south, ritualistic dance routines around bonfires (well, in our head at least) and unnerving dark secrets.

 

93 Wooden Wand – DNR Waltz (2011)

 

 

Simmering, southern-fried country rocker complete with Toth’s wry and wonderfully weary vocal drawl.

 

92 Elijah Ocean  Ride It Out (2014)

 

The melody is simple enough, gently building throughout with the message of just getting through it, which is fairly universal. It actually becomes quite inspirational by the end with its catchy chorus infecting your brain. Life can sometimes feel like it’s on a continual loop of making you ride something or other out – good to have Elijah there to sing the soundtrack.

 

91 The Decemberists – Carolina Low (2015)

Spare, simple, and undeniably menacing song. Something dark and intriguing accompanied by a sound which is evocative of American tales from old times.

 

Remember to check out tracks 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121 and 120-101.

Welcome to numbers 120 through to 101 of our favourite tunes of the past ten years…

120 Black Mountain – Let Spirits Ride (2010)

Who cares if the riff is nicked from another song, or if it sounds like 1972. I don’t when it as good as this. Pure riffola magic.

 

119 Faith Healer – No Car (2015)

 

Kicking up a meaty riff from the outset and telling the tale of an abusive ex-lover, the impact of No Car is unstoppable – a powerhouse of a tune

 

118 Car Seat Headrest – (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)(2016)

Will Toledo delivers a stunning combination of self-deprecating disgust, mundanity and insight without sacrificing one ounce of musicality. Equally rich and raw, with an honesty and openness that is all too rare these days. The closest thing to a modern day Leonard Cohen that we have heard and simply can’t praise him more highly than that. Sheer genius.

 

117 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand (2016)

 

Starts like the Butthole Surfers and then gets better. Pure bristling, raw, visceral, fuck-you rock’n’roll.

 

116 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter (2016)

 

Irrepressibly hazy psych rock where lurking amidst a jovial, almost childish rhythm is something nightmarish revealed through harsh, distorted guitar riffs.

 

115 Soft Black – Time gets Away And Has Its Way With You (2009)

 

Ah, that gentle rhythm and those sweet harmonies. Simply gorgeous meandering, psych inflected indie rock.

 

114 The Tallest Man On Earth – Leading Me Now (2o12)

Fast paced, catchy and, dare we say, light-hearted, finger picked folk with a unique melody and those wonderful scratchy vocals.

 

113 Creepoid – Grave Blanket (2011)

 

Rattling psych-rock, all creeping reverb laden malevolence.

 

112 Wooden Wand & The World War IV – I Hate The Nightlife (2013)

 

Bleak psych-country with Crazy Horse era guitars soundtracking the grimy fuzz of a regular, always hungover, road trip.

 

111 Lord Huron – Time To Run (2012)

An epic Western of a tune: a story song with a foot-tapping rhythm that mimics the flight of yer man and a great mid point when the bells of doom literally ring for our outlaw friend on the run.

 

110 This Is The Kit – Silver John (2015)

 

Spine tingling, mysterious and poetically reflecting on nothing less than the impending end of the world.

 

109 Nathaniel Rateliff – Brakeman (2010)

Folk lullaby dripping with regret and despair.

 

108 Grass House – A Cradle A Short Breath (2011)

In a conscious effort to avoid being type-cast in a dark or brooding vein, the song hints at the lighter side of the London group’s repertoire. Even so, it is still menacing enough to send most other indie bands screaming to their mummies.

 

107 Royal Sea – This Summer (2012)

 

Opens with a spectacularly catchy drum beat before the vocals come in like a rush of sugar coated adrenalin, plaintively announcing: “We crashed everybody’s parties / we drank cheap wine and whiskey / We partied up on the rooftops / I’m glad it was just you and me”. This should have been the woozy, feel good hit of the summer of 2012.

 

106 Delta Spirit – Trashcan (2008)

Clicking percussion gives way to a frantic rhythm and battle-cry vocals – a marvel of infectious folk rock.

 

105 John Grant – I Wanna Go To Marz (2010)

Grant’s effortlessly rich, expansive baritone, couched in a typically heartbreaking, lush melody courtesy of Midlake’s familar 1970s soft-rock style.

 

104 Alt J – Left Hand Free (2014)

Twangy indie rock with a shuffling beat, a quirky chorus and some bluesy undertones.

 

103 Moonlandingz – Vessels (2017)

 

A perfect blend of sleazy glam rock riffs and twisted lyrics – as delightfully grubby as it gets.

 

102 Sonny + The Sandwitches – Through The Fog And The Haze (2010)

 

Inspired by a near-drowning, Through The Fog And The Haze is perfectly observed, elegant folk filled with briny, aquatic imagery.

 

101 The Cave Singers – Gifts And The Raft (2011)

Pete Quirk’s rustic rasp set to some classic backwoods acoustic charm.

 

Check out tracks 200-181, 180-161, 160-141, and 141-120.

  1. Dr. Dog – Virginia Please
  2. MIEN – Odessey
  3. Bad Breeding – Dehumanised
  4. Phil Cook featuring Amelia Meath – Miles Away
  5. Giant Sand – Tumble And Tear
  6. River Whyless – Motel 6
  7. Post Louis – Stress Fracture
  8. No Problem – Get The Feeling Back
  9. School Damage – Scump Damage 1