Archive for the ‘Post Punk’ Category

Mad Mackerel is ten years old. Who would have believed it.

So, thanks to everyone who has ever visited the blog, listened, commented, submitted music, sent e-mails, sent CDs, t-shirts and even vinyl, and given us a guest list pass. We really do appreciate it.

Thanks too to our regular contributors over the years – too numerous to mention all, but extra special thanks to the sprats (of course), Barry-Sean, Polly Pocket, Dr Roddy, The Italian Job, Chris T Popper and the fishily fabulous Mrs Mackerel.

And most of all thanks for letting us discover some truly great tunes. Here are ten of them – our favourites of the past ten years of Mad Mackerel.

Cheers!

 

10 The Felice Brothers – Frankie’s Gun (2008)

 

Untarnished, unpolished, unadorned. Heavy on rhythm, accordion and piano. Frankie’s Gun is a stomping, beer-swilling square dance with the grim reaper hovering in attendance. This brilliantly evocative song packs enough into three verses and a beer-hall singalong chorus to create its own Netflix series.

 

9 Grinderman – Palaces Of Montezuma (2010)

Unhinged list of over-the-top romantic promises set to a loose, funky bassline and with a subtle, gospel style shuffle that is simply sublime.

 

8 Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer (2008)

 

A darkly pensive tale of multiple murder that emerges from Dylan’s shadow to tramp from the bright lights of LA to the desolation of the prairies and the desert in search of more victims. Black River Killer drips with the authentic haunted quality of an old, gothic murder ballad and we can’t give it higher praise than that.

 

7 Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed (2008)

Eerily reminiscent of the drugged up haze of a Johnny Thunders with possibly the bleakest lyrics we’ve ever come across. “Friend of mine drank something fine, choked to death before his time last night / He said, “Found that thing you really need, cough it on down ’til you can’t breathe alright / Everyone’ll be there at the burial in your head, and a tear or two they’ll shed / Then they’re gonna go digging in your hole and find: someone else instead” or “Oh, he didn’t like people much at all, tasted better with alcohol, you know how that one goes / Realized he’d missed his whole life; kissed his dog, and shot his wife last night.

Buriedfed is anguished circular verses of regret, dependency and death, slowly building up from the twang of a lone acoustic guitar to soundtrack a rollicking daydream of Robinson’s own death and ensuing funeral.

 

6 The Quiet Hollers – Côte d’Azur (2015)

 

The unbearably poignant and dark tale of Côte d’Azur – about those memory markers that resurface in the depths of your dreams and the half way stage when the sun warms your face, and what’s real and what’s not – the journey and the destination – merges into one; always searching. This song breaks my heart at every single listen, so I turn up the white noise.

 

5 The Roadside Graves – Far And Wide (2009)

 

A seamless fusion of country and classic rock, with just a hint of punk’s reckless abandon. Kicking off with a great riff and whiskey raw vocals, this wonderfully ramshackle Americana is like musical heroin.

 

4 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin’ (2015)

So, it takes Kurt a little while to recognise himself as the “man in the mee-rah”. Wakey, wakey son. But after a minor identity crisis and a bit of a teeth mix-up, everything’s pretty pimpin. It is a fingerpicked earworm where a sprawl of twangy guitar and surreal, laconic lyrics combine to create the perfect ode to stoned self-reflection, and a very well-loved tune amongst Team Mackerel.

 

3 Willy Mason – Restless Fugitive (2012)

 

With rumbling percussion, echoing guitars and an almost reggae-like rhythm, Willy Mason announced his return after a five year hiatus with this outstanding tune, a dusty, world-weary hymn to moving on. Swaying along to this beauty in a large field clasping an overpriced (but comfortingly strong) cider is what summer should be all about.

 

2 Middle Brother – Portland (2011)

Shared a cigarette for breakfast? More than one I reckon. John McCauley of Deer Tick has a voice that was made for this song. One for the road, sung in chorus, gives me the warmest, fuzzy feeling all over. Stick me on a greyhound bus with Middle Brother playing to the open road and I reckon I’d be a happy girl. Just about the best darned cover (yes, I know but don’t care) I ever heard. Pure magic.

 

1 PHOSPHORESCENT – SONG FOR ZULA (2013)

 

It is Matthew Houck’s ragged, yet fragile vocals that stitch together Zula’s imagery, which cuts far and deep. Intensely poignant lyrics, sweeping strings, pulsing drum machine: it all weaves together to form an emotional testament to the end of a relationship. Ever had your heart broken? This is what it feels like.

 

So there we have it, 200 of our favourite songs since 2008. Everyone a gem, everyone a memory. Enjoy!

 

Check out the full countdown here: 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-4140-3130-21 and 20-11.

So here we are, the penultimate day of our countdown of our favourite 200 songs marking ten years of MM. Today, we’ve hit the top twenty…

 

20 The Dutchess & The Duke – Reservoir Park (2008)

Wonderfully rootsy swagger of earthy, organic folk-rock set to a loose Stones like honky tonk rumble.

 

19 Wooden Wand – Winter In Kentucky (2011)

 

Set against a backdrop of rolling, countrified rock, Winter In Kentucky is peerless narrative songwriting. A story of bone-weary resignation written from the perspective of a meth addict on a reality show after his girlfriend left him for rehab.

 

18 Emil Friis – Sand In Your Eyes (2015)

 

Possesses a rhythmic simplicity that transports the listener off somewhere else, and throughout Emil Friis effortlessly orchestrates all this with his lyrics resonating long after the song ends, which is usually when we stick it on again. Just a fantastic record full of little twists and turns with an occasional (friendly) cuff round the ear to keep your attention.

 

17 We Are Augustines – Juarez (2011)

Much like Airborne Toxic Event before them, We Are Augustines flamed brightest with one exceptional debut album. Juarez comes from it, a beautiful slow burner and impassioned confessional that somehow finds redemption in an epic climax.

 

16 Dr. Dog – Shadow People (2010)

 

Perfect blend of sweet Americana, country twang and oddball pop, dashed through with a touch of their hometown Philly soul.

 

15 Wye Oak – Civilian (2011)

 

Ah, the echo laden MBV influenced guitar, the pummelling drums, the droning organ, the quiet / loud / quiet structure. Just glorious noise-pop.

 

14 Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal (2008)

 

A simple vocal round to start, some trebly guitar and confident percussion, but it is those voices, and those harmonies, that blows White Winter Hymnal wide open.

 

13 The Amazing Snakeheads – Where Is My Knife (2014)

If a song could musically define menace this would be it. Set to an ominous, tribal rhythm, it thrums throughout with quivering, barely surpressed fury and threat. With vocals that start I’m gonna show you if it takes all night / We’re staying here till you get it right / It’s been three whole days with no end in sight. Things don’t get any better either.

 

12 Richard Buckner – Willow (2012)

 

This is a lying-in-a-daisy-meadow-looking-at-the-scudding-clouds sort of song. A gentle guitar arrangement coupled with some tender lyrics and softly sung vocals, all of which appeals to the latent hippy in me. Clippety clop: do you know Mr Buckner, I always remember.

 

11 The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio (2010)

They have many imitators, but none can ‘do’ the National like the National. Typically hypnotic offering, and with a voice as deep as the night, Matt Berninger’s unmistakeable baritone cuts through this lament, with the drums bringing up the rear. Sad, atmospheric and uplifting at the same time.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-4140-31 and 30-21.

 

We’re getting towards the sharp end of our mammoth count down now. Here are songs 30-21 of our favourites of the past ten years.

30 Bear Bones – Oil And Lacquer (2010)

 

An eight-piece folk explosion of rousing, thickly accented, swagger and swing.

 

29 James McMurtry – Copper Canteen (2015)

 

Opening with the quasi-funny, possibly serious “Honey don’t you be yelling at me while I’m cleaning my gun“, plucked banjo and descending guitar plot the staging posts of a jaundiced marriage – one of America’s finest, and uneasiest, singer-songwriters.

 

28 Cave Singers – At The Cut (2009)

 

A three minute, foot-tapping, bone-trembling dust-up. At The Cut is the Cave Singers at their sweaty, percussion-heavy finest.

 

27 Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Colour Television (2008)

 

The insistent guitar is ravaged with a punk attitude I thought was long dead. Could have come from 1976 and share a gob full of spit with the best of that era, by that I mean The Clash and there is no greater praise I can bestow. Another story televised / Another billion hypnotised. Quite

 

26 The Lumineers – Flapper Girl (2012)

 

Simple, sincere, parlour-room folk of the most heartfelt and vulnerable kind.

 

25 Junip – Line Of Fire (2013)

 

Wistful and reflective; there’s more than a kernal of truth in these insightful lyrics: You realise it’s just a whim/And you notice it matters/Who and what you let under your skin.

 

24 We Are Augustines – Ohio (2011)

Our second cover in the countdown, We Are Augustines’ stunning take on Damien Jurado’s wonderfully evocative and painfully sad tale of parental kidnap.

 

23 Jamie T – Spiders Web (2009)

The pretty acoustic guitar motif is offset by Jamie T’s uniquely rasping vocal of part rap, part song and part slur, and all backed up with a rowdy chorus that could blast stone from a quarry.

 

22 Howling Owls – A Wordsmith’s Reverie (2011)

 

More queasily understated folk from Howling Owls. With an almost waltz-time feel, here is another perfectly delivered everyday tale of resignation and failed expectations.

 

21 Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud (2014)

 

It’s a temporary fix / In case you don’t come down’ – and maybe it is. A lingering air of melancholy over a simple soaring musical arrangement, this is (in a way) the musical religion of Damien Jurado. All seeing, all knowing, quietly anthemic and ethereal.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-41 and 40-31.

  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.

The countdown of our Favourite 200 songs of the past 10 years has taken over everything over the last two weeks, so here is our (belated) round-up of some of the best new songs of the past 14 days.

  1. Parquet Courts – Mardi Gras Beads
  2. Protomartyr (featuring Kelley Deal) – Wheel Of Fortune
  3. Lumerians – Silver Trash
  4. The Plainviews – Bladerunner
  5. The Lovely Eggs – Big Sea
  6. LUMP – Late To The Flight
  7. Jess Williamson – Wild Rain
  8. Rayland Baxter – Casanova
  9. Damien Jurado – Percy Faith
  10. The Goon Sax – She Knows
  11. Beach House – Black Car
  12. Wand – Pure Romance
  13. Milo Greene – Move

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.