Archive for the ‘Psychedelic’ 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.

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.

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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day four of our countdown of our favourite 200 songs of the past 10 years.

140 Chelsea Light Moving – Groovy & Linda (2012)

 

A distorted, bloody jam in tune with the bloody, violent nature of the 1960s shooting it narrates. Any Sonic Youth undertones? What do you think.

 

 139 Dan Auerbach – Heartbroken, In Disrepair (2009)

The gritty guitar sound sets up a soulful, dirty blues where hopelessness finally overpowers determination.

 

138 Spectrum Meets Captain Memphis – The Lonesome Death Of Johnny Ace (2008)

Biopic-epic groover shows the two musicians playing off a southern fried radiation telling the tale of a famous singer’s Russian Roulette tragedy on Christmas day.

 

137 Houndmouth – For No One (2015)

Spare and epic. Surreal and vivid. Plaintive and slyly humorous. An absolute gem of Dylan-esque storytelling that manages to be anything but derivative.

 

136 Deer Tick – Chevy Express (2011)

Sombre, reflective, and undeniably sobering. Chevy Express is the soundtrack to a heavy heart and lonely regret washed by the first light of an early morning dawn and may well be the best thing they’ve ever done.

 

135 Howling Owls – Family Tree (2010)

 

Sinister, noir-ish folk from the Howling Owls. Family Tree is ominous, forbidding, baleful – all the things we love from one of our favourite discoveries of the past ten years.

 

134 The Silver Jews – Strange Victory, Strange Defeat (2008)

David Berman’s lyrics were amongst the sharpest, wittiest, pithiest and most potent in the whole of indie-rockdom. The rumbling Strange Victory, Strange Defeat’s opening verse is Squirrels imported from Connecticut / Just in time for fall / How much fun is a lot more fun? / Not much fun at all and it just gets better from there…

 

133 Tweak Bird – A Sun / Ahh Ahh (2010)

 

Brilliant mix of full-on old-school metal riffing with psychedelic overtones and an absurdly heavy climax. Rock on dudes.

 

132 A.A. Bondy – I Can See The Pines Are Dancing (2009)

Both intriguing and evocative, A.A. Bondy’s lovely, road-weary voice conveys a rarely felt depth of experience on the back of a melody steeped in warm melancholy.

 

131 Angus Stone – It Was Blue (2012)

Borrowing a Stooges’ style riff, It Was Blue is a stunningly good, modern day excursion into fuzzy 70s psychedelic rock.

 

130 Joe Pug – Hymn 35 (2009)

Classic singer-songwriter fare, but set apart from the crowded competition by the the consistently thought-provoking lyrical wordplay and the chance to holler along in the car with I have done wrong / I will do wrong / There’s nothing wrong / With doing wrong.

 

129 James Arthur’s Manhunt – Killzone (2016)

 

An intense, tribal, maelstrom of churning, filthy guitars and pounding percussion that veers into space rock by way of spaghetti westerns and Italian horror films.

 

128 Nightjar – Poor Man’s Son (2008)

 

A wonderfully simple tale of a son done wrong set to a classic bluegrass inflected folk-strum.

 

127 Southerly – Desolation Row (2013)

 

Darkest of dark pop, infectious melody, ominous drone, sparing song structure and astute lyricism.

 

126 Protomartyr – Pontiac 87 (2015)

 

Brilliantly hypnotic riff. Brilliantly hypnotic reflection on a dispiriting Papal visit to Pontiac, Michigan in the late eighties.

 

125 Julie Ruin – I Decide (2016)

 

Somehow manages to be outrageously catchy, while simultaneously sounding like an angry bunch of wasps trapped in a jam jar.

 

124 Low – Plastic Cup (2013)

 

Moody and smart-ass sarcastic story of substance abuse, a lifetime of dependence on others, and the soul-crushing future of pointless drug tests. All set to an understated, super-low tempo, and wonderful co-ed vocal harmonies between Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker.

 

123 Port O’Brien – I Woke Up Today (2008)

 

A chaotic, swelling modern day seafarer’s shanty. And the biggest damn sing along chorus in the whole list.

 

122 Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight (2008)

What can you say. Overblown, theatrical, bombastic and yet still one of the greatest indie rock songs of the past ten years. The bluster eventually revealing the true pain and sorrow of desolate heartbreak.

 

121 Fritjof Norrmo – Set Me On Fire (2015)

 

Swedish singer-songwriter’s endearing and somewhat nostalgic tale of a brief, but passionate love encounter. A true heart warmer.

 

Don’t forget to check out tracks 200-181, 180-161, 160-141.

The third part of our epic countdown of our favourite songs of the past ten years.

160 The Pink Mountaintops – North Hollywood Microwaves (2014)

 

Filthy, snarling, primal rock’n’roll featuring some pornographic rapping from Annie Hardy (ex-Giant Drag). A case of the bite being much worse than the bark.

 

159 Calexico – Two Silver Trees (2008)

Atmospheric and relaxed, Two Silver Trees meanders on a river of accordion, keys, hushed guitars and seductive vocals.

 

158 Mountain Man – Animal Tracks (2009)

 

A perfect combination of old-timey acoustic guitars and lilting, reverbed harmonies. And that chorus was made for a campfire late in the evening.

 

157 Wire – One Of Us (2008)

One of Us is a coiled spring of minimalist musical tension. Taut, melodic and streamlined, it is a post-punk classic.

 

156 The Willard Grant Conspiracy – Preparing For The Fall (2009)

Set to a vivid strummed guitar, Robert Fisher sings a sprawling apocalyptic tale about the soul of man with a voice rich in world weary resignation. “And  I see the devil sitting in my favorite chair / he says he wonders why I’m, I’m still here / And I say that I’m having trouble finding the door / And he says if we wait a little longer / Won’t have trouble anymore / And I’m just preparing for the fall

 

155 Dr. Dog – Bring My Baby Back (2017)

 

Laying a yearning, plaintive vocal over the top of a perfect mix of  pop, gospel and psych rock, the nigh on perfect Bring My Baby Back majors on themes of betrayal, repentance, solitude, and revenge, wrapped up in a perfectly strummed acoustic guitar. It was the most innocently beguiling tune of 2016.

 

154 Whalers – That Rabbit (2010)

 

What. A. Riff. A wonderfully straightforward blend of thudding, bass-heavy rock that makes us think of the best bits of QotSA melded with the Black Angels and then given some 60s style reverb treatment.

 

153 Van William – Revolution (2017)

 

Van William is a return to the folksier roots of his previous band Port O’Brien. Add in a mournful trumpet and the gorgeous harmonies of First Aid Kit and this lovely record is suddenly elevated to another plane altogether.

 

152 Tom Williams & The Boat – Get Older (2011)

 

Get Older is a musical storm of thumping bass drum, growled, restrained vocals and a stunning violin-led riff – it all combines to deliver an energy and edginess that is on a par with its catchiness.

 

151 Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Nikorette (2009)

 

Riding in on the back of a classic rock groove, and morphing into a loping country rock shuffle, Nikorette sounds like a brilliant lost outtake from a late-era Clash album.

 

150 The Black Angels – Don’t Play With Guns (2013)

Their trademark psych-drone is matched to provocative lyrics,  a big, ominous organ groove and an even bigger riff. Wonderful stuff.

 

149 The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin (2008)

Haunting and lachrymose, Ben Knox’s pitch perfect falsetto weaves a sad tale on the back of tranquil beauty.

 

158 Chad VanGaalen – Cries Of The Dead (2008)

 

I can hear the cries of the dead / Maybe it’s your neighbour beating his dog in the basement. Emotive vocals and a twee, but never saccharine harmony tinged with sadness, sets this fractured slice of indie-pop apart from the also-rans.

 

147 Middle Brother – Daydreaming (2011)

From the simple picked guitar line and weary, melancholy opening lyric, the scene is set for a raw, unflinching excursion courtesy of McCauley’s craggy vocals and beer-soaked romanticism. Loneliness never sounded so…well, lonely.

 

146 Arborist – Twisted Arrow (2015)

 

A fabulous slice of rolling, countrified folk and Kim Deal’s hushed and plaintive vocal adds weight to a familial tale of detachment and is the perfect counterpoint to Mark McCambridge’s sharp delivery.

 

145 Tom Williams & The Boat – See My Evil (2011)

 

Menacing, righteous fury set to threatening percussion and a thick, pulsing bass-line.

 

144 Sparks – Let The Monkey Drive (2008)

Ultra catchy surreal tale of a couple so eager to consummate their love that they’d let a primate steer the car while they fumble in the back seat. And it has one of our favourite lyrical couplets of the past ten years too: “Let the monkey drive, and it’s only fair / It’s the monkey’s car and he hates to share

 

143 Titus Andronicus – Titus Andronicus (2008)

Huge drums start thumping behind the rhythm guitar, throw in bass, piano and a wicked harmonica as frontman Patrick Stickles thrashes through the song. All together now “Your life is over / your life is over“.

 

142 TRAAMS – Succulent Thunder Anthem (2015)

Traams at their absolute, unstoppable motorik best. Propulsive, urgent, threatening.

 

141 Pontiak – Shell Skull (2008)

 

A serrated rhythmic stomp and slow crawling groove captures the ghosts of Black Sabbath and the Doors in this bass heavy rocker.

 

Check out songs 200-181 and 180-161 as well.