We’re hugely looking forward to the release of Drift, the new album from The Men, which is out on the 2nd March via Sacred Bones.

The band have shared the album’s opener, Maybe I’m Crazy a wired, pulsating, synth-driven rocker complete with wonky sax at the end – it’s a cracker.

 

Suck The Blood From My Wound is the third single to be shared from Ezra Furman’s upcoming album Transangelic Exodus. It is a choppy, hook filled indie rocker that dials up the intensity and paranoia from his previous releases.

Listen below, and pre-order the album, which is out on the 9th February, here.

 

Car Seat Headrest, aka Will Toledo, has re-imagined and re-recorded his excellent 2011 Bandcamp masterpiece, Twin Fantasy, and it will come out on 16th February via Matador Records. It was a record Toldeo always knew he would return to (in fact it was part of his original deal with Matador), so far from a conventional re-recording, the follow up to 2016’s seismically brilliant Teens of Denial is a wholly revelatory, epic and visionary new work.

With a seven-piece band in tow (including members of Naked Giants), Car Seat Headrest will bring its explosive and revelatory live show to Australia, Europe, and select West Coast cities through the first half of 2018.

The album announcement comes with the release of Nervous Young Inhumans and its accompanying video, which can be seen below. It is a frenetic, anthemic, split-screen choreographed crescendo that perfectly mirrors the album’s theme of duality. You can pre-order here.

 

May UK & Ireland Tour Dates

16 -Dublin – Olympia Theatre
18 – Glasgow – O2 ABC
19 -Liverpool – Invisible Wind Factory
21 – Bristol – SWX
22 – Cambridge – Junction 2
23 – London – Roundhouse

Yep, the good stuff from last year keeps on coming…

This time, we begin with Flesh from post-punk duo Chastity, a chaotic, antagonistic and downright eerie single released way back in October.

 

Cut Worms (a.k.a. Max Clarke) shared Song of the Highest Tower, a seven minute track that combines a poignant, nostalgic Americana with classic Roy Orbison style licks.

 

At the other end of the musical spectrum is the violent, post-hardcore squall of Big Heet’s slow burning anthem Failure At Work.

 

Taking their influences from NEU and Faust, as well as the space rock of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, Swedish Kraut-Rock three-piece Norma released a timely ode to seasonal affective disorder and inner demons of all kinds on their new single S.A.D.

 

Feed is a rock band from Seattle, WA. With fuzz pedals set to melted, phasers are wide and slimey, and amps that are cookin’, listen to blistering first single, Different Life.

 

Apparently Neko Case’s track Deep Red Bells is about a about a serial killer that stalked the Northwest. On his version of the track Mark Erelli gives the vocal a appropriately sinister edge…

 

The Good Graces is an indie-folk collective based in Atlanta, GA formed in 2007 by singer-songwriter Kim Ware, whose plaintive, utterly appealing drawl of a voice grounds each song with raw honesty and homespun warmth. Listen to The First Girl from The Hummingbird EP.

 

Oklahoma band, Helen Kelter Skelter release their sophomore full-length, Melter next week. With vintage organ flourishes over frenetic bass lines, vocals delivered with glam rock swagger over subtle and intricate guitar work, deep in the mix, droning loops, and pulsing beats it promises to be a cracker. Listen to lead-off single Minding.

 

We loved Breakfast Muff’s track R U A Feminist which almost made it into our end of year lists. Clam is another excellent track from the uncompromising Glasgow DIY pop trio, who all switch between guitar, bass and drums in a cacophony of anxiety, celebration and creativity.

 

Lastly we have Future Tense from Daddy Lion. It nods its head to the classic new wave and the indie rock sound of the 90s,  a la REM and Bob Mould.

 

The second instalment rounding up some tunes we missed from the tail end of 2017.

Let’s kick off with Yowl’s relentless and uneasy Darkroom, a wonderfully vicious and febrile slice of post-punk.

 

Night Herons’ raw sound is a visceral blend of garage rock and chugging proto-punk – for fans of classic bands like The Stooges or the New York Dolls.

 

Norwegian psych-rockers Electric Eye’s single Sometimes You Got To Jump To Lift Your Feet sounds like a soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made yet, it’s villainy acid prog, it’s ethno jazz, it’s old school hip hop grooves mixed with the easily recognisable, hypnotic Electric Eye sound.

 

Grant Earl LaValley plays a haunting iteration of psych/folk – almost like a gothic Gene Clark that experimented very heavily with psychedelics and lush instrumentation to accompany a sparse guitar. Where Are All My Friends comes from his excellent October release From LaValley Below.

 

The Roseline’s single How To Be Kind is full of low key, Wilco-like charm and Harry Nilsson-ish vigor.

 

Whispertown featured at the top end of our Best of Year listings and Freefaller is another fine example of stripped back acoustic Americana.

 

Texas psych-rock vibes permeate through Birds of Night’s single, Blacklight. Recommended if you like: Built To Spill, desert sunsets, abandoned ghost town seances, drugs, and mystic rock and roll.

 

Benjamin Jones’ single Light Up The Room is a lovely slice of sweetly melancholy folk that recalls Sufjan Stevens.

 

Post-punk in origin but with overtones of no wave, psych and garage rock, The Plan has been described as ‘Talking Heads meets the Breeders’. Listen to Bright Lights from debut long player Nervous Energy.

 

Finally, back in November, The Gotobeds released a verbatim song-by-song remake of Redd Kross’s infamous debut EP – this is a great version of Annette’s Got The Hits.

 

  1. Titus Andronicus – Number One (In New York)
  2. Dream Wife – Hey Heartbreaker
  3. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Echo
  4. Moon Duo – Jukebox Babe  (Alan Vega cover)
  5. Mind Spiders – Furies
  6. Sonny Smith – Burnin’ Up (featuring Angel Olsen)
  7. Corey Flood – Feel Okay
  8. Fidlar – Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle  (Nirvana cover)
  9. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Muddy Water
  10. First Aid Kit – Fireworks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re pretty glad to see the back of 2017, and looking forward to our ten year anniversary this year as well as lots of new music to post and share. However, before that, and as is traditional for MM, we’re going to round up some tunes from the past two or three months that should have made it on to the blog, but for whatever reason never quite got there.

Without further ado, let’s kick off with PLAZA’s blistering, grunge-pop anthem Speak It.

 

Mining a similar vein are Durham’s Yada Yada Yada’s and single Oceans, which should find favour with fans of Wavves and Yuck.

 

Next up is some LA indie punk from Black Adidas and the gravelly vocals and crunchy guitars of the uncompromisingly titled Free Shit.

 

Father Mountain’s Friends is a cracking slice of punchy, intense indie rock.

 

The Cohen-esque Ballad of the Quiet Citizen is a beautifully poetic and haunting track from Amsterdam based singer-songwriter Van Wyck.

 

By contrast, the infectious Mott-like piano romp Dominoes in Drag from The Paranoid Style is a rollicking, toe-tapping mash of glam and jangle-rock.

 

The brilliant Next To Nothing by Swedish psych-rockers Sekel is a propulsive, pulsating track that blurs the lines between repetitive, hypnotic krautrock rhythms and biting, angular post-punk.

 

Gun Outfit offer some perfect cosmic country vibes with the gorgeous Landscape Painter.

 

In a more honky-tonk vein is Jacob Thomas Jr.’s Whiskey Roller Coaster, a rock-infused, alt-country journey that finds him reflecting on his favorite vice.

 

Finally The Orielles came up with another slice of sublime, jangly indie pop with their single Let Your Dogtooth Grow.

 

 

Our final personal list of the year is from the fairest, and finest, of fishes… Mrs Mackerel.

2017: probably a year when I’ve listened to the least new music in recent times, so this is very much a short list in all senses.

Life – and death – gets in the way sometimes.

10 PINS – Serve the Rich
It’s no surprise that Jamie Hince of The Kills produced this anti-Conservative polemic. It may be no surprise then that I like this so much.

 

9 Queens of the Stone Age – The Way You Used To Do
I just really, really love the frenetic pace of the drumming on this tune, which greatly appeals to my rock chick lineage. There are some things that I just haven’t grown out of.

 

8 The Divine Comedy – To the Rescue
This songs punctuates a particularly difficult point in the year and its wistful sadness reminds me very much of that time. Apparently, it’s dedicated to Neil Hannon’s long term girlfriend, who cares for mistreated and neglected horses over in Ireland. Perhaps MM will pen a similar tune for me as my plan for feline domination of West Oxfordshire takes hold?

 

7 The Moonlandingz – Vessels
Oh hello, here’s another dominant drum roll – I seem to be developing a theme… A fantastic slice of psychedelic, electro pop as recommended to me by my very good friend, Mr Nightshift.

 

6 Mark Lanegan – Beehive
Much as I suspect that Lanners’ liver might be held together with vinegar and brown paper, his voice retains the growling, tremulous signature that is all his own. Sweeping guitars and a catchy chorus made this one to remember – and he was spellbinding live.

 

5 Cherry Glazer – Nurse Ratched
I loved this song right from the off, dedicated to the avenging angel who needs no introduction, Nurse Ratched. Some lovely twiddly guitar bits and harmonies, presumably as an antidote to Nurse R’s very individual bedside manner.

 

4 Cabbage – Celebration of Disease
Scratchy guitars and an earworm of a chorus meant that this was always going to bed itself into my subconscious. A celebration of a disease, a symptom of emotional greed/A celebration of disease, corrected by technology/A celebration of disease, a prescription to the new age dream.

 

3 Whispertown – Born to Ride
A floaty Americana sound with an ode to the open road and the promise of freedom, delivered through Morgan Nagler’s wonderfully hazy vocals. Hey watch out, the road will try to own you. I often sing this to the dog as we set off on our daily trek. Not really.

 

2 Laura Marling – Don’t Pass Me By
Semper Femina was my album of the year; the one I listened to on repeat. There’s something about the melancholy of her vocals over the finger-picking guitar beneath that’s so haunting: Take my old tune/Turn it into something new/Something good. Laura Marling is peerless, a one-off.

 

1 Big Thief – Shark Smile
So I thought I would crown my top ten with another uplifting ditty: a road trip song that ends in tragedy. The understated delivery of the lyrics, undercut with the slidey guitar are so tender you can almost hear her heart breaking. A very worthy, if rather poignant, number one.

 

This year’s footnote:

Louis Armstrong – We have all the Time in the World

We have all the love in the world
If that’s all we have, you will find
We need nothing more.

This one’s always for you, Dad. Our goodbye song.

The third of our personal countdowns…

20 Metz – Drained Lake
Angular, ear-piercing and provocative. Imagine the clatter of early Sonic Youth brought up to warp speed.

 

19 Cabbage – Fraudulent Artist
Cabbage’s Extended Play of Cruelty was our EP of the year by a country mile – a collection of brilliantly acerbic, witty and spiky tunes. Fraudulent Artist is a furious, up-tempo rant that comes across as the bastard son of Sham 69 and Half Man Half Biscuit.

 

18 Hiccup – Teasin’
Hiccup pen breakneck songs within the realm of girl-group pop meets buzzsaw distorted guitars that the Ramones pioneered. The effervescently infectious Teasin’, is a perfectly judged track of punk immediacy shot through with a classic pop sensibility.

 

17 Dream Police – Revenge
A driving but psychedelic bass line, droning organ, dizzying guitar leads, and haunting vocals –  all vintage Dream Police. Perfect.

 

16 Lød – Folder
With nods to Neu! and Can, Denmark’s Lød create a sonic delight with the eight minute hypnotic groove of Folder.   

 

15 The Moonlandingz – Vessels
The best gig we saw all year, The Moonlandingz debut LP was a delight of sleazy glam rock riffs and twisted lyrics that took it’s knowing influences from the likes of The Glitter Band, Sparks, Devo, The Cramps and Suicide. Vessels was a particular highlight – the grubbiest glam rock anthem of them all…

 

14 Young Fathers – Only God Knows
Danny Boyle called Only God Knows the heartbeat of T2: Trainspotting (one of our films of the year), and it is hard to argue with the song’s giddy soulful rush, thumping punk rhythm, and some spot-on backing vocals from the Leith Congregational Choir.

 

13 Sugarmen – Our Gallows
Hands down the catchiest opening of any song we heard in 2017, and backed up by edgy, razor sharp guitars and drums that come straight from 1970s CBGBs.

 

12 Beaches – Void
Australia psych-rock legends Beaches returned after a four year absence and nailed it straight off with Void, a churning, thoroughly addictive rocket blast of cavernous guitar and drums that sounds like the amphetamine fuelled best bits of Hawkwind and Spacemen 3.

 

11 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter
Amongst a plethora of excellent releases from the unstoppable King Gizzard this year, many of which featured in our Top 100 countdown, Sleep Drifter stood tallest for its perfect marriage of funky eastern rhythm and itchy, nagging riff.

 

10 Cool Ghouls – Gord’s Horse
Woozy, harmony filled, vintage tinged rock’n’roll with just the right amount of twang gives Gord’s Horse the perfect laid back slacker vibe. One to kick back and fire up a big one for…

 

9 together PANGEA – Money On It
Subtly diluting their more usual punk rock tropes, Money On It borrows some surf-rock vibes and not a little guitar jangle to fashion a strutting, intense rocker that, dare we say it, is a little more optimistic than we’ve previously heard from them, and all the better for it.

 

8 Idles – Mother
Our go-to punk anthem of the year. Amongst a whole album worth of them on their brilliant album Brutalism, Mother stands out for it’s pure vitriol, righteous fury and long-drawn out “Mother…. Fucker” chorus.

 

7 Black Angels – I’d Kill For Her
Just a typically brilliant slab of hypnotic, heavyweight psych that they do better than anyone else.

 

6 PINS – Serve The Rich
A needling ear worm of a guitar line is married to sparse, urgent production, and two and half minutes of politicised, post-punk perfection is the result.

 

5 Lo Tom – Covered Wagon
We’re suckers for a bit of Creedence style guitar chugging and Covered Wagon has it in spades. It is one of those four or five play songs, the ones where your head suddenly jerks up and you go “whoa, what is this again?”. From that moment on it was one of our favourite tunes of the year, one to keep going back to for its roughed-up, blue collar Americana that served as a great reminder that straight up rock and roll is often done best at its simplest.

 

4 Sun Seeker – Won’t Keep Me Up At Night
Reminiscent of the Quite Hollers who featured prominently in 2015’s Best Of lists. The sunny strum and cosmic Americana of Won’t Keep Me Up At Night explores introspective melancholy via laid-back psychedelia, all pollinated with tight harmonies and country rock spirit.

 

3 Fresh & Onlys – Wolf Lie Down
A perfect combination of indie rock rumble with a touch of classic Americana creates a strutting, catchy slab of pure Bay Area garage jangle.

 

2 Big Thief – Shark Smile
Oh where to begin? A  doomed car ride, a fatalistic narrative, romantic heartbreak? All these and more in this rambling folk rocker anchored by a steady motorik percussion and its tragic, catastrophic finale, “It came over me at a bad time, she burned over the double line and she impaled as I reached my hand for the guard rail, the guard rail, the guard rail”.

 

1 Cabbage – Celebration Of A Disease
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.

For the first time, we’re sharing our top choices for films of the year (UK release dates obviously…) and while by no means have we seen everything we wanted to in 2017, nonetheless these are all particular highlights for us.

15 Bad Day For The Cut

An excellent addition to the canon of UK gangster pics. Set in Northern Ireland, it follows Donal, a mild mannered farmer and mechanic, who sets out on an increasingly bloody path to vengeance following the slaying of his elderly mother. As he pieces together the story he realises she wasn’t as innocent as he thought, and the tale weaves between modern day people trafficking, family secrets, and the IRA in a bleakly brilliant manner shot through with savagely realistic violence and moments of black humour.

 

14 Shot Caller

Despite the slightly far-fetched premise, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of Game of Thrones fame is brilliantly convincing as Jacob, a successful suburbanite whose life is turned upside down when he accidentally kills someone by running a red light. Fatally falling in with white supremacists in jail to survive, he gradually is consumed by a hitherto unseen dark side that marries his intelligence with a ruthless capacity for violence and intimidation that helps him rise to the top of the prison gangbanger hierarchy. Cleverly mixing before and after timelines with a neat, if somewhat predictable, twist the film is an immensely satisfying mix of thriller and prison drama.

 

13 Manchester By The Sea

A perfectly judged story of love, sorrow and desperate, paralysing regret with an unmentionable tragedy at its heart. It centres on Casey Affleck’s tightly wound character, a janitor and odd-job man called Lee who approaches each new day with a clenched jaw determination to simply exist and see it through, and an equally fierce will to keep all and sundry at arms length. More is gradually revealed by way of another more immediate tragedy – the sudden death of his estranged brother – and his forced reconnection with his nephew, ex-wife and, through flashbacks, brother who show us the man he was, the shell he has become, and ultimately what might be a glimmer of hope of at least minor redemption of some kind. Beautifully shot and exquisitely played, it is a heavyweight film that tackles profound human failings with an unflinching eye and not a little warmth.

 

12 Lady Macbeth

Florence Pugh is perfect as the scheming, ambitious and unrepentant central character in this austere, stark Victorian noir cum psychological thriller. Surrounded by obnoxious, weak and arrogant men, she plots, schemes and connives her way through a joyless household, embarking on what ultimately becomes a reckless affair. The consequences are severe, but not in the ways you might expect, and the ultimate humiliations and final assertions of power give the film a perfect ending that more than matches the eighty or so harsh minutes that precede it.

 

11 Personal Shopper

A thought-provoking mix of ghost story and thriller, that has an outstanding performance from Kristen Stewart at its core. Lonely, grieving her twin brother, and able to commune with spirits, the film wisely focuses mainly on her day-to-day job as a personal shopper for a prima donna fashion model who is consumed by her own importance. Mysterious stalker texts, murder, and some not-by-the-book ghost scares combine to deliver something marvellously uneasy and unwaveringly original.

 

10 Split

James McAvoy excels in 23 ways as the creepy, multiple personalitied Kevin Crumb in this most satisfying of horror films that has a fine mix of suspense, back story and dry humour, whilst the back and forth psychological tennis between Crumb and his increasingly suspicious therapist are a delight to watch unfold.

 

9 T2 Trainspotting

The stakes couldn’t have been higher for this most anticipated of sequels and thankfully it doesn’t disappoint. The heroes (if we can call them that) of the original 90s classic are back – twenty years on and still mostly scraping a living from the fringes of society – drugs, escort services and other assorted petty crime. A plot of revenge, betrayal and of course redemption is eloquently and knowingly executed, whilst another spot-on soundtrack and some gentle nostalgia provide some light relief.

 

8 Super Dark Times

A brilliantly observed and atmospheric tale of pre-Colombine teen angst, alienation and frustration. A tragic accident leads to a hasty cover-up, and subsequent suspicion, paranoia and ultimately devastation. Set in a small New England town, the film creates a mood so fraught with oppressive, unnerving tension that every wintery frame seems to ratchet it higher and higher until the shocking finale. Outstanding.

 

7 Good Time

Constantine ‘Connie’ Nikas is a hyped-up, destructive, street hood whose chaotic efforts to break his much-loved brother (who has learning difficulties) from custody following a bungled ban heist leads to a series of increasingly ill-judged decisions and spirals him into one catastrophic event after another. By turn pathetic, arrogantly manipulative, devious and violent, the film has a pitch perfect performance from Robert Pattinson as Connie, and asks some all too pertinent modern day questions as the New York backdrop is perfectly portrayed both in a wonderfully grainy texture, and invasive electronic score from Oneohtrix Point Never.

 

6 Elle

Possibly the most brazen, provocative and icily strange film I saw all year. Isabelle Huppert is mesmerising as the strong, independent woman who turns the table on her attacker after a violent sexual assault – dealing with the attack and its aftermath entirely on her own terms. It subverts, jumping from grimly brutal to deadpan comedy with a humour blacker than almost anything else I’ve seen, and has a sub-plot that focuses on the cringingly awful love-hate relationship with her mother, and later, a knowing reveal of her father as a horrific 1970s serial killer. It thankfully credits the watcher with enough intelligence to at least debate some of the moral paradoxes it raises without tying everything up in a neat Hollywood style bow.

 

5 Raw

A wonderful juxtaposition of the vulnerable and the brutal, Raw feels like a wonderfully modern interpretation of the darkest Grimm’s fairytale to create a perfectly judged new take on horror films. From horrific initiation ceremonies to bitterly cruel sibling rivalry, the descent of Justine the waif-like student at veterinary college from fragile vegetarian to full on cannibal is documented in bloody and shocking detail. Laced with the blackest of humours, the film sets a confident course from wide-eyed idealism to the uncompromising abdication of any moral compass whatsoever.

 

4 It

Already a much-loved, vintage mini-TV series, Stephen King’s lengthy, coming-of-age horror story featuring the shape-shifting demonic Pennywise the Clown lived up to every single one of my expectations. And then some.

 

3 Get Out

Mr Popper’s favourite film of the year. A wonderful update on the classic horror “we know something you don’t”, nod-and-a-wink approach that links this to classics of yesteryear like The Wicker Man. Deftly commenting on racial paranoias through a series of cringe-inducing set pieces and wryly observed humour, the film gradually sets social anxieties to one side and replaces them with far more sinister and ghoulish intentions right up to the uncompromising climax.

 

2 Baby Driver

Just the best soundtrack of the year – matched to a stylistic, glossy and expertly structured storyline that was the best two hours of movie escapism of the year.

 

1 Wind River

Part thriller, part wintery western, Wind River is set on a native American reservation of the same name in frozen Wyoming. The discovery of a dead girl in the vast, snowy wastes leads to a murder investigation jointly carried out by taciturn tracker Cory Brennan and ill-prepared, but determined FBI agent Jane Banner who is refreshingly non-stereotypical, brave and smart enough to instinctively understand what she doesn’t know in this alien landscape. Brennan is still haunted by the loss of his own daughter in similarly brutal circumstances years earlier, and his initially uneasy alliance with Banner evolves into a far more rewarding on screen mutual respect as they piece together the circumstances of the murder. A couple of savagely violent scenes are handled with aplomb, whilst the performances of the leading characters and supporting cast is never less than riveting. All in all it makes Wind River a thoroughly compelling watch and a masterpiece of suspense and suffering.