Posts Tagged ‘Alt-J’

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.

 

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.

Dr Roddy's Top Ten 2014

As always we round off our best of the year posts with the individual contributions starting with the newly manacled wed Dr Roddy and his personal top ten of 2014.

…This year has seemed to fly by, I got married, we had a little boy and we are now in the middle of building works involving having our roof off in mid-winter. So it has been a hectic time. Thank heavens I have music to help me through and give me markers to help plot the time line of the past year.

These are the ten tunes that are constant in that time line.

10. Alt-J – Left hand Free
This tune has such a swagger about it. I think that it may actually be too cool for someone like me to listen to, but hell I just love it and it’s roundabout way of offering to kill the husband of a woman you fancy. It is the musical equivalent of a southern drawl.

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9. Mac Demarco – Brother
There is such a carefree feel to this song and so there should be with it’s simple message of “what the hell are we all doing in this hamster wheel running all day and getting nowhere“. So we should just “go home and take it easy now brother”. I like this man’s thinking.

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8. Sharon Van Etten – Every Time the Sun Comes Up
Sharon Van Etten has such a beautiful, pure voice, it sits perfectly alongside her sharp intelligent lyrics “I washed your dishes / but I shit in your bathroom “ I mean, argue with that! There are wonderful harmonies on the choruses, the tune is soft and calming, which removes the anger from the song.

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7. Spookyland – The Silly Fucking Thing
I didn’t like this song at first listen, or second for that matter, it took some getting this tune, but when I did oh my God I was relentless with it. At first it sounds like nothing particularly new and I don’t argue that Marcus Gordon’s voice could be divisive, but invest some time in it and you will reap the rewards of a beautiful crafted lament to love.

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6. Dan Amor – Sister Anne
This song paints a picture of England that you may find on the lid of a chocolate box. It’s only a cricket match away from caricature. I bathe in that kind of dream. The melody has a haunting nostalgia about it echoing sounds from the 60s back at you.

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5. Mark Erelli – Ice Fishing
I love the inevitability in the lyrics of this song everything seems to be history repeating itself. Lyrics are a strong influence with me, but it’s the tune picked out on the banjo and the great harmonica work that are the real stars of the show here.

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4. Dust From 1000 Yrs – Smoke Em Up
I got a pack of smokes today / something to do whilst I waste my life away”, that is the way you open a song, with a nihilistic, going nowhere delivery. Despite the melancholic arrangement of the song he seems excited by this treat. That is the reason I love this song – I mean how perfectly hopeless.

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3, Sleaford Mods – Tied Up In Nottz
What can I say about this band – they have been a revelation to me this year, they just seem to tick all the boxes. Sharp, witty, intricate lyrics all delivered with passion and a suitable amount of venom. Driven, but not overshadowed by simple yet perfect beats that are as relentless as Jason Williamson’s quest to point out the contrived bellends in our society. Someone’s got to….

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2. Horse Thief – Little Dust
This simple yet vast song is dripping with anthemic intent, and it reaches those heady heights effortlessly. This blissed out piece of genius is best enjoyed towards the end of the night with a couple of bottles of wine behind you and perhaps a touch of melancholy in the air.

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1. Royal Blood – Little monster
These boys seem to have taken the world by storm and rightly so. This blistering piece of rock is without doubt the best thing I have heard this year. It is aggressive and hard hitting with a hook that could make the dead rock. All of that out of a bass guitar… We have to mention Ben Thatcher’s super tight drumming here – it’s a big ask to be a drummer in a two piece, there is nowhere to hide and he provides a beat badass enough to cope with that monster riff.

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And the best song I first heard this year, but not from this year:

Future Of The Left – Manchasm
A wonderfully surreal offering from the best thing to come out of Wales since Bara Brith.

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Gig of the year:

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip
Myself and Chris T Popper went to see Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip, not for the first time I add. I was blown away by the energy and freshness that exudes from every show. These guys just get better (no pun intended).

Guilty Pleasure:

Meghan Trainor – All About The Bass
Sometimes I don’t know what is wrong with me. It’s like there is a 14 year old girl trapped in me (not like Joseph Fritzel) but I’ll tell you now I am all about that bass…..

Best song name (Usually best band name):
Melvins with….. Piss Pisstopherson. Genius!

MM's Best of 2014 40-21

Day four of five – reaching the top of the MM charts for 2014. Here are our favourites from 40 down to 21.

40 Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

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39 Dead Fingers – Twisted

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38 Alt J – Left Hand Free

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37 Screaming Females – Ripe

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36 Sleaford Mods – Tiswas

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35 Sun Kil Moon – Dogs

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34 Jamie T – Zombie

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33 Spookyland – Silly Fucking Thing

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32 Dream Police – My Mama’s Dead

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31 The Felice Brothers – Constituents

 

30 Jonah Tolchin – Mockingbird

 

29 Mac DeMarco – Brother

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28 The Vacant Lots – Mad Mary Jones

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27 Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Body Electric

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26 Sharon Van Etten – Everytime The Sun Comes Up

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25 Wooden Wand – Waveland

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24 Mark Erelli – Ice Fishing

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23 Bombadil – Have Me

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22 Faces On Film – Percy

 

21 The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice

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Don’t forget to check out numbers 100 – 81 here, 80 – 61 here, and 60 – 41 here.

MM The Last Five Years - Polly Pocket

Believe it or not, Mad Mackerel has been around for more than five years now. During that time we’ve posted more than 4,000 times, and offered more than 5,000 songs for your listening pleasure. And more than three quarters of a million people have paid MM a visit during our lifetime on Google’s (godawful) blogspot and since April 2010 on WordPress.

We asked some of the regular MM contributors to give us their top twenty songs since MM first went live and we’re also going to give you one big mega-listing shortly, first up was Dr Roddy, then Chris T Popper and now we have the choices of the fragrant, but often blasphemous Polly Pocket.

20) Ben Howard – Old Pine

Download Ben Howard – Old Pine mp3

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19) Barr Brothers – Beggar In The Morning

Download The Barr Brothers – Beggar In The Morning mp3

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18) One Eskimo – Hometime

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17) Annie Williams – Roll On Hills

Download Annie Williams – Roll On Hills mp3

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16) Dead Weather – I Cut Like A Buffalo

Download The Dead Weather – I Cut Like A Buffalo mp3

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15) The Cave Singers – Swim Club

Download The Cave Singers – Swim Club mp3

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14) The Low Anthem – To Ohio

Download The Low Anthem – To Ohio mp3

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13) First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

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12) The Tallest Man On Earth – I Won’t Be Found

Download The Tallest Man On Earth – I Won’t Be Found (Daytrotter Session) mp3

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11) Alt-J – Taro

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10) Emiliana Torrini – Jungle Drum
Never fails to put a smile on my face and a spring in my step. It really does capture that feeling when you fall utterly head over heels and there is nothing to be done about it.

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9) Laura Marling – Sophia
I love that this song seems to have two such distinct parts to it but they work so beautifully together. Such an incredible voice. Laura can do no wrong in my eyes.

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8) Bon Iver – Blood Bank
A timeless beauty, much loved since 2009. So far it has proved impossible to listen to without singing the end part of the song ‘I know it well’ for hours afterwards.

Download Bon Iver – Blood Bank mp3

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7) Junip – Line Of Fire
A 2013 tune and already Line of Fire is a song I’d rather not live without. I love Jose Gonzalez’ effortless vocals. Utterly emotional, a bit bleak in places and all consuming. It has a cracking (and very odd) video to go with it too.

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6) Shearwater – You As You Were
A lovely discovery for 2012. This song just gets bigger and bigger until you realise you are no longer singing along but shouting like a crazy person!

Download Shearwater – You As You Were mp3

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5) Blitzen Trapper – The Man Who Would Speak True
If you like a song to tell you a tale then this is the one for you. It will also make you want to learn to play the harmonica.

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4) A.A. Bondy – The Twist
From 2011’s top ten, a beautiful track. Very dark and brooding, like a lovely storm overhead. No idea what it’s all about but it feels most profound.

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3) We Are Augustines – Chapel Song
It was my number 1 from 2012 and it certainly deserves its place here. Is it the voice or the lyrics that are most heartbreaking? Always a stand still and listen to all the way through tune.

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2) Willy Mason – What Is This
Timeless, effortless and to my mind perfect. I have yet to find a time or a situation where this tune doesn’t fit the bill.  That pretty much sums up the entire album for me, Carry On is a masterpiece.

Watch it here.

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1) The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight
I remember the car journey when I first heard this song – it was a bit of a mind blower and hearing it live the next year cemented it as a firm favourite. The moment the strings start you know its going to be epic and it never disappoints.

Download The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight mp3

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Three much loved discoveries:

A.A Bondy
You know an artist is that good when you kick yourself for not having found them sooner – I could have been listening to ‘When The Devil’s Loose’ since 2009 but only came to it in 2011 having fallen in love with ‘Believers’.

The Tallest Man On Earth
There is a real honesty to Kristian Matsson’s songs, I think that is what I love best. He has an incredible voice and writes songs you just can’t help but sing a long to. Always a treat.

Laura Marling
An unbelievable talent. I was privileged enough to have heard Laura Marling sing in Gloucester Cathedral in 2011 – a very fitting venue for the purest of voices. If she is this good now, what will she be like in years to come? I look forward to finding out.

MM's Top Tunes Of 2012: Starbie

As well as our Top 100 tunes of the year posts over the past five days, each of the MM contributors have put together their own lists. Fifth to go is Starbie…

20. Shearwater – You As You Were

19. Richard Hawley – Seek It

18. Sigur Ros – Varud

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17. Howler – Back Of Your Neck

16. Milo Greene – 1957

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15. Foals – Inhaler

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14. The Maccabees – Pelican

13. Beach House – Lazuli

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12. Alt J – Breezeblocks

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11. The XX – Angels

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10. Bullet for my valentine – Temper Temper
Going back to my roots here; you can’t do without a good guitar riff or a head banging drum beat, this is one of my essential driving tunes. I feel a certain empathy with the lyrics too, I’m sure they weren’t really written about me.

9. Bat for Lashes – Laura
I love the simple piano music of this song, especially the intro and the way it builds to a crescendo. Her voice is haunting too, a much more sophisticated Lana Del Ray. This is a glass of wine in hand, relaxing song.

8. James Levy & the Blood Red Rose –  Sneak Into My Room
A real mellow chill out tune. Reminds me of laid back version of the Divine Comedy.

7. The Rapture – Children
Just love the sort of electro pop base line running through this and for me a good sing and dance along song.

6. Tom Williams & the Boat – Teenage Blood
A modern twist on a country classic. It is a catchy and memorable song with great harmonies, even if it has a slightly depressing theme.

5. Alabama Shakes – Hold On
I must confess to thinking that this was a male vocalist, but love the gravel voice all the same. Bit of a head banger but in a country style, love the underlying guitar rhythm.

4. Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
I found it difficult to choose a favourite as anything from these always lifts my mood. However this one just edged it for the catchy nature of the chorus, and for the fact that I thought they were saying ‘sh*t will carry on’ which I thought was a good point of view to have.

3. We Are Augustines – Juarez
Love this, love his distinctive voice. Best line for me ‘I got jukebox tears under turquoise skies’ no idea what it means though.

2. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
There is something about this folk style that really appeals. It is a very profound and beautiful song.

1. Black Moth – Blackbirds Fall
Long live the guitar riff! Heavy but with a funky tune and words you can understand. With an album produced by Nick Cave, not surprising they are getting glowing reviews. Raw power describes them well.

You can find downloads, streams, or videos for all the other tracks above by checking out MM’s Top 100 tunes here: 100 – 8180 – 6160 – 4140 – 21 and 20 – 1.

MM's Best of 2012 Part 4 40-21

Today we countdown songs 40-21 in the Mad Mackerel Favourite 100 tunes of the year. You can check out the previous days entries here: 100-81, 80-61, 60-41.

40 ALABAMA SHAKES – HOLD ON
Almost a head-banger done country style, love the underlying guitar rhythm. (SB)

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39 LOWER DENS – BRAINS
When I picked this song out in June I said it was like a child pulling at your sleeve after it’s seen the ice cream van. Incessant and under no circumstance will it be ignored. There is also a sense of chaos, which I always find agreeable – a feeling it‘s not entirely sure where it’s going but doesn’t actually care too much. A stalwart of the year’s playlists for me and still listened to as often as it was six months ago. Can’t give it a bigger tribute really. (CP)

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38 PATTERSON HOOD – 12.01
Great story song about a guy going across the border to buy liqor instead of going home to his empty shell of a relationship. The tune picked out on the guitar and the drums have that metronomic sound that reminds me of being in a car late at night with no music, say, around “12:01, The rain and the wipers play a spooky song”. The cello sounds like other vehicles morbidly passing, heading to where you have come from, or maybe where you should be heading? (DR)

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37 TUNNG – JENNY AGAIN (BBC SESSION)
Released from 2012’s BBC Sessions, this murder ballad is set to a really jaunty, cheerful tune and sees the deceased telling us about how he was stabbed and left to die whilst his girlfriend (the lovely Jenny) buggers off with the fella who killed him. He goes on to tell about how his Jenny and the murderous ‘other man’ go on to live perfectly normal lives whilst keeping their secret. I love the fact that Tunng have crafted a really sad story around a cheerful, jog-along tune. (BSF)

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36 FIRST AID KIT – BLUE
So beautiful and so sad. Its about a girl whose only love dies in an RTA when he’s twenty-two and from that moment on she decides not to love anyone else. Yep, its another feel-good corker! (BSF)

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35 WAKE UP LUCID – FEEL IT
Loud, brash and all the better for it. Considering my changing (or is that evolving…) taste in music it genuinely fills me with joy that I still love a proper hard as nails guitar frenzy. The feedback is utterly magnificent, as is the drawled out vocals snarling over the fuzz. Sort of song I would listen to before I had to have a fight. (CP)

Download Wake Up Lucid – Feel It mp3 (from Feel It)

34 WE ARE AUGUSTINES – BALLAD OF A PATIENT MAN
This song was my live gig moment of the year, amongst many great gigs. Fantastic guitar wig out and drummy bit in the middle, sung with the emotional intensity that’s trademark Billy McCarthy. Awesome song, bloody awesome band. (Mrs M)

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33 GRAVENHURST – THE FOUNDRY

The Foundry is played out over a backdrop of acoustics so profoundly beautiful that the sourness of the lyrics pack an even greater punch. “And you won’t know when evil comes, evil looks just like anyone, and I blame, I blame, I blame anyone but me“. Like having your first French kiss and finding your tongue’s been bitten off.  (MM)

Like a modern-day story from The Brothers Grimm, the whole song carries with it a threat and a sense of foreboding. I think the meaning might lie in the rise of Nazi Germany and how ordinary people can get swept up in a rising tide of violence and persecution. That’s my interpretation but I’ve been known to be wrong. Anyway, have a listen and heed the message well. Just in case you had it in mind to burn some books and persecute some unfortunate section of our society. (BSF)

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32 HOUNDMOUTH – PENITENTIARY
An old fashioned, whiskey drinking, tobacco chewing kind of a song and its a song sung well. (PP)

Such a great intro to this song. The melody picked out on the guitar and a Hammond organ providing the chords that pull you into this tale of a man who much like Fletcher from Porridge “Accepts arrest as a occupational hazard”. Throughout what is not to beezer a time, the song never once turns melancholy, if anything it rouses the spirit with its beautiful harmonies and soporific melody. A sort of Country, I Fought The Law?  (DR)

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Download from Rough Trade for free here.

31 TWO GALLANTS – BROKEN EYES
“Hey there girl with the broken eyes”, this startling imagery starts Two Gallants most nostalgic song on The Bloom And The Blight. Poignant without ever being cloying, it is a perfectly judged slice of wistful Americana. (MM)

Download Two Gallants – Broken Eyes mp3

30 JAKE BUGG – LIGHTNING BOLT
Awesomely twangy guitar and a Sun-era rockabilly rhythm. The ghost of Johnny Cash is alive and well and comes from Nottingham. (MS)

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29 FATHER JOHN MISTY – WRITING A NOVEL
Carried along on a jaunty, rolling rhythm and spewing forth a lyrical stream of consciousness that borders on genius, and contains one of the years simplest and best lines, “I”m writing a novel, because its never been done before”. (MM)

Download Father John Misty – Writing A Novel mp3

28 BAND IN HEAVEN – SLEAZY DREAMS
I am a 50p head when it comes to musical tastes: I like to mix it up big time. Heavy, bassy, pounding rhythm, wall of guitar noise, this is my (kitchen) dance floor number of 2012. Rock on. (Mrs M)

Download Band In Heaven – Sleazy Dreams mp3

27 ALT-J – TARO
It was a hard to know which track to pick from (in my humble opinion) the album of the year, An Awesome Wave. In any given situation this song always sounds perfect. I understand none of it but love all of it, particularly the instrumental twiddly middle which always takes me to far away lands, even when stuck on the M4. This song, like much of the album creates something brilliant. (PP)

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26 KING CHARLES – LOVE LUST
This great indie-pop song always has me dancing. I love the lyrics and the fizzing, funky beat it has going on. My favourite song off one of my favourite albums of 2012. (MS)

Download King Charles – Love Lust mp3

25 MONUMENT VALLEY – THE VERY FIRST ALARM
I adore the hopeless feel to this song. I could write endlessly about my love for this song but honestly It’s simplicity, beauty, deftness of lyric and the mesmerizing sound of Ned Youngers voice that coats the lyrics of this bitter song with a sweet syprupy glaze (for the Masterchef fans out there), that keeps pulling me back to it over and over again. (DR)

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24 STRAND OF OAKS – TRAP DOOR
I’ve fallen through the Trap Door that Tim Showelter sings about many, many times. I’m getting home late again, been looking for old friends, been looking for anything… He obviously has too. It builds to a fabulous vocal performance leaving me a bit spellbound every time I hear it. The repeated cries of ‘giving it all away’ at the end can find me with eyes screwed tightly shut while mouthing along in a ‘we’re brothers in arms’ kind of way! And that’s when I’m sober!  (CP)

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23 THE WALKMEN – SONG FOR LEIGH
The phrase chiming guitars was invented for this song. And boy do they chime, setting a hypnotic pace to the song before the pleading, soaring, chorus threatens “I’ll sing myself sick, sing myself sick, sing myself sick about you”. I hope its enough. (MM)

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22 LORD HURON – TIME TO RUN
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. He did it all for love, silly boy, ‘cause when they catch him, he’s toast. (Mrs M)

Download Lord Huron – Time To Run mp3

21 BETH JEANS HOUGHTON – LILLIPUT
A storming phantasmagoria of a song, guided by the soaring vocals of BJH, a sweeping string arrangement and a drumming tattoo of percussion. When I grow up I want to be just like Beth Jeans Houghton. Lili put your hands in mine and let’s dance: hoof power rules. (Mrs M)

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Check back tomorrow for the final countdown (as Europe might say). The favourite twenty songs of the year according to the MM contributors – Mrs Mackerel (Mrs M), Chris T Popper (CP), Barry-Sean (BSF), Polly Pocket (PP), Dr Roddy (DR), Starbie (SB) Middle Sprat (MS) and Toy Steve (TS).

MM's Best of 2012 Nos 80-61

Here are tracks 80 – 61 in our countdown of Mad Mackerel’s 100 favourite tunes of the year. Don’t forget to check out numbers 100 – 81 in yesterday’s post here and check back tomorrow for numbers 61 – 40.

Here we go…

80 SUN KIL MOON – SUNSHINE IN CHICAGO
Beautifully bittersweet reflections of wandering troubadour preparing for another gig in Chicago and how the times have changed…

Sunshine in Chicago makes me sad
My band played here a lot in the nineties when we had
A lot of female fans and fuck they all were cute
Now I just sign posters for guys in tennis shoes

Download Sun Kil Moon – Sunshine In Chicago mp3

79 IMAGINATION HEAD – SANDCASTLE
An absolute gem of gently swelling prog-folk spun through with gentle psychedelia. Sandcastle could easily sit amongst any of the classic Mercury Rev offerings…it is that good.

Download Imagination Head – Sand Castle mp3

78 BETH ORTON – CALL ME THE BREEZE
Gorgeous and pastoral. Call Me The Breeze is a sultry, surging hymn to becoming one with nature, and a stunning return to recording after a six year hiatus.

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77 HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF – ODE TO JOHN & YOKO
Slow burning, heartfelt tribute to the aspirational dreams of the hippy couple.

Download Hurray For The Riff Raff – Ode To John And Yoko mp3

76 JBM – CROOKED BRANCHES
Fragile and haunting folk – I’m sure she swam out of the lake in her yellow dress – but it is a rather beautiful song. (Mrs M)

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75 FATHER JOHN MISTY – MISTY’S NIGHTMARES 1 & 2
A ramshackle countrified excursion into 70s rock that ambles along with a grace and sure footedness that belies the wry lyrics and droll delivery.

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74 STEPHEN PAUL SMOKER – GREEN CITY
One of the year’s best riffs wedded to a pulsating psych-rock groove and foot stomping rhythm.

Download Stephen Paul Smoker – Green City mp3

73 BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE – TEMPER TEMPER
Going back to my roots here; you can’t do without a good guitar riff or a head banging drum beat, this is one of my essential driving tunes. I feel a certain empathy with the lyrics too, I’m sure they weren’t really written about me. (SB)

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72 WILD NOTHING – PARADISE
Retro-electro pop, but damn it, I just like it. Whenever I hear it I feel I have gone back about 20 years, sitting round the edge of a village hall hoping not to dance. (PP)

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71 DARREN HAYMAN – ELIZABETH CLARKE
For centuries the upper echelons of British society have covered up their own misdeeds by getting the lower orders to turn against each other. These days, so called benefit cheats are vilified in the tabloids. The 17th century equivalent were called witches and strung up. Thankfully we’re not allowed to string people up these days. This song is about the hanging of an 80-year-old lady who gave her confession after being tortured by Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. It’s not a cheerful listen but is beautifully executed (oops!) by Darren Hayman who really captures the atmosphere. (BSF)

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70 DJANGO DJANGO – DEFAULT
Crackles along with all kinds of weird and wonderful sounds. A viciously catchy and erratic tune it never stops surprising me a little more with each listen. It’s fun goddammit…(CP)

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69 GOODNIGHT TEXAS – JESSE GOT TRAPPED IN A COALMINE
A mandolin-driven elegy for a doomed young fiancé, it 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.

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68 TAME IMPALA – ELEPHANT
The sound of modern day glam rock – like Marc Bolan crossed with Hawkwind, Elephant is the ultimate slice of freaked out, loved up, psych-frazzle that is nothing short of perfect.

Download Tame Impala – Elephant mp3

67 STEALING SHEEP – SHUT EYE
This song by a psychedelic-folk girl band from Liverpool is completely nuts. It sounds like something my 5 and 7 year olds would come up with if they were locked in a studio with a load of instruments and for that reason, I love it. (TS)

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66 BAT FOR LASHES – LAURA
I love the simple piano music of this song, especially the intro and the way it builds to a crescendo. Her voice is haunting too, a much more sophisticated Lana Del Ray. This is a glass of wine in hand, relaxing song. (SB)

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65 QUICKBEAM – 700 BIRDS
Chill out, close your eyes and drift away on this tune of pure atmosphere. Scotland has always produced fantastic bands with distinctive but diverse sounds. This little gem shows a gentler, more ghostly side of Celtic music – if you want to lose a bit of anger for 3 mins 50 seconds, give it a try. (BSF)

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64 THE WALKMEN – HEAVEN
What can I say? The title track of The Walkmen’s 2012 album is another piece of genius from the Washington rockers. I don’t need to say any more other than ‘LISTEN TO IT’ (BSF)

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63 ALT-J – MATILDA
A fantastic song (named after the girl in the Luc Besson film Leon apparently) from a top album which sounds like some kind of Tim Burton bedtime story. I could have picked anything off the album to be honest but this was the song I heard first and the one that provided the biggest WTF factor! I downloaded this tune the second I heard it and to quote a famous sports agent, this song “had me at hello”. (TS)

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62 THE GROWL – WITH THE SHARP END OF A TROWEL
What’s that you Say? Grimy, dirty rock, half sang half drawled. Yeah, OK. Where do I sign? It seems The Growl can do no wrong, producing some of the best tunes I’ve heard this year. It was a tuff choice between This song and Cleaver Lever. Really I would have liked to put them in a paddling pool full of Nutella and watched them fight it out, but in the end this song wins through. For it is dirt rock purity. (DR)

Download The Growl – With The Sharp End Of A Trowel mp3 (from Cleaver Lever EP)

61 HOWLER – BACK OF YOUR NECK
It may not be the most original approach in the world, but Howler’s turn-of-the-year single of tight, turbo-charged surf rock hurtles to an ultra-catchy adrenalin fuelled conclusion with nary a backward glance.

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Remember…check back for numbers 60 – 41 tomorrow…

Thanks to Mrs Mackerel (Mrs M), Christy Popper (CP), Barry-Sean (BSF), Polly Pocket (PP), Dr Roddy (DR), Starbie (SB) and Toy Steve (TS) for their contributions.