Posts Tagged ‘Amazing Snakeheads’

MM's Top 20 Best of 2014

And so we bring our round up of favourite songs, albums, covers, and guilty pleasures to a close with the final “best of” post, Mad Mackerel’s own top twenty.

20 Kye Alfred Hillig – My Young Love Was As Blind As Ray Charles And Half As Cold As Heat

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19 Parquet Courts – Black And White

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18 Jamie T – The Prophet

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17 The Amazing Snakeheads – Here It Comes Again

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16 The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice

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15 Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

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14 Girl Band – Lawman

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13 The War On Drugs – Red Eyes

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12 Together PANGEA – River

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11 Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

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10 Faces On Film – Percy
Percy kicks off with pulsating, tribal percussion that doesn’t quit throughout the song’s entire four and half minutes. It is like a small child in a sweet shop relentlessly pummelling you into submission until there is nothing left to do but give in. Then once you have you realise this was by far the best course of action anyway – the most infectious rhythm of the year. Resistance is futile.

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9 Sun Kil Moon – Dogs
Dogs is unashamedly, perhaps deliberately, cringingly frank and revealing. No-one sings more conversationally than Mark Kozelek, but it is exactly the lack of sentiment and judgement in this song that gives it such impact. A deadpan tale of sexual fumblings and failures mixed with an all too accurate recollection of our self obsessed teenage selves gives the song a wincing recognition for every listener’s own emotions that makes listening to it almost too painful.

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8 Dream Police – My Mama’s Dead
In my head this is a follow up to Hendrix’s classic Hey Joe. Except my head has been split in two by the sheer brutal, pneumatic force of this song, a snarling, distorted beast of a tune that is as brilliantly grim and unforgiving as the title suggests. Am I the only one who thinks the Dream Police are a far more enjoyable listen than alter-egos The Men?

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7 Parquet Courts – Ducking And Dodging
Ducking And Dodging boasts the catchiest punk riff since, oh I don’t know, Stoned And Starving perhaps. Yet this time it comes with extra ingredients, a little added anger and a whole cauldron full of world weariness and frustration giving their take on a traditional tune a fiery new incarnation and showing once and for all that they were always far, far more than simple Velvets or Pavement disciples.

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6 Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Body Electric
A word perfect riposte to all those endless murder ballads where the woman’s part is merely that of hopeless victim. Over an deceptively hypnotic refrain Alynda Lee Segarra reveals that the tables are turning, “He’s gonna shoot me down, put my body in the river, Cover me up with the leaves of September, Like an old sad song, you heard it all before, Well, Delia’s gone but I’m settling the score

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5 Houndmouth – For No One
Houndmouth announced their return with this sublime slice of surreal Americana. More obtuse than before, it boasted the best opening verse of any song we heard this year, then over a deceptively simple strummed guitar line, Matt Myers travels from resignation to bitterness and ultimately acceptance. For No One is a sparse, poignant ballad that is as close to perfection as you’re likely to hear.

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4 Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud
Metallic Cloud seems packed full of meaning, overflowing with imagery and allusion and cloaked in layers and layers of mystery. Curiously it feels to me like a companion piece to Neil Young’s After The Goldrush, and I can’t really think of a higher compliment than that. The first song to reduce me to tears this year, in tandem with the red wine mind you.

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3 The Pink Mountaintops – North Hollywood Microwaves
Surreal, obscene, freaky, offensive,  lewd. Repulsive, coarse, vulgar, gross and rude. But unquestionably, undeniably, uniformly brilliant. This was the sound of rock’n’roll updated for the here and now.

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2 The Water Liars – Swannanoa
Sometimes the simplest things are the best. Water Liars delivered an exceptional album this year, and this is an undoubted highlight, a melancholy story of searching and loss, of heroin and girls with stutters, of cowardice and looking death in the face. There is no one, but no one, who does this stuff as well as the Water Liars and why they aren’t massive is a source of constant bemusement to me.

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1 The Amazing Snakeheads – Where Is My Knife
I’m gonna show you if it takes all night, We’re staying here till you get it right, It’s been three whole days with no end in sight“, so opens the year’s most chilling, and thrilling, song. An irresistible mix of primeval rock’n’roll, trashcan punk and swampy voodoo blues provides the most exquisitely perfect soundtrack for Dale Barclay’s unhinged protagonist.

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Guilty Pleasure:

Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
F**k off, it’s brilliant.

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Favourite Cover of the Year:

Hearts Of Oak – Must Have Been Drunk (George Jones cover)

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Reissue of the Year:

Crime – Piss On Your Dog (from Murder By Guitar)

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Chris T Poppers Top 20 2014

20) Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

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19) Hamilton Leithauser – 11 O’Clock Friday Night

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18) Faces On Film – Percy

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17) Early Winters – A Thing For You

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16) Sleaford Mods – Routine Dean

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15) Eels – Mistakes of My Youth

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14) Chimes – Total Sunflower

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13) Dust From A 1000 Yrs – Smoke Em Up

12) Screaming Females – Ripe

11) The War On Drugs – Red Eyes

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10) Houndmouth – For No One

Any song which opens with a tortured reference to dropping acid will naturally pique my interest and coupled with Matt Myers vocals and stark production my curiosity is aroused further. Deftly suckering you in, For No One then tries to lead you down a darkened alley for a damn good kicking. It also proves you don’t necessarily need anything more than a guitar and a great vocal to pack an extraordinary punch.

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9) Sleaford Mods – Tiswas
Sleaford Mods’ album Divide & Exit (undoubtedly my favourite record of 2014) grasped the moment perfectly with it’s skewering of modern British life. I won’t try and dissect Tiswas, it’s just a banging tune with the lyrical equivalent of having your ears punched quite a lot. “I don’t want my dog on a string… that’ll hurt the thing” is my favourite line of the year. The humour, frustration and utter contempt is breathtaking at times. They are unlike anything else I’ve heard all year.

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8) Wooden Wand – Waveland
Ah, Mr Wand, I’ve been expecting you (sorry). A regular contributor over the years to my top 10’s Mr James Jackson Toth delivers yet again. It’s a song which appears to be absolutely straightforward; Toth recorded this by himself at home with his guitar and an 8-track recorder. However, like a particularly enormous onion there seems to be layer upon layer that reveals itself upon each further examination. And with the added onionesque quality of bringing a tear to the eye – through joy and sadness, my ridiculous metaphor is complete. With every listen I get a bit more from Waveland, it’s one of the hardest tricks to pull off but as usual Toth does it perfectly.

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7) Jonah Tolchin – Mockingbird
Opening up with kick-ass harmonica before the fiddle and guitar join the party Mockingbird is Tolchin’s sideways look at the nursery rhyme Hush Little Baby. So far so intrigued. It certainly has a strangely traditional feel and a classic break/riff stomp to it. It reminds me in a strange way of the climax of the classic 1981 film Southern Comfort where Powers Booth and Keith Carradine are serenaded by a full on Cajun hoedown. Brilliant deep, dark country on a low burn, just how I like it.

6) Horse Thief – Little Dust
Pretty much a sure thing for my top 10 from the first listen, the Oklahoma quintet Horse Thief (even the name makes me love them more) have struck gold with this perfectly formed piece of Americana. It begins with the piano before the guitar and rhythm section slide in forming the ‘taking it real easy…’ groove. It already feels like a country classic.

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5) The Amazing Snakeheads – Where Is My Knife
Take this song on in a fight – go on. I dare you. It will win hands down. In May this year I watched the Amazing Snakeheads deliver the best live performance I have seen for a long time and it blew my tiny mind. Dale Barclay is a man to be admired first and foremost. Mainly because he looks unfeasibly hard and secondly because he fucking means it. Menacing serial killer lyrics and a guitar picking out threats with a drum beat to rival any Tarzan film kind of works for me. Try it live when you’ve only ever heard one song by them before – quite an eye opener. Barclay growled at the audience ‘are youse my friends?’ my hand shot up like a rocket. Yes, I am, just don’t hurt me or get your knife.

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4) Elijah Ocean – Ride It Out
The other day this song was playing and my girlfriend was on her laptop, watching faces or something, when I noticed she was unconsciously singing along to the chorus. That’s what this song does; whoever you are (providing you have a soul) it touches you. 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.

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3) Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud
Been a firm favourite from the moment I heard it. Jurado’s voice sounds amazing, and the string section is nothing short of magnificent. It’s one of those songs where you can be listening in the car and when it finishes you realise your turning was a couple of miles back and you never noticed. Or, you’ve not seen one of those bastard mobile speed cameras because you’re singing along so loudly and enjoying the moment. Let’s see if I enjoy my Speed Awareness Course as much in the New Year…

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2) Girl Band – Lawman
Fucking chaos. That’s why I signed up; as soon as that guitar started I was dug in like a tick on a hound. Experimental without being utterly awful (which lets face it you don’t hear that too often.) The drums halfway through are pure moony, just listen to it. Keith Moon banging on your brain or Reverend Moon washing it…. take your pick, same result applies. The long drawn out guitar with heavy feedback compliments/adds to the cacophony perfectly. To paraphrase the band themselves this song is ‘…driven by insistent low-end skronk’. Quite.

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1) Sleaford Mods – Smithy
It’s all over in under 2 and a half minutes but still manages to make me grimace, smile and cower in equal measure. A brutal bass line and drum riff accompanies singer Jason Williamson’s verdict on the state of the nation. Not so much angry as bored with the sheer futility of it all, Sleaford Mods drill down until they reach (or is that retch) in to the unpleasant shitty bits of our modern culture. I like absolutely everything about this record, right down to Andrew Fearn throwing in a bit of chopper noise at the end. ‘Who cares about rock stars anymore?’ asks Williamson – not me mate. I’ve watched all my old heroes become parodies of themselves or even worse John bloody Lydon and I’m well and truly out of it.

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Here are our favourite twenty albums of 2014. Don’t forget to check out numbers 40 – 21 here.

20 Together PANGEA – Badillac

together badillac

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19 Meatbodies – Meatbodies

meatbodies

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18 Strand of Oaks – Heal

strand of oaks

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17 Jessica Lea Mayfield – Make My Head Sing

jessica lea mayfield

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16 Eagulls – Eagulls

eagulls

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15 Happyness – Weird Little Birthday

happyness

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14 Felice Brothers – Favourite Waitress

New From The Felice Brothers

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13 Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

mac demarco

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12 Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

New Album From Sharon van Etten

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11 Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Angel Olsen

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10 The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream

War on Drugs

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9 Dream Police – Hypnotised

dream police

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8 Hurray For The Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes

Hurray For The Riff Raff - Small Town Heroes

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7 Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

parquet courts

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6 Damien Jurado – Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son

damien jurado

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5 Pink Mountaintops – Get Back

More From Pink Mountaintops

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4 Sun Kil Moon – Benji

sun kil moon benji

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3 Water Liars – Water Liars

water liars

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2 Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads

amazing snakeheads

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1 Jamie T – Carry On The Grudge

jamie t

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MM's Best of 2014: The Top Twenty

So here we are, the favourite twenty tunes of 2014 as voted for by the MM contributors.

Enjoy!

20 Sharon Van Etten – Tarifa

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19 Dan Amor – Sister Anne

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18 Sleaford Mods – Tied Up In Nottz

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17 Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me

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16 Pink Mountaintops – North Hollywood Microwaves

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15 Elijah Ocean – Ride It Out

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14 Royal Blood – Little Monster

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13 Sleaford Mods – Smithy

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12 Jamie T – Limits Lie

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11 Parquet Courts – Ducking & Dodging

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10 Eels – Mistakes Of My Youth

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9 Royal Blood – Figure It Out

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8 The War On Drugs – Red Eyes

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7 Girl Band – Lawman

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6 Houndmouth – For No One

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5 Dust From 1000 Yrs – Smoke Em Up

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4 Water Liars – Swannanoa

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3 The Amazing Snakeheads – Where Is My Knife

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2 Horse Thief – Little Dust

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1 Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the countdown – 100 – 81 here, 80 – 61 here, 60 – 41 here, and 40 – 21 here.

Tomorrow sees our favourite albums of the year, and from Sunday the MM contributors individual best-of lists.

MM's Best Of 2014 60-41

Day three of our countdown – tracks 60 through to 41 of our favourite songs of the year.

60 Cate Le Bon – He’s Leaving

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59 Jamie T – The Prophet

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58 Mark Lanegan Band – Sad Lover

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57 The Districts – Funeral Beds

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56 The Amazing Snakeheads – Here It Comes Again

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55 Sleaford Mods – Routine Dean

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54 Simone Felice – Running Through My Head

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53 Sam Doores – Drifter’s Wife

52 The Wytches – Burn Out The Bruise

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51 Sun Kil Moon – Jim Wise

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50 Early Winters – A Thing For You

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49 Smashing Pumpkins – Being Beige

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48 Matt Kivel – Insignificance

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47 Hamilton Leithauser – 11 O’Clock Friday Night

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46 Together PANGEA – River

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45 The Dune Rats – Dalai Lama, Big Banana, Marijuana

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44 Chimes – Total Sunflower

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43 Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

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42 Shovels & Rope – Evil

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41 First Aid Kit – Heaven Knows

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Check out numbers 100 – 81 here, and 80 – 61 here.

Mad Mackerel's Best Of October 2014

After a too long hiatus, we’ve resurrected our best of the month mix capturing our favourite tunes from October’s posts, plus a couple of new tracks too. So more than 25 songs to discover…dive in!

The September Girls – Veneer
Dark-hearted pop smothered in drenched feedback

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God Damn – Horus
A red-hot burning molten pot of pop hooks and grinding, bludgeoning riffs and rhythms.

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The Voyeurs – Stunners
Indie-psych rockers new single with nods to the tribal stomp of the Glitter Band and Iggy Pop to the colder, starker vignettes of Berlin era Lou Reed.

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Dirt Dress – Revelations
Cultivated racket of guitars, horns, and drums that mixes surf rock with synths in a curiously beguiling way.

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Amazing Snakeheads – Can’t Let You Go
More trashcan voodoo punk blues without parallel.

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Ultimate Painting – Ten Street
Excellent retro style, casually lacksadasical, take on jangly indie rock with echoes of Pavement and Lou Reed.

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The Wharves – The Grip
Gracefully minimal psych-rock with fuzzed out folk invoking the reverberated spook of 60s girl groups topped with crunchy guitar and thunderous drumming.

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Maggie Bjorklund – Fro Fro Heart
Brooding, profound and unforgettable standout from Danish pedal steeliest and singer’s new album.

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Gwyneth Moreland – Slaughterhouse Gulch
Perfect blend of authentic, classic country that feels as genuine as it does timeless.

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Menace Beach – Come On Give Up
Fuzzily insistent indie rock.

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Elijah Ocean – Bring It All In
Particularly fine example of classic backwoods, porch-rocking folk.

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The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Heat
Eastern tinged, gritty psychedelia.

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The Wave Pictures – Pea Green Boat
Dr Feelgood style blues riffs melded with typically quirky and literate vocals.

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Eaves – As Old As The Grave
Rich, tender, melancholia from new singer-songwriter.

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Elliott Brood – Nothing Left
Rollicking, infectious Americana cut through with bluegrass, folk-rock and a definite glam-rock flavour.

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Daddy Issues – Ugly When I Cry
Wonderful slab of downbeat grungy pop that drips with acerbic irony and a healthy dose of cynicism.

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The Don Darlings – If You Can’t Be Good
Masterpiece of southern gothic Americana

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Parkay Quarts – Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth
Townes Van Zandt, Warren Zevon, and Dylan are evident points of departure this lonesome tale about “two men tragically colliding in the deep south“.

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Viet Cong – Continental Shelf
Gloomy, brooding, ghostly, dissonant post-punk.

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Diarrhoea Planet – Bamboo Curtain
Catchy old-school style punk.

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Saint Agnes – Where The Lightning Strikes
Blues stomping, dirty rock n roll number with psychedelic organs, screaming guitars and haunting harmonica.

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Justin Townes Earle – Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Classic take on a classic track.

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Kyle Adem – I Go On
Haunting, satirical autobiography of loss and the person one becomes in solitude, sung with convincing desperation.

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Curtin – Big Blue Crown
Hazy track that creates a slow-burning and hypnotic soundscape.

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To finish we have new tracks from brilliant psych-rockers Pontiak, the burrowing, ominous Underneath Us Like A Snake, and Soft Fangs stunningly gorgeous and woozy Dog Park.

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1. The Amazing Snakeheads – Can’t Let You Go
2. Angel Olsen – All Right Now
3. Hookworms – On Leaving
4. Ultimate Painting – Ten Street
5. Chumped – Songs About Boats

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MM's Best of 2014 So Far

The longest day has come and gone, and halfway through the year we are. It seemed a good point to reflect and share thirty of our favourite albums of 2014 so far, and so here they are, in strictly alphabetical order of course…

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The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads

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Amen Dunes – Love

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Avers – Empty Light

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Dan Baker – Pistol In My Pocket

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Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

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The Drive-By Truckers – English Oceans

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Dune Rats – Dune Rats

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Simone Felice – Strangers

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The Felice Brothers – Favorite Waitress

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First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

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Emil Friis – Sand In Your Eyes

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Micah P. Hinson & The Nothing – Micah P. Hinson & The Nothing

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Hurray For The Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes

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Damien Jurado – Brothers & Sisters Of The Eternal Mind

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Hamilton Leithauser – Black Hours

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Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – Chambers

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Jessica Lea Mayfield – Make My Head Sing

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Natural Child – Dancin With Wolves

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Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

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Orwells – Disgraceland

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Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

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Pink Mountaintops – Get Back

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Strand Of Oaks – Heal

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Sun Kil Moon – Benji

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Together Pangea – Badillac

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Vacant Lots – Departure

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Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

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The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream

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Water Liars – Water Liars

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Wooden Wand – Farmers Corner

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Our new favourite band have released a new single Nighttime, taken from their outstanding debut album Amphetamine Ballads.

Here is a suitably dark, hallucinatory video to accompany it.

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Mr Popper stays well away from sharks, but still went to see Jaws...

Mr Popper stays well away from sharks

On reflection, it was a day for the Celts at the Great Escape, and the Aussies, and even the Argentinians…

We kicked off the day with a set from New Desert Blues, whose mix of folk, country and indie rock has graced previous posts here on MM. They have a debut album in the pipeline and happily the songs they showcased from this stood up well, particularly set-opener Milk And Honey, which is a hypnotically powerful guitar stomper and we’d go as far as to say the best thing we’ve heard from them to date.

As Mr Popper went off to catch the laid back indie jangle of Jaws, I caught the end of a fine set of haunting folk from Ireland’s I Have A Tribe, which had more than an echo of Bonnie “Prince” Billy about it, and then an excellent set of noisy, garage pop from Dublin’s September Girls where motorik rhythms and fuzzy guitars collided to almighty good effect.

A quick trip to see Night Engine, who were new to me, was rewarded with an experience like stepping back into late 1970s New York where funky guitars and tribal drumming recalled early Talking Heads, art punk and classic disco. It was in stark contrast to the sombre, dense guitar patterns of Scottish duo Honeyblood who had drawn a big crowd, but seemed to struggle to distinguish their combination of shoegazing guitar and drums into anything more than one-dimensional noise pop.

Las KelliesThe evening saw a trip to the Fire Records showcase, part of the Alternative Escape schedule and when we eventually found the venue, via numerous trips up and down the beach, we were treated to a short but highly energetic of ramshackle garage punk and irreverent wordplay from the antipodean Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, finishing with recent album standout Jackie Boy.

Next up, all the way from Argentina, were three-piece Las Kellies who brought a dose of much needed sunshine to the town with a fizzing set of bubblegum pop, punk rock and slashing guitars. Forty minutes, seventeen songs, and not a duff note to be heard.

Suitably revved up and having learnt from the previous evening, we headed up to the Hope pub, where thirty minutes of queuing was to prove more than worth it as long-standing MM faves The Dune Rats shambled on stage to provide one of the highlights of the festival so far.

Dune RatsThe three lads from Brisbane were clearly here for a good time and despite it being possibly the hottest venue I have ever been in, proceeded to tear up the stage with a mix of skate punk surf rock, and stoner pop. Joyfully idiotic banter “we gave up smoking this morning, but started again this afternoon“, and songs about dope, wanking, lying around, and more dope set the tone. And frankly, any band that can happily roar their way through a repeated chorus of “Dalai Llama, Big Banana, Marijuana” have got to be doing something right in my book.

So the stage was set for headliners the Amazing Snakeheads, a Scottish band whose fearsome live performance has been receiving rave reviews up and down the country with their brutal mix of rockabilly, junkyard punk, swamp blues and voodoo rhythms.

Stalking the stage like some kind of demented boxer, frontman Dale Barclay bristles with menace and palpable violence, attacking his guitar with a savagery I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed before. While the band create tribal, hypnotic swathes of rhythm behind him he howls, shudders, beseeches, and threatens in equal measure, his face set in a series of rictus grimaces.  Songs like I’m A Vampire, Here It Comes Again, and Where Is My Knife are given a white-hot, blistering intensity that is impossible to resist.

Building the tension and the potency of the show with every song, the set finishes in a cacophony of impossibly heated percussion and driving guitars ended abruptly by Barclay as he uses his guitar to drive a route through the dripping crowd and out through the exit.

God knows where he is now…

Possibly the best live performance I’ve seen for years and years.

 

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