Posts Tagged ‘American Pets’

Dr Roddy had been gone for a while trying to make a new life on land. Fuckwit.

I have been absent from the house of Mackerel for a couple of years now, and have missed this time of year so it is nice to be welcomed back to the shoal. What a time to re-join, a bountiful year of boss tuneage.

10 Drenge – Bonfire Of The City Boys
Always nice to receive a playlist with Drenge on it. I have loved these noisy pair of scoundrels for years. Their mix of blues, heavy rock riffs and total noise is right up my alley. This track doesn’t disappoint. Metallic ear assault escorts shouted hate to just the right part of your brain.

 

9 Cass McCombs – Sleeping Volcanoes
The dreamy guitar intro soon gives into a lazy plodding bass line, which sets the scene nicely for this ambling piece of stoner heaven. It has a soporific quality to the vocal delivery. Perfect for lazy summer days or late winter nights.

 

8 Rod Picott – Coal
Great piece of foot stomping country. Rod Picott gets a menacing sound out of the acoustic guitar and delivers us a bleak portrait of life in and around the Pittsburgh industrial scene. I love songs about hard rural life, tough lives, and tough men. Of course I do. I live in Oxfordshire, I’ve got a beard and a plaid shirt….. (to be fair, Dr Roddy is a tough man and rule breaker himself – I once witnessed with my own eyes him lighting a roll-up whilst fielding on the boundary during a cricket match…)

 

7 Cabbage – Arms Of Pleonexia
The Manchester boys serve up a good wedge of fuzz, feedback and fuck you in this track. There are burning questions in the lyrics and the whole piece has a frantic feel about it. Just when you think it’s going to tip up, it gets pinned together by a chorus chanted straight from the terraces.

 

6 The Lost Brothers – Come Tomorrow
I love the feel of this song. It reminds me a bit of “Ruby don’t take your love to town”. Maybe not the most upbeat of tunes, but it seems resigned to its own melancholy and who doesn’t like to wallow in a bit of lost love. If you don’t, you’re probably not drinking on your own enough.

 

5 American Pets – Bad Bream
A perfect piece of 80s synth sounds draped around an upbeat pop arrangement. It belies the depth of regret and misfortune that our protagonist finds himself in. I mean, in the first verse we find that he has smashed his phone screen while “high as a kite”. Then there’s heartbreak and toxic love. All backed up by an awesome bass line.

 

4 Spiritualized – I’m Your Man
In my humble opinion this is a about as good a piece of modern day blues as you are going to get. Perfectly paced, it gathers momentum into a “foot on the speaker” guitar break, which never ebbs into corny, only to fall back into its solemn wonder through the “wasted, faded, permantly jaded…” life of the song.

 

3 Jon Spencer – Hornet
This is just a rollicking good piece of rock and roll. It has a razor sharp riff and a drumbeat that moves the head and feet. All of this with a bass line so cool it could be Rick James.

 

2 Oh Sees – Nail House Needle Boys
This song is the perfect amalgamation of loads of bands that I have loved, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Charlatans, Stone Roses etc…. That is the reason I love it. Many of my musical needs sated in one song. Delivered by a truly talented outfit.

 

1 Katie Toupin – Danger
The feeling that drips of every word that comes from Katie Toupin in this tune is astounding. You get the sense that what is happening is so fresh and that she is talking directly to you. The band seem to encompass the fragile lyrics before they fall apart. Don’t get it twisted though – this song is written from a strong perspective. Get a large drink, turn it up real loud and sit back.

 

Great to have you back Dr Roddy! Check in tomorrow for Chris T Popper’s selections.

Advertisements

So here we have it – the top of the pile! Our favourite songs of 2018.

25 Ought – Disgraced In America

 

Way back in January, Montreal based quartet Ought kicked off 2018 with the bright guitar sound and ultimately noisy percussion and spaced-out synths of Disgraced in America. It was a fine start.

 

24 Spiritualized – I’m Your Man

 

I’m Your Man was the brilliant lead single from Spiritualized’s new album And Nothing Hurt. It wraps layer upon layer of gloriously transcendent sound together to create something utterly mesmerising and cinematic, and with a towering guitar solo – where the waves of blissful noise are almost overwhelming.

 

23 Jon Spencer – Hornet

 

Jon Spencer can be relied upon to deliver a sleazy, bone-shaking excursion into the underbelly of classic blues and with Hornet he delivers in spades – growling, primitive and with a suitably buzzing guitar figure.

 

22 Fat Earthers – Letter Bomb

 

We love the Isle of Wight and now we love it even more because it is home to the insane noise of the Fat Earthers whose punked-up garage rock didn’t so much explode out of our speakers, as leave them gibbering in twisted shards of plastic and cable in the corner. There is always one song that gatecrashes our favourites at the end of the year and Letter Bomb is it.  I hope they’re from Ventnor!

 

21 Western Scene – Strange but True

 

A chugging, exhilarating earworm of a song that recalls something of the best of Lord Huron or Wilco, with its irresistible melody and immediate emotional energy.

 

20 American Pets – Bad Dream

 

Sublime, sweetly melodic indie rock. The kind so many bands try to do, and so many fail to achieve. It is impossible not to be carried away on the rise and fall of the harmonies and Bad Dream’s gentle swell of mildly psychedelic beauty.

 

19 Ron Gallo – Always Elsewhere

 

Ron Gallo seems to be one of those absurdly hyperactive songwriters, flitting from one genre to another as though on a never ending quest for musical nectar. That he does it so well seems equally absurd as he rolls out gem after gem in a prolific manner. Always Elsewhere is garage rock, psych-pop, new wave, glam and 70s NY punk. It is jerky, obsessive and compelling and held together by his anxious, exasperated vocals.

 

18 FEWS – Businessman

 

Just unstoppable, pulverising noisy psych built on the most pulsating riff imaginable.

 

17 The Twilight Sad – I/m Not Here (Missing Face)

 

After too long an absence Twilight Sad returned with I/m Not Here (Missing Face) which was a driving, motorik anthem, with wailing guitars and swirling synths circling around frontman James Graham’s repeated declarations of “I don’t want to be around you anymore.” Graham describes the track’s lyrical basis as being “about my ongoing battle with not liking myself, trying to be a good person but constantly feeling like I’m failing myself and everyone I care about.

 

16 Young Fathers – In My View

 

As much spoken as sung, In My View is a fractured, down-tempo track set atop skittering percussion and synths.

 

15 Superorganism – Everybody Wants To Be Famous

 

Like a mutated cross between Uptown Top Ranking and some long-forgotten video game, Everybody Wants To Be Famous manages to take its wonderfully kaleidoscopic groove to a whole new level of infectious electro-pop flourescence.

 

14 Dr. Dog – Listening In

 

On their brilliantly assured new album Critical Equation, Dr. Dog barely put a single foot wrong, and an absolute standout for us was Listening In. Another exceptional example of their warm, psych-infused Americana, carried along on metronomic percussion and a typically plaintive and questioning vocal.

 

13 Phosphorescent – Christmas Down Under

 

The introspective smoulder and slow burn of Christmas Down Under is a pedal-steel led tale of surreal Americana. One for the sunset and the open road…

 

12 Katie Toupin – Danger

 

After a long stint with Houndmouth, Katie Toupin’s first foray into solo territory resulted in the bluesy rock of her debut EP Moroccan Ballroom. The raw, haunting beauty of Danger mixes heartbreak with a smattering of grit and her always stunning vocals to create something very special indeed.

 

11 Fontaines DC – Chequeless Reckless

 

Our third and final entry from Fontaines DC – back in February we said we were pretty sure Chequeless Reckless would end up in our best of the year lists and so it proves. Channelling past masters like the Modern Lovers, The Fall and Iggy Pop, as well as contemporaries like Idles and Shame, Chequeless Reckless is built on a driving, hypnotic, kraut-rock infused cyclical riff, and some scalpel sharp lyrics.

A sellout is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money,
An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of the thinking
A phony is someone who demands respect for the principles they affect
A dilettante is someone who can’t tell the difference between fashion and style

 

10 Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Billy The Kid And Geronimo

 

In the rich vein of classic country like Pancho and Lefty, the fantastical Billy The Kid and Geronimo – about an imagined meeting between the two 19th century outlaws whose lives became the stuff of legend in the American West has Gilmore, who is part Native American, voicing the thoughts Alvin wrote for Geronimo, the Chiricahua Apache chief who was one of the last Native American leaders to abandon his resistance against white colonisation of the American Southwest.

 

9 Decemberists – Severed

 

Channelling their inner New Order and 80’s electronic new wave, the Decemberists delivered another left-turn in their long career with I’ll Be Your Girl. Chief among them was Severed, all fuzzy synths, rolling bass and an unrelenting guitar riff. The juxtaposition of shiny, shimmering melody and bleak lyrics was just the icing on the cake.

 

8 Cold Soda – Anna May

 

Cold Soda is a Cave Singers side project, and Anna May is brilliant, brooding Americana, built on a sinewy rhythmic groove and Pete Quirk’s ominous rasp.

 

7 Silverbacks – Dunkirk

 

Brilliantly delivering their own louche take on NYC-indebted rock, Dublin art-punks Silverbacks’ single Dunkirk is underpinned by an insistent, nagging bassline and creepy crawly guitar lines, it provides the ideal vehicle for frontman Daniel O’Kelly’s stream of consciousness ramblings about martial strife, the perfect sandcastle and spotting a con artist when he sees one. The track lurches forth, pressure building from the undulating backbeat and layers of skronking guitars accenting Daniel’s increasingly frazzled yelps before finally collapsing into a sugar sweet coda.

 

6 Rod Picott – Coal

 

Coal is a tough track. A hard-driving, unflinching snapshot of an industry’s decline. It is a world of darkness, small enclosed spaces, rusted machines and steel tied boots. It is simple, unadorned folk storytelling at its spartan best.

 

5 Quiet Hollers – Addicted

 

Addicted is a powerful rumination on opiate addiction – Quiet Hollers frontman Shadwick Wilde has struggled with addiction since adolescence. Although he didn’t intend for it to be a “drug song” necessarily, its inception came at a time when his family was struggling with the loss of his mother’s brother, who died of a fentanyl overdose so he felt it was important to acknowledge how deeply vulnerable we all are to these things, and how serious that problem really is. The track is a perfect mix of alt-country shot through with grungy guitars and a resigned honesty shared through fittingly world weary vocals.

 

4 Dan Mangan – Peaks And Valleys

 

Dan Mangan is a restless troubadour, from the earnest straight up folk of Postcards & Daydreaming to the darkly experimental Club Meds, he has always been both an explorer and an observer. Peaks and Valleys comes from new record More or Less and is a up-tempo, easy going reflection on the simple things in life and the wisdom and understanding that comes with getting older. Sometimes the most obvious things can be the most revealing and so it is with this lovely reminder that optimism is not a bad weapon to have in these turbulent times.

 

3 Drenge – Bonfire Of The City Boys

 

It started with a bang” the opening line from Bonfire of the City Boys could almost be a prediction as a stuttering, repetitive bassline starts up and Eoin Loveless’ spoken word vocals cut in over the top before a crushing guitar riff takes centre stage. Heavier than they’ve ever been, with a sound more akin to Future of the Left, Bonfire of the City Boys is four minutes of joyously ferocious hardcore.

 

2 Decemberists – Cutting Stone

 

Like one of their classic ornate folk fantasies turned dark, appropriately enough Cutting Stone is cut through with a synth accompaniment that brilliantly contrasts a brittle, futuristic feel to Colin Melloy’s literate and verbose tale of wayward children and dying brides.

 

1 Oh Sees – Nail House Needle Boys

 

Nail House Needle Boys – a deliriously scorched excursion around the outer limits of prog-rock and glam, sucking in great gulps of Can, Deep Purple and King Crimson and exhaling them as little more than smoke and ash, drifting down on to the still twitching corpse of psychedelic rock.

 

Check out the rest of our countdown: 100-76 here, 75-51 here and 50-26 here.

It’s time for MM’s annual round up of our favourite songs of the year. Thanks as always go to all our regular contributors – Mrs Mackerel, Chris T Popper, the Italian Job, Polly Pocket and a very welcome return to the fold for Dr Roddy.

So without further ado, lets start the countdown.

100 Cabbage – Preach To The Converted

 

In a year that we lost the great Mark E Smith, Manc neighbours Cabbage stepped up to the plate and delivered an album of sneering, swaggering and violently nihilistic songs that were cut from the same cloth as the Fall. Preach to the Converted is a prime example, a snarling, surf-tinged punk stomper.

 

99 Yowl – Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living

 

Yowl capture the frustration of the 9-to-5 London grind like few others (also making Chris T Popper’s best of the year list in 2016). In frontman Gabriel Byrde, they have someone who can spin poetry on songs about alienation and exhaustion. Yowl are often viciously loud, but on Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living) it is tempered with a more fatalistic, loose feel that calls to mind Lou Reed as much as it does Parquet Courts.

 

98 Teenage Cavegirl – No Good/So Bad

 

Austin, Texas boy/girl duo Teenage Cavegirl offer exactly what their name says they should. The tribal drums and trash-pop guitar lines combine to create a deceptively simple slab of primal garage rock. Throw in some plaintive lyrics, an anthemic chorus and wrap it all up in under two minutes.

 

97 Black Delta Movement – Let The Rain Come

 

Inspired by the ghosts of the Sonics and MC5, influenced by the kaleidoscopic thrum of the Black Angels and Wooden Shjips, Let The Rain Come is a propulsive, mesmerising gem of powerful psych-rock that layers an industrial sheen over it’s pummelling hypnotic heart.

 

96 Cool Ghouls – CCR Bootleg

 

A boisterous, jerky slice of indie that rambles along with an unshakeable airy confidence and a knowing nod to the great band’s chooglin’ style.

 

95 Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

 

Channelling their inner Talking Heads, Wide Awake is a shout along anthem propelled on something akin to tropical percussion and a sparse, funky and naggingly insistent guitar refrain.

 

94 Yak – White Male Carnivore

 

A welcome return from the noisenik trio. White Male Carnivore is what, in the old days, we’d have called a rip-snorter. Crunchy, muscular and prone to an odd left turn (those weird backing vocals, the wry nod to American spirituals), the song careers along moving everything out of its path with sheer force of will.

 

93 Sunflowers – Sleepy Sun

 

A mutating slab of space rock – all slurred riffs and acid-bleached vocals. Just as likely to be a nightmare as a dream depending on your drug of choice…

 

92 Strange Cages – Hypothalmus Blues

 

Brighton’s Strange Cages are purveyors of a snotty, psych-surf rock ‘n’ roll sound in the vein of The Cramps or Ty Segall. The wonderfully titled Hypothalamus Blues combines elements of krautrock and post-punk with a paranoid, schizophrenic vocal.

 

91 Sleep Eaters – Ghost On Fire

 

Just over two minutes of cacophonous, fuzzed out, desert, cowboy garage-rock, that sounds like a feral cross between The Black Lips, The Stooges and the Screaming Blue Messiahs – imagine all three dropped into a sun-baked, spaghetti western playing to a whiskey bar full of gunslingers on speed.

 

90 Ron Gallo – Really Nice Guys

 

Taking aim squarely at the music industry and those bands who are “better people than musicians“, Ron Gallo’s blackly acerbic wit is filtered directly through the prism of 60s garage rock and fuzzy psychedelia.

 

89 Nest Egg – Denied Doctrine

 

A three-piece from Asheville, North Carolina who describe their head-heavy and kosmische psych-rock wig-outs as ‘mood music for nihilists’. Denied Doctrine is a mind scrambling swirl of malevolent, chugging guitars and hypnotic reverb.

 

88 Mothers – Pink

 

Pink grips like a vice and over seven taut, potent minutes of nervy, hypnotic, krautrock it builds layer upon layer of bewitching intensity that never lets up.

 

87 Lonely Parade – I’m So Tired

 

A mix of wiry post-punk and buzzsaw guitars – disaffected dissonance never sounded so good!

 

86 Crepes – Bicycle Man

 

Infectious indie-pop par excellence. A groovy bass-line and hooks sharp enough to burrow deep under the skin.

 

85 American Pets – Forgetting

 

Taking inspiration from the likes of The Velvet Underground, Wilco, Tom Petty, and Serge Gainsbourg, LA based indie band American Pets’ Forgetting is a quietly strummed mix of bleak suburban nostalgia and nightmare.

 

84 Wharves – High School Hero

 

The naggingly, groove infused High School Hero sounds like a weird mash up of glam-rock era Bowie, Devo, Nick Cave, The Clash’s Magnificent Seven and Tom Tom Club’s Wordy Rappinghood. Even more weirdly it works… brilliantly.

 

83 Lord Huron – Ancient Names (Part II)

 

Lord Huron are not particularly known for their garage rock credentials, but Ancient Names (Part II) bursts out the blocks with a heavy, distorted sense of urgency proclaiming “gone are the days of laughter and love“, and over the course of two short minutes conveys a darkness of heart and soul that is epitome of resigned despair and hopelessness.

 

82 Thurston Moore – Mx Liberty

 

A typically corrosive broadside at the “mockery of democracy” that currently prevails in the USA. Thurston Moore’s brings his trademark barbed guitar squall and brutal, bruising percussion to the table and wins the argument. Hands down.

 

81 Flasher – Skim Milk

 

Crisp, exhilarating guitar riffs matched to a melodic ease and with some enjoyably rowdy call and response vocals, Skim Milk is a gem of sharp, precise indie rock.

 

80 LICE – The Human Parasite

 

Lyrically obtuse, melodically caustic and revelling in ugly, uncomfortable home truths, LICE’s debut single was a scratchy, skronky, instant classic. “All humans carry, through their daily lives / A compulsion to torture and destroy / Be not afeared of your impulse to despise / Your neighbour just because they have an accent you dislike.

 

79 The Men – Maybe I’m Crazy

 

A wired, pulsating, synth-driven rocker complete with wonky sax at the end. Play loud.

 

78 Phosphorescent – Around The Horn

 

The centrepiece of latest album C’est La Vie, on Around the Horn Phosphorescent calls the shimmering motorik of the War on Drugs and then raises it with an eight minute mini masterpiece of swelling, throbbing country-psych.

 

77 Gong Gong Gong – Siren 追逐劇

 

Desert psych anyone? South-east Asian freakout? Chinese blues? All this and more is thrown into the melting pot and stirred to a magnificent, galloping frenzy.

 

76 Phobophobes – Where Is My Owner?

 

The low rumble of menacing, dirty sleaze – a fetid, swampy stomp set atop twinkling drums and sweet organ flourishes. Over it all is the sardonic refrain of “Where is my owner? I thought that I came with one”

 

Friday Round Up

Time for a quick and dirty round-up from our unkempt and overflowing in-box, looking back over the past month or so.

We have fuzzy art-rock from Sego who mix together warped psych rock and indie pop to create bleak pop songs that soar into big hooks and brilliant melodic noise. Opting for a slower tempo on Cigarette Kids, their most recent single is less skronk and more groove, a song that captures the mood of early shoegaze and post-punk.

 

Brooklyn three-piece Big Bliss deliver shimmering, jangling, energetic post punk, Override is the b-side to latest single Contact.

 

The Monster from Bird Concerns features gritty guitars, tight vocal harmonies and driving drum beats. Fueled by early musical influences of punk and garage artists, this is an excellent three and a half minute surf rock confessional.

 

Not much known about the excellently named The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness, but they have a lovely line in sugary, jangle pop of C86 vintage. Listen to Nervous Man.

 

We’ve featured Falmouth based Tinnedfruit a couple of times and new single Oh Matron is another tasty slice of fuzzed up garage psych.

 

Vancouver trip Bad Pop shared the gentle On Your Own, a sweetly melancholic slacker-pop song.

 

Ricky Hell & The Voidboys take their name and influences from obvious sources, but their self-styled Cleveland gutter-pop works brilliantly on the buzzsaw riff and nihilistic lyrics of The Feeling Is Alright. It comes from their Hell Is Real album available on Bandcamp.

 

Taking inspiration from the likes of  The Velvet Underground, Wilco, Tom Petty, and Serge Gainsbourg, LA based indie band American Pets’ Forgetting from new release Doing The Best We Can is a quietly strummed mix of suburban nostalgia and nightmare.

 

The Tillers’ are a country string band capable of seamlessly moving from hard-tackle thump to tender graceful melody – lightening-fast banjo to intricate guitar flat picking, plaintive fiddle, deep anchoring bass and clear tenor harmonies. Revolution Row comes from their new self-titled record, which is out next month.

 

Lastly we have some more snotty, psych-surf rock ‘n’ roll sound in the vein of The Cramps or Ty Segall, from Brighton’s Strange Cages. They’ve appeared on MM a few times and excellent new single Hypothalamus Blues combines elements of krautrock and post-punk with a paranoid, schizophrenic vocal.