Posts Tagged ‘Arborist’

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

160 The Pink Mountaintops – North Hollywood Microwaves (2014)

 

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

 

159 Calexico – Two Silver Trees (2008)

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

 

158 Mountain Man – Animal Tracks (2009)

 

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

 

157 Wire – One Of Us (2008)

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

154 Whalers – That Rabbit (2010)

 

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

 

153 Van William – Revolution (2017)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

149 The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin (2008)

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

 

158 Chad VanGaalen – Cries Of The Dead (2008)

 

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

 

147 Middle Brother – Daydreaming (2011)

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

 

146 Arborist – Twisted Arrow (2015)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

144 Sparks – Let The Monkey Drive (2008)

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

 

143 Titus Andronicus – Titus Andronicus (2008)

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

 

142 TRAAMS – Succulent Thunder Anthem (2015)

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

 

141 Pontiak – Shell Skull (2008)

 

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

 

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

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The first of our four individual listings comes from The Italian Job – she of the detailed spreadsheets and punk rock outlook. Listen on Spotify here.

20. Underworld – I Exhale

 

19. The Wave Pictures – Pool Hall

 

18. Arborist – I Heard Him Leaving

 

17. Kyle Craft – Before The Wall

 

16. Terry Malts – Used To Be

 

15. Quiet Hollers – Broken Guitar

 

14. Parquet Courts – Dust

 

13. Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack

 

12. Old Sea Brigade – Sleep In The Park

 

11. Mind Spiders –  Cold

 

10. Jamie T – Tinfoil Boy
Let’s start with this song that, quite frankly (and weirdly) I am still not quite sure what to make of. It is an unusual Jamie T’s song, to say the list, but I have to be true to my admit that I just find it absolutely brilliant and totally catching. So, in all its glorious eccentricity, there it is, happily sitting at no.10.

 

9. The Julie Ruin – I Decide
This song nearly didn’t make it to my top ten because, you know, fierce competition and all that.. but I was just kidding myself! These girls managed to combine whimsical and nonsensical lyrics sung with a childish, cheeky voice with earth-shattering bass guitars mixed with a slightly dark but brilliant beat. It’s catchy, it works, I love it!

 

8. Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand
This track’s got it all. The noise, the energy, the sand, the heat, the sweat, the City of Angels.. you can feel it all! Without a doubt the best intro of my entire top 20, a screechy prelude to bold and distorted guitars reminiscent of the soundtrack to a particularly violent ’70 television crime drama. Hot!

 

7. James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone
A last minute entry, this song delivers the perfect balance between anger and.. more anger; my cup of tea, it hit me instantly! The ‘wicked’ brief guitar solo about two minutes into the song is what definitely sealed the deal for me! A powerful track.

 

6. The Bones of J.R. Jones – Hammers and Nails
It could not get more ‘folk’ than this, totally captivating! Hammers and Nails tells of ancient tales from the deep south, ritualistic dance routines around bonfires (well, in my head at least) and unnerving dark secrets. With its infectious beats it has firmly remained one of my favourite songs of this year since the first time I’ve listened to it.

 

5. Communist Daughter – Balboa Bridge
This is another last minute entry and holds a special place in my heart -and in my top 10. I read there is a story behind this song, a story of difficult times and a mental health struggle that gives it a deep meaning that goes beyond the beautiful, sweet and romantic tone. The lead singers’ voices are stunning and heart warming, this is a true gem of a song.

 

4. Mind Spiders – Running
Brilliantly played, from the first sharp guitar note this song’s pace is relentless and intense, borderline exhausting. It perfectly conveys the message in the title, setting off my little brain on a mild state of underlying-anxiety. It starts on a high that unrelentingly continues throughout. Cannot get enough of it.

 

3. Great American Canyon Band – Undertow
What a beautiful, beautiful song. A deep, languid ballad that gets better and better with every upcoming note, until the lead guitar comes in and suddenly takes it to yet another level. I could get lost in this song, I could praise it ‘at infinitum’. It’s an outstanding piece of music.

 

2. TRAAMS – A House on Fire
Seeing TRAAMS live recently was a revelation in itself, their performance was nothing short of magnificent! Powerful, aggressive, implacable, with unbelievably impressive guitars. Their latest single A House on Fire is all this and even more, if any more is possible! An 8-minute long, epic, mind-blogging track that totally blew me away. One thing is clear, TRAAMS do not mess about.

 

1. Ashley Shadow – Tired
Every now and then a song comes along that, like a mirror, seems to have the power to reflect a bit of your life back at you, that makes you think and makes you ‘feel’, with a message comforting and melancholic at the same time. This is what this stunning, timeless piece does for me. Ashley Shadow’s voice is angelic, warm and reassuring; the song is classy, beautiful, unsophisticated. My indisputable choice for the top spot of the year. Totally deserves it!

 

Tomorrow we have Chris T Popper’s favourite twenty songs of the year. Click through to check out our favourite 100 tracks of 2016 (100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-1) and our album choices here.

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Inside the top fifty of our favourite songs of the year now. Check numbers 50 – 26 and come back tomorrow for the final countdown…

50 BAIT – I’m Still Here

 

49 Big Thief – Paul

 

48 Kyle Craft – Before The Wall

 

47 Staches – Total Commitment

 

46 Arborist – I Heard Him Leaving

 

45 Hooded Fang – Dead Battery

 

44 Yowl – The Imminent Return

 

43 Quiet Hollers – Broken Guitar

 

42 Ultimate Painting – Bills

 

41 Mind Spiders – Cold

 

40 Flat Worms – Petulance

 

39 Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore

 

38 Old Sea Brigade – Sleep In The Park

 

37 Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree

 

36 Jacuzzi Boys – Lucky Blade

 

35 Fat White Family – Breaking Into Aldi

 

34 The Cave Singers – That’s Why

 

33 Neighbors – Angel O

 

32 The Lumineers – Gale Song

 

31 The Julie Ruin – I Decide

 

30 The Bones Of J.R. Jones – Hammers And Nails

 

29 PJ Harvey – Guilty

 

28 Joseph Coward – Peanut Girl

 

27 Magic Potion – Milk

 

26 Agnes Obel – Its Happening Again

 

Check the full list so far: 100-76, 75-51.

Arborist Share Dark Stream

Posted: October 12, 2016 in Acoustic, Folk, Indie, Music
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Arborist

Dark Stream is the new single from Northern Ireland’s Arborist. Beginning with a stark, quasi-funeral horn it launches in to a haunting and affecting lament, awash with typically gorgeous melodies and arrangements that showcase Mark McCambridge’s rich vocals and thoughtful songwriting.

We’ve already shared the six minute ramble of A Man Of My Age and the subtly melancholic I Heard Him Leaving, but this may well be the best of them all so far. All come from forthcoming album Home Burial, due out on 11 November via Kirkinrola Records.

Have a listen.

 

Debut Album From Arborist

Posted: September 13, 2016 in Americana, Country, Folk, Indie, Music, Rock
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Home Burial is the debut album from Northern Ireland’s Arborist, aka songwriter Mark McCambridge, a long standing favourite of MM since the release of his marvellous debut single Twisted Arrow in 2015. The album will see a release on the 11th November.

Ranging from bleak Americana to melodic indie rock, the songs on the album deal with death, ageing and family. Blending layered harmonies, atmospheric guitars, luscious strings with occasional brass flourishes, the music speaks of stark truths and follows in the footsteps of some of the masters of this genre like Leonard Cohen, Bill Callahan, and Jason Molina.

The first taste from it is a tale from the female perspective I Heard Him Leaving, a subtle take on a first person narrative with an emphasis on the small, telling details.

Have a listen.

 

New From Arborist

Posted: June 9, 2016 in Americana, Folk, Indie, Music, Pop, Rock
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Arborist2015 saw the release of the wonderful Twisted Arrow, the debut single by Belfast’s Arborist, fronted by Mark McCambridge. A nonchalant and thoughtful piece of Americana, it features the casual yet unmistakeable tones of Kim Deal. It was very well received and was one of our favourite tracks of the year.

Arborist’s music is measured and mature while remaining starkly modern. Centred around McCambridge’s soaring vocal and unique lyrical style, it speaks of bleak truths (Leonard Cohen, Bill Callahan, Jason Molina) but delivers them with an assured soulfulness.

New single A Man of My Age is a confident, six-minute ramble through the day-to-day and a nigh on perfect follow up to Twisted Arrow.

Listen below.

 

MM Best of 2015 no guitarAnd so here is the final personal Top Twenty of the year. This time it is my turn!

Another twelve months neatly wrapped up and delivered for your listening pleasure and here’s to 2016…

20. Quiet Hollers – Mont Blanc

An apocalyptic, “end-is-nigh” rolling, country rock anthem. Pure poetry with the best coda to a song I heard all year, “shed a tear for the books I shoulda read“.

 

19. H. Hawkline – Spooky Dog

Melodic, haunting, weird. Perfect psych-pop with added twisted electronics.

 

18. Arborist – Twisted Arrow

Brilliant debut single of lilting folk-rock concealing a bleak heart and featuring the hushed vocals of none other than Kim Deal of the Pixies.

 

17. Courtney Barnett – Depreston

With her forensic eye for lyrical detail and the ability to capture emotional turmoil in the sparest of sentences, Depreston is the sombre standout from her brilliant debut album proper. A tale of house hunting in Melbourne suburbia that travels from the mundane to the tender to the revealing.

 

16. Grandparents – Kids In The Alley

Take the most infectiously catchy refrain, add jangly guitars, carefree percussion and bubblegum melodies. This is what you get. A hallucinatory classic.

 

15. Futurekids – White Girl In A Wu Tang T-Shirt

Irresistible foot-tapping indie rock, the like of which you just don’t hear very much anymore.

 

14. Woolen Men – Life In Hell

A clattering, staccato burst of tense, nervy post-punk that recalls the best of Wire and The Wipers. The aural equivalent of being jabbed in the throat by a stray elbow in the mosh pit.

 

13. Rats On Rafts – Last Day On Earth

A mini masterpiece of epic, circling, incessant grooves. Far, far, far out man.

 

12. Decemberists – Carolina Low

This was one of those stopped-in-your-tracks moments that music gives you sometimes. Watching the Decemberists live in Bristol at the start of the year and Colin Meloy transfixing the whole audience into rapt attention with just guitar and voice. Also spent much of the year repeating “You’ve got an ugly little mouth boy” in a poor imitation of an American accent.

 

11. Low – What Part Of Me

Classic Low – haunting, spectral, fuzzy and quietly, poignantly devastating.

 

10. Spray Paint – Signal Master

Like Chris T Popper, Spray Paint are my favourite discovery of 2015. Easily the sleaziest, seediest offering of the year – caustic, dead-eyed junkie punk, bleak, repetitive, and crushingly brilliant. “It’s time to put the dog down“.

 

9. Protomartyr – Why Does It Shake

The Agent Intellect was unexpectedly my favourite record of 2015 and any number of tracks could legitimately have gatecrashed my favourite songs of the year. In the end I had to limit myself to two. This one, Why Does It Shake is described by the band as a “back-handed ode to humanity’s resilient self regard in the face of inevitable oblivion. Then the trap door opens.” and is equally exasperated and eloquent. It sets the tone with the doom-laden “False happiness is on the rise, See the victims pile high” and concludes in a stunning climax of clatter and squall.

 

8. Quiet Hollers – Côte d’Azur

A hit man, a traffic jam. A sparkling ocean. Another extraordinary track of ominous, foreboding beauty from the Quiet Hollers.

 

7. Gun Outfit – Gotta Wanna

I’m a sucker for dusty, sun-parched rock and expansive widescreen Americana and Gotta Wanna combines the two in perfect unison. This is humming road-weary, dusty desert blues of the finest vintage.

 

6. Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts – Scowling Crackhead Ian

The latecomers entry to the list. Over the course of a few short weeks Jeffrey Lewis’s wryly told tale of growing up with the evil anti-hero of his school days, until they are the only two left in the neighbourhood has firmly embedded itself in to my psyche. It effortlessly helps you to recall your own equivalent of Ian, someone you actively tried to avoid and whose unpredictability could be shocking and whose meanness was legendary (mine was Robert Beckett). “Forever you’ve been Crackhead Ian, It was your kid nickname if we spoke it, You were an insane human being, Whether you ever did or didn’t really smoke it“. Says it all really.

 

5. Girl Band – Pears For Lunch

Girl Band’s Holding Hands With Jamie was a criminally underrated release this year. A band that manages to take the most discordant, contradictory noise and meld it into something magnetically compelling that grips like a vice. Pears For Lunch combines a manic energy with Dara Kiely’s lethargic, disinterested vocals as he intones, “Spend my time watching Top Gear with my trousers down, Covered in Sudocrem and talking to myself, Garlic Curry Cheese Chips“. Exactly!

 

4. Traams – Succulent Thunder Anthem

Just shy of three minutes of propulsive, throbbing bass, skimming guitars and urgent vocals. This is Traams at their rollicking, ferocious best.

 

3. Protomartyr – Pontiac 87

The finest riff of the year, and a brilliantly hypnotic reflection on a dispiriting Papal visit to Pontiac, Michigan in the late eighties.

 

2. Houndmouth – Sedona

The best sing-a-long chorus of the year bar none. Altogether now, “Hey little Hollywood, You’re gone but you’re not forgot, You got the cash but your credit’s no good, You flipped the script and you shot the plot, And I remember I remember when your neon used to burn so bright and pink, A Saturday night kinda pink“.

 

1 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin’

Probably the most overwhelming choice for number one song of the year that we’ve had in seven years of voting. A fingerpicked earworm, a sprawl of twangy guitar and surreal, laconic lyrics combine to create the perfect ode to stoned self-reflection.

 

And some other random choices..

Favourite cover of the year: Kinky Friedman – My Shit’s Fucked Up (Warren Zevon cover)

 

Gigs of the year: Fat White Family (Oxford) and The Decemberists (Bristol)

 

Song I wished I’d heard earlier in the year: Robert Chaney – The Ballad Of Edward And Lisa

 

Best Songs Heard For The First Time, But Not From This Year: Justin Townes Earle – Yuma & Sleaford Mods – Chop Chop Chop

 

 

You can see our full countdown of our favourite 100 Tracks of the year here (100-76), (75-51), (50-26), (25-1) and favourite 30 Albums here (30-16), (15-1).

MM BEST OF 2015

Time for the MM countdown of our favourite tracks of the year to begin. Over the next few days we’ll be revealing our top 100 tracks and top 30 albums of 2015, with contributions from Mrs Mackerel, Chris T Popper, Polly Pocket and Franca. We’ll also share their personal choices with you next week.

So without further ado, here are numbers 100 through to 76.

100 Ultimate Painting – Woken By Noises

 

99 Samantha Crain – Elk City

 

98 Diet Cig – Dinner Date

 

97 Cruising – Safe Corridor

 

96 Gold Class – Life As A Gun

 

95 Beach Slang – Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas

 

94 Arborist – Twisted Arrow

 

93 Kodiak Deathbeds – Borderline

 

92 Summer Twins – Demons

 

91 Together PANGEA – Blue Mirror

 

90 Tallest Man On Earth – Dark Bird Is Home

 

89 Wilco – Random Name Generator

 

88 James McMurtry – South Dakota

 

87 J Fernandez – Between The Channels

 

86 Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang – I’ve Been A Long Time Leaving

 

85 Drenge – We Can Do What We Want

 

84 Spray Paint – Thrash Master

 

83 Bueno – Babyface

 

82 Slaves – Despair And Traffic

 

81 Ezra Furman – Ordinary Life

 

80 Table Scraps – Motorcycle (Straight To Hell)

 

79 Trance Farmers – Garbage Night

 

78 The Felice Brothers – Carriage

 

77 Wavves – My Head Hurts

 

76 Titus Andronicus – Into The Void (Filler)

 

Check back tomorrow for numbers 75 – 51.

MM Shorts 678: Arborist

Posted: March 17, 2015 in Alternative, Country, Indie, Music, Rock
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Twisted Arrow is the debut single from Belfast-based Arborist (aka songwriter Mark McCambridge) and features Kim Deal of The Breeders on backing vocals.

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

Highly recommended this one. Stream it here.