Posts Tagged ‘Arcade Fire’

Mrs Mackerel's Top Songs of 2013

As well as our Top 100 tunes of the year that we’ve posted over the past few days, each of the MM contributors have put together their own lists. Today it is the turn of Mrs Mackerel.

20. Steve Mason – A Lot of Love
Love the piano on this song and the catchy, sing-a-long chorus – a guaranteed earworm if I had any (ears that is… being a fish, of course.) Steve Mason’s gentle vocals reflect on love lost and the hope of finding it again.

19. The Villagers – Nothing Arrived
I’m loving the piano this year and there’s a good bit of gutsy playing here. What were we hoping to get out of this boys? Nothing actually. People are so bloody disappointing aren’t they?

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 18.  Junip – Line of Fire
Sold to me in wistful and reflective mode; there’s more than a kernal of truth in these insightful lyrics: You realise it’s just a whim/And you notice it matters/Who and what you let under your skin.

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17. Sisters – Clearhead
Here are my shoes. See how I gaze at them. It says 2013 on the label, but I’ve gone back to the early 90s. Lovely.

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16. Foxygen – No Destruction
It’s the lazy, laconic drawl and the finger-clicking rhythm – just one hand if you’re me, as the other doesn’t seem to work – and the way you can sing along to ‘No destruct-shaan’ quite happily, even in modest company.

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15. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Wide Lovely Eyes
Oh clever, clever Nicholas Cave and his voice so hypnotic, deep and dark. You could imagine this as part of a recruitment drive to join a cult (yes you, with your wide lovely eyes). With a teasing yet subdued musical arrangement, this is the gospel according to St Nick.

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14. Head & the Heart – Shake
The bass drum kicks this one into action, then a little bit of clapping and the rest of the band follows. There’s a sweet change of tempo for the chorus: ‘And the memories we made will never be lost, no.’ Maybe not with the ink, pens, and prevailing wind and all that shaking.

13.  Arcade Fire – Reflektor
We are right in the mix here: a bit of dance therapy needed. Remember the hypnotic triangle of cooker/fridge/sink? Throw some shapes, make a curry, go knock yourself out; I didn’t want to dance, but they made me.

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12. Laura Marling – Devil’s Resting Place
There’s menace and a brooding darkness in this devil’s resting place as LM returns to the pared back sound of Alas I Cannot Swim.  But there are many layers to this music and her latest album has an intensity and intelligence that means she’s still my number one gal.

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11.  Jus Post Bellum – It’s a Shame
Cowboys! Gunfight! This is an upbeat folky number with a wicked drum backbeat that pulls it all together like a rolling canter. He’s a bad ‘un and it’s a shame.

10. Waxahatchee – Swan Dive
The rhythmic drumming and finger picking guitar counter balance Katie Crutchfield’s rich, husky vocal in this short, melancholic lament: you hold on to the past, you make yourself miserable/and I’m ruled by seasons and sadness that’s inexplicable. So there.

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9.   Shovels & Rope – Johnny 99
Yes, it’s a Bruce Springsteen cover, but quite frankly, so what? This is a damn fine tune and that’s one hell of a Marlboro red voice she’s got there. And did I mention the piano (again)?

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8.   Alela Diane – Colorado Blue
Sharply observed lyrics float over a gently strummed backdrop, this song is plumbed from the emotional depths of her divorce album. Might not get you in the Christmas spirit but is sure to bring a lump to your throat.

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7.   Night Beds – Even If We Try
It starts off acappela, and finishes somewhere around dawn. Yes, this is indeed a late night/wee small hours tune if ever there was one. Recorded Bon Iver-style in a self-built studio, this is an intimate song of longing and reflection:  As you watch the colours/Fleeting with the cover/Nature set on fire/Truth found in the mire. There’s space under my wing, Winston.

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6.   Water Liars – Linens
Pull up a chair, I wanna tell you a story about tormented man. To be honest, he’s too much trouble for me (cook your own bacon, change your own sheets boyo), but I like a good yarn and a telling verse: The mind is a place unto itself/ And in it makes a heaven of hell/And a hell of heaven. Quite.

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5.   Jesse Woods – Cold Blood
This one’s a bit of a swayer and despite the title, Cold Blood is lyrically beautiful and uplifting. You can drift into the rise and fall of the music and the harmonies – and, like the man says, we’ve got places to be and nothing to prove.

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4.   James Yorkston – Just As Scared
Every couple of years I seem to find the perfect smoky bar song. Here’s just such a tune: a cheek-to-cheek intimate duet that shuffles around the piano with a bluesy feel that gets my foot a-tapping. Now where’s your shoulder, let me very gently lay my head…

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3.  Wooden Wand – Southern Colorado Song
I could rename this Southern Devon song: late July, lying on the beach with the waves rushing into my ears.  Can you hear the cymbal tremor throughout this song? Nowhere seems the only place to go; aye, Captain.

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2.   Georgia’s Horse – Thistlebomb
Tales from the battlefield: an unusual, almost discordant arrangement with sublime vocals. If I was looking for an influence, maybe a hint of Kate Bush? Quite unique and utterly brilliant.

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1. Phosphorescent – Song for Zula
Matthew Houck’s ragged voice was not always to my taste. But time has altered us both and it’s his strong yet fragile vocals that stitch together Zula’s imagery, which cuts far and deep. Intensely poignant lyrics, sweeping strings, pulsing drum machine: it all weaves together to form an emotional testament to the end of a relationship. Ever had your heart broken? This is what it feels like.

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Special mentions:

School Anthem 2013

Woody Pines – Hobo and his Bride
What’s a five mile trip to school without a bit of crooning about a hobo? It’s just me and the littlest Sprat in the Minner now and it’s often a power struggle over the play list. Joe, you win: your sing-along to this is top banana.

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Best Covers:

Deep Red Sky – Kids

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Eddie Berman with Laura Marling – Dancing in the Dark

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Jessica Lea Mayfield – I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)

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Best gig:

Phosphorescent, Village Underground, London (15 May 2013)
Fab acoustics and great sound, and, of course, the warm-up for his Muchacho tour. For me, there was no finer album of 2013. Perfect.

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Wooden Wand – Winter in Kentucky
Most. Favourite. Song. Ever.

If I had to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

MM's Favourite Tracks Of 2013: 75 - 51

The countdown of our one hundred favourite tracks of 2013 continues…today we reach halfway as we bring you 75 down to 51.

75 GRMLN – Summer Days
Thrashy, catchy, singalong rock’n’roll with platform shoes and ridiculous flares.

Download GRMLN – Summer Days mp3

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74 Sisters – Clearhead
Here are my shoes. See how I gaze at them. It says 2013 on the label, but I’ve gone back to the early 90s. Lovely. (Mrs M)

 

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73 Courtney Barnett – History Eraser
Deadpan, conversational, charming, funny, literal and literate – a drunken night’s tale told with an upbeat lo-fi jangle and amiable vocal delivery.

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72 Pickwick – Lady Luck
Gorgeous cover of the Richard Swift tune, and featuring Sharon Van Etten.


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71 Holograms – A Blaze On The Hillside
Most thrilling riff of the year?

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70 Willie Nile – American Ride
The best roadtrip song we’ve heard in many a moon, impassioned and infectious.

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69 Cerny Brothers – Whiskey
Moonshine Americana straight from the back porch.

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68 Mickey Gloss – Are You Happy
Wry social commentary meets punk DIY and garage psychedelia in a distillation of antipodean sun and London melancholia.

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67 Nick Cave – Wide Lovely Eyes
Oh clever, clever Nicholas Cave and his voice so hypnotic, deep and dark. You could imagine this as part of a recruitment drive to join a cult (yes you, with your wide lovely eyes). With a teasing yet subdued musical arrangement, this is the gospel according to St Nick. (Mrs M)

 

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66 Barbarossa – The Load
A sparse and delicate ballad, undercut by a distorted organ refrain, and constructed around remarkable and tender vocals.

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65 The Orwells – Who Needs Who
Roaring drums and aggressive, snapping vocals gave us the most thrilling garage punk single of the year.

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64 Fuzz – Sleigh Ride
Heaviest riff of the year?

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63 Cass McCombs – Big Wheel
Hypnotic, rumbling, country-dirt travelogue.

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62 Arcade Fire – Reflektor
We are right in the mix here: a bit of dance therapy needed. Remember the hypnotic triangle of cooker/fridge/sink? Throw some shapes, make a curry, go knock yourself out; I didn’t want to dance, but they made me. (Mrs M)

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61 Chelsea Light Moving – Lip
Hardcore anthem of the year.

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60 The Cave Singers – Canopy
Sun-drenched, mellow indie folk opener from their Naomi album.

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59 Coma Cinema – Virgin Veins
Spare and haunting. Talking of quiet suffering, loneliness, ugliness and confusion, “The heart is a monument / to a childhood of abuse.

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58 Dune Rats – Stoner Pop
In a parallel world somewhere, this was the smash hit of the summer.

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57 Wooden Wand & The World War IV – I Hate The Nightlife
On Wooden Wand’s wrist is a tattoo: WWNYD – What Would Neil Young Do? Our guess? Buy this record. Epic, taut, tense, and full of the fiery guitar so beloved of NY.

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56 The Head & The Heart – Shake
The bass drum kicks this one into action, a little bit of clapping and then, hello, the rest of the band follows. There’s a sweet change of tempo for the chorus: ‘And the memories we made will never be lost, no.’ Maybe not, but watch out for that prevailing wind. (Mrs M)

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55 Half Moon Run – Full Circle
A captivating blend of exquisite guitar lines and delicate folk melodies.

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54 Quiet American – Wild Bill Jones
Old time folk for modern times, Quiet American bring new light to the many faceted tale of all-American bad boy Wild Bill Jones.

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53 Gaz Coombes Presents – One Of These Days
Heartfelt, beautiful melancholia set to a piano and strings and a pulsing bass line.

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52 Blitzen Trapper – Feel The Chill
That old wreck of a shack buried in evergreen and murky darkness at the bend in the road up on Jackson Hill where we used to drink and never failed to give me a chill driving by in the old Impala for it’s implacable mystery.” That’s where Feel the Chill takes place.

 

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51 Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – Gammy Leg
I underestimated this offering from Australia’s finest when I first listened to it. Essentially a tale of the immense bad luck befalling the protagonist and his ‘gammy leg’ it’s easy to dismiss. That would be a mistake. The wonderful deadpan, matter of fact delivery is laced with some brilliant throwaway lines and the black humour never wavers for a second. (CP)

Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.As with previous years we will be posting over the next few days the Top Ten track selections for 2011 of various MM friends and contributors, as well as our Best Albums of 2011 and own best of the year list.

To kick us off we have Polly Pocket.

10. Friends – I’m His Girl

A great getting ready to go out kind of a tune.

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9. Ben Howard – Old Pine

A happy and warm glowing song, it just makes you feel good and there is nothing wrong with that.

Download Ben Howard – Old Pine mp3 (from Old Pine EP)

8. Sunparlour Players – Green Thumb

How can anyone resist a song that starts with Christmas slay bells? Impossible to listen to without singing along.

Download The Sunparlour Players – Green Thumb mp3 (from Us Little Devils)

7. Laura Marling – I Was Just A Card

Hard to choose which Laura track to include. The good thing is they all remind me of a fabulous lunchtime not so long ago in a Cathedral with Mrs M.

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6. Arcade Fire – Speaking In Tongues

I have no idea what this song is about but that doesn’t stop it from being great. Nice to have David Byrne cropping up in it too.

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5. Meredith Adeliade & Josh Schroeder – So It Goes

I find myself frequently humming this tune, simple, stripped back, catchy, great.

Download Josh Schroeder and Meredith Adelaide – So It Goes mp3

4. Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks

Dealing with dark matter whilst sounding all happy and light, just my cup of tea.

Download Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks mp3 (from Pumped Up Kicks single)

3. Annie Williams – Roll On Hills

Beautiful voice, beautiful song, timeless.

Download Annie Williams – Roll On Hills mp3 (from This Mountain)

2. A.A Bondy – The Twist

This is such a massive song, all dark and rich, just lovely.

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1. Cave Singers – Swim Club

Its been in the number one slot forever, a simple and brilliant tune in my humble opinion!

Download The Cave Singers – Swim Club mp3 (from No Witch)

Bubbling Under

5. Elbow – Lippy Kids

4. Sand Band – Song That Sorrow Sings

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3. Tallest Man On Earth – I Won’t Be Around

2. Noah And The Whale – LIFEGOESON

1. Bored Man Overboard – Abigail

Check out her 2010 Top Ten here.

So after much deliberation, head scratching, discussion, and more head scratching, we have MM’s favourite albums of 2010. And we choose our words very carefully here, because we would not presume them to be the best, only those that have given us the most pleasure and enjoyment, records that we have returned to again and again, and for whatever reason have captured a moment or special place in our hearts.

And while we have limited our selection to 25 albums there were many, many more that could have, and maybe should have, featured. But there that’s the beauty of music, entirely subjective and based on individual opinions not fact.

So without further ado, here are our 25 favourite albums of 2010.

25 Sharon Van Etten – Epic


Haunting, ethereal and stunning album from a modern day siren. Sad prairie folk music indeed.

Download Sharon Van Etten – Love More mp3

24 Haunted Windchimes – Honey Moonshine


Traditional, old-timey backwoods, backporch music that burrowed its way into your head and then refused to budge.

Download The Haunted Windchimes – Don’t Take My Baby Away (Baby Back) mp3

23 The Streets On Fire – This Is Fancy


High voltage, good time, bad boy rock ‘n’ roll that was as good and as unashamedly fun as it was simple. Garage rock reclaimed.

Download The Streets On Fire – That’s Hard To Find mp3

22 Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues


The son of the peerless Steve Earle comes of age with a perfectly judged set of tales that in their honesty and unashamed frankness are worthy of Townes himself.

Listen to Harlem River Blues.

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21 Titus Andronicus – The Monitor


With repeated listens the sheer power and passion of The Monitor becomes overwhelming. So what if it is a concept album about the American Civil War, its ambitious, rebellious, and rousing. Just play it loud!

Download Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union mp3

20 Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Hawk


Another perfectly judged record from the perfectly matched duo. Campbell’s lovely whispering tones offset by Mr Lanagan’s threatening growl.

Listen to Snake Song.

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19 Lower Dens – Twin Hand Movement

An album of dreamy, unsettling rock melded with freak-folk to provide one of the year’s most unusual and most rewarding listens. At times it sounds like an evil Beach House and at others spare and caustic where hope is slowly, but firmly drowned in a swirling, atmospheric mix of twinkling guitars and alluring voices.

Download Lower Dens – Hospice Gates mp3

18 The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt


A fine follow up to the outstanding Shallow Grave, the trademark Dylanesque vocals allied to a set of cracking tales from the bible to bullfighting.

Download The Tallest Man On Earth – The King Of Spain mp3

17 The Migrant – Travels In Lowland


With its dreamlike journey into psych-indie, the debut album from The Migrant was one of the most surprising and engaging folk records of the year.

Download The Migrant – The Organ Grinder mp3

16 Tweak Bird – Tweak Bird


In the vein of the much lauded and genuinely good Tame Impala, Tweak Bird were louder, faster, and simply rocked harder. A superb mix of motorcycle rock riffs with dirty fingernail blues and even a hint of jazz. This was stoner rock for the 21st century and it was brilliant.

Download Tweak Bird – A Sun Ahh Ahh mp3

15 Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions


In Christ Jesus from the Black Dirt Sessions, Deer Tick delivered one of the truly primal and affecting moments of musical recording in 2010, and the rest of the album wasn’t half bad either.

Download Deer Tick – Twenty Miles mp3

14 Delta Spirit – History From Below


Indie rock with a country inflection, Delta Spirit packed History From Below full of dusty, rural Americana and bar room blues boogie. With the impassioned and distinctive voice of Matt Vasquez backed by a rumbling juggernaut of percussion and rhythms, the album was a welcome addition to the long tradition of classic American rock.

Download Delta Spirit – Bushwick Blues mp3

13 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs


Indie gods manage to live up to, and then surpass the hype with The Suburbs, an album full of outstanding tracks that demand they be listened to as a whole – a proper music album.

Watch Ready To Start.

12 Band Of Horses – Infinite Arms


Despite some occasional iffy AOR moments, Infinite Arms was like the girl with the curl, and when it was good (which it mostly was), it was brilliant.

Watch Laredo.

11 Black Keys – Brothers


Authentic blues duo cranked out their best yet and in tracks like Sinister Kid and Howlin’ For You added some more classic cuts to their catalogue.

Watch Tighten Up.

10 Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can


Showcasing her incredible natural talent despite such tender years, I Speak Because I Can truly marked Laura Marling out as a worthy heiress to Joni, Emmy Lou and the like. Darker, stronger, and more confident than her debut, she is surely poised for great things.

Watch Rambling Man.

9 Liars – Sisterworld


A brilliant collection of crushing guitars, machine gun percussion and soaring vocals that retained its experimental art-noise edge but became much more accessible and much more listenable – welcome to the big league time?

Listen to the superb Proud Evolution.

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8 The National – High Violet


Overcoming the music blogger’s ‘big band’ prejudice with ease, High Violet was bigger, better and more affecting than anything the National have done to date.

Listen to Conversation 16.

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7 Strand Of Oaks – Pope Killdragon


Having caught our attention with their wonderful Springsteen cover on Hear Ya, Strand of Oaks more than lived up to our expectations with Pope Killdragon. Sparse folk tunes mixed with occasional and abstract guitar wigouts and also showcased Tim Showalter’s ability to grab the attention with some of the best lyrical couplets of the year. Stand out track Alex Kona a case in point, starting “Alex Kona was twelve feet tall, his mother was killed by a bowling ball” – what’s not to like?

Download Strand of Oaks – Bonfire mp3

6 Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – How Snakes Eat


Spare, beautiful, mournful and melancholic, the fragile folk of Mathew Sawyer hid whiplash lyrics and biting black humour that revealed and revelled in a bittersweet world where daydreams and nightmares fought to the death for supremacy.

Download Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Mynah Birds Call mp3

5 Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart

Backwards-looking it maybe, but that’s to miss the point of Black Mountain. This was an album bursting with rock riffs that were so good you thought they must have been invented in the classic age of rock, and in Let Spirits Ride, the band provided the headbanging anthem of the year.

Download Black Mountain – Old Fangs mp3

4 Dr Dog – Shame, Shame


Another wonderful record of rousing, country infused tunes. Each listen revealed more of its anthemic charms and spirited, rugged rock on an album full of top notch tunes from start to finish.

Watch Shadow People.

3 Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer Of The Void

A brilliant and worthy follow-up to the exceptional Furr, and in songs like The Man Who Would Speak True, Blitzen Trapper showed they had worthy successors to classics like Black River Killer and the like. Full of prog-folk, dusty rural ballads, sci-fi synths and more, Destroyer of the Void was a stunning record.

Download Blitzen Trapper – Heaven And Earth mp3

2 Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy

After the sublime To Willie tribute last year came the originals. From the loose, ramshackle rock of It’s Hard to Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama) to cowboy ballads, transcendental homages, and the climactic, Neil Young like, epic album closer L.A.

Download Phosphorescent – The Mermaid Parade mp3

1 Wooden Wand – Wither Thou Goest, Cretin

Despite Wither Thous Goest, Cretin only receiving an initially limited release, and despite it being overshadowed by the subsequent release of (the also excellent) The Death Seat on Michael Gira’s label, Wooden Wand delivered an album of stunning simplicity, in equal parts poignant, heartbreaking, and redemptive.

With lyrics that are the match of any songwriter we know (“He had just enough rope in his trunk to make her nervous”) allied to sparse, plucked folk on the one hand and footstomping barnyard rhythms on the other, there is not a wasted moment, nor a false step on the entire album.

Download Wooden Wand – The Fly mp3