Posts Tagged ‘Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny’

To finish off our favourites of the year, here are numbers thirty to sixteen of the albums we have most enjoyed in 2012.

Don’t forget to check back for our 100 Favourite Tunes and the MM contributor’s best of lists too.

Joe Pug GD

30 Joe Pug – The Great Despiser

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dcw

29 David Cronenberg’s Wife – Don’t Wait To Be Hunted To Hide

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boh mirage rock

28 Band Of Horses – Mirage Rock

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lord huron ld

27 Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams

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jbm stray ashes

26 JBM – Stray Ashes

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mama rosin bbb

25 Mama Rosin – Bye Bye Bayou

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red river dialect awell

24 Red River Dialect – Awellupontheway

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damon moon lungs

23 Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams

Download Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams mp3 (from Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams)

Download Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Loose Ends mp3 (from Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams)

diamond rugs

22 Diamond Rugs – Diamond Rugs

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gravenhurst gid

21 Gravenhurst – The Ghost In Daylight

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daughn gibson ah

20 Daughn Gibson – All Hell

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wof thirst

19 Waves Of Fury – Thirst

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felice bros gbya

18 The Felice Brothers – God Bless You Amigo

Download The Felice Brothers – Lincoln Continental mp3 (from God Bless You Amigo)

bjh ytcn

17 Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – Yours Truly Cellophane Nose

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simone felice album

16 Simone Felice – Simone Felice

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tmoe tnln

15 The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

MM's Best of 2012 Part 4 40-21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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33 GRAVENHURST – THE FOUNDRY

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

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

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

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

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Download from Rough Trade for free here.

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

Download Two Gallants – Broken Eyes mp3

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

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

Download Father John Misty – Writing A Novel mp3

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

Download Band In Heaven – Sleazy Dreams mp3

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

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

Download King Charles – Love Lust mp3

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

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

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

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22 LORD HURON – TIME TO RUN
An epic Western of a tune: a story song with a foot-tapping rhythm that mimics the flight of yer man and a great mid point when the bells of doom literally ring for our outlaw friend on the run. He did it all for love, silly boy, ‘cause when they catch him, he’s toast. (Mrs M)

Download Lord Huron – Time To Run mp3

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

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

Mrs Mackerel reviews Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny, at Kings College London Students’ Union, Wednesday 26th September 2012

Live Review: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny.

As a fish somewhat known for her tardiness with deadlines, this has proved to be no exception. It was a Wednesday night at KCL forum, with Jenny Wren and I masquerading as not quite the oldest swingers in town, but we were bringing up the rear, shall we say.

Despite our sombre mood, BJH and the happy Hoofers were well worth the journey. Being an honorary Hoof (with the signature to prove it) I somehow have a proprietorial sense over the band, or at least some case for inclusion. Where I’m not sure. The stage is small and the personalities are big. Diminutive she maybe, but Beth Jeans Houghton has huge stage presence and a pitch perfect falsetto vocal to match, despite nursing a sore throat this evening.

A rollicking good run through a lot of Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose saw Sweet Tooth Bird, Dodecahedron, Atlas, Franklin Benedict and a storming rendition of my song of the year, Liliputt. New songs included the instant foot-tapper, Joe Frasier, and we close the set with punk anthem Prick AKA Sean. Bloody Marvellous.

They have energy, true individuality and bags of traditional North Eastern humour, which of course I just love. The between song banter is class, yet I was somewhat disappointed not to be playing “mime the shape of your poo” – a game that MM had enjoyed at No Direction Home (enjoyed might be stretching it, but he is from Oxford).

Anyway, we loved them. I knew I would, the minute she trotted out in her fuchsia and black polka dot suit, with her back-combed blonde hair, and bright red pout, the Hooves with their ceremonial war paint. And now they’re relocating to LA. Our loss is Hollywood’s gain, I suppose. But there’s a new album in waiting – get a move on gal!

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Mad Mackerel's Best of the Year...so far!

So then, half way through the year already. Time to take stock and see what the first six months have delivered up in terms of new tunes and bands. We asked some of the regular MM contributors to pick three songs that have particularly struck a chord (sorry) with them in the first part of 2012.

Kyle Adem – Brother Follow 
Unlike Brains by Lower Dens this was an instant hit.  A real earthy campfire ditty with a grotesque sentiment I fully approve of. I make no apology for repeating the line MM brought to our attention in late April. ‘So our sisters became whores, and our brothers savage carnivores, devouring the bodies of our fathers’. Well that got my attention… and I’m pleased to report the quality of musicianship effortlessly matches the lyrics. Building in to a stomping climax sung with a equal parts desperation and aggression it may well be my song of the year so far. Kyle Adem I salute you sir.  (CP) 

Download Kyle Adem – Brother Follow mp3 (from Armour)

Aesop Rock – Zero Dark Thirty
What a start. What a tune, The bassline holds you down, whilst the drums jump on your chest. Lyrically Aesop Rock is head and shoulders above most of his competitors in this genre. His delivery, subject matter and phraseology is so unique and fresh it’s no wonder he has won such plaudits from his peers. The lyric “Spinning in the shadows of immoral magnets / are we supporting the artist or enabling the addict” shows great skill. This kind of poetry is sadly lacking in most of the so called Hip Hop that is touted round the charts, like music in a gimp suit. However it is the music that backs up all the wordplay that had me all over this track like White on rice.  (Dr R)

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The Alabama Shakes – Hang Loose
A great summer song with a real laid back feel to it The line “Hang loose / let the ocean worry about being blue” sums up the vibe of this track perfectly. I love the guitar intro that meanders along through the song providing a nice country accent to it. The drums are hard edged and drive the song along beautifully. There are also elements of soul to both the track and definitely to Brittany Howard’s vocals that seem to drape around this song effortlessly. To be honest on a sunny day, with a cold beer and this track, you can drift off to anywhere in the world.  (Dr R)

Download The Alabama Shakes – Hang Loose (Hear Ya Session) mp3 (from Hear Ya Session) Grab whole session from Hear Ya here.

Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny – Liliputt
In what should be Liz’s year, I say all hail the coronation of Queen B. From the sweeping string arrangements, to her falsetto harmonies, to the thrumming hooves of percussion that build the momentum, here is a tune that marks the musical originality – and arrival – of the one and only BJH. “I might die without these words having left my mouth” – OK then, I’ll say it: genius. (Mrs M)

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Richard Buckner – Willow
Ballad is sometimes a bit of a bastardised term, but don’t let Bonnie Tyler et al put you off. This is the real deal. “I can still remember…” so much melancholy and longing hinted at, both lyrically and musically. The simple arrangement dips and sways, well, like a willow tree actually, and is broken by a lovely twangy guitar bit, two verses in. I have always been a sucker for a man with a sad song and a guitar. Tick, tick. (Mrs M)

Download Richard Buckner – Willow mp3 (from Willow EP)

Father John Misty – Writing A Novel
Father John Misty’s album Fear Fun has been one of our most played of the year. It is lewd, bawdy, irreverent, frank and honest. Picking just one track is near nigh impossible, but in the end I went for Writing A Novel, carried along on a jaunty, rolling rhythm and spewing forth a lyrical stream of consciousness that borders on genius, and contains one of the years simplest and best lines, “I”m writing a novel, because its never been done before“. (MM)

Download Father John Misty – Writing A Novel mp3 (from Fear Fun) via R&G

Simone Felice – Hey Bobby Ray
Simone Felice is brother to the wonderful but ‘dark’ Felice Brothers. While his brothers sing about tragic lives and deaths, murders and gun-toting alcoholics, Simone … well Simone does the same. Just on his own. Hey Bobby Ray is the story of a sex attacker who is going to get what is coming to him. It starts slowly with Mr Felice’s slightly tortured vocals and builds to a point where a gospel choir chips in. It’s brilliant!  (B-SF)

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Field Report – I Am Not Waiting Any More
I nearly chose Fergus Falls by Field Report for a place in my top three, but this tune just has the edge. There are some songs that stop you in your tracks and some that creep up slowly – this one is definitely a track stopper. A beautiful tune – understated, haunting and melancholy – a perfect combination I reckon!  (PP)

Download Field Report – I Am Not Waiting Anymore mp3 (from Field Report)

First Aid Kit – The Lions Roar
What is not to love about this tune? For me its the stunning vocals and those harmonies that get me every time, and lyrics that deserve to be listen to several times over but still leave you wondering just how do you get so many words into one sentence? Overall its a cracker and I am sure it will remain a favourite throughout the year.  (PP)

Download First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar mp3 (from The Lion’s Roar) Taken down under DMCA notice due to some retarded fuckwit not knowing the song was given away as a free download everywhere. Contact us first you muppet and we’ll show you the authorisation we have to post. Anyway, you can get it via Soundcloud instead.

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

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Last American Buffalo – Baby I’m Alive
Just for a change, a love song has captured my imagination. It’s not one of those cheerful or smoochy love songs though. I don’t think this will ever end the night at the Stonesfield Disco. No, this song celebrates love but is sung in such a way that it relays the pain that even the most loving relationships can bring. And the guitar backing is just beautiful. (B-SF)

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Lower Dens – Brains
This one was definitely a grower, passing undetected until that magic eureka moment when you start glowing with the realisation you just love this damn song. Hypnotic and insistent – it keeps metaphorically pulling at your sleeve like a child who’s seen the ice cream van. It will not be denied. Lovingly textured with synth, drums while sung with a laid back approach that matches the music perfectly it doesn’t slip in to any particular category easily. I like that. There is something indefinable about what appeals and why I like it – which makes it fabulous in my book.  (CP)

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Lumineers – Ho Hey
I think the beauty of this song is its simplicity… From its rhythmic opening bars, steady beat and chanted ‘Ho Hey’ over a picked guitar you then realise it’s anything but simple. The composition is wonderfully subtle, far more thoughtful and precise than you first realise. It’s also a joyful record, the momentum sweeps you along until you find yourself yelping out the chorus far too loud and usually in public. Be careful if you go the gym and have it blasting out of your ipod – funny looks are certain to follow…(CP)

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Willy Mason – Restless Fugitive
With rumbling percussion, echoing guitars and an almost reggae-like rhythm, Willy Mason announced his return after a five year hiatus with Restless Fugitive, a dusty, world-weary hymn to moving on, and in doing so might have just provided us with the song of the year so far.  (MM)

Download Willy Mason – Restless Fugitive (Daytrotter Session) mp3 (from Daytrotter Session)

Monument Valley – The Very First Alarm
A gorgeous, melancholy tune, that describes the moment you properly understand that you’re not going to get your lover back, and the torrent of memories and emotions that comes with that realisation. This could have been a bit soppy, but it  is lifted by a haunting guitar sound and some dark lyrics, that make you smile. “You never minded too much being see through / Until you worked out who was behind you”. Don’t, however, play this to your little brother who has just split up with his girlfriend of six years, because the look in his eyes will make a bit of your soul die. Fact!  (Dr R)

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Rachel Sermanni – The Fog
Rachel Sermanni has such a beautiful voice with the most incredible vocal range. I love the violins throughout which help to give it such a rich, polished sound. To me, there is something really enchanting about this song, but not in a light hearted, frivolous way, it has a mischievous heart and carries with it an air of darkness (which to my mind should be encouraged!)  (PP)

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Tunng – Jenny Again
I’m a sucker for a story song. The more grim the story, the better I like it. Usually those songs are played out to menacing guitar riffs or slowly plucked blues strings. Not this one. This is a jaunty little number that trips along whilst the ‘narrator’ tells about how his life was ended by ‘the other man’ who then runs off and has a pretty nice life with his Jenny. You’ve really got to listen to it.  (B-SF)

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The Walkmen – Heartbreaker
The Walkmen might have been around for over a decade but this is a fresh cut for the men from NYC. It’s not the singer, it’s the song, sings Hamilton Leithauser – actually it’s both. Cue a deft guitar riff to start, bring in your pedal drum and I’m already out of my seat. Slight retro ambience, this tune just oozes style and cool. It really is the perfect tempo dance number for my ageing fins. How can you not? It would be rude. Love it, love it, love it. (Mrs M)

Download The Walkmen – Heartbreaker mp3 (from Heaven)

Thanks to Mrs Mackerel (Mrs M), Christy-Popper (CP), Polly Pocket (PP), Barry-Sean (BS-F) and Dr. Roddy (Dr R) for their selections. Why not tell us whose choices you like best?

No Direction Home Festival: A Review.

No Direction Home Festival  ||  Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire  ||  8-10 June 2012

The omens were not good for the inaugural No Direction Home music festival, setting out in heavy rain that only got heavier as the traffic got slower the further north I went. However, despite the slate grey skies and constant brake lights of the M1, a journey of over 5 hours was rewarded on arrival by a break in the weather than unbelievably lasted for the whole three days.

No Direction Home is a new “little brother” venture from those behind the End of the Road Festival (those who read MM even semi-regularly will know what a fantastic event that is) and so felt very familiar from the moment we set foot in the main arena. Familiar food stalls, the Rough Trade tent, the book tent, the cinema tent and more had all been transplanted wholesale to just south of Sheffield. Likewise the music line-up was the same mix as the End of the Road – predominantly Americana, folk (both freak and traditional), country, indie and a smattering of some ultra-heavy psychedelic rock over two main stages and a small, intimate café stage by the lake.

Indeed many of the performers (perhaps slightly too many) were equally familiar as End of the Road veterans: The Low Anthem, Gruff Rhys, Richard Hawley, Django Django, Other Lives, Dirty Three, The Unthanks.

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In fact our opening set came from another EotR alumni, Lanterns on the Lake, their heavy, ethereal, ambient tinged folk a perfect atmospheric companion to the sullen, overcast skies and heavy clouds, whilst in the somewhat optimistically named Electric Dust Bowl Big Top, Wet Nuns flailed away with a punishing set of hardcore riffing and gravelly vocals – furiously competing with the elements outside.

It took Django Django to brighten the mood; their good-natured approach and twangy electro-krautrock pop lifting collective spirits. A huge improvement on when we saw them at EotR in 2010, now they ooze confidence and are happy to let the songs from their excellent debut album stand up for themselves; Life’s A Beach, Waveforms, Skies Over Cairo, Wor and standout single Default all being highlights.

Finally as the night set in fully, The Low Anthem took the stage as the night’s main attraction. As they did at the EotR, they soon captured and then captivated the audience with their haunting and melancholic brand of folk holding everyone rapt as they performed one stunning song after another. There was just time to catch a set from Canadian electro-rockers Austra to finish the night – and a perfect illustration of the eclectic reach of the festival. Not something we are likely to listen to at home, but live an astonishingly powerful and captivating spectacle with three front women dynamically weaving repetitive musical patterns in a manner akin to Siouxsie Sioux fronting Can.

SATURDAY

Having gone to bed chanting the Woodstock refrain of “No rain, no rain” to myself I was rewarded on Saturday both with a dry start and a sweetly enchanting set of pastoral folk from Tiny Ruins, fresh from their recent tour support with the Handsome Family. Highlight being the surreal, but true tale of the Brazilian priest Fr. Carli who tried to fly using 1,000 helium balloons…some pieces of him were never recovered. Next up was quirky singer-songwriter Liz Green who sadly failed to sparkle as we’d hoped, and seemed a little daunted by the gravitas of the main stage, so it was back to the big top for Tyne & Wear’s Cornshed Sisters whose traditional finger-in-the-ear choral folk songs were much appreciated and provided a calming, bewitching effect over the audience.

Emerging, blinking and slightly dazed for Euros Childs it took a few songs for me to realise what an thoroughly excellent songwriter he is (for that genuinely is his real name), and for the last twenty years or or so he has been performing his own brand of slightly unhinged psych-pop laced with black humour and waspish wit. With Cavendish Hall he provided one of the songs of the weekend and one of those lovely ‘discovery’ moments of a new artist you know you’re going to enjoy for a long, long time to come.

Next up was Mrs Mackerel’s fave and one of the most individual performers of the weekend in anti-pop, anti-folk, anti-conventionalist Beth Jeans Houghton with her Hooves of Destiny. Opening with the galloping, infectious Atlas and running through many of the highlights of their excellent debut Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose (Dodecahedron, The Barely Skinny Tree, Lilliput, Harlequin and Sweet Tooth Bird) as well as non-album cuts like the barber-shop drenched harmonies of Honeycomb, the irreverent Shampoo (“looks like cum, smells like flowers, I use shampoo in the shower“) and Your Holes, it was the most delightfully unique set of the weekend and demonstrates that the independent spirit of indie pop is alive and well in BJH’s hands.

Other Lives followed with a set of wonderfully melodramatic orchestral folk rock that somehow reminded me of The Waterboys crossed with Radiohead and was every bit as good as that combination sounds ridiculous. Gruff Rhys was exactly as you would have expected – unconventional and predictably unpredictable, expertly mixing the glam rock stomp of In A House With No Mirrors with the gently psych-whimsy of Candylion and the melancholic pop of Lonesome Words. There was no such variety with the swirling headfuck of Moon Duo’s powerfully propulsive heavy-psych that suffered slightly from a muddy sound and their seeming insistence for playing in complete darkness on stage. They were followed by the equally pulverising Pyramids whose crunchy guitar riffs, slashing rhythms and howled vocals played out like an adrenalin fuelled Hawkwind on speed. Headlining the main stage was arch whistler Andrew Bird and despite his over-fussiness (no pictures, no family members, constant irritated gesturing to the soundman) he pleased the crowd with a set of winsome folk and some quite impressive violin manoeuvres.

SUNDAY

Slow Club

The sun shone. Some of the thick mud dried up, a bit, and the wonderfully uncompromising Trembling Bells kicked off the day with a set of traditional British folk underpinned with the occasional ferocious onslaught of psychedelic pyrotechnics that was as bruising as it was soothing. The much-admired Cold Specks brought authentically sorrowful tales of the delta flavoured with a soulful taste of the Mississippi to the main stage, so authentic in fact you almost expected to see a paddle steamer on the adjacent lake. They were followed by a fabulously entertaining set of quirky and surreal indie rock from The Wave Pictures and back inside the big top local boys The Crookes charged up the crowd with a fizzing, high energy set of guitar pop. By now the crowd was gathering to pay homage to folk legend Martin Carthy who introduced each song with a conversational air and as though he had all the time in the world. Exuding bonhomie, he ran through a selection of traditional and classic folk songs and demonstrated why he is universally revered by fellow musicians as one of the best acoustic guitarists around. A pleasure to watch.

And on the back of that came the unexpected highlight of the weekend. While ex-Fleet Foxes drummer Joshua Tillman, aka Father John Misty’s album Fear Fun has gradually been growing on me over the past few weeks, to hear him play it live made it obvious what an outstanding set of songs they are. Just one man and his guitar, it was dark night of the soul stuff, visceral, bawdy, and confrontational. In between he was ironic, self-deprecating and slightly sarcastic and it quickly became one of those rare occasions where the audience become transfixed by what is being placed before them. Fun Times In Babylon, Only Son Of The Ladies’ Man, Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings, Nancy From Now On, Writing A Novel – each song greeted with more rapture than the last and as he finished with the stunning Now I’m Learning To Love The War and Every Man Needs A Companion the entire tent breathed a collective sigh and then erupted. It was worth the ticket price on its own.

Back outside Slow Club entertained with their jolly mix of folk and indie pop, and the sweet voices of The Unthanks accompanied by the Brighouse and Rastrick Band provided the perfect accompaniment to the setting sun over the lake. And finally, despite a broken leg (which precipitated a much appreciated parody of the famed Nirvana-at-Reading style entrance in a wheelchair), local hero Richard Hawley delivered a festival closing set perfectly in keeping with the mood. His velveteen vocals cloaking the bitter sting and melancholy of his lyrics while the 60s tinged psychedelic guitar of his latest album Standing At The Sky’s Edge weaved intricate patterns in the cool night air.

And so it was time to fight the pop-up tent and go home, one amongst 3,000 satisfied punters. No Direction Home succeeded in keeping the intimacy that makes The End of the Road so special and had many memorable performances that will linger long in the memory. Tickets are already on sale for next year (click here) and we’re hoping with a year under their belt, they will go with a slightly more original and bolder line-up. If so, we will be there again!

Download Euros Childs – Cavendish Hall mp3 (from Ends)

Download Cold Specks – Holland mp3 (from I Predict A Graceful Expulsion)

Download Father John Misty & Phosphorescent – I Would Love You mp3

Download The Wave Pictures – I Love You Like A Madman mp3 (from Instant Coffee Baby)

Download Andrew Bird – If I Needed You mp3 (Townes Van Zandt cover)

Download The Crookes – Backstreet Lovers mp3 (from Dreams Of Another Day)

Download our full Festival mixtape here.

Huge Video Round Up...MM Has Square Eyes!

Videos seem to accumulate in our in-box faster than we have a hope of watching them. However, having sat and watched and watched and watched and then watched some more, this then is our selection of the best we’ve seen.

Wet Nuns are a band we like a lot singing songs as they do about women, death and beer. This is the video for Heavens Below, which will make up one side of an exclusive Record Store Day 7″ release.

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Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny have been featured on MM a lot this year. Lilliput is a firm Mrs M have and although some jerk keeps taking down the freely available Dodecahedron song, we’re at least able to give you the video for their latest, equally catchy single, Atlas.

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Equally the marvellous California by Delta Spirit is an enormously popular song in the Mackerel household and this is the video for it.

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Download Delta Spirit – California mp3 (from Delta Spirit)

Next is Emily Barker and her video for new single The Rains, inspired by Robert Creeley’s poem The Rain, in which small, perceived moments such as a walk in the forest, a bird in flight, rushing water, or a painterly sky inform a remembering of the self: “What am I to myself that must now remain?”. 

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The Wooden Sky have filmed the first of a five part series of haunting, live performances captured at the Grace on the Hill Church in Toronto. This one features the song Bald, Naked and Red. More are now available if you follow the links.

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Download The Wooden Sky – Malibu Rum mp3 (from Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun)

Download The Wooden Sky – Child Of The Valley mp3 (from Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun)

Falling Apple is the first single from Heaven who mix a paisley underground inspired psychedelia with a shoe gaze style noise pop to create something that appears effortlessly cool.

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Heyward Howkins is equal parts British tweed (Nick Drake, John Cale, The Smiths) and dusty American flannel (Bon Iver, M. Ward, Damien Jurado) and has crafted an album, The Hale & Hearty, with diverse sounds and surprising arrangements that compliment, but never overwhelm, his evocative melodies and lyrics. This is the video for Sugar Sand Stitched Lip.

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Dinowalrus release a much anticipated new album, Best Behavior, in June featuring guest appearances from Titus Andronicus, and treading somewhere between futurist psychedelia, jangle rock, No Wave, post-punk and even acid house. This is the video for the excellent Phone Home From The Edge.

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White Hills new video for You Dream You See is a suitably spaced out slab of alien inspired stoner rock from new release Frying On This Rock.

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Download White Hills – Pads Of Light mp3 (from Frying On This Rock)

And in a somewhat similar vein, The Pharmacy gets stoned and jams out at a river for new video Pines from their Dig Your Grave EP.

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Download The Pharmacy – Dig Your Grave mp3 (from Dig Your Grave)

We have another exquisite cover from Town Hall for you too. Old Man Duff is a folk tune that the band found on an old 78 RPM record from 1931 by Frankie Marvin.

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Download Town Hall – Old Man Duff mp3 (Frankie Marvin Cover)

And lastly we have indie-gloom-pop solo project of Laura Kidd aka She Makes War, her album Little Battles is out April 9th. Driven by her bewitching, pastoral vocals and layered guitars and supported by a plethora of additional instruments from ukulele to autoharp, melodica, piano, violin, harp, saxophone and three part recorder ensemble, her songs are punctuated by a patchwork of field recordings from her global travels. Try Exit Strategy on for size.

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Download She Makes War – Exit Strategy mp3 (from Little Battles)

Mrs Mackerel's TFI Friday (9th March). Fish on a Friday – there’s a novelty for me. Just a small dose of lightly grilled mackerel this week…

So it is away I go to Wembley for a weekend of undoubtedly strenuous exercise by day (aerobics), followed by two evenings of hard drinking (take your pick really, but alcoholic I suspect). I expect that one will have an unduly detrimental effect on the other, but at least I won’t be dressing up for theme night or getting my arse tattooed (sorry to disappoint MM). I hope my roomie won’t be either or it could get awkward.

Think of me with my red wine smile.

Mrs Mackerel x

This week, I can but recommend you to go and watch my favourite song of 2012 so far, Liliputt by the divine Beth Jeans Houghton and The Hooves of Destiny. And failing that download Dodecahedron and look out for her album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, released last month.

I would like to be an honorary Hoof of Destiny (application pending).

Download Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – Dodecahedron mp3 (from Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose)

REMOVED DUE TO ALLEGED COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT WHICH IS STUPID AS THE LABEL SENT US THE SONG TO POST AS WELL AS IT BEING GIVEN AWAY ON COVER CDs EVERYWHERE. STUPID TURDS.

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We’ve been trawling through a whole mass of videos recently and here are some of our favourites assembled for your viewing and listening pleasure.

First up is Crybaby’s video for excellent debut I Cherish The Heartbreak More Than The Love That I Lost, shot in the gloomy surrounds of Bristol hospital and is a noirish loveletter to the exquisite pain of a broken heart.

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Hotly tipped Essex 4-piece The Milk’s new single Broke Up The Family is a stormer of an anthem.

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Death Hawk are new to us, and it isn’t the greatest video to be fair, but the pounding psychedelia and Sabbath like riffs of new song Shining has been a real treat and makes it worth sharing.

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By Contrast, Saint Motel’s At Least I Have Nothing is a introspective work made up of a combination of 16mm, Super 8, Flip-Cam, Video, Cell Phone, and still photography that they’ve accumulated throughout the years. It fits the upbeat nostalgia of the song perfectly.

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Describing her sound as ‘Doom Soul’, Cold Specks’ music is steeped in the musical traditions of the Deep South. With influences from the Lomax Field Recordings and James Carr to Bill Callahan and Tom Waits, her sparse arrangements and chain gang rhythms stop you dead in your tracks.

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Hindershot make unusual, complex, catchy indie-pop that calls to mind everything from Soft Cell to T-Rex. The video for Curse Us All is a colourful one of wanton destruction.

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Brother Gruesome have featured a few times on MM and are established faves of ours. This is the video for the pounding Cut It Out, a song off their cassette tape that was released by Slanty Shanty Records in 2010.  A little late coming, but it is a great song with a cool video featuring street artists from Oklahoma.

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You & I Belong is the first single from Simone Felice’s debut solo album. Another great song, fun video.

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Danish sextet Alcoholic Faith Mission has debuted a new video for Running With Insanity from new album Ask Me This. Watch it and download it.

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We take a considerably more rustic turn with Max & The Wild Things video for the excellent Wind Through The Window. Just the feel of a barn-dance stomp and that banjo lead was enough to remind me of the halcyon days of the Cropdusters.

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Popstrangers hail from New Zealand and make a most edifying racket from a cauldron of grunge, shoegaze, psychedelia and noise pop. The video for What Else Could They Do comes heartily recommended.

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We’re hoping for big things for Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny this year. This is a live session recording for the new single Sweet Tooth Bird. Like sherbert filled with razor blades.

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Beirut have just posted a new video for Vagabond from last year’s excellent The Rip Tide.

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Sweet Lights have this beautifully animated video for Endless Town – the new single out on March 5th via Highline.

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The Skints are about as close to rap as we get, but this hybrid of rap, ragga, rock and ska beats on Ratatat is undeniably infectious. Like the Selecter crossed with Senser…maybe.

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Short is sweet, with this 90 second video for Pillow Talk’s rootsy Faux Fur, the lead track from their new EP of the same name.

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Gently harmonious five-piece Good Dangers feature a stripped back version of their song Abigail, filmed in a skate park. Download the full version too.

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And lastly, new MM faves Town Hall have produced their own unique take on Ja Rule & Ashanti’s Always on Time. Watch it and download it.

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Download Town Hall – Always On Time mp3 (Ja Rule & Ashanti Cover)

Those who read our End of the Road Festival review will know that Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny was a highlight of the weekend.

Now, following on from previous singles Dodecahedron and the beautiful Liliputt, Sweet Tooth Bird is the latest track to be taken from their debut album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, which is released on 6th Feb next year.

Watch the video.

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Beth Jeans Houghton and her band The Hooves of Destiny was one of those very pleasant surprises you get at the End of the Road Festival with a wonderful set of quirky folk and pop that was backed up by excellent songwriting. This is the video for her forthcoming single Lilliput.

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