Posts Tagged ‘Blitzen Trapper’

Mad Mackerel is ten years old. Who would have believed it.

So, thanks to everyone who has ever visited the blog, listened, commented, submitted music, sent e-mails, sent CDs, t-shirts and even vinyl, and given us a guest list pass. We really do appreciate it.

Thanks too to our regular contributors over the years – too numerous to mention all, but extra special thanks to the sprats (of course), Barry-Sean, Polly Pocket, Dr Roddy, The Italian Job, Chris T Popper and the fishily fabulous Mrs Mackerel.

And most of all thanks for letting us discover some truly great tunes. Here are ten of them – our favourites of the past ten years of Mad Mackerel.

Cheers!

 

10 The Felice Brothers – Frankie’s Gun (2008)

 

Untarnished, unpolished, unadorned. Heavy on rhythm, accordion and piano. Frankie’s Gun is a stomping, beer-swilling square dance with the grim reaper hovering in attendance. This brilliantly evocative song packs enough into three verses and a beer-hall singalong chorus to create its own Netflix series.

 

9 Grinderman – Palaces Of Montezuma (2010)

Unhinged list of over-the-top romantic promises set to a loose, funky bassline and with a subtle, gospel style shuffle that is simply sublime.

 

8 Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer (2008)

 

A darkly pensive tale of multiple murder that emerges from Dylan’s shadow to tramp from the bright lights of LA to the desolation of the prairies and the desert in search of more victims. Black River Killer drips with the authentic haunted quality of an old, gothic murder ballad and we can’t give it higher praise than that.

 

7 Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed (2008)

Eerily reminiscent of the drugged up haze of a Johnny Thunders with possibly the bleakest lyrics we’ve ever come across. “Friend of mine drank something fine, choked to death before his time last night / He said, “Found that thing you really need, cough it on down ’til you can’t breathe alright / Everyone’ll be there at the burial in your head, and a tear or two they’ll shed / Then they’re gonna go digging in your hole and find: someone else instead” or “Oh, he didn’t like people much at all, tasted better with alcohol, you know how that one goes / Realized he’d missed his whole life; kissed his dog, and shot his wife last night.

Buriedfed is anguished circular verses of regret, dependency and death, slowly building up from the twang of a lone acoustic guitar to soundtrack a rollicking daydream of Robinson’s own death and ensuing funeral.

 

6 The Quiet Hollers – Côte d’Azur (2015)

 

The unbearably poignant and dark tale of Côte d’Azur – about those memory markers that resurface in the depths of your dreams and the half way stage when the sun warms your face, and what’s real and what’s not – the journey and the destination – merges into one; always searching. This song breaks my heart at every single listen, so I turn up the white noise.

 

5 The Roadside Graves – Far And Wide (2009)

 

A seamless fusion of country and classic rock, with just a hint of punk’s reckless abandon. Kicking off with a great riff and whiskey raw vocals, this wonderfully ramshackle Americana is like musical heroin.

 

4 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin’ (2015)

So, it takes Kurt a little while to recognise himself as the “man in the mee-rah”. Wakey, wakey son. But after a minor identity crisis and a bit of a teeth mix-up, everything’s pretty pimpin. It is a fingerpicked earworm where a sprawl of twangy guitar and surreal, laconic lyrics combine to create the perfect ode to stoned self-reflection, and a very well-loved tune amongst Team Mackerel.

 

3 Willy Mason – Restless Fugitive (2012)

 

With rumbling percussion, echoing guitars and an almost reggae-like rhythm, Willy Mason announced his return after a five year hiatus with this outstanding tune, a dusty, world-weary hymn to moving on. Swaying along to this beauty in a large field clasping an overpriced (but comfortingly strong) cider is what summer should be all about.

 

2 Middle Brother – Portland (2011)

Shared a cigarette for breakfast? More than one I reckon. John McCauley of Deer Tick has a voice that was made for this song. One for the road, sung in chorus, gives me the warmest, fuzzy feeling all over. Stick me on a greyhound bus with Middle Brother playing to the open road and I reckon I’d be a happy girl. Just about the best darned cover (yes, I know but don’t care) I ever heard. Pure magic.

 

1 PHOSPHORESCENT – SONG FOR ZULA (2013)

 

It is Matthew Houck’s ragged, 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.

 

So there we have it, 200 of our favourite songs since 2008. Everyone a gem, everyone a memory. Enjoy!

 

Check out the full countdown here: 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-4140-3130-21 and 20-11.

We’re celebrating ten years of MM. Today we’ve reached the top 50 of our favourite songs of the past decade.

50 Discount Guns – I Heard (2012)

 

Ass kicking blend of blues rock and country and western with big riffs, plenty of fuzz and loads of reverb. Like the Black Keys with balls.

 

49 Thee Oh Sees – Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster (2013)

 

A bass line and guitar riff that are simple genius, massively addictive and unwavering in ferocity as the song crescendos during the chorus. It was the one song that year that whenever anyone heard it for the first time they sat there quietly, and then at the end, would say without fail “That was awesome, Who was that?

 

48 Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – Lilliput (2011)

 

Experimental freak-folk, pop song writing, and a slyly humorous outlook all combine in a stunning fashion. Lilliput’s gentle opening soon gives way to cantering drums, gilded strings and some marvellously versatile falsetto vocals.

 

47 Parquet Courts – Stoned And Starving (2012)

 

Two irresistibly hypnotic chords carry a song of deadpan delivery, like Wire doing slacker rock (which obviously would be a very good thing indeed).

 

46 Blitzen Trapper – The Man Who Would Speak True (2010)

Like a companion piece to Black River Killer (still to come folks, still to come), a surreal, dark fairytale with tumbling rhymes over minimal percussion and a splash of lovely harmonica and always remember “You better guard your tongue like your enemy

 

45 Water Liars – Linens (2013)

 

Gorgeous heartbroken country ballad, “And what I would give to be quiet beside you / with the window open, a record playing low / to feel your skin between the clean bed linens / inside a room where sadness never goes”

 

44 Port O’Brien – My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) (2010)

Amongst other things Port O’Brien were a fabulous covers band. This is the sweetest Ramones cover ever.

 

43 Felice Brothers – Fire At The Pageant (2011)

Voodoo, zombies, sinister nursery rhyme chants, classic Felice Brothers lyrics and a woozy, old-timey, back porch rhythm means this song should have been an utter mess. That it was the complete opposite stands tribute to this bunch of ramshackle mavericks of increasingly experimental Americana.

 

42 The Decemberists – June Hymn (2011)

June Hymn crafts pastoral and emotional imaginery into exquisite, literate, and ultimately hopeful indie rock.

 

41 Magnetic Fields – Drive On Driver (2008)

A serpentine melody couched in woozy, soft-focus feedback. The ultimate distorted road trip.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-61 and 60-51.

Time for tunes 80 thru 71 in our Top 200 of the past ten years.

80 Dr. Dog – It (2010)

Criminally tucked away on the expanded edition of Shame Shame, It is perfect Dr. Dog – nostalgic, feel-good, laid back folk inflected Americana that cries out for the back porch.

 

79 Chaika – The Mirror (2015)

 

Compulsive, hazy garage-psych to sear the soul.

 

78 Blitzen Trapper – Furr (2008)

 

At their best when they evoke their inner Bob Dylan and major on the rhyme heavy folk, Furr is a surreal, harmonica-flecked Jungle Book style tale set to a toe-tapping, bluesy rhythm.

 

77 Withered Hand – Hard On (2009)

 

With his creaky, fragile voice Dan Wilson (aka Withered Hand) might be an acquired taste. But for the connoisseur his awkward, funny and often brilliant bedroom-folk is a pure joy. A beard don’t make you a man / No, it takes something else / Something I’ll never have

 

76 The Felice Brothers – Whiskey In My Whiskey (2008)

The Felice Brothers are all the R words. Ramshackle, rollicking, raucous, rambunctious, rowdy and never more so than with this song. They are a carnival band in the best sense of the word taking in everything and spitting it back out with humour, irony, pathos and a gritty realism. This should be heard live, preferably at a party on a riverboat steamer or in a backwoods bar with old bullet holes scarring the walls.

 

75 Spector – Chevy Thunder (2012)

 

Sing-a-long indie anthem par excellence.

 

74 Snakes – Young American (2016)

 

Marvellous twangy Americana driven by a chugging, Johnny Cash style rhythm and Hank style vocals.

 

73 Natural Child – Rock Bottom (2012)

 

Whiskey soaked, doobie smoked Southern-fried blues-rock in the vein of Beggars Banquet-era Rolling Stones, played with a sloppy grit and sleazy charm.

 

72 Pete and the Pirates – Winter 1 (2010)

 

Like a 96 Tears for the modern world, Pete and the Pirates always had an ear for a catchy pop hook and this is one of their biggest. Irresistible.

 

71 Girl Band – Pears For Lunch (2015)

Unfiltered, freaked-out noise punk that perfectly marries the nervous, twitching energy of the guitars with deadpan vocal apathy. Ate eight bananas and I thought about a jog / Legged it around the gaff and took my top off / I look crap with my top off / Spend my time watching Top Gear with my trousers down.

 

  1. Screaming Females – Deeply
  2. Dan Michaelson – Careless
  3. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Polygondwanaland
  4. Blitzen Trapper – Joanna
  5. Camp Cope – The Opener
  6. Palehound – Sea Of Blood
  7. Loma – Black Willow
  8. Saintseneca – Moon Barks At The Dog
  9. S. Carey – Fools Gold
  10. Spice Boys – I Don’t Get Around
  11. Pansies – Green Apple Eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Ty Segall – Meaning
  2. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Crumbling Castle
  3. Destroyer – Cover From The Sun
  4. Chris Stapleton – Millionaire
  5. Blitzen Trapper – Dance With Me
  6. Hans Chew – Give Up The Ghost
  7. Trance Farmers – Witches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ten new songs for you collected from the week’s new releases. Lots to discover including two stunning covers by The Tallest Man On Earth and Marie Danielle, snotty punk done to perfection by Amyl & The Sniffers, tracks from Americana heavyweights Deer Tick and Blitzen Trapper and classic country from Margo Price. Plenty more besides… enjoy.

  1. The Tallest Man On Earth – Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell cover)
  2. Deer Tick – Card House
  3. Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts featuring Karen O – Talisa
  4. Margo Price – A Little Pain
  5. Gun Outfit – Strange Insistence
  6. The Dream Syndicate – Filter Me Through You
  7. Amyl & The Sniffers – I’m Not A Loser
  8. Marie Danielle – White Shoes  (Conor Oberst cover)
  9. Blitzen Trapper – Rebel
  10. Acid Tongue – Humpty Dumpty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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blitzen-trapper

Wild & Reckless is the title of a new musical from Americana stalwarts Blitzen Trapper that debuts in their hometown of Portland next month (opens 24th March at The Armory).

Frontman Eric Early told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s the story of a kid that comes to the city looking to play music, [but] instead he meets and falls for this girl; she turns out to be addicted to this opioid type drug…The drug’s origins are tied up with lightning as an energy source, the harvesting of lightning. [That] happens to impart certain strange abilities to the girl. At its core, it’s a love story, with this bizarre rabbit hole that this guy goes down following after this girl he loves.

The soundtrack will be available as a limited-edition LP (show sales only) containing all of the songs in the musical. It is a mix of older and new songs (it includes the wonderful Black River Killer amongst others) and the band have shared the excellent Love Live On from it.

Listen below. Get tickets here.

 

US cult Americana-rockers, and very long-standing MM faves, Blitzen Trapper are releasing new three-track EP titled Mystery And Wonder today ahead of their February European tour including UK dates in London and Brighton.

They have just unveiled the video for the EP’s title track which we think you’ll agree is neither short of either of those attributes…it’s a perfectly crafted track, breathing with melancholy and folk-soul.

The EP also features the band’s own version of traditional tune I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow, which they were asked to record specifically for US TV show Fargo (another of our favourites). Take our word for it, it’s a cracking version!

 

UK Live Dates:
7th Feb The Hope, Brighton
8th Feb The Lexington, London

Festive Fayre (24): Blitzen Trapper

In recognition of the season of giving, Blitzen Trapper have shared a song off their debut self-titled release, Christmas Is Coming Soon, as a pay-what-you-wish download.

All proceeds will go directly to Mercy Corps, who’s mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping to build secure, productive and just communities in some of the toughest places in the world.

Frontman Eric Earley, “This is the only Christmas song I’ve ever written, sort of the Christmas song equivalent of a dark comedy. We wanted to create a small way for our fans to pair with us in giving this holiday season through Mercy Corps which has been doing great work since 1979 helping people in need around the world.”

Click through to make a donation and buy the song.

 

Here are a few more new videos that we’ve been enjoying ready for your viewing pleasure. Dive into new offerings from J Fernandez, Eskimeaux, Blitzen Trapper, Drenge, Destruction Unit, The Hanging Stars, Bully and Valley Maker.

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