Posts Tagged ‘Cabbage’

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Into the top half of our favourite songs of the year. Here are tracks 50 through to 26.

50 Murder By Death – True Dark

 

Murder By Death have built a career on gothic country rockers and sun-baked desert folk, yet even after all these years they still manage to surprise and True Dark is them at their twangiest best.

 

49 Fontaines DC – Too real

 

The second entry for Fontaines DC. The band’s latest single, Too Real is another storming track of undeniable power and swagger that just begs to be played loud, and on repeat.

 

48 Frog – American

 

Stripped back, insistently sparse folk and a lyrical gem, “Yes by God I’m American, God is great he’s hilarious, What the fuck y’all staring at? Tall, dark, bald and arrogant”

 

47 Shame – Gold Hole

 

We know this isn’t strictly a new song this year but we’re claiming editorial immunity and sneaking it in anyway as it does feature on London punks Shame’s debut long player that came out at the beginning of 2018. Gold Hole is an uncomfortably close-to-the-bone story of a lecherous older man buying the affections of a young girl – it is seedy and sordid and brilliantly observed. “Sweat stains the wrinkles/Tongue touches the hole, She feels so dirty, she knows that it’s wrong, But she feels so good in Louis Vuitton.

 

46 Conor Oberst – No One Changes

 

Is there anyone else who can make melancholia sound so stunningly gorgeous? No One Changes is an introspective, sombre beauty, as elegant as it it fragile.

 

45 Oldermost – The Danger Of Belief

 

Creating era-blending Americana-infused rock & roll with a more indie rock vibe, rollicking, anthemic  single The Danger of Belief was made for a long straight highway with the windows down and the volume up.

 

44 Kurt Vile – One Trick Ponies

 

A highlight from his most recent album, One trick Ponies has all the trademark Kurt Vile ingredients: woozy guitar lines, mumbled stream-of-consciousness lyrics, sly humour and a touch of the surreal. But this is a generous, big-hearted song and the hazy sheen he coats it in just adds the prefect amount of gentle bonhomie.

 

43 Cass McCombs – Sleeping Volcanoes

 

Almost without noticing Cass McCombs has become one of our most influential and important songwriters. Sleeping Volcanoes, the thematic centrepiece of his upcoming album, is a delight of pensive, dreamlike rock, albeit anchored by a rumbling groove and his world-weary vocals.

 

42 Wing Defence – Stuck

 

Aside from the netball connotations, Aussie duo Wing Defence delivered a sublime single of indie pop with Stuck, the infectious melody is of major earworm quality, and shot through with a core of wonderfully bitter lyrics.

 

41 Sunflowers – Castle Spell

 

The pulverising riffing and chanted lyrics of Castle Spell combine into a freakbeat spectacular of psyched-out space rock – like Silver Machine on speed.

 

40 Mary Gauthier – The War After The War

 

Rifles & Rosary Beads was an album that was four years in the making, it is a collaborative record in the sense that the eleven songs were co-written with wounded veterans in the SongwritingWith: Soldiers retreats. Taken from the album, the heartbreakingly poignant and evocative The War After The War, with its gorgeous violin backdrop and insistent guitar had one of our favourite opening verses of any song we heard this year.

Who’s going to care for the ones
who care for the ones who went to war?
There’s landmines in the living room
and eggshells on the floor

 

39 Death Valley Girls – Disaster (Is What We’re After)

 

Awash with a swirling riff and Thor-like percussion, Disaster (Is What We’re After) is a churning, boiling psych-punk rocker that rides its undeniable, repetitive groove like a drunken cowboy at a rodeo.

 

38 DBUK – In San Francisco Bay

 

DBUK, a side project of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club will return early in the new year with their second album. The first single In San Francisco Bay is a southern gothic four-de-force. Hypnotic, mesmerising and menacing – think of it as the musical equivalent of a naked preacher sat in a box full of venomous snakes.

 

37 Cabbage – Arms Of Pleonexia

 

Blending social comment with mordant black humour and a keen eye for detail, Arms Of Pleonexia was a savagely frenetic addition to Cabbage’s rapidly growing collection of brilliantly observed post-punk anthems

 

36 American Wrestlers – Ignoramus

 

Described by American Wrestlers (aka songwriter Gary McClure) as “a weird little country song with hokey lo-fi strings that bent into black memories“, Ignoramus is all that and more – in fact we’d go as far as to say it is a snidely understated masterpiece.

 

35 Stick In The Wheel – Over Again

 

Over Again is classic British folk story-telling. Hurtling along on the back of an irresistible melody, it begs to be sung along to (and there’s even room for some handclaps).

 

34 Laura Gibson – Tenderness

 

Laura Gibson’s album Goners explored themes of grief and loss and a standout was the haunting and beautiful Tenderness. An intimate and somewhat pensive fable that reflects, almost dreamlike, on how we project pain and lash out, holding on to each other’s trauma and sorrow. “Certain men can smell a wound a room away, you are melancholy well, beauty only made you lonelier

 

33 FEWS – Paradiso

 

Paradiso from brilliant Anglo/US/Swedish noiseniks FEWS was yet another example of their slashing, incandescent guitars and ferocious, pummelling percussion.

 

32 Yves Tumor – Lifetime

 

We’re allowing Polly Pocket this one… a multi-faceted tune of bright, crisp synths, ethereal backing vocals and relentless, unforgiving drums that call to mind Disintegration era Cure.

 

31 Lost Brothers – Come Tomorrow

 

A gently insistent folk song complete with the duo’s trademark tender harmonies and sense of bruised heartache. It is an absolute gem of a tune.

 

30 She Makes War – Undone

 

She Makes War (aka Bristol based artist and multi-instrumentalist Laura Kidd) wrote Undone in a daze the day after her grandmother Constance died last May. The song’s monster guitars deliver palpable rage at the bad things that happen to good people, acting as an openhearted rallying cry against the British stiff upper lip brigade. “We need to give ourselves a break”, she says. “Giving ourselves time to feel devastated doesn’t make us weak.

 

29 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Bellarine

 

A brilliant debut album and a brilliant rolling track of jangling guitars and driving motorik percussion.

 

28 Interpol – The Rover

 

The Rover opens with ringing guitars and percussion taken directly from Krautrock’s halcyon heyday. It is a relentless, menacing rush of pure rock’n’roll.

 

27 Gretchen Peters – Wichita

 

Where would we be without a good murder ballad? This is classic country story-telling given a contemporary twist as Gretchen Peters brilliantly sketches a tale of a woman driven to desperate measures to protect her little sister from a predatory male.

 

26 Parquet Courts – Tenderness

 

Ever since the brilliant Stoned and Starving, Parquet Courts have shown an uncanny ability to create some of the catchiest, toe-tappers around, whilst still managing to diversify their sound into new genres and styles. Tenderness is up there with the best of them – surprisingly slinky, jaunty and knowingly insecure, “Like a junkie going cold, I need the fix of a little tenderness“. We can all relate to that.

 

Check out tracks 100-76 here, and 75-51 here.

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

So without further ado, lets start the countdown.

100 Cabbage – Preach To The Converted

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

98 Teenage Cavegirl – No Good/So Bad

 

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

 

97 Black Delta Movement – Let The Rain Come

 

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

 

96 Cool Ghouls – CCR Bootleg

 

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

 

95 Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

 

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

 

94 Yak – White Male Carnivore

 

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

 

93 Sunflowers – Sleepy Sun

 

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

 

92 Strange Cages – Hypothalmus Blues

 

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

 

91 Sleep Eaters – Ghost On Fire

 

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

 

90 Ron Gallo – Really Nice Guys

 

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

 

89 Nest Egg – Denied Doctrine

 

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

 

88 Mothers – Pink

 

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

 

87 Lonely Parade – I’m So Tired

 

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

 

86 Crepes – Bicycle Man

 

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

 

85 American Pets – Forgetting

 

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

 

84 Wharves – High School Hero

 

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

 

83 Lord Huron – Ancient Names (Part II)

 

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

 

82 Thurston Moore – Mx Liberty

 

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

 

81 Flasher – Skim Milk

 

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

 

80 LICE – The Human Parasite

 

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

 

79 The Men – Maybe I’m Crazy

 

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

 

78 Phosphorescent – Around The Horn

 

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

 

77 Gong Gong Gong – Siren 追逐劇

 

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

 

76 Phobophobes – Where Is My Owner?

 

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

 

It somehow seems appropriate that a band called Cabbage, an irreverent, malevolent, and downright scuzzy band to boot, should choose to share a Christmas record.

The result, Smells Like Christmas, is another addition to their catalogue of churning, scathing post-punk releases imbued with more than their usual dose of grim, observational humour and existentialist dread. This is a festive song more likely to sit somewhere between Half Man Half Biscuit and a (feral) version of the Kinks.

They’re long standing MM faves so enjoy.

 

Halfway through. Here are tracks 100-91

100 Cabbage – Celebration Of A Disease (2017)

Simply the ultimate mix of mutated groove and indie rock. With a lineage that stretches back to the Fall and takes in The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses, it is the latest addition to a long line of infectious, sing-along Manchester anthems.

 

99 Felice Brothers – Lincoln Continental (2012)

The school run anthem of 2012: a fine country drawl, a fine country band. Learn the words, sing it loud; altogether now: I been missing you so listen / I liked to ask you can we drive through town.

 

98 Man Of Moon – The Road (2015)

 

Brilliantly insistent, pulsating psychedelia that ebbs and flows and mesmerises.

 

97 Naked Giants – Ya Ya (2016)

 

Slightly distorted but mighty catchy riff, heightened by a pounding backbeat and a relentlessly repetitive chorus.

 

96 The National – Think You Can Wait (2011)

With echoing strings and piano, it is the sparingly used backing vocal of Sharon Van Etten (whose shared harmonies with Matt Berninger sound as if they were always meant to be together), that elevates this track into solemn, understated brilliance.

 

95 Phosphorescent – Ride On / Right On (2013)

A little bit of funky rhythm and a whole lot of country grit combined to make one of the the most compelling and enduring songs of 2013.

 

94 The Bones Of J.R Jones – Hammer And Nails (2016)

 

An infectious blues stomp telling ancient tales from the deep south, ritualistic dance routines around bonfires (well, in our head at least) and unnerving dark secrets.

 

93 Wooden Wand – DNR Waltz (2011)

 

 

Simmering, southern-fried country rocker complete with Toth’s wry and wonderfully weary vocal drawl.

 

92 Elijah Ocean  Ride It Out (2014)

 

The melody is simple enough, gently building throughout with the message of just getting through it, which is fairly universal. It actually becomes quite inspirational by the end with its catchy chorus infecting your brain. Life can sometimes feel like it’s on a continual loop of making you ride something or other out – good to have Elijah there to sing the soundtrack.

 

91 The Decemberists – Carolina Low (2015)

Spare, simple, and undeniably menacing song. Something dark and intriguing accompanied by a sound which is evocative of American tales from old times.

 

Remember to check out tracks 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121 and 120-101.

Cabbage.

  1. a cultivated plant eaten as a vegetable, having thick green or purple leaves surrounding a spherical heart or head of young leaves
  2. a person who leads a dull or inactive life
  3. politically energised, wryly observant, fast and furious indie band

So it was that no. 2 (MM) having eaten no. 1, went, with middle sprat, to see no. 3 at the Oxford Academy.

Despite the band themselves declaring it was good to be playing the Oxford Academy rather than their usual Bullingdon venue, the truth is the latter is a superior venue in every way to the former. Although at least we were upstairs – small mercies.

And despite the Academy’s trademark muddy acoustics, the band themselves managed to rise above it, delivering a sweaty, churning set that took in swirling post-punk, art-rock, hypnotic psych, and good old fashioned noisy punk – all wrapped up in that classic Manc swagger.

The tracks alternated between the sinister, menacing cynicism of their excellent debut album ‘proper’ (Nihilistic Glamour Shots) and the sly, knowing groove and caustic outspokenness of old favourites. From the new we had plenty of highlights: the industrial grind of Reptiles State Funeral, the surf-tinged punk stomp of Preach to the Converted, the pummelling blast of Postmodernist Caligula and the ominous, pulsating Perdurado. From the old we had Uber Capitalist Death Trade, the scuzzy anthem Terrorist Synthesizer and a wonderfully queasy Dinner Lady – a song to put you off quiche forever. We finished with their viciously acerbic Necroflat In The Palace, an appropriately messy, dirty finale that sounded like the Butthole Surfers fighting in a sack with the Fat White Family. The only minor disappointment for a swaying middle sprat and I was the absence of Celebration of a Disease, a joint favourite song from the whole of 2017.

Live, Cabbage don’t hold back. Giving the head and the heart a sonic blast and imparting any complacency with an all too welcome boot up the backside.

Go see them!

 

 

 

It is fair to say that Cabbage’s ‘proper’ debut album, the upcoming, marvellously titled Nihilistic Glamour Shots is high on our most anticipated releases list.

We’ve already shared first single Arms Of Pleonexia and now we have the sneering, urgent, and, quite frankly, queasily brilliant album opener Preach To The Converted for your listening pleasure.

Roll on the album…

 

New Single From Cabbage

Posted: January 26, 2018 in Alternative, Indie, Music, Post Punk, Rock
Tags:

In the week that we lost the incomparable Mark E Smith, it is perhaps fitting that our current favourite insouciant northerners return with a blistering new single of their own.

Arms of Pleonexia comes from Cabbage’s debut album proper, Nihilistic Glamour Shots to be released 30th March on Infectious Music. Blending social comment with mordant black humour and a keen eye for detail, the new single is a savagely frenetic addition to their rapidly growing collection of brilliantly observed post-punk anthems, and just whets the appetite for the full album even further.

Mr Smith would be proud I’m sure. Listen below.

 

Our final personal list of the year is from the fairest, and finest, of fishes… Mrs Mackerel.

2017: probably a year when I’ve listened to the least new music in recent times, so this is very much a short list in all senses.

Life – and death – gets in the way sometimes.

10 PINS – Serve the Rich
It’s no surprise that Jamie Hince of The Kills produced this anti-Conservative polemic. It may be no surprise then that I like this so much.

 

9 Queens of the Stone Age – The Way You Used To Do
I just really, really love the frenetic pace of the drumming on this tune, which greatly appeals to my rock chick lineage. There are some things that I just haven’t grown out of.

 

8 The Divine Comedy – To the Rescue
This songs punctuates a particularly difficult point in the year and its wistful sadness reminds me very much of that time. Apparently, it’s dedicated to Neil Hannon’s long term girlfriend, who cares for mistreated and neglected horses over in Ireland. Perhaps MM will pen a similar tune for me as my plan for feline domination of West Oxfordshire takes hold?

 

7 The Moonlandingz – Vessels
Oh hello, here’s another dominant drum roll – I seem to be developing a theme… A fantastic slice of psychedelic, electro pop as recommended to me by my very good friend, Mr Nightshift.

 

6 Mark Lanegan – Beehive
Much as I suspect that Lanners’ liver might be held together with vinegar and brown paper, his voice retains the growling, tremulous signature that is all his own. Sweeping guitars and a catchy chorus made this one to remember – and he was spellbinding live.

 

5 Cherry Glazer – Nurse Ratched
I loved this song right from the off, dedicated to the avenging angel who needs no introduction, Nurse Ratched. Some lovely twiddly guitar bits and harmonies, presumably as an antidote to Nurse R’s very individual bedside manner.

 

4 Cabbage – Celebration of Disease
Scratchy guitars and an earworm of a chorus meant that this was always going to bed itself into my subconscious. A celebration of a disease, a symptom of emotional greed/A celebration of disease, corrected by technology/A celebration of disease, a prescription to the new age dream.

 

3 Whispertown – Born to Ride
A floaty Americana sound with an ode to the open road and the promise of freedom, delivered through Morgan Nagler’s wonderfully hazy vocals. Hey watch out, the road will try to own you. I often sing this to the dog as we set off on our daily trek. Not really.

 

2 Laura Marling – Don’t Pass Me By
Semper Femina was my album of the year; the one I listened to on repeat. There’s something about the melancholy of her vocals over the finger-picking guitar beneath that’s so haunting: Take my old tune/Turn it into something new/Something good. Laura Marling is peerless, a one-off.

 

1 Big Thief – Shark Smile
So I thought I would crown my top ten with another uplifting ditty: a road trip song that ends in tragedy. The understated delivery of the lyrics, undercut with the slidey guitar are so tender you can almost hear her heart breaking. A very worthy, if rather poignant, number one.

 

This year’s footnote:

Louis Armstrong – We have all the Time in the World

We have all the love in the world
If that’s all we have, you will find
We need nothing more.

This one’s always for you, Dad. Our goodbye song.

The third of our personal countdowns…

20 Metz – Drained Lake
Angular, ear-piercing and provocative. Imagine the clatter of early Sonic Youth brought up to warp speed.

 

19 Cabbage – Fraudulent Artist
Cabbage’s Extended Play of Cruelty was our EP of the year by a country mile – a collection of brilliantly acerbic, witty and spiky tunes. Fraudulent Artist is a furious, up-tempo rant that comes across as the bastard son of Sham 69 and Half Man Half Biscuit.

 

18 Hiccup – Teasin’
Hiccup pen breakneck songs within the realm of girl-group pop meets buzzsaw distorted guitars that the Ramones pioneered. The effervescently infectious Teasin’, is a perfectly judged track of punk immediacy shot through with a classic pop sensibility.

 

17 Dream Police – Revenge
A driving but psychedelic bass line, droning organ, dizzying guitar leads, and haunting vocals –  all vintage Dream Police. Perfect.

 

16 Lød – Folder
With nods to Neu! and Can, Denmark’s Lød create a sonic delight with the eight minute hypnotic groove of Folder.   

 

15 The Moonlandingz – Vessels
The best gig we saw all year, The Moonlandingz debut LP was a delight of sleazy glam rock riffs and twisted lyrics that took it’s knowing influences from the likes of The Glitter Band, Sparks, Devo, The Cramps and Suicide. Vessels was a particular highlight – the grubbiest glam rock anthem of them all…

 

14 Young Fathers – Only God Knows
Danny Boyle called Only God Knows the heartbeat of T2: Trainspotting (one of our films of the year), and it is hard to argue with the song’s giddy soulful rush, thumping punk rhythm, and some spot-on backing vocals from the Leith Congregational Choir.

 

13 Sugarmen – Our Gallows
Hands down the catchiest opening of any song we heard in 2017, and backed up by edgy, razor sharp guitars and drums that come straight from 1970s CBGBs.

 

12 Beaches – Void
Australia psych-rock legends Beaches returned after a four year absence and nailed it straight off with Void, a churning, thoroughly addictive rocket blast of cavernous guitar and drums that sounds like the amphetamine fuelled best bits of Hawkwind and Spacemen 3.

 

11 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter
Amongst a plethora of excellent releases from the unstoppable King Gizzard this year, many of which featured in our Top 100 countdown, Sleep Drifter stood tallest for its perfect marriage of funky eastern rhythm and itchy, nagging riff.

 

10 Cool Ghouls – Gord’s Horse
Woozy, harmony filled, vintage tinged rock’n’roll with just the right amount of twang gives Gord’s Horse the perfect laid back slacker vibe. One to kick back and fire up a big one for…

 

9 together PANGEA – Money On It
Subtly diluting their more usual punk rock tropes, Money On It borrows some surf-rock vibes and not a little guitar jangle to fashion a strutting, intense rocker that, dare we say it, is a little more optimistic than we’ve previously heard from them, and all the better for it.

 

8 Idles – Mother
Our go-to punk anthem of the year. Amongst a whole album worth of them on their brilliant album Brutalism, Mother stands out for it’s pure vitriol, righteous fury and long-drawn out “Mother…. Fucker” chorus.

 

7 Black Angels – I’d Kill For Her
Just a typically brilliant slab of hypnotic, heavyweight psych that they do better than anyone else.

 

6 PINS – Serve The Rich
A needling ear worm of a guitar line is married to sparse, urgent production, and two and half minutes of politicised, post-punk perfection is the result.

 

5 Lo Tom – Covered Wagon
We’re suckers for a bit of Creedence style guitar chugging and Covered Wagon has it in spades. It is one of those four or five play songs, the ones where your head suddenly jerks up and you go “whoa, what is this again?”. From that moment on it was one of our favourite tunes of the year, one to keep going back to for its roughed-up, blue collar Americana that served as a great reminder that straight up rock and roll is often done best at its simplest.

 

4 Sun Seeker – Won’t Keep Me Up At Night
Reminiscent of the Quite Hollers who featured prominently in 2015’s Best Of lists. The sunny strum and cosmic Americana of Won’t Keep Me Up At Night explores introspective melancholy via laid-back psychedelia, all pollinated with tight harmonies and country rock spirit.

 

3 Fresh & Onlys – Wolf Lie Down
A perfect combination of indie rock rumble with a touch of classic Americana creates a strutting, catchy slab of pure Bay Area garage jangle.

 

2 Big Thief – Shark Smile
Oh where to begin? A  doomed car ride, a fatalistic narrative, romantic heartbreak? All these and more in this rambling folk rocker anchored by a steady motorik percussion and its tragic, catastrophic finale, “It came over me at a bad time, she burned over the double line and she impaled as I reached my hand for the guard rail, the guard rail, the guard rail”.

 

1 Cabbage – Celebration Of A Disease
Simply the ultimate mix of mutated groove and indie rock. With a lineage that stretches back to the Fall and takes in The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses, it is the latest addition to a long line of infectious, sing-along Manchester anthems.