Posts Tagged ‘Cave Singers’

We’re getting towards the sharp end of our mammoth count down now. Here are songs 30-21 of our favourites of the past ten years.

30 Bear Bones – Oil And Lacquer (2010)

 

An eight-piece folk explosion of rousing, thickly accented, swagger and swing.

 

29 James McMurtry – Copper Canteen (2015)

 

Opening with the quasi-funny, possibly serious “Honey don’t you be yelling at me while I’m cleaning my gun“, plucked banjo and descending guitar plot the staging posts of a jaundiced marriage – one of America’s finest, and uneasiest, singer-songwriters.

 

28 Cave Singers – At The Cut (2009)

 

A three minute, foot-tapping, bone-trembling dust-up. At The Cut is the Cave Singers at their sweaty, percussion-heavy finest.

 

27 Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Colour Television (2008)

 

The insistent guitar is ravaged with a punk attitude I thought was long dead. Could have come from 1976 and share a gob full of spit with the best of that era, by that I mean The Clash and there is no greater praise I can bestow. Another story televised / Another billion hypnotised. Quite

 

26 The Lumineers – Flapper Girl (2012)

 

Simple, sincere, parlour-room folk of the most heartfelt and vulnerable kind.

 

25 Junip – Line Of Fire (2013)

 

Wistful and reflective; 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.

 

24 We Are Augustines – Ohio (2011)

Our second cover in the countdown, We Are Augustines’ stunning take on Damien Jurado’s wonderfully evocative and painfully sad tale of parental kidnap.

 

23 Jamie T – Spiders Web (2009)

The pretty acoustic guitar motif is offset by Jamie T’s uniquely rasping vocal of part rap, part song and part slur, and all backed up with a rowdy chorus that could blast stone from a quarry.

 

22 Howling Owls – A Wordsmith’s Reverie (2011)

 

More queasily understated folk from Howling Owls. With an almost waltz-time feel, here is another perfectly delivered everyday tale of resignation and failed expectations.

 

21 Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud (2014)

 

It’s a temporary fix / In case you don’t come down’ – and maybe it is. A lingering air of melancholy over a simple soaring musical arrangement, this is (in a way) the musical religion of Damien Jurado. All seeing, all knowing, quietly anthemic and ethereal.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-41 and 40-31.

Welcome to numbers 120 through to 101 of our favourite tunes of the past ten years…

120 Black Mountain – Let Spirits Ride (2010)

Who cares if the riff is nicked from another song, or if it sounds like 1972. I don’t when it as good as this. Pure riffola magic.

 

119 Faith Healer – No Car (2015)

 

Kicking up a meaty riff from the outset and telling the tale of an abusive ex-lover, the impact of No Car is unstoppable – a powerhouse of a tune

 

118 Car Seat Headrest – (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)(2016)

Will Toledo delivers a stunning combination of self-deprecating disgust, mundanity and insight without sacrificing one ounce of musicality. Equally rich and raw, with an honesty and openness that is all too rare these days. The closest thing to a modern day Leonard Cohen that we have heard and simply can’t praise him more highly than that. Sheer genius.

 

117 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand (2016)

 

Starts like the Butthole Surfers and then gets better. Pure bristling, raw, visceral, fuck-you rock’n’roll.

 

116 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter (2016)

 

Irrepressibly hazy psych rock where lurking amidst a jovial, almost childish rhythm is something nightmarish revealed through harsh, distorted guitar riffs.

 

115 Soft Black – Time gets Away And Has Its Way With You (2009)

 

Ah, that gentle rhythm and those sweet harmonies. Simply gorgeous meandering, psych inflected indie rock.

 

114 The Tallest Man On Earth – Leading Me Now (2o12)

Fast paced, catchy and, dare we say, light-hearted, finger picked folk with a unique melody and those wonderful scratchy vocals.

 

113 Creepoid – Grave Blanket (2011)

 

Rattling psych-rock, all creeping reverb laden malevolence.

 

112 Wooden Wand & The World War IV – I Hate The Nightlife (2013)

 

Bleak psych-country with Crazy Horse era guitars soundtracking the grimy fuzz of a regular, always hungover, road trip.

 

111 Lord Huron – Time To Run (2012)

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.

 

110 This Is The Kit – Silver John (2015)

 

Spine tingling, mysterious and poetically reflecting on nothing less than the impending end of the world.

 

109 Nathaniel Rateliff – Brakeman (2010)

Folk lullaby dripping with regret and despair.

 

108 Grass House – A Cradle A Short Breath (2011)

In a conscious effort to avoid being type-cast in a dark or brooding vein, the song hints at the lighter side of the London group’s repertoire. Even so, it is still menacing enough to send most other indie bands screaming to their mummies.

 

107 Royal Sea – This Summer (2012)

 

Opens with a spectacularly catchy drum beat before the vocals come in like a rush of sugar coated adrenalin, plaintively announcing: “We crashed everybody’s parties / we drank cheap wine and whiskey / We partied up on the rooftops / I’m glad it was just you and me”. This should have been the woozy, feel good hit of the summer of 2012.

 

106 Delta Spirit – Trashcan (2008)

Clicking percussion gives way to a frantic rhythm and battle-cry vocals – a marvel of infectious folk rock.

 

105 John Grant – I Wanna Go To Marz (2010)

Grant’s effortlessly rich, expansive baritone, couched in a typically heartbreaking, lush melody courtesy of Midlake’s familar 1970s soft-rock style.

 

104 Alt J – Left Hand Free (2014)

Twangy indie rock with a shuffling beat, a quirky chorus and some bluesy undertones.

 

103 Moonlandingz – Vessels (2017)

 

A perfect blend of sleazy glam rock riffs and twisted lyrics – as delightfully grubby as it gets.

 

102 Sonny + The Sandwitches – Through The Fog And The Haze (2010)

 

Inspired by a near-drowning, Through The Fog And The Haze is perfectly observed, elegant folk filled with briny, aquatic imagery.

 

101 The Cave Singers – Gifts And The Raft (2011)

Pete Quirk’s rustic rasp set to some classic backwoods acoustic charm.

 

Check out tracks 200-181, 180-161, 160-141, and 141-120.

Mad Mackerel has been around for ten years now.

We’ve come a long way.

Early days using Google’s blogspot where our posts were regularly and erroneously taken down through DMCA notices until the moment when Google just erased us completely, our move to WordPress in April 2010 where Kurt Vile, Beach Fossils, Johnny Flynn and Band of Horses were among our first posts. Those were the days of Mrs Mackerel’s TFI Friday posts, downloadable Best of the Month round-ups, and the early days of Soundcloud and Bandcamp. On we went with our MM Shorts series reaching one thousand posts, Best of the Month was replaced by Songs You Should Have Heard This Week, and a collection of 15-1 interviews with the likes of Blitzen Trapper, Simone Felice, Torres and Young Knives. And every year we published our collection of favourite tunes from some of our much loved and stalwart contributors – Mrs Mackerel (of course), Chris T Popper, Barry-Sean, The Italian Job, Polly Pocket, Dr Roddy, and even some Mackerel sprat contributions.

So to mark ten years of tunes, over a million hits, 6,174 posts on WordPress, 9,993 tracks listed on Hype Machine, 5,691 WordPress followers and even 1,113 likes on Facebook, we’ve asked our key contributors to share their favourite songs of the past ten years and compiled them into one lovely big list of 200 wonderful tunes for you.

Bit by bit, over the next few days we’ll be sharing them all for you – check through and see what you might have missed.

PART 1 (200-181)

200 Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences – The Evil Thoughts (2008)

The black humour, the self-deprecation, the slightly carnivalesque musical stylings and a story of self loathing. A wounded, nihilistic anthem with a wonderful, British oddball-ness about it.

 

199 PortisheadWe Carry On (2008)

Hypnotically oppressive and menacing. Built on a insistent two-note electro riff, We Carry On is as claustrophobic as music can get.

 

198 Dune Rats – Dalai Lama (2014)

 

Just about the dumbest stoner anthem ever written and that’s high praise given the competition, and definitely the best song with only one line and five words. Altogether now Dalai Lama Big Banana Marijuana

 

189 Dutchess & The Duke – The River (2009)

Stark, sparse campfire song, with a captivating, morose beauty.

 

196 T. Hardy Morris – OK Corral (2013)

 

Pure back-porch Americana, dark alt-country shot through with a touch of psychedelia.

 

195 together PANGEA – River (2014)

 

A hyperactive smear of ripcord riffs and sneering angst. Garage punk perfection.

 

194 Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kiss Me Again (2008)

 

Sultry, utterly gorgeous, and captivating opening track from her second album, recorded when she was only 19. Weary beyond her years.

 

193 Grasshouse – A Cockroach (2010)

Excellent, brooding indie rock. A malevolent and dark-hearted sonic delight.

 

192 Fat White Family – Bomb Disneyland (2013)

 

A Stooges style riff and sordid lyrics aligned to an irresistibly malignant rockabilly groove.

 

191 Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings (2012)

 

Long before the Emperor’s new clothes of recent releases, Fear Fun was one of the finest albums of 2012 and this track with its nod to the Wall of Sound days and echoing guitars was one of the standouts.

 

190 Parquet Courts – Dust (2016)

Droning, danceable guitars brilliantly provide a backdrop to a jittery 50 word essay on the inherent grossness of dust and the futility of cleaning. “It follows, now swallow, You’re biting it now, Suffocate, suffocate, Breathe, Dust is everywhere, Sweep”.

 

189 Eagleowl – Motherfucker (2008)

 

Like a Scottish Low, Motherfucker is a devastating slow burner with an opening line to match, “Can I call you motherfucker, would your father be offended?

 

188 Elvis Perkins In Dearland – Doomsday (2009)

Brassy, infectious, sad but happy, New Orleans style folk.

 

187 No Age – Fever Dreaming (2010)

 

This song simply steams out of the traps like it has just been released from the punk heyday of 1977.

 

186 The Cave Singers – I Don’t Mind (2009)

The finger-picking guitar is a brilliant back-drop to the soaring vocals. Low lights, Friday night, bit of kitchen dancing. Irresistible.

 

185 Mazes – Skulking (2013)

 

A krautrock inspired, four to the floor drone classic that ends in a classic Velvets style fuzzed up breakdown.

 

184 Twilight Hotel – Mahogany Veneer (2011)

 

A brilliant combination of alt-country and spaghetti-western desert twang that moves languidly to conclusion via poignant, scalpel sharp lyrics

 

183 Greylag – Yours To Shake (2014)

A moody take on the nature of good vs evil told through the lens of muscular, gnarly folk-rock.

 

182 Last American Buffalo – Baby I’m Alive (2012)

 

Perfectly paced, mournfully traditional Americana.

 

181 Two Wounded Birds – Night Patrol (2011)

 

Stunning surf-rock twang with echoes of Link Wray and Roy Orbison.

 

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Our final Best of post of 2016 is MM’s own selections. You can also listen via Spotify here.

20 TRAAMS – A House On Fire
I always think I don’t really like long songs and yet they always seem to end up in my favourite tracks of the year. This TRAAMS song is nearly nine minutes long yet hurtles along in a blur of krautrock inspired grooviness that is irresistible.

 

19 BAIT – I’m Still Here
Out-slaved anything on the last Slaves record and mentions evil genius Timmy Mallet. Top marks.

 

18 Mind Spiders – Running
An unstoppable, frantic force of razor sharp guitars and seething urgency.

 

17 Underworld – I Exhale
See what I mean about long songs… Another eight minutes of hypnotic, motorik techno that cannot be denied.

 

16 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife
Described by the band as a ‘never-ending album’, Nonagon Infinity features nine songs connected by musical motifs which flow ‘seamlessly’ into each other with the last track ‘linking straight back into the top of the opener’. The first single, a psych-rock/trash metal wig out, Gamma Knife contained a riff from the song People Vultures and both songs are our favourites on the record. This just edges it for its sheer grooviness.

 

15 Terry – Don’t Say Sorry
I love this song for making me feel 15 again and discovering all those now punk classics. Nervy, incessant, catchy as hell and the best deadpan vocals of the year. Why would you say sorry for that?

 

14 Van William – Revolution
We still miss Port O’Brien and (whisper it) Van Pierszalowski’s new musical vehicle WATERS haven’t really been a patch on PO’B, so we were delighted to discover Van William, another new project, but this time returning to the folksier roots of his previous band. Add in a mournful trumpet and the gorgeous harmonies of First Aid Kit and a lovely record is suddenly elevated to another plane altogether. Fingers crossed for more from Van William

 

13 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand
Starts like the Butthole Surfers and then gets better. The bit from 45 seconds to one minute is my favourite 15 seconds of punk rock this year.

 

12 Damien Jurado – Exit 353
Concluding the single story he has been telling over a trilogy of albums with Visions of Us on the Land, the lead single Exit 353 was a snapshot view of life and death, love and betrayal told through a perfect combination of expansive, evocative guitars with their roots in the heyday of classic 70s psych and Western movie strings that called to mind sun-blasted vast, parched sands.

 

11 James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone
An intense, tribal, maelstrom of churning, filthy guitars and pounding percussion that veers into space rock by way of spaghetti westerns and Italian horror films.

 

10 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow
Only You Remain was an excellent debut album of beautiful, pastoral Americana cut through with an almost sinuous psychedelic haze – imagine Beach House and Mazzy Star with Gram Parsons and Neil Young. Undertow was a dreamy, reverb-rich, reflective highlight.

 

Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore
A song about gender, identity and being taken seriously as an artist that manages to be funny and biting and smart. It is a perfect rallying cry, all wrapped up in biting lyrics and a driving riff that has as much Joey Ramone in it as it does Pavement or Yo La Tengo.

“I don’t wanna be funny anymore / I got a too short skirt, maybe I can be the cute one / Is there room in the band? I don’t need to be the front man / If not, then I’ll be the biggest fan”

 

Cave Singers – That’s Why
A perfect, slightly fuzzy, rolling baseline, stomping drums and Pete Quirk’s unmistakeable vocals. The Cave Singers gave us a new album this year. That’s Why was the first single and as soon as we heard it we knew they at least wouldn’t be letting us down in a year that turned out to be one of monumental disappointments.

 

7 Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga
A late entry thanks to Mrs M as the Pixies finally manage to turn back the clock and deliver a southern gothic rocker of bracing urgency and delirious intensity.

 

6 Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack
I imagine that one of the ten commandments of music might be “Black Mountain shall deliver the riff of the year” and so, just as it was with 2010’s Let Spirits Ride, so it was with 2016’s Florian Saucer Attack. This is just top notch rocking out of ‘turn it up to eleven’ Spinal Tap proportions – I mean that in an entirely good, and non-ironic, way of course, which is a shame for American readers as “apparently” you don’t get irony. I doubt it is true although while many of your countrymen and women were damning the celebrity support of Hilary Clinton as out-of-touch and unrepresentative, millions were happily voting for a billionaire celebrity on the other side. Go figure…

 

5 Parquet Courts -Dust
Droning, danceable guitars brilliantly provide a backdrop to a jittery 50 word essay on the inherent grossness of dust and the futility of cleaning. “It follows, now swallow, You’re biting it now, Suffocate, suffocate, Breathe, Dust is everywhere, Sweep”.

 

4 Ashley Shadow – Tired
A bleary, resigned mid-tempo rocker from the twin-sister of Black Mountain’s Amber Webber that somehow feels like being stood in the epicentre of a mini-hurricane.

 

3 Car Seat Headrest – Fill In The Blank
I came late to the Car Seat Headrest album because everyone was pushing the Drunk Drivers/Killers Whales song which was OK, but not good enough to make me want to check out the album. Turns out that was my mistake as it is by far the worst song on the best album of the year. It opens with Fill In The Blank, which pushes Black Mountain mighty close in the riffage stakes for a start and also has my favourite lyric of the year: “You have no right to be depressed, You haven’t tried hard enough to like it.”

 

2 Dr. Dog – Bring My Baby Back
Laying a yearning, plaintive vocal over the top of a perfect mix of  pop, gospel and psych rock, Dr Dog created the nigh on perfect Bring My Baby Back. Majoring on themes of betrayal, repentance, solitude, and revenge, wrapped up in a perfectly strummed acoustic guitar, it was the most innocently beguiling tune of the year.

Simple plea, make them pay and make them bring my baby back to me. Oh make them pay and make them bring my baby back to me

 

1 Car Seat Headrest – (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)
Sounding uncannily like Will Sheff of Okkervil River at the start of (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem), Will Toledo delivers a stunning combination of self-deprecating disgust, mundanity and insight without sacrificing one ounce of musicality. Equally rich and raw, with an honesty and openness that is all too rare these days, Car Seat Headrest is a genuine poet – the closest thing to a modern day Leonard Cohen that I have heard and  I simply can’t praise him more highly than that. Sheer genius.

 

And our other annual ‘awards’..

Gig of the Year: Protomartyr at the 100 Club, London

 

Cover of the Year: Julien Baker – Ballad of Big Nothing (Elliott Smith cover)

 

Car-run anthem: Insane Clown Posse – Chicken Huntin’

 

So there we have it for another year.  To check out the Italian Job’s top 20 click here or here for Chris T Popper’s selections and here for Mrs Mackerel’s. Click for the full run down of our 100 favourite tracks (100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-1) and albums.

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Here are our favourite albums of 2016. We have to go against the flow a bit and say up front there is no place for David Bowie. Great though he was, and tragic that he died two days after the release of a good album, for us that was what it was, a good album, but not a great one. And besides he is topping damn near every other list.

30 Adam Torres – Pearls To Swine

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29 BRONCHO – Double Vanity

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28 Communist Daughter – The Cracks That Built The Wall

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27 Cold Pumas – The Hanging Valley

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26 Hooded Fang – Venus On Edge

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25 Jamie T – Trick

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24 The Julie Ruin – Hit Reset

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23 Goat – Requiem

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22 Kevin Morby – Singing Saw

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21 The Cave Singers – Banshee

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20 Conor Oberst – Ruminations

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19 Black Mountain – IV

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18 Pixies – Head Carrier

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17 Big Thief – Masterpiece

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16 Wilco – Shmilco

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15 Velcro Hooks – Velcro Hooks

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14 Terry Malts – Lost At The Party

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13 Terry – Terry HQ

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12 PJ Harvey – Hope Six Demolition Project

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11 Mind Spiders – Prosthesis

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10 Angel Olsen – My Woman

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9 Lucy Dacus – No Burden

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8 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity

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7 Cass McCombs – Mangy Love

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6 Damien Jurado – Vision Of Us On The Land

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5 Dr. Dog – Psychedelic Swamp

 

4 The Felice Brothers – Life In The Dark

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3 Great American Canyon Band – Only You Remain

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2 Parquet Courts – Human Performance

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1 Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial

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Check out our favourite 100 tracks of the year here (100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-1) and look out tomorrow for the start of our individual lists…

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

50 BAIT – I’m Still Here

 

49 Big Thief – Paul

 

48 Kyle Craft – Before The Wall

 

47 Staches – Total Commitment

 

46 Arborist – I Heard Him Leaving

 

45 Hooded Fang – Dead Battery

 

44 Yowl – The Imminent Return

 

43 Quiet Hollers – Broken Guitar

 

42 Ultimate Painting – Bills

 

41 Mind Spiders – Cold

 

40 Flat Worms – Petulance

 

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

 

38 Old Sea Brigade – Sleep In The Park

 

37 Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree

 

36 Jacuzzi Boys – Lucky Blade

 

35 Fat White Family – Breaking Into Aldi

 

34 The Cave Singers – That’s Why

 

33 Neighbors – Angel O

 

32 The Lumineers – Gale Song

 

31 The Julie Ruin – I Decide

 

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

 

29 PJ Harvey – Guilty

 

28 Joseph Coward – Peanut Girl

 

27 Magic Potion – Milk

 

26 Agnes Obel – Its Happening Again

 

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

New From The Cave Singers

Posted: October 26, 2016 in Americana, Country, Folk, Indie, Music, Rock
Tags:

cave-singers

With very little fanfare (so it seems) the wonderful Cave Singers have shared a new song.

On their Facebook page, they simply describe You Don’t Know Me as a dreamy number.

Turns out they’re right. Have a listen.

 

We are slowly absorbing the Cave Singers’ latest offering Banshee, which is revealing new secrets and delights with every listen.

Watch the new video for one of the standout tracks, That’s Why, featuring the band strolling through the dark woods of Washington state, being followed by haunting figures in animal masks.

 

Cave Singers - Banshee

Just in time for the holidays, the Cave Singers have shared another cracking song off of their upcoming album Banshee, entitled Christmas Night.

It is an uptempo, almost jaunty slice of twangy Americana, but juxtaposed with lyrics that follow a darker path and pattern, Pete Quirk proclaiming, “walking through life with a knife in your back.”

Have a listen.

 

Return of the Cave Singers

As well as the anticipation, there is always a slight sense of trepidation when an artist or band that you have a particular affinity with releases something new. More than anything you want that special sense of rapport and harmony that you feel to be prolonged and enhanced, and not to be spoiled – for your personal love affair with said artist’s music to continue.

So this is how it was for us when we got to hear That’s Why, the first track to be shared from The Cave Singers forthcoming album, their fifth, titled Banshee (out on February 19th).

The Cave Singers are a band we’ve loved from the beginning, both theirs and ours, for it was them (and bands like them) that inspired us to start a music blog in the first place.

But enough of the love-in, what about the song?

The song? Oh the song is a fuzzed up Americana stomper of insistent, rolling brilliance, built on a instant-classic sounding, glam-rock style riff (the like of which this trio does better than just about anyone else) and anchored by the immediately recognisable vocals of singer Pete Quirk . It is wonderful. Just one play and our grin spread from gill to gill.

In the darkest of days it is the little things that can bring the joy…listen.