Posts Tagged ‘Country Mice’

So, as the New Year approaches, here are our favourite albums of 2011 for your consideration. Feel free to dispute, argue, or otherwise put us right because, if nothing else, music is as about as subjective topic as it is possible to get. Some of these may not be the “best” albums of the year as far as the critics are concerned, but that matters not, as they were the ones we enjoyed listening to most – give them a try, you might feel the same.

50 Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me

Download Jessica Lea Mayfield – Our Hearts Are Wrong mp3 (from Tell Me)

49 Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread

Download Ty Segall – You Make The Sun Fry mp3 (from Goodbye Bread)

48 Wire – Red Barked Trees

Download Wire – Two Minutes mp3 (from Red Barked Trees)

New Album From Blessed Feathers.

47 Blessed Feathers – From the Mouths of the Middle Class

Download Blessed Feathers – Stinging Nettle, Honeysuckle mp3 (from From The Mouths Of The Middle Class)

Download Blessed Feathers – By Song Through The Americas mp3 (from From The Mouths Of The Middle Class)

46 The Men – Leave Home

Download The Men – Bataille mp3 (from Leave Home)

45 Lanterns On The Lake – Gracious Tide, Take Me Home

Download Lanterns On The Lake – You’re Almost There mp3 (from Gracious Tide, Take Me Home)

New Album From The Pack A.D.

44 The Pack A.D. – Unpersons

Download The Pack A.D. – Sirens mp3 (from Unpersons)

43 The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh

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42 Other Lives – Tamer Animals

Download Other Lives – For 12 mp3 (from Tamer Animals)

41 Country Mice – Twister

Download Country Mice – Morning Son mp3 (from Twister)

Mad Mackerel Recommends...Siskiyou.

40 Siskiyou – Keep Away The Dead

Download Siskiyou – Twigs And Stones mp3 (from Keep Away The Dead)

39 The Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

Download The Smith Westerns – All Die Young mp3 (from Dye It Blonde)

38 Jolie Holland – Pint Of Blood

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37 Lydia Lunch & Big Sexy Noise – Trust The Witch

Download Lydia Lunch & The Big Sexy Noise – Where You Gonna Run mp3 (from Trust The Witch)

New Album From Lonesome Wyatt & The Holy Spooks.

36 Lonesome Wyatt & The Holy Spooks – Heartsick

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35 Wye Oak – Civilian

Download Wye Oak – Civilian mp3 (from Civilian)

34 Jeff The Brotherhood – We Are The Champions

Download Jeff The Brotherhood – Mellow Out mp3 (from We Are The Champions)

33 William Elliott Whitmore – Field Songs

Download William Elliott Whitmore – Bury Your Burdens In The Ground mp3 (from Field Songs)

32 Natural Child – 1971

Download Natural Child – Hard Workin Man mp3 (from 1971)

31 LONG – American Primitive

Download LONG – Shoot Your Dog mp3 (from American Primitive)

Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.Our sixth guest top ten comes courtesy of our very own Chris T Popper, a small but perfectly formed (and often irritating) younger sibling who has been stealing my records since he had invisible friends as a small child.

Chris T Popper’s Top 10

10. Little Barrie – Tip It Over

The Nottingham trio start off my top 10 with the fabulous Tip It Over. Heavy guitar providing a great riff coupled with a momentum that creeps up on you. There’s some storming guitar solos too that never get self indulgent, which is quite an achievement in itself. The album was produced by Edwyn Collins who’s very name could send an old flat mate of mine in to a frothing rage. Merely humming A Girl Like You in his company could send him puce coloured. Which is why I did it. A lot.

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9. Wye Oak – Civillian

Jenn Wasner’s eerie vocals are a revelation to me – she has a wonderful delivery and a quality I can’t quite put my finger on. That keeps me interested alone. The song’s pace is something to admire too, keeps you right on the edge until a second half that is nothing short of epic. Great fuzzy guitar reverb (Velvet by Big Pink was a former number one of mine so you can tell I like a bit of feedback…) and that pounding drum just beats you in to submission.

Download Wye Oak – Civilian mp3 (from Civilian)

8. Young The Giant – My Body

Chiming guitars with a sing along chorus… anthemic you could say.

These words would usually have me running for the hills. Not this time, no sir. In fact I metaphorically run with arms wide open towards Young The Giant ready to embrace them. Why? Because sometimes you need to give in, admit defeat and just sit back and enjoy. Is it Simple Minds and Matt Cardle’s bastard love child? If that’s the case then two wrongs did make a right.

Download Young The Giant – My Body mp3 (from Young The Giant)

7. Smith Westerns – All Die Young

Heard this one really late. but it still forced its way in to my affections. Unlike Young The Giant this ticks all my traditional boxes. Has a lazy blissed out vibe, like it’s been down a coffee shop in Amsterdam for a while before rocking up red eyed to eat all your biscuits. Also feels a bit 70s which frankly I like, happens to be my favourite decade for lots of things – Punk, The Wicker Man, the 3 day week… And it has a wonderful Hammond organesque start, which I always enjoy.

Download The Smith Westerns – All Die Young mp3 (from Dye It Blonde)

6. Natural Child – Hard Workin Man

The guitar riff alone is addictive, enough to make you realise how great it must be to be able to play it. I wish I could. I have a ukulele and a games console guitar in the cupboard so I’ll move on. The room can sometimes fill with a faint smell of bourbon and sweat when this gets played and always has me reaching for a beer. Not good when listened to in the car… I keep the cans in the back and it’s dangerous reaching over when negotiating oncoming traffic.

Download Natural Child – Hard Workin Man mp3 (from 1971)

5. Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual

The sheer originality of this song, in harness with the hypnotic beat that plods mercilessly in to your brain, has got me. I give in. It’s a bad ritual, but it calms me down. Another latecomer that gate crashed the top ten, this wonderfully dark offering always makes me stop what I’m doing (which to be fair isn’t usually a lot) and listen. There is always room for an air of menace in my top ten.

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4. Dennis Hopper Choppers – Good To Me

Mariachi horns, violins, trumpets galore – what is there not to like? A magnificent vocal from Ben Nicholl sends the whole piece off to soar in to that vast Americana sky (pretentious, moi?). An instant hit with me – and everyone I’ve ever played it to… which is quite a lot of people. In a parallel Earth somewhere this is the year’s biggest seller.

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3. Country Mice – Morning Son

There’s something strangely comforting about this song. I genuinely love country music… and when it’s done so perfectly I could listen to it on loop. Has a melancholic beauty which can send me a bit dewy eyed.

Which is exactly what I’m after quite frankly.

Download Country Mice – Morning Son mp3 (from Twister)

2. Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl

Lyrically this is a tour de force. I won’t repeat my favourites here because there’s too many. Although ‘dead as a rat’ and ‘smoked like a borrowed car’ might just get a mention. Toby Burke is also a writer so it comes as no surprise he’s so skilled with words. I just need to get hold of one of his books now because if there anything like this I’ve found my new favourite author.

Download Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl mp3 (from Mexico City)

1. Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano

Not only song of the year it’s my favourite song for… well ages. Sometimes something comes along that sounds pretty close to perfect. I am in absolute awe of Darren Hayman, it’s quite simply a work of genius. Lyrically it bobs along on the back of that piano playing in the background, Hayman delivering each line so perfectly. I guess it can be instinctive when a song gets to your heart – your absolute favourite place, and that’s The Ship’s Piano. From about the third listen I knew I had found something I will always love listening to. And considering how many times I’ve played it the last three months that’s quite a relief…

Download Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano mp3 (from The Ship’s Piano)

Bubbling Under – 5 that came so close…

Monument Valley – Dear John Letters

Danny Brown – Die Like A Rockstar

Roadside Graves – Double Feature

Violet May – What You Say

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Vacant Fever – Heavy Leather

Best Song Heard But Not This Year:

White Buffalo – Black & Blue

Song That Was In My Top 10 All Year Until I Realised It Was 2010:

Al Lover & Gus Cutty – Part Of The Game

Download Al Lover & Gus Cutty – Part Of The Game mp3 (from Part Of The Game / All Mine Single)

Best Cover:

Siskiyou – Revolution Blues

Guilty Pleasure: 

The Dirtbombs – Shari Vari

Download The Dirtbombs – Shari Vari mp3 (from Party Store)

Here are the juiciest cuts from our May postings rounded up and presented as one marvellous mix plus a couple of cracking new tracks as well. Be sure to check out all our previous ‘Best Of the Month’ mixes in the sidebar too.

Download Country Mice – Morning Son mp3 (from Twister)

Country rock and blistering sonic experiments combining to deliver a brilliant apocalyptic ballad.

Download Howling Owls – Hay Fever mp3 (from When Tipsy Turns Somber EP)

Deliciously ominous folk music that creeps from the edges of the swamp and imperceptibly curls icy fingers around the back of your neck.

Download The Black Lips – Modern Art mp3 (from Arabia Mountain)

A garage fuelled boozy swagger with added meaty Stooges Fun House era sonics.

Download Jackie-O Motherfucker – In The Willows mp3 (from Earth Sound System)

Banks of hazy guitars that threaten to show the chillwave youngsters where it’s at with some sun dappled riffs.

Download Abigail Washburn – City Of Refuge mp3 (from City Of Refuge)

Charming mix of Appalachian folk and bluegrass topped with a gorgeous vocal delivery.

Download The Skeleton Dead – Lock The Doors mp3

Brilliantly realised tale of the macabre – follow the twists and turns of a murderous burglar told over a sparse backdrop of gentle instrumentation that acts as a wonderful counterbalance to the coiled menace of the lyrics – this gem gives a twisted new take on murder ballads.

Download Mount Moriah – Lament mp3 (from Mount Moriah)

Wonderfully hymnal chant over a delicate acoustic narrative.

Download Leaving – Lonely Child mp3 (from Ghost House EP)

Sparse, ghostly and beautiful folk with slow, swirling instrumentation like tendrils of smoke from a campfire.

Download The Middle East – Hunger Song mp3 (from I Want That You Are Always Happy)

Australian folk musical collective’s upbeat gem.

Download Moses Luster – I’m The Lion mp3 (from I’m The Lion)

For lovers of tales of the downtrodden and the desperate.

Download Bonnie “Prince” Billy & The Phantom Family Halo – The Mindeater mp3 (from The Mindeater)

Bonnie’s vocal performance is perhaps already one of his eeriest in years – creepy backwoods paranoia anyone?

Download Marissa Nadler – The Sun Always Reminds Me Of You mp3 (from Marissa Nadler)

Her unique blend of dream pop, but this time pedal steel adds a distinct country feel to accompany that exquisite, ethereal voice.

Download Elliott Brood – Northern Air mp3 (from Days Into Years)

Another very fine example of their bluegrass tinged, up tempo alt-country with a classic singalong chorus.

Download U.S. Girls – If These Walls Could Talk mp3 (from U.S. Girls / Slim Twig Split 12″)

Hazy, insistent pop minimalism.

Download Slim Twig – Priscilla mp3 (from U.S. Girls / Slim Twig Split 12″)

Brilliantly twisted pop-art.

Download Chad VanGaalen – Sara mp3 (from Diaper Island)

Sparse, sweet, wide-eyed acoustic taster from new album.

Download Dirty Bourbon River Show – Train Is Gone mp3 (from Volume 2)

Ultra catchy country and horns rumble.

Download The Stripminers – No Luck mp3

Acerbic, punky take on Americana.

Download The Adultery Brothers – Something In My Drink mp3 (from Let Me Think)

Effevescent toe-tapping indie rock.

Download Pearl & the Beard – Sweetness mp3 (from Killing The Darlings)

Spitting, crackling folk with rousing boy/girl harmonies and mischievous ways.

Download The Blood Arm – Introducing Randy Newman mp3 (from Turn And Face Me)

Explosively catchy blend of tribal drums, relentless rock ‘n’ roll guitar and classicly simple, but effective hooks.

Download Mr Plow – Thank You Mr Ford mp3 (from Joyful In Song We Are)

Rich baritone voice lingers over a backdrop of twangy Gretsch guitars, shuffling drums and zinging flat top acoustic strumming.

Download The Roadside Graves – Love Me More mp3 (from We Can Take Care Of Ourselves)

Perfectly judged slice of tattered country rock with a rich chorus and a expansive feel.

Download Savaging Spires – Bending The Rules For Brian mp3 (from Savaging Spires)

Spooky slice of freakish folk and drone with a chorus that sounds like a voodoo incantation over slow, ominous backing strings.

Download The Sea Thieves – Focus The Stars mp3 (from They Will Run)

Hypnotic and haunting, it is a song that is meant for the quiet of evening when the stars are out and the only other sound is the wind rustling the leaves.

Download Twiggy Frostbite – By The Ocean mp3 

Hazy, dreamlike song that sounds like it was created in a netherworld where surreal is the norm, and nothing is quite as it seems or as it should be.

And to finish we have the slightly unhinged proto-garage of The Bats Pajamas, the brilliantly retro garage soul of Fitz & The Tantrums (with a track just made for open-top cruising), and the first taste of songwriter Van Pierszalowski’s new project following the very sad demise of the wonderful Port O’Brien. Called Waters, this is his rousing single For The One.

Download The Bats Pajamas – Downtown Nitty Gritty mp3 (from The Bats Pajamas)

Download Fitz & The Tantrums – Don’t Gotta Work It Out mp3 (from Songs For A Break Up: Volume 1 EP)

Download Waters – For The One mp3 (from Out In The Light)

We have long been fans of We Are Country Mice, and they have now shortened their name to simply Country Mice and will release their debut album Twister via Wao Wao Records on 7th June.

Coming across like a mix between Wilco and The Pixies they are equally at home with the country rock of the former and the blistering sonic experiments of the latter combining both to deliver an brilliant blend of apocalyptic ballads and stormy freakouts.

Order the album from Insound here.

Download Country Mice – Morning Son mp3 (from Twister)