Posts Tagged ‘Courtney Barnett’

Four cracking new tracks for you this morning. The latest from Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s much anticipated collaboration, another absolute shredder from Aussie duo DZ Deathrays, more potent pop-punk from Bully, and indie-pop God Ezra Furman’s new track Driving Down To L.A., which he describes as “This is a song of paranoia, escape and ecstatic ego-death. We decided to make a video about me and my angel companion escaping from modern-day Nazis. It is terrible to watch America’s white supremacist roots flourish like this again, not to mention the accompanying misogyny, queerphobia and anti-Semitism. I intend this song, video and my entire career as a protest against those attitudes.

Hear hear – enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty much figure we’ve all been waiting to hear this… Over Everything is the first fruits of the collaboration between Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile and is taken from the forthcoming album Lotta Sea Lice.

Enjoy those dovetailing vocal lines and intricate, shimmering guitar! We are…

 

Typically infectious, barnstorming and deadpan How To Boil An Egg is a standalone brand new track from Courtney Barnett.

It was recorded as a contribution to an new collaboration between two of Australia’s leading independent labels, Milk! Records (the label which she founded with partner Jen Cloher) and Bedroom Suck.

Have a listen.


mms-best-of-2016-header

It’s here! Our countdown of our favourite tracks of 2016 as nominated by MM, Mrs Mackerel, Chris T Popper and The Italian Job. Part One sees us counting down from 100 to 76.

So without further ado…

 

100 Oldermost – Finally Unsure

 

99 Slaves – People That You Meet

 

98 Spoilers – No Pressure

 

97 Adam Torres – Morning Rain

 

96 Johnny Dowd – Whiskey Ate My Brain

 

95 Molly Parden – Kentucky, I

 

94 The Felice Brothers – Jack At The Asylum

 

93 Horse Thief – Another Youth

 

92 Courtney Barnett – Three Packs A Day

 

91 The Coathangers – Watch Your Back

 

90 Whitney – No Woman

 

89 Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker

 

88 Haybaby – Joke/Rope

 

87 Springtime Carnivore – Raised By Wolves

 

86 Jamie T – Tescoland

 

85 VATS – Melting Culture

 

84 Holly Throsby – What Do You Say

 

83 Happyness – Falling Down

 

82 Hooded Fang – Tunnel Vision

 

81 The Felice Brothers – Aerosol Ball

 

80 Bueno – Babyface

 

79 Loch Lomond – Silver Felt

 

78 Velcro Hooks – Galaxy Police Club

 

77 Carter Tanton – Twentynine Palms

 

76 Avers – Insects

 

Check back for Part 2 (75-51) tomorrow.

Day of the Dead

On May 20th, 4AD will release Day of the Dead – a celebration of the Grateful Dead’s music created and curated by brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National.

It has been a massive undertaking. The compilation is a wide-ranging tribute to the songwriting and experimentalism of the Dead, which took four years to record, features over 60 artists from varied musical backgrounds, 59 tracks and is almost 6 hours long.

Day of the Dead will be released digitally, on a 5 X CD, and as a limited edition vinyl boxed set.  All profits will help fight for AIDS/ HIV and related health issues around the world through the Red Hot Organisation.

Among the first five songs shared from it today include the first new music from The War on Drugs since 2014’s brilliant Lost In The Dream with their cover of the Dead’s 1987 hit Touch of Grey.

MM faves Phosphorescent and Jenny Lewis combine with the backing of the in-house band (featuring 4/5 of the National) that contributed to numerous recordings on the compilation, to cover 1971’s Sugaree.

Courtney Barnett puts her characteristic slant on New Speedway Boogie, and The National cover Bonnie Dobson’s Morning Dew, a Grateful Dead staple since 1967, one of two songs that they contributed to the compilation.

Watch them all below.

 

 

 

 

best of the weekWe’re a bit late to the party this weekend with our round-up of the best of the new releases of the past seven days.

No matter – consider it a nice late finish to Sunday or a nice new start to the new week.

  1. Courtney Barnett – Three Packs A Day
  2. Woods – Sun City Creeps
  3. Soft Fangs – Birthday
  4. Matthew And The Atlas – Elijah
  5. Dilly Dally – Know Yourself (Drake cover)
  6. Charlie Hilton – Funny Anyway
  7. Yuck – Hearts In Motion
  8. Murals – Watching In The Dark
  9. Beach Baby – Sleeperhead
  10. Gun Outfit – Expansion Pact
  11. Quilt – Roller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MM Best of 2015 no guitarAnd so here is the final personal Top Twenty of the year. This time it is my turn!

Another twelve months neatly wrapped up and delivered for your listening pleasure and here’s to 2016…

20. Quiet Hollers – Mont Blanc

An apocalyptic, “end-is-nigh” rolling, country rock anthem. Pure poetry with the best coda to a song I heard all year, “shed a tear for the books I shoulda read“.

 

19. H. Hawkline – Spooky Dog

Melodic, haunting, weird. Perfect psych-pop with added twisted electronics.

 

18. Arborist – Twisted Arrow

Brilliant debut single of lilting folk-rock concealing a bleak heart and featuring the hushed vocals of none other than Kim Deal of the Pixies.

 

17. Courtney Barnett – Depreston

With her forensic eye for lyrical detail and the ability to capture emotional turmoil in the sparest of sentences, Depreston is the sombre standout from her brilliant debut album proper. A tale of house hunting in Melbourne suburbia that travels from the mundane to the tender to the revealing.

 

16. Grandparents – Kids In The Alley

Take the most infectiously catchy refrain, add jangly guitars, carefree percussion and bubblegum melodies. This is what you get. A hallucinatory classic.

 

15. Futurekids – White Girl In A Wu Tang T-Shirt

Irresistible foot-tapping indie rock, the like of which you just don’t hear very much anymore.

 

14. Woolen Men – Life In Hell

A clattering, staccato burst of tense, nervy post-punk that recalls the best of Wire and The Wipers. The aural equivalent of being jabbed in the throat by a stray elbow in the mosh pit.

 

13. Rats On Rafts – Last Day On Earth

A mini masterpiece of epic, circling, incessant grooves. Far, far, far out man.

 

12. Decemberists – Carolina Low

This was one of those stopped-in-your-tracks moments that music gives you sometimes. Watching the Decemberists live in Bristol at the start of the year and Colin Meloy transfixing the whole audience into rapt attention with just guitar and voice. Also spent much of the year repeating “You’ve got an ugly little mouth boy” in a poor imitation of an American accent.

 

11. Low – What Part Of Me

Classic Low – haunting, spectral, fuzzy and quietly, poignantly devastating.

 

10. Spray Paint – Signal Master

Like Chris T Popper, Spray Paint are my favourite discovery of 2015. Easily the sleaziest, seediest offering of the year – caustic, dead-eyed junkie punk, bleak, repetitive, and crushingly brilliant. “It’s time to put the dog down“.

 

9. Protomartyr – Why Does It Shake

The Agent Intellect was unexpectedly my favourite record of 2015 and any number of tracks could legitimately have gatecrashed my favourite songs of the year. In the end I had to limit myself to two. This one, Why Does It Shake is described by the band as a “back-handed ode to humanity’s resilient self regard in the face of inevitable oblivion. Then the trap door opens.” and is equally exasperated and eloquent. It sets the tone with the doom-laden “False happiness is on the rise, See the victims pile high” and concludes in a stunning climax of clatter and squall.

 

8. Quiet Hollers – Côte d’Azur

A hit man, a traffic jam. A sparkling ocean. Another extraordinary track of ominous, foreboding beauty from the Quiet Hollers.

 

7. Gun Outfit – Gotta Wanna

I’m a sucker for dusty, sun-parched rock and expansive widescreen Americana and Gotta Wanna combines the two in perfect unison. This is humming road-weary, dusty desert blues of the finest vintage.

 

6. Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts – Scowling Crackhead Ian

The latecomers entry to the list. Over the course of a few short weeks Jeffrey Lewis’s wryly told tale of growing up with the evil anti-hero of his school days, until they are the only two left in the neighbourhood has firmly embedded itself in to my psyche. It effortlessly helps you to recall your own equivalent of Ian, someone you actively tried to avoid and whose unpredictability could be shocking and whose meanness was legendary (mine was Robert Beckett). “Forever you’ve been Crackhead Ian, It was your kid nickname if we spoke it, You were an insane human being, Whether you ever did or didn’t really smoke it“. Says it all really.

 

5. Girl Band – Pears For Lunch

Girl Band’s Holding Hands With Jamie was a criminally underrated release this year. A band that manages to take the most discordant, contradictory noise and meld it into something magnetically compelling that grips like a vice. Pears For Lunch combines a manic energy with Dara Kiely’s lethargic, disinterested vocals as he intones, “Spend my time watching Top Gear with my trousers down, Covered in Sudocrem and talking to myself, Garlic Curry Cheese Chips“. Exactly!

 

4. Traams – Succulent Thunder Anthem

Just shy of three minutes of propulsive, throbbing bass, skimming guitars and urgent vocals. This is Traams at their rollicking, ferocious best.

 

3. Protomartyr – Pontiac 87

The finest riff of the year, and a brilliantly hypnotic reflection on a dispiriting Papal visit to Pontiac, Michigan in the late eighties.

 

2. Houndmouth – Sedona

The best sing-a-long chorus of the year bar none. Altogether now, “Hey little Hollywood, You’re gone but you’re not forgot, You got the cash but your credit’s no good, You flipped the script and you shot the plot, And I remember I remember when your neon used to burn so bright and pink, A Saturday night kinda pink“.

 

1 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin’

Probably the most overwhelming choice for number one song of the year that we’ve had in seven years of voting. A fingerpicked earworm, a sprawl of twangy guitar and surreal, laconic lyrics combine to create the perfect ode to stoned self-reflection.

 

And some other random choices..

Favourite cover of the year: Kinky Friedman – My Shit’s Fucked Up (Warren Zevon cover)

 

Gigs of the year: Fat White Family (Oxford) and The Decemberists (Bristol)

 

Song I wished I’d heard earlier in the year: Robert Chaney – The Ballad Of Edward And Lisa

 

Best Songs Heard For The First Time, But Not From This Year: Justin Townes Earle – Yuma & Sleaford Mods – Chop Chop Chop

 

 

You can see our full countdown of our favourite 100 Tracks of the year here (100-76), (75-51), (50-26), (25-1) and favourite 30 Albums here (30-16), (15-1).

MM Best of 2015 no guitarOur Best of the Year posts are coming to a close and for the penultimate list we hand over to the ever fragrant Mrs Mackerel.

Over to you Mrs M…

Another year banked. As ever, I look at my list and think yes, there are some that are keepers and others that maybe were just a mirage. A little like life really.

 

20 The Tulips – Winter Winds

19 Hanni El Khatib – Moonlight

18 Jamie T – Marilyn Monroe

17 Amason – Moon as a Kite

16 Haunted Hearts – Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good

15 Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best

It’s a blistering guitar-led onslaught that plays out against a searing vocal style. Lyrically, it’s very much a commentary on her new found fame: Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you. She’s learning fast, is Courtney.

 

14 Mutual Benefit – Not For Nothing

A very gentle tune with lulling melody and meaningful lyrics; throw in a bit of violin to the mix and it ticks all the boxes for me. The lyrics are sung very quietly, but if you listen hard, you can catch every word. Often the quietest people have the most to say.

 

13 The Decemberists – The Harrowed and the Haunted

Vintage Decemberists: lots of maritime imagery and a dark, sad tale of longing. Will you be there waiting/Or is your heartbeat fading?/ Fading from the time/ Still miles to go til I arrive.

 

12 Laura Marling – I Feel Your Love

You must let me go before I get old/I need to find someone who really wants to be mine/I feel your love. A change of musical style, but the sage words and usual lyrical dexterity remain a constant from the enigmatic Laura Marling, here in rock chick mode.

 

11 Harrison Storm – Sense of Storm

Storms, hurricanes, water: you sense a theme building in my top twenty this year. A really beautiful piece of acoustic folk about losing your sense of home from this talented Australian troubadour. Enough said.

 

10 Houndmouth – Sedona

A tribute to the city of Sedona, when it was known as ‘Arizona’s Little Hollywood’ and home to three decades of A-list movie making, before it all headed west (Hey little Hollywood/You’re gone but you’re not forgotten). The band’s four-part harmonies peppered throughout gives this bit of classic Americana an extra layer.

 

9 Fat White Family – Whitest Boy on the Beach

I like a heavy bass line I do, and this one sucks you in and pulls you along. I like it to steer me round the kitchen, dancing while I work. Rhythmically, Whitest Boy demands some sort of production line movement: mince pie making, possibly. Have another listen – get it now?

 

8 Du Blonde – Chips to Go

So BJH ditched the hooves, went blonde and hitched her wagon to a brand new edgier sound. Good for her, so it seems. Sold to the fish in the corner on the chorus alone, with it’s epic drum/guitar mash-up, she’s got one hell of a vocal range that wallops a whole range of emotions into orbit.

 

7 Marika Hackman – Drown

The unusual and subdued musical arrangement suits the hypnotic (almost lethargic) vocals, and floats around the brooding darkness of the lyrics. It’s easy to be swept away by the prevailing sense of emptiness and loss; guaranteed to send me into sad reflective mode, even if I’m high on sugar and caffeine.

 

6 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin

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. Finger-picking guitar, foot tapping rhythm and a rasping vocal drawl made this a very well-loved tune amongst Team Mackerel.

 

5 Ezra Furman – Haunted Head

A one-off original, Mr Furman. And if the youngest Sprat had written a top ten, Ezra would be there, one to ten. Here we meander downtown, with lyrics that evoke the mania of being bipolar, under the influence of Velvet Underground and a vocal nod to Bowie. Haunted head? Frankly, I know how he feels.

 

4 Calexico – Follow the River

Calexico has a special place in my heart, and the familiarity of a beloved old friend, albeit one who lives on the US/Mexico border. We sync well, Calexico and myself: Follow the River is a sad, wistful song that offers hope, despite itself. I’ll take that, thanks lads.

 

3 Tracey Thorn – Goodbye Joe

I just love this song; I go to bed listening and wake up humming this tune. Do I care that it was originally released in 1982, or that it’s a COVER? Zut allors, MM had a bit of a fishy fit. He is now lying on his side. I am, of course, a stroppy fish wife. And always right. Ahem.

 

2 Lord Huron – Hurricane (Johnnie’s Theme)

Oh little darling/don’t you look charming/here in the eye of a hurricane – well you know, with a good hat, soft lighting and the right amount of blusher, anything is possible. Upbeat, up-tempo, lots of gee-tar: my top twenty sort of needed this – and the album is an overlooked gem of 2015.

 

1 The Quiet Hollers – Côte d’Azur

And here with me lies my song for 2015, by a very long country mile: the unbearably poignant and dark tale of Côte d’Azur as my own private metaphor for everything from life and death, loss and yearning – and all that lies in between. 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.

 

Best gig of 2015:

The Decemberists, O2 Academy, Bristol

En famille. Colin Meloy is a magnificent raconteur, in addition to his musical prowess and distinctive vocal style. I’d waited a long time to see the Decemberists and they did not disappoint, closing the set with a magnificent rendition of The Mariner’s Revenge Song. Again, please.

 

School Anthem:

The Decemberists – A Beginning Song

Played out the final primary school assembly for smallest Sprat. Anthemic and emotional, this builds to epic finale that despite the best efforts of the pantomime horses, played out a celebration of the joy, achievements and idiosyncrasies that all our bright lights gave to us.

 

New to me in 2015: Dr Dog – It

I loved this at first listen, meandering through a blistering heatwave in rural Spain. Such well observed lyrics, for really, it truly is all in how you look at it: It’s real and it’s a lie/It’s the answer and the question when you wonder why. Yeah; ain’t that so.

 

You can see our full countdown of our favourite 100 Tracks of the year here (100-76), (75-51), (50-26), (25-1) and favourite 30 Albums here (30-16), (15-1).

MM Best of 2015 no guitarThe latest instalments of personal Top Tens comes from regular MM contributor Polly Pocket.

Enjoy.

 

10. Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best
I always find myself smiling and shouting along to this one in equal measure. A ton of lyrics that shouldn’t work together but somehow sound perfect. I’ve always loved origami.

 

9. Noah Gundersen – Slow Dancer
This is a beauty. A simple tune, full of emotion. Best listened to fairly loud.

 

8. James McMurty – Copper Canteen
Thank you MM for bringing this to my attention this summer. I first heard it with a very cold beer in hand trying to find some shade from the very hot Spanish sun. I’m taken back there every time I listen to it.

 

7. Bjork – Stonemilker
I’ve never been a massive Bjork fan but Stonemilker is such a beautiful track I knew early on in the year it would make its way into my top ten. Bjork’s unmistakeable voice against the strings throughout is a heartbreaking combination. Love it.

 

6. The Decemberists – Make You Better
Long awaited and worth it. Folk meets pop in a great partnership here. Enjoy.

 

5. Tow’rs – The Kitchen
A beautiful folk song beautifully sung by these married two. Such lovely harmonies to be found in words that make you think “you don’t say you love me, so I’ll do the same”.

 

4. Gaz Coombes – 20/20
The unmistakable voice of Gaz Coombes. This is a late entry to my top ten. Possibly my most grown up choice? The gospel chorus alone earns it a place here.

 

3. Ghostpoet – Off Peak Dreams
A bleak, gritty kind of tune. A little hypnotic and not always the easiest to listen to, but awesome none the less.

 

2. Dan Mangan + Blacksmith – Mouthpiece
I have Mr Pocket to thank for this brilliant tune. It was a happy day when he introduced me to this, the stand out track from the album Club Meds. Fast paced, full of drama.

 

1. Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin
This is the classiest song of the year for sure. I was hooked the first time Vile sings that he “didn’t recognise the man in the meeeror”! It builds beautifully with great lyrics to match. I regularly find parts of the song stay with me as very welcome earworms. There is no doubt, it deserves the no.1 spot.

 

You can see our full countdown of our favourite 100 Tracks of the year here (100-76), (75-51), (50-26), (25-1) and favourite 30 Albums here (30-16), (15-1).

MM Best of 2015 no guitarIt is a warm welcome back into the fold for Barry-Sean, and he kicks off our individual contributors personal favourites of the year.

Take it away maestro…

 

10. Slaves – The Hunter 

So, they’re not the most mature lyrics ever. In fact they make a lot of the old punk stuff I listened to as a teenager sound quite sophisticated. But there’s a rawness about Slaves that I really enjoy and who doesn’t love the sound of drums having the living daylights beaten out of them with some cold, hard axe-bashing as an accompaniment? Great track.

 

9. Curtin – I’m a Ghost

And from the loud, tortured sound of Slaves to the softly tortured and slightly menacing sound of this track. I couldn’t make up my mind if I liked it or not when I first head it, but it gradually grew on me and permeated the musical side of my brain.

 

8. Crocodiles – Crybaby Demon

Being a big fan of Echo and the Bunnymen, I’m probably biased towards Crocodiles but this track really does bring to mind the Mighty Macca and his band of not-so-merry men. I’m sure a lot of unkind music critics would call Crocodiles some sort of Bunnymen tribute band but who cares? This is a cracking tune.

 

7. Wave Pictures – I Could Hear the Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)

Another quirky tune from Wave Pictures that never fails to put a smile on my face. It all just sounds a bit daft really but I love these witty little story-ettes. They remind me a lot of 80s bards, The Brilliant Corners, but brought bang-up-to-date. Catchy as you like …

 

6.  Fat White Family – Whitest Boy on the Beach

For some reason, I really enjoy listening to The Fat White Family but always walk away feeling a bit guilty and like I’ll never be clean again. I came across this track late in the year and get the very same feeling with it. Deliciously grimy and sleazy. Top work chaps!

 

5. Modest Mouse – Lampshades on Fire

Whilst Lampshades on Fire is one of my favourite tracks of 2015, it’s still nowhere near my favourite Modest Mouse song ever. That just shows how high they’ve set the bar. Another brilliant tune from a truly great band.

 

4. Low – Lies

Another dark and mellow tune from the band that brought us Plastic Cup. I really liked this track on first hearing and have since grown to love it since.

 

3. Houndmouth – Gasoline

I know most people would have opted for Sedona if they were to choose a Houndmouth song from this year. But I just love these vocals. I could listen to this song several times a day.

 

2. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)

It’s all about the vocals again isn’t it. I’ve deliberately not looked up the lyrics or listened to them too hard for fear of ruining the Father John Misty singing experience. This song is a bit of a drift away for me.

 

1. Courtney Barnett – Elevator Operator

So I’m sat in a café, or a bar or walking along and this girl is telling me a story. And that’s pretty much how I listen to Courtney Barnett songs. She’s got such a conversational, easy going voice and such detailed lyrics (that’s detailed about the small things like vegemite crumbs) that the story Ms Barnett sings is really convincing. She brings a character in a song to life and makes me want to carry on listening. This, and indeed Courtney Barnett, won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But I’d be happy to listen to one of her stories over a cup of tea. Top song!

 

You can see our countdown of our favourite 100 Tracks of the year here (100-76), (75-51), (50-26), (25-1) and favourite 30 Albums here (30-16), (15-1).