Posts Tagged ‘Damien Jurado’

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.

The countdown of our Favourite 200 songs of the past 10 years has taken over everything over the last two weeks, so here is our (belated) round-up of some of the best new songs of the past 14 days.

  1. Parquet Courts – Mardi Gras Beads
  2. Protomartyr (featuring Kelley Deal) – Wheel Of Fortune
  3. Lumerians – Silver Trash
  4. The Plainviews – Bladerunner
  5. The Lovely Eggs – Big Sea
  6. LUMP – Late To The Flight
  7. Jess Williamson – Wild Rain
  8. Rayland Baxter – Casanova
  9. Damien Jurado – Percy Faith
  10. The Goon Sax – She Knows
  11. Beach House – Black Car
  12. Wand – Pure Romance
  13. Milo Greene – Move

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our favourite 200 songs of the past ten years… numbers 90 – 81.

90 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow (2016)

 

An epic of yearning Americana and cinematic, shoegazing guitars that combine to stunning effect.

 

89 Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Stranger Dig (2009)

 

Raucous mix of heavy rock and psychedelic blues. Heavy drumming – check, big riff – check – rough vocals – check. Turn up to 11…

 

88 The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice (2014)

 

Classic Felice Brothers. A ragged, uptempo rocker that is sure to become a guaranteed live sing-a-long as couplets like “all the lady and gents, are covered in excrement”, and “the teacher slit my wrists, for every class I missed” are destined for a roaring crowd encore.

 

87 Jamie T – Limits Lie (2014)

 

A stoned reggae rhythm and easy going vocals can’t disguise the bleakness of content, yet somehow the downcast crescendo is a triumph.

 

86 Fews – La Guardia (2017)

 

Relentless, anxious, powerful and unsettling. A few lyrics down the line – a short, unequivocal statement and then.. screams! Distant and desperate screams. Guaranteed post-punk goosebumps every time – what else would you want from a track?

 

85 Alt-J – Breezeblocks (2012)

Catchy, eclectic slice of lush folk-tronica.

 

84 Forest Fire – Fortune Teller (2008)

 

Tonight I’m gonna melt some faces / with Gatling gun social skills, oh so charming mix of weirded out country, folk and blues that delivers just over two minutes of musical perfection.

 

83 The Pines – Cry Cry Crow (2012)

 

An eerie meditation on the rural and the urban, haunting lyrics and an insistently mournful groove. Dark Americana at it’s finest.

 

82 Mummy Short Arms – Cigarette Smuggling (2011)

 

Seriously warped slice of woozy, off-kilter indie that defies description, but flat out demands your attention. Imagine Captain Beefheart fighting with Salvador Dali with a full set of musical instruments and a goodly pile of magic mushrooms…

 

81 Damien Jurado – Museum Of Flight (2012)

A big song with big meaning and a wide expansive sound that splits right open about a minute and half in. Always the moment I wish for really expensive speakers that can do its majesty justice. Sigh.

 

Damien Jurado has shared a second song, Allocate, off his forthcoming album The Horizon Just Laughed, due out 4th May, via Secretly Canadian.

It is a wonderfully understated, elegant track that simply showcases once again what a mighty fine songwriter he is. Have a listen.

 

Damien Jurado is an oft-featured, well loved fave on MM, so news of new music from him is always cause to celebrate.

The Horizon Just Laughed, is the title of his new record due out May 4th, via Secretly Canadian (pre-order here). An early preview can be heard in the scenic video for warmly elegant first single, Over Rainbows and Rainier.

Enjoy!

 

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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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Our third Best Of listing comes from the ever lovely Mrs Mackerel. Listen on Spotify here.

2016 turned out to be fairly music-light by my standards in that I didn’t listen to nearly as much as I usually do, partly in response to spending so much time driving up and down the country. For this, I need the spoken word rather than the sung one, hence a dirty dozen from me rather than the usual 20.

12 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife

 

11 Fat White Family – Breaking into Aldi

 

10 Jamie T – Tinfoil Boy

This was my favourite Jamie T song from his new album, Trick, even before last month’s gig in Brixton. It’s the second time I’ve seen him live and if you ever get the chance, just do it. Even if you find yourself in an isolated demographic. There was a young chap dancing to this track in the aisle of the balcony, trance-like; he was lost to the song and I was mesmerised. Music: it gets you like that sometimes.

It’s times like this I feel tricked into waking up.’ There’s a reflection for the past 12 months if ever I heard one.

 

9 Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree

Although I believe that all the songs from the Skeleton Tree album were recorded prior to the tragic death of his much-loved son, grief and loss resonate across every note. More than anything, I feel grateful that I cannot feel what he feels.

 

8 Joseph Coward – Peanut Girl

I hear the sound – or at least the influence – of Belle and Sebastian with a peanut topping. I love this slightly retro-sounding bouncy ode to feeling young and lusty.

 

7 Van William with First Aid Kit – Revolution

This has all the hallmarks of a Mrs Mackerel fave written all over it, and when the familiar harmonies of those youthful Swedish warblers kick-in, I’m sold. I love a slightly mournful lyric juxtaposed with a jaunty, foot-tapping tune, said the fish as she swam away upstream.

 

6 The Lumineers – Gale Song

A familiar annual scenario: top ten compiled, a song is returned by MM to moi as ‘not being 2016’. But as we all know, I ain’t a fish wife for nothing. So here it is, originally recorded some time ago (tsk), released on Cleopatra in 2016. I played this short, poignant song an awful lot this year. And I love a Wesley Schultz vocal, so really, don’t argue.

 

5 Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga

My other alter ego also resurfaced this year: rock chick. Or perhaps gnarly old hen. Anyway, the Pixies back to making new music like they bloody mean it. Play loud, with attitude: But I’ll just keep on walking/It’s starting to hit me/ They’re coming to get me.

 

4 Agnes Obel – It’s Happening Again

A song for when you’re swimming with the algae, trapped with your own thoughts and unable to escape the malady of ever-revolving mental anguish. Hypnotic, bleak and maudlin. For those days when you don’t feeling like rocking out but hunkering down.

 

3 She Drew the Gun – Since You Were Not Mine

Tell me I’m just dreaming won’t you wake me up? Sadly not. The nightmare that has been 2016 is real but still, new bands, new music, new earworms. I sang this to the dog relentlessly in what seemed like some huge Freudian slip. Fortunately, he’s the strong silent type. Psych-pop with a shade of darkness.

 

2 Mitski – Your Best American Girl

Young love: sometimes life, love and relationships don’t work out quite as simply as you think it might do at the time, so she sings. Ah, but how great wisdom comes with age! This song builds, climbs and then explodes into a great big wall of sound. Heavy on the guitar and absolutely brilliant.

 

1 Damien Jurado – Exit 353

A big song with big meaning and a wide expansive sound that splits right open about a minute and half in. It’s that exact moment that clinched its numero uno spot for me. The moment I wish for really expensive speakers that can do its majesty justice. Sigh.

 

A change of school and routine means no school anthem this year, unless you count Thought For the Day. Not really.

 

Best gig of 2016:

Damien Jurado, Islington Assembly Hall, London, April 2016

Just edged it over Jamie T; a phenomenal gig, worth the midweek trek to the Big Smoke. Despite being surrounded by people over seven feet tall, every bit of neck ache was worth it when he played a beautiful version of one of my favourites, Museum of Flight.

 

Tomorrow we have Mad Mackerel’s top twenty of the year. To check out the Italian Job’s top 20 click here or here for Chris T Popper’s selections. 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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And so here we are, our favourite tracks of the year counting down from 25 to number 1.

Enjoy…

 

25 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife

 

24 Little Barrie – I.5.C.A.

 

23 She Drew The Gun – Since You Were Not Mine

 

22 Car Seat Headrest – Fill In The Blank

 

21 Communist Daughter – Balboa Bridge

 

20 Mitski – Your Best American Girl

 

19 Dr Dog – Bring My Baby Back

 

18 Yak – Victorious (National Anthem)

 

17 Car Seat Headrest – (Joe Gets Kicked Out Of School For Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)

 

16 TRAAMS – A House On Fire

 

15 Terry – Don’t Say Sorry

 

14 The Wave Pictures – Pool Hall

 

13 Jamie T – Tinfoil Boy

 

12 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand

 

11 Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack

 

10 The Mind Spiders – Running

 

9 Underworld – I Exhale

 

8 James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone

 

7 Terry Malts – Used To Be

 

6 Van William – Revolution

 

5 Damien Jurado – Exit 353

 

4 The Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga

 

3 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow

 

2 Ashley Shadow – Tired

 

1 Parquet Courts – Dust

 

So that’s our top 100 done for another year. Check back for the rest of the countdown here (100-76, 75-51, 50-26) and look out for our favourite albums list tomorrow and then individual lists from The Italian Job, Chris T Popper, Mrs Mackerel, and MM.

Check out previous end-of-year best ofs using the links at the top of the page.

Mrs Mackerel's TFI Friday

So the happy is about to be taken out of New Year work-wise next week with the return of the most pernicious individual outside of the Tory government. Apparently she’s had a baby and gotten married; apparently, I’m reliably informed, this has not withered her poisonous capacity for withering. She belongs in a Wes Anderson movie where she should meet a brutal and slightly comical demise. Unfortunately, she’s made of Teflon/Kryptonite and is back to work on Monday, her boss sadly told us. Sob.

In other news, I traversed the length of the country and went “North” (North being that mythical terrain of colder temperatures and friendlier people). In sub-zero temperatures, some were even sat outside for lunch – next to the beach. There was snow on the ground but they were still smiling. Obviously. Six weeks away is clearly too long.

Mid-week I’ll be off for cocktails with the gals. Could be messy. Usually is. At least we will be drinking indoors and wearing coats.

Here’s a tune. Third time lucky for me as I hope to see Damien Jurado live in London in a few months. He was ill, then I was ill, you know how it is. MM bought me tickets for Christmas, so fingers crossed.

There’s a fantastic back catalogue of DJ tunes and this just happens to be one of my favourites. Tender, poignant, and a little bit January, if you know what I mean.