Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Hopper Choppers’

MM The Last Five Years - Chris T Popper

Believe it or not, Mad Mackerel has been around for more than five years now. During that time we’ve posted more than 4,000 times, and offered more than 5,000 songs for your listening pleasure. And more than three quarters of a million people have paid MM a visit during our lifetime on Google’s (godawful) blogspot and since April 2010 on WordPress.

We asked some of the regular MM contributors to give us their top twenty songs since MM first went live and we’re also going to give you one big mega-listing shortly, first up was Dr Roddy and now the ultra-punctual and fastidious Chris T Popper offers up his selections.

20) Strand of Oaks – Trap Door

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19) Avett Brothers – January Wedding

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18) Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer

Download Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer mp3

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17) Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl

Download Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl mp3

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16) Wye Oak – Civilian

Download Wye Oak – Civilian mp3

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15) The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight

Download The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight mp3

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14) Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Revenge Of The Extra From Zulu

Download Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Revenge of The Extra From Zulu mp3

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13) Wooden Wand – Uncle Bill

Download Wooden Wand – Uncle Bill mp3

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12) Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual

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11) Howling Owls – Snake Charmer (No Money In The Bank)

Dowload Howling Owls – Snake Charmer (No Money In The Bank) mp3

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10) Sonny + The Sandwitches – Through The Fog And Haze
Over the years I have never forgotten how much this song meant to me; if anything it gets stronger like an addiction (and considering this is a personality trait I’ve developed over the years I will happily succumb). I can be in the shower/waiting in a queue/at a meeting with senior management and I’ll randomly sing the first line. Sometimes that doesn’t work out so well when someone is talking flow charts and I’m singing ‘through the fog and the haze…’ at them. But it makes more sense than what their flapping mouths are coming out with. It’s just going to happen.

Download Sonny + The Sandwitches – Through The Fog And Haze mp3

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9) Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano
Not a single mackerel swam my way on this one. I was denounced as an absolute arse but I cared not. Hayman wrote this song after suffering a fractured skull; which opened up the idea to him of writing a song gentle enough to listen to with brain ache. There is nothing wrong with gentle in this age of incessant noisy shit. It is a beautiful soliloquy telling the story of a piano’s life (something I always wanted to hear) luckily I was able to understand – they didn’t. Their fault not mine.

Download Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano mp3

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8) Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Colour Television
Passed me by initially. Found it by simply playing my iTunes on shuffle one night a couple of years ago and was instantly hooked… and what a revelation. The insistent guitar is ravaged with a punk attitude I thought was long dead. By that I mean talent. 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.

Download Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Colour Television mp3

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7) Dennis Hopper Choppers – Good To Me
As soon as that horn blast announces its arrival I’m in. It builds with a rhythmic hypnotism that refuses to let go. Evoking the spaghetti western soundtracks of Ennio Morricone with an outstanding vocal from Ben Nicholl (I was lucky enough to catch this live and it didn’t disappoint) it’s never been off the ‘best of’ playlists since I heard it.

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6) The Cave Singers – I Don’t Mind
A timeless guitar riff that immediately sends my brain synapses in to electrical overdrive. Everything else becomes secondary to tapping my foot and grinning inanely. To be fair though, grinning inanely comes fairly naturally…

I went to see the Cave Singers live and they didn’t even perform this song (and it’s still in my top ten!). Now I know their back catalogue is good, but next time I’ll write the set list for fucks sake.

Download The Cave Singers – I Don’t Mind mp3 (from Welcome Joy)

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5) Lower Dens  – Brains
In the language of common parlance may I just say one thing? OMG. In fact I’ll go even further… OMFG! I swear down. Now I’ve totally alienated you I’ll continue… There is a subtlety to this work you have no idea about unless you have included it in your own top 5 (which you haven’t). Opens with a drumbeat that grips your lapels up like a rottweiler on heat.  And then… well, it just gets better of course. I suggest you go and listen to it and then come back to me and we’ll talk about it over a large gin & tonic and a ridiculously large bifta.

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4) Emil Friis – Sand In Your Eyes
Smashed in to my number one spot last year and who could stop it? I have no idea what it’s about and neither do I care. It’s just not important to me because I can put this song on at any time, in any mood (and by jingo I can be a moody bastard) and find myself singing the chorus loud and proud – without getting a single word right. But hey that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? The sheer momentum carries you along like a crazed right wing Chancellor at a witch’s funeral – enough to shed a tear for the right reasons.

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3) Phospherescent – Song For Zula
When Mr Mackerel asked us to put together our favourite songs of the last five years I was a little cautious of including any recent favourites. It’s difficult enough to pick 20 of the best at any time… but Song For Zula transcends the conundrum. The impact of the opening bars/violins/first line (referencing Johnny Cash no less) is timeless. I have a special place in my heart for Phossie and the Red Eyed Fly in Austin when I first saw them live (get me!) – opening with a Radiohead cover and then converting me to country music by channelling the great Willie Nelson. Met him (Phossie not Willie!) by the way. I want to be his best friend. He doesn’t.

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2) Howling Owls – A Wordsmith’s Reverie
You know when you read a book and think ‘shit I could never write that beautifully’ (I’m a frustrated author as well as human being) – Howling Owls does that musically. There is a self-aware yet peaceful desperation to this; and not a single word is wasted. The lament of ‘I will change everything about me for you – except for the fact I can never be what you want me to be’ is heartbreaking. It also makes you realise how shit this world is. Far more people know about Kim Kardashian than Howling Owls and Wooden Wand put together. Just think about that for a moment- done that? Good. Now try not to wail in utter sadness…

Download Howling Owls featuring Maximino – A Wordsmith’s Reverie mp3

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1) Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed
This is my favourite song of the last five years of Mad Mackerel. It’s actually hard to write anything that can really do it the justice it deserves… I love music so much that a work of this sheer magnitude can leave me running on empty, even when it comes to my typical hyperbole. So, deep breath… here goes. From the moment I heard it I knew it was special. And it’s never lost its impact or the way it moves me like no other song. I know people like me say ‘genius’ a lot (and that people say that people say ‘genius’ a lot when they shouldn’t). This is genius.

Download Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed mp3

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And my 3 favourite bands…

3) Jeff The Brotherhood
2) Wooden Wand
1) Phosphorescent

Needs a mention

Best Cover:
Download Port O’Brien – Halo mp3 (Beyonce Cover)

My favourite Live Act of 08-13
Phossie – Red Eyed Fly, Austin, Texas 2009
I suddenly and quite unexpectedly understood country music.

MM The Last Five Years - Dr Roddy

Believe it or not, Mad Mackerel has been around for more than five years now. During that time we’ve posted more than 4,000 times, and offered more than 5,000 songs for your listening pleasure. And more than three quarters of a million people have paid MM a visit during our lifetime on Google’s godawful blogspot and since April 2010 on WordPress.

We asked some of the regular MM contributors to give us their top twenty songs since MM first went live and we’re also going to give you one big mega-listing shortly, but first up with their personal top twenty is the right honourable Dr Roddy.

Through good fortune and fine sailing I have been lucky enough to be involved with this blog and it has provided me with some of the finest music in genres I maybe wouldn’t have looked in. So when asked to compile a top twenty of tunes from the last five years, I kicked aside the memories of musical turmoil that is involved with the yearly top tens, poured a stiff drink and set about it with relish.

20 Dan Auerbach – Heartbroken, In Disrepair

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19 Dirty Bourbon River Band – Train Is Gone

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

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18 Tame Impala – Half Full Glass Of Wine

Download Tame Impala – Half Full Glass Of Wine mp3 (from Tame Impala EP)

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17 Janice Graham Band – Front Door

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16 Ox – Midnight On The Island

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15 Dennis Hoppers Choppers – Good To Me

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14 Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual

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13 Nathaniel Rateliffe – Brakeman

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12 William Elliot Whitmore – Old Devils

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11 What Would Jesus Drive – The Girls Are In Charge

Download What Would Jesus Drive – The Girls Are In Charge (live) mp3 (from What Would Jesus Drive EP)

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10 The Cave Singers – I Don’t Mind
Wonderfully carefree and happy song that could so easily be heard drifting out of a doorway in Haight Ashbury with some interesting smelling smoke circa 1967. Yet this song never bows or becomes a pastiche of that, it rises above it all with its own verve and character.

Download The Cave Singers – I Don’t Mind mp3 (from Welcome Joy)

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9 Brown Bird – Wrong Black Mare
Sullen, desperate story songs are a bit of a fave of mine and to be honest I think I can trace it back to this song. A tale of woe, desperation and unpaid debts are told here with such clarity, it’s as if you’ve got drunk with Brown Bird and they have decided to spill their guts to you. You understand though, ‘coz at some point we have all backed the “Wrong Black Mare”

Download Brown Bird – Wrong Brown Mare mp3 (from

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8 Mummy Short Arms – Cigarette Smuggling
When I wrote my first review of this song I thought I had described quite well. Upon re-reading it, I can safely say that my view has changed and will probably change on my next listen to it. The insanity, confusion, and babbling of this song are what holds my love for it. It’s an enigma wrapped in a riddle, all encased in a funky B-line, foot tapping beat, gravel throated, roister of a song.

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7 Strayfolk – What Wouldn’t I Do
This is such a beautifully crafted song. Simple, but packed with a rich warm sound that feels like it lends weight to the honesty of this tale of lost and forlorn love. Perfect Americana direct from Sweden.

Download Strayfolk – What Wouldn’t I Do mp3

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6 Withered Hand – Religious Songs
A piece of lyrical mastery is on display here. A fantastic sing-a-long arrangement supports the witty word play that Dan Wilson sings with a vulnerability to his voice. This doesn’t stop him from punching the words that need emphasis. This song also ask the obvious question “How does he really expect to be happy, when he listens to death metal bands?”

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5 Tweak Bird – Weight
I love the in-your-face nature of this song. Right from the start, it sets its stall out – flat out, foot on the amp rock, and proud of it to boot. The guitar plays a gritty riff that sounds angry and frustrated, while the drummer is hell bent on punishing every bit of his kit.

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4 Grass House – A Cradle A Short Breath
The deep sombre tones that lay across this song act as a perfect partner to the bass as it pounds along at a merry old pace. It never fails to make me give a wry smile as I bob along to it’s woeful chorus of “A cradle, a short breath”.

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3 Roadside Graves – Far And Wide
I still think Roadside Graves is the best band name of this century and Far And Wide is a song that has stayed with me since my first listen – I was hooked. A great country riff lures you in and you hardly notice that the song fills with more and more sound and pleasure until it finishes and you’re left with a hole where the music once was, so you reach for the replay button, you know like musical heroin.

Download The Roadside Graves – Far And Wide mp3 (from My Son’s Home)

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2 Wooden Wand – Servant To Blues
As this track rolls effortlessly on, Wooden Wand spills his bleak melancholy tale of a servant to blues. In other words, the relationship equivalent of the Church’s pious man. I love the rhythm of this track, it almost seems to tick along like a clock. The peacefulness of this song is speared through the heart with a great screeching guitar solo, this then just seems to ebb back into the shadows it leapt from, only to be covered by the warm sound of the organ. Truly blissful…

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1 Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Stranger Dig (Everything’s For Sale)
For just two guys damn! They make some noise. Great heavy blues tinged riffs and rolling drum beats – I’m loving that all day long. There is talent and passion in abundance here. I’m sat here trying to write something for this whilst listening to it, that has had to stop, as when it plays it just grips me up and I can’t do anything other than get right into it. If you’re looking for something new rock wise I beg you to check them out, live if possible. Disappointment won’t be on the menu.

Live Review: Dennis Hopper Choppers.

Review: Chris T Popper

It was with some excitement Banner, Boney B (shouldn’t that be M?), Dr Roddy and myself made our way to the Jericho Tavern in Oxford to catch Dennis Hopper Choppers playing live in our own backyard

Opening with MM fave Good To Me we stood transfixed as he delivered a near perfect rendition of what we already consider a classic. In a small but perfectly formed venue the vocal and melody meant we occasionally looked at each other and could only grin with smug contentment.  Despite the fact he opened with our favourite tune it was followed by a stunning set.

Encouraging everyone to get to the front while dedicating Don’t Run From Me to the people hiding round the corner (shame!) we were treated to the full DHC repertoire.  The band were excellent, delivering a barnstorming performance but the focus never wavered from the vocals of Ben Nicholls.

A break in tempo saw the marvellous Blue given an airing as well as being treated to Girl Walked Out Of Town and All Could Come True.

Finishing off with the sublime The Ballad of Fu Manchu And The Red Bride the gig finished on another high. I literally stood watching and at the ripe old age of 38 thought “I want to be doing that” as my thoughts drifted off once again to learning an instrument… Unfortunately there isn’t much call for Kazoo players.

So to sum up… it was one of those that I’ll reminisce about with the other Mackers until the cows come home. In fact after a MM team talk we rated this as one of the best live performances we’ve been to for a while. We were lucky enough to have a chat with Ben after the gig and he was particularly accommodating when we spent an age trying to get a photo in the gloom.

I went out knowing it would be good but it passed ‘good’ like the sad adjective it is. I had a brilliant time (despite being pulled over by Dibble on my way home!). I didn’t have the heart to reply when asked why I was doing 60mph in a 30mph zone was to ‘get away from you’. I’m with Smiley Culture but the bastards gave me ‘a producer’ anyway.

Well I saw the flashing blue lights and instinct told me to run…

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Carrying on from where we left off yesterday…

30 Josh T Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen

Download Josh T Pearson – Woman When I’ve Raised Hell…(Alternative Version) mp3

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New Album From Real Estate.

29 Real Estate – Days

Download Real Estate – Green Aisles mp3 (from Days)

Download Real Estate – It’s Real mp3 (from Days)

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28 Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest

Download Gillian Welch – The Way It Goes mp3 (from The Harrow & The Harvest)

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27 War On Drugs – Slave Ambient

Download The War On Drugs – Come To The City mp3 (from Slave Ambient)

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Mad Mackerel Recommends...Mikal Cronin.

26 Mikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin

Download Mikal Cronin – Apathy mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

Download Mikal Cronin – Get Along mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

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25 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Download Girls – Vomit mp3 (from Father, Son, Holy Ghost)

Download Girls – Honey Bunny mp3 (from Father, Son, Holy Ghost)Removed by order some uninformed halfwit – available everywhere else for free on the web

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24 Wooden Shjips – West

Download Wooden Shjips – Lazy Bones mp3 (from West)

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23 Metronomy – The English Riviera

Download Metronomy – The Look mp3 (from The English Riviera)

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Henry's Funeral Shoe Release Donkey Jacket.

22 Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Donkey Jacket

Download Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Anvil And Chains mp3 (from Donkey Jacket)

Download Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear mp3 (from Donkey Jacket)

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21 Decemberists – The King Is Dead

Download The Decemberists – This Is Why We Fight mp3 (from The King Is Dead)

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20 Dennis Hopper Choppers – Be Ready

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19 Bill Callahan – Apocalypse

Download Bill Callahan – Baby’s Breath mp3 (from Apocalypse)

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18 Moon Duo – Mazes

Download Moon Duo – Mazes mp3 (from Mazes)

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17 Black Keys – El Camino

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Wooden Wand Releases Briarwood Tomorrow.

16 Wooden Wand – Briarwood

Download Wooden Wand – Winter In Kentucky mp3 (from Briarwood)

Download Wooden Wand – Big Mouth USA mp3 (from Briarwood)

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15 Wilco – The Whole Love

Download Wilco – I Might mp3 (from The Whole Love)

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14 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

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13 Yuck – Yuck

Download Yuck – Holing Out mp3 (from Yuck)

Download Yuck – Dark Magnet mp3 (from Yuck)

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12 Hurray For The Riff Raff – Hurray For The Riff Raff

Download Hurray For The Riff Raff – Too Much Of A Good Thing mp3 (from Hurray For The Riff Raff)

Download Hurray For The Riff Raff – Take Me mp3 (from Hurray For The Riff Raff)

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11 Richmond Fontaine – The High Country

Download Richmond Fontaine – The Mechanic’s Life mp3 (from The High Country)

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Top Ten tomorrow!

For our first ever Festive Feature on Mad Mackerel, we asked twelve of our favourite bands and artists of 2011 to answer twelve questions and as we reach Christmas Eve, here is the last of them. Happy Christmas!

Mad Mackerel's 12 Days of Christmas No 12 Dennis Hopper Choppers.

If you were to ask us what ingredients would make up the perfect MM song, we might say something along the lines of a dusty Western ghost town, a couple of bandits, some down-on-their-luck grifters, a bottle of bourbon, some bravado, knives certainly and maybe a couple of guns, a vulture or two, and a bank robbery.

And maybe that is why the spaghetti western inspired, mariachi tinged music of Dennis Hopper Choppers has proved such a hit with the Mackerel gang this year and, just like Mr Popper said in his top ten post yesterday meant we were able to soak up an album that revelled in effortlessly soaring up  in to that vast Americana sky. Be Ready is an album that is adventurous, dangerous and wonderfully challenging. It is also brilliant – from the reverb drenched Blue to the yearning Long Trip Home and the speed fuelled Razor Gang, there is not a false move on the whole record.

1) Three iconic clashes. Who would you vote for in each of these (you can say why too if you wish)?

a) The Velvet Underground or The Doors?

This is very tricky, you’ve got East coast Vs West coast USA music.  The East with it’s origins tied up in European cool and the West with it’s New World feel, cutting itself free. It’d have to be a split vote on this one.

b) Bob Dylan or Neil Young?

Bob Dylan is a freak. Nobody can write a sweeter love song or sink a knife deeper into someone’s heart. Did he sell his soul to the devil? Quite probably. Neil Young just isn’t in the same league.

c) The Sex Pistols or the Clash?

The Clash always seemed to have this obsession with being down with the people and authentic, the Pistols were just total showbiz. I guess the Clash at times felt like they were trying a bit too hard and for this reason I’d have to go with The Pistols.

2) What has been your personal highlight of 2011?

Managing against the odds to get the new Dennis Hopper Choppers album ‘Be Ready’ finished and released. 

Dennis Hopper Choppers on Mad Mackerel. 3) What was your low point of the year?

I’m a big follower of boxing. It’s been a dreadful year for British boxing (multiple low points). We now only have one world title belt holder, Nathan Cleverly. Very disappointing. 

4) You can give one single album from 2011 to just one person for Christmas. What would you buy and who for?

I rediscovered Ray Charles- ‘Modern Sounds in Country and Western’ in 2011. I think it should be given to everybody for Christmas as it’s essential listening. Is he the best singer ever? 

5) Give us between two and five songs from 2011 that you’d recommend as the best of the year.

Hard to give one song from each, but two albums I’ve got into in the last few months are Dirty Beaches-‘Badlands’ and Richard Warren-‘The Wayfarer’ 

6) Do you have a favourite Christmas Carol – why?

Most Carols are in major keys, which immediately makes them difficult. Christmas is not a major key time of year. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is a minor key classic melody.

7) Imagine you are snowed in and stuck in an isolated house in the woods for Christmas with no way out. Wolves and bears are prowling outside. You need to recommend the following:

A classic song to impress an ultra cool, know-it-all, teenager

Nico-‘Janitor of Lunacy’. Music doesn’t get any heavier than this, everything they listened to would be pith by comparison. 

A song to terrify Grandma

Goblin playing the Suspiria soundtrack. I reckon the bit where they’re chanting ‘witch, witch’, would go down particularly well. 

A traditional song to help send Grandad to sleep

I know it’s not traditional, but it’s old- Ray Charles singing ‘That Lucky Old Sun’.

A song for someone just waking from a five-year coma

Dick Van Dyke singing Hushabye Mountian from the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang soundtrack. The producers of the film were worried he couldn’t sing and then he pulled this vocal out the bag. I know it’s a lullaby, the only worry would be that they’d drift back down again.

A book to frighten the children

I don’t know who wrote it, but I listened to a short story on Radio4 when I was a kid. This story was written from the point of view of some budgies stuck in their aviary outside in the snow over Christmas. Their keeper is taken ill and ends up in hospital. It’s their story as they starve and freeze to death. I was never the same after this one. 

An unforgettable film to watch

Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs. Basically a western set in Cornwall. One of the most unsettling films I’ve ever seen. 

Dennis Hopper Choppers on Mad Mackerel. 8) What is top of your Christmas list this year? Why?

A coupon for a local piano tuner to come and tune my piano, the central heating and rain we’ve been having are causing real problems. I don’t mind a bit of honky tonk but it’s getting ridiculous.

9) What is the worst Christmas present you’ve ever given and/or ever received?

I have pretty low expectations and I fear others have pretty low expectations from me, so it’s generally all fine.

10) Will you be making a New Year Resolution? If so can you share it and will you keep it? What is the stupidest New Year resolution you’ve ever made?

I don’t make new years resolutions cause they just lead to frustration and disappointment at your own ability to keep them. 

11) Imagine you’re headlining a Christmas Concert at your favourite venue. You can share the stage with three other artists or bands (past or present) for the final encore of the night. Who would they be and what would you play?

David Eugene Edwards from Wovenhand would have to be on vocals cause I think he would uniquely understand and interpret the heavy message of the Christmas story. Link Wray would have to be on guitar, who else could you have? On drums it’d be Steven Drozd from the Flaming Lips, he’s the only drummer who’d be heavy enough to keep up with the other two. I’d play upright bass and stand back in awe.

12) Can you write us a Christmas themed limerick?

There once was a band called Dennis Hopper Choppers

At Christmas they told Mad Mackerel loads of whoppers

The Mackerel was sad that it turned out so bad

But they printed it all good and proper.

Buy the album here.

Watch The Girl Walked Out of Town.

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Watch All Could Come True.

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Listen to Good To Me.

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Previously: Lovely Eggs (here), Twilight Hotel (here), Grass House (here), Hurray For The Riff Raff (here), Lonesome Wyatt & The Holy Spooks (here), Ohioan (here), Wooden Wand (here), Tom Williams & The Boat (here), Henry’s Funeral Shoe (here), The Roadside Graves (here), The Royal Sea (here).

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)

Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.With probably the longest entry of 2011 we give the floor to regular MM contributor and top ten compiler…Dr Roddy.

Well it seems to be that time of year again. I always spend 340 days looking forward to doing this and 25 agonising over it. This year especially though, as I think there has been a bumper harvest of great songs. When I looked at my Top Ten playlist (with over 100 songs in it) I just thought one thing: bugger!

I got there in the end though. There have been certain parties that have tried to throw spanners in the works, by sending e-mails containing latecomers and over looked songs. Cheers you heartless bastards. So without further ado….

10. Monument Valley – Dear John Letters

This is a bit of a late arrival to my top ten but the moment I heard this song I fell for it totally. That old adage of less is more, is plain for all here. A pendulum-esque rhythm is picked out on an acoustic guitar, whilst the story is sung to us in an almost lullaby fashion by Ned Younger. Who wrote these songs from a collection of pictures of strangers? The song seems to tell of two people who were once side-by-side, parted then reunited. There is a line in the song, “And though we weren’t quite whole, turned out we were all each other needed to grow old“. That is such a simple and genuine way to describe what you need from another person, which fits wonderfully into this simple and genuine song.

Download Monument Valley – Dear John Letters mp3 (from Tongues EP)

9. Cosmo Jarvis – My Day

This song elbowed its way in to my Top Ten, with that wonderful punk fuelled fervour. You can’t ignore it. Lyrically it is a tour de force. I do love a bit of cutting social satire all set to unashamed balls ‘n all guitar work – in fact It seems as if all the instruments are being given their last rights, in that “play it like you nicked it” fashion. The passion and power that is behind the delivery of the lyrics are awesome: the line “Grew up thinking we were so advanced and had the largest heads / Didn’t masturbate with our own minds instead we used the Web“, what a great way to point at a general loss of social imagination and it is the line of this year for me.

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8. Dirty Bourbon River Show – Train Is Gone

This is such a funky tune there is no way it was going to get left out. The verses could easily be written as a warning to anyone who enters X-Factor and the chorus is definitely a warning to anyone who WINS the bleeding thing. That aside what we have here is a awesome tune – the bassline rolls along with the kind of sound that makes you want to walk a bit like Mister Soft. The guitar and drums lollop alongside it at perfect pace and all together it’s like a big spliff in audio format. Now I’ll be honest I’m not too big on sax breaks in songs, but this is the exception. It acts as a real nice jazzy kind of break in the song, leaving you hungry… no, greedy for some more of that bassline.

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

7. Warped 45s – Grampa Carl

I do love a good story song and this is about as good as it gets. We are told the story of Grampa Carl who was a Rum-runner in America during the prohibition era of the 20s. This seemed to be funded by a spot of illegal gambling. I do like to take the side of the rogue, especially a rogue who likes a bet and a drink, although this tale ends with Carl being buried in a Presbyterian cemetery. No religious hypocrisy there then! The tale in between is all engrossing with many a slip between cup and lip. There is a great line at the end of this song, “My grandpa said to me when I was just a kid / Just cusp someone says something’s wrong doesn’t mean that it always is“. I love that, and have employed it as a mantra for some years already. All of that is accompanied by some fantastic musicianship. There is the cool rumbling of a Hammond organ in the background and the guitar work is laced heavily with a bluesy feel, reminiscent of Drive-By-Truckers, which I think can only be seen as a compliment.

Download The Warped 45s – Grampa Carl mp3 (from Matador Sunset)

6. Danny Brown – Die Like A Rockstar

This song helped to reinvigorate my love for Hip Hop. There had been pretty much nothing in this genre that had excited me for years. Then boom! (Irony, honest) I heard this. From the very first opening when you hear that rolling drum beat it sounds special, then you get that menacing b-line and lyrics that pull you straight into the middle of the track. The lyrics are basically a who’s who of famous party animals from music, film and T.V. and this is done with wit, intelligence and a phenomenal turn of phrase. “Sniff it at a roll, off the counter in my kitchen / Trippin’ off the shit that had Brian Wilson flippin’” is just one off a fistful of gems from this one tune. Danny Brown certainly has a wonderful delivery (I think the kids call it a “FLOW”), a sort of southern drawl that is helped by his missing front tooth, giving it a sort of lispy quality and has a distinct whiff of nihilism about it. That monster bassline just continues to snarl along at you through the whole song. Just brilliant!

Link – left click only: DOWNLOAD: Danny Brown – Die Like A Rockstar – RCRD LBL

5. Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear

The energy in this song is the equivalent to 15 speed freaks at a coffee morning. Even the guitar at the start is reminiscent of a racehorse being held off its true power until the time comes and don’t worry it will. The opening lyrics are the way to start a song “You’ve got street fighting hands/ and a rock and roll face / But you show affection in other ways“. These match the general feeling of the song perfectly; it has that raw, grimy, slightly sullied sense about it. When the drums join the party the song truly comes alive, with the kind of fire that I’ve only ever really heard in Nirvana tracks (And there’s only two of these guys). As the song settles back down and you stop looking like the guy from the old Maxell adverts (showing my age with that cultural reference) the guitar glides along and takes you with it, with points where you think its going to drop again but these are just teasers. Don’t worry though there are plenty more guitar breaks to come. A bit of a latecomer to the list but there was no way it could be ignored.

Download Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear mp3 (from Donkey Jacket)

4. Dennis Hoppers Choppers – Good To Me

Sounding like the start of a Sergio Leone western is a good way to grab my attention. I love the sound of that trumpet along with the violins/fiddles – it creates such an atmospheric start. When the bass and guitar come in, they seem to be able to hold that atmosphere, perfectly but with a different slant. They bring with them a down-to-earth country style, which is held up perfectly by the lyrics of Ben Nicholls, who has a lamenting sound to his voice (and is also a one man band, talented – a bit!!). You think you’re in for a typical kind of alt-Country song but then something new, the strings are back along with keys that give this song an almost Egyptian feel. A friend of mine who is a musician said this song has some great work in the minor keys; I will have to take his word for that. All I know is that this is a truly beautiful and dynamic track; the fact that it’s not my number one still grates on me whenever I hear it. Self-flagellation for punishment methinks.

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3. Little Barrie – Tip it Over

We are in to the top three now, this is where shit gets real and what a song to jump into it with. This song was a surefire winner for me. The high hat ride at the intro, then the understated guitar and bass enter the fray…they sound so innocuous, but if only you knew what they are to become. I love the notion of this song as well “Tip it over, what you need it for” could apply to so many things. It carries with it a certain amount of venom and it would have made a great soundtrack for the UK riots this year. The musicianship in this tune is truly fantastic – there is great work on the drums, though for me the true star is the guitar, you could be forgiven for almost losing it in the rest of the song, then just to remind you it’s alive and dangerous it has a little echo of the vocals in the chorus. Then it is let loose like some kind of wild beast and drags your ears with it. This song always gets my foot going and without question wins the award for song that every time I hear it I think to myself, “Shit! I want to learn to play guitar”.

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2. Brown Bird – Bilgewater

From the very first listening I adored this song with a passion that I only usually give to Leeds Utd and gin & tonic. From the opening line of “Don’t matter if the cold wind blows, I’m going to wind up working in the thick of it“, I felt a affinity with this song, I work as a coalman so this sums up my job in one fell swoop. The bluesy feel to the rhythm of this song lends itself perfectly to the gritty nature of the lyrics and they give you a hard look at life. Those rose tinted glasses you’ve been wearing? Well this tune takes those off and stamps all over them. This is delivered without threat or malice, just in a matter of fact way – “this is how it is”. It’s nice to hear that once in a while – dilutes the saccharine a bit. There are so many brilliantly phrased lines in here, each verse holding a fistful of lyrical gems. The only way I can really give this song enough praise is to say that if Bill Hicks was still with us, I think he would appreciate this song and it’s honesty. That is massive praise I think.

Download Brown Bird – Bilgewater mp3 (from The Sound of Ghosts EP)

1. Mummy Short Arms – Cigarette Smuggling

I took you via the scenic route but we’ve arrived. Number one and that is exactly what it is. Just the best song I’ve heard this year by a country mile. From the very first hearing to listening to it while I write this, the whole thing fascinates me. The opening sounds like some kind of nightmare dream sequence from an episode of Hammer House of Horror, weird sounds and insane babbling, accompanied by a disjointed guitar and harmonica. As the drumbeat cuts in, it pulls it all together, and then we get to hear the greatest of gravelly voices. If you were to tell me this guy don’t smoke Capstan full strength and gargle with Napalm I’d call you a liar. As the song builds with an absolutely wonderful bassline driving it along, so does the intensity of the lyrical delivery. Now this maybe childish (in fact it is) but I think if going to swear in a song why not say c#@t and why not say it lots. Some people may find this offensive but it is a common saying down my way, meaning positive and negative things. The harmonica is stitched throughout the tune harking back to that eerie bedlam-esque start.  From start to finish it is the real deal. Brilliant melody, great bassline, witty lyrics, profanity and raw-throated vocals. These are a few of my favourite things!

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Bubbling under (The songs that scream why? at me in the middle of the night)

1. Grass House – A Cradle, A Short Breath

2. Tom Williams & The Boat  – Wouldn’t Women Be Sweet

3. Creepoid – Grave Blanket

Download Creepoid – Grave Blanket mp3 (from Horse Heaven)

4. Jason Isbell & The 400 – Codeine

5. Lovely Eggs – Fuck It

Best Cover of the year

Siskiyou – Revolution Blues

Best I’ve heard for the first time this year (but not from this year)

1. Mountain Goats – No Children

2. Joe Pug – I Do My Father’s Drugs

3. Modest Mouse – Doin’ The Cockroach

4. Shellac – Prayer To God

Download Shellac – Prayer To God mp3 (from 1000 Hurts)

5. Fugazi – Waiting Room

Download Fugazi – Waiting Room mp3 (from 13 Songs)

Guilty Pleasure (Go on hate away!)

Lana Del Rey – Video Games

Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.For the second of our ‘guest’ top ten posts we are pleased to welcome the finger-choppin’ Banner to the roster with his first contribution to the end of year best of lists.

It’s been a great year musically and especially as this year I became a dad. I’d like to thank Doctor Roddy and Chris T Popper for their steady supply of CDs this year and especially for little Max’s mega mix from which I’ve selected some of my top ten tunes.  I would like to have written a bit more about the songs but unfortunately I tried to remove my finger with an axe earlier this week.

So here they are:

Best Songs

10. Felice Brothers –Ponzi

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9. Grass House – A Cradle, A Short breath

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8. Ha Ha Tonka – The Usual Suspects

Download Ha Ha Tonka – Usual Suspects mp3 (from Death Of A Decade)

7. Vacant Fever – Heavy Leather

Download Vacant Fever – Heavy Leather mp3 (from Heparin And Saline)

6. Owsley Brothers –Under The Shade Of A Live Oak Tree

Download The Owsley Brothers – Under The Shade Of A Live Oak mp3 (from Separated At Birth)

5. Deer Tick – Miss K (this one reminds me of the missus)

Download Deer Tick – Miss K. mp3 (from Divine Providence)

4. Mummy Short Arms – Cigarette Smuggling

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3. Henry’s Funeral Shoe –Dog Scratched Ear

Download Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear mp3 (from Donkey Jacket)

2. Wooden Wand – Motel Stationary

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1.Dennis Hoppers Choppers – Good To Me

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Bubbling Under

5. Brown Bird – Fingers To The Bone (good music to chop off your finger to)

Download Brown Bird – Fingers To The Bone mp3 (from Salt For Salt)

4. Beirut – The Rip Tide

Download Beirut – The Rip Tide mp3 (from The Rip Tide)

3. Kurt Vile – The Creature

2. Wooden Wand – Nails And Spikes

Download Wooden Wand – Nails And Spikes mp3 (from Archives Vol 3)

1. Mr Mother Fu*ka  exquire – The last Huzzah

Mad Mackerel's Best of July Mix. Oh yes, it is that time again. Here is a round up of the very best of what we posted in July, plus a couple of new ones to add to the mix. Enjoy.

Download Dennis Hopper Choppers – Good To Me mp3 (from Be Ready)

Morricone inspired spaghetti western feel and Tijuana style horns combine to give an authentic dusty desert twang.

BTW: Whichever knob alleged infringement of copyright and reported to DMCA – get your facts right or contact us direct! This track is shared with full permission of Top Button Digital who represent the band.

Download Jenny Owen Youngs – Great Big Plans mp3 (from Great Big Plans)

First taste of singer-songwriter’s new album. It’s good!

Download The Deep Dark Woods – Westside Street mp3 (from The Place I Left Behind)

Another lovely example of their warm, resonant folk sound – it meanders slowly and surely along on the back of some lovely harmonies and easy going instrumentation.

Download Wooden Shjips – Lazy Bones mp3 (from West)

Takes the spirit of the Velvet Underground and melds it perfectly with the pummeling space rock of Hawkwind to create one of the best tracks of the year so far.

Download The Happy Thoughts – Sweet Dirty Love mp3 (from The Happy Thoughts)

Two and a half minutes of perfect, roughly hewn, garage style power pop.

Download Grass Widow – Mannequin mp3 (from Milo Minute 7″)

A suitably jangly and messy cover of Wire’s classic.

Download Megafaun – These Words mp3 (from Megafaun)

A round-robin of gamelan, ambient sounds, frogs, and cicadas underpin a hauntingly indelible piano melody and a hypnotic beat.

Download Vacant Fever – Heavy Leather mp3 (from Heparin And Saline)

Brilliantly sparse and stripped back affair with not a wasted note or murmur from first moment to the last.

Download Blind Atlas – Mary Anne mp3 (from Iron Wall EP)

The band put down their electric guitars and picked up acoustic instruments for Mary Anne and produced a lovely, laid-back country song.

Download The Sainthood Reps – Monoculture mp3 (from Monoculture)

Gem of distortion, bludgeoning percussion, and a nagging, jagged riff that sets it well apart from the usual fare and, played loud enough, might just remove the paint from the walls.

Download Brown Bird – Fingers To The Bone mp3 (from Salt For Salt)

Traditionally dark and eerie sound that is often backed with some of the most ominous and foreboding lyrics you’re likely to hear.

Download The Parson Red Heads – Burning Up The Sky mp3 (from Yearling)

Harkens back to the most prolific and inventive elements in the canon of West Coast psych-folk, the band’s music is intricate, gorgeous and rich.

Download The Tallest Man On Earth – Weather Of A Killing Kind mp3 (Adult Swim free single)

Gravelly tones and strummed acoustics.

Download Pepper Rabbit – Murder Room mp3 (from Red Velvet Snow Ball)

The dark undertone takes its time to bubble to the surface before dragging you back down in to its hidden depths.

Download St. Vincent – Big Black Mariah mp3 (live at Rain Dogs Revisited at The Barbican)

Cover of the month?

Download St. Vincent – Surgeon mp3 (from Strange Mercy)

And a brilliant taster from forthcoming new album.

Download We Were Promised Jetpacks – Act on Impulse mp3 (from In The Pit Of The Stomach)

An absolute cracker, featuring two minutes of tribal drumming and building guitars as an intro before launching into an anthem of stadium proportions.

Download Carter Tanton – Murderous Joy mp3 (from Freeclouds)

Our first point of reference was Sparklehorse: it is elegant, forlorn, and intimate.

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

Treat yourself to some trademark full on blues-rock riffage a la Zeppelin or Sabbath and that throaty Joplin like roar. Marvellous.

Download The Roadside Graves – Double Feature mp3 (from We Can Take Care Of Ourselves)

Country rock and whiskey raw vocals from stalwart MM faves.

Download Rhubarb Whiskey – Bears In The Lot mp3 (from Cautionary Tales)

Unique tale of bears and booze whose lyrics were penned by the infamous award winning horror author Poppy Z. Brite.

Download Case Studies – The Eagle, Or The Serpent mp3 (from The World Is Just a Shape to Fill the Night)

Download Case Studies – You Folded Up My Blanket Like We Were Already Lovers mp3 (from The World Is Just a Shape to Fill the Night) (via RSTB)

Two brilliant tracks that tell the tales of the dysfunctional and the disenchanted, the dreamers and the hopeless. Faultless folk!

Download Mikal Cronin – Apathy mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

Download Mikal Cronin – Get Along mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

And two brilliant blends of sweet melodies and chords with chunky, psychedelic guitar freak-outs – a California fuzz take on gorgeously unexpected psych garage pop.

Download Amen Dunes – Lower Mind mp3 (from Through Donkey Jaw)

Dark-hearted psych-folk over a repetitive almost drone-like rhythm – it calls to mind another MM fave in Wooden Wand.

Download Peg Simone – Wait For Night mp3

An eerie, otherworldly approach to blues and folk featuring lingering, ghostly guitar riffs and silver-tongued vocals.

And to finish off a cracking mix we have the dreamy pop loops of Gauntlet Hair, the easy-going folk-pop of Book Club (via MOKB), Jeff The Brotherhood’s faithful Nirvana take for their contribution to SPIN magazine’s free tribute album (get the whole thing here) and finally The Fungi Girls offer up a taste of their wonderful mix of psych-pop hooks and garage fuzz from forthcoming album Some Easy Magic.

Download Gauntlet Hair – Top Bunk mp3 (from Gauntlet Hair)

Download Book Club – Meal Of Dreams mp3 (from Ghost)

Download Fungi Girls – Velvet Days mp3 (from Some Easy Magic)

Download JEFF The Brotherhood – Something In The Way mp3 (from Newermind: SPIN Tribute to Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’)

See all our previous Best of The Month mixes in the side bar on the left. You might also like our recent free Truck Festival mix here or Big Hitters Round Up here.

Introducing Dennis Hopper Choppers We are new to Dennis Hopper Choppers and so, by name alone, were expecting some kind of acid fuelled, rambling lunacy so weren’t really prepared for the mix of steely Americana, Mariachi brass and the occasional controlled guitar freakouts that we actually got.

Once we’d readjusted, the Morricone inspired spaghetti western feel and Tijuana style horns combine to give an authentic dusty desert twang to Good To Me which opens the album and sets a gratifyingly high standard. The vocals veer between a Walker Brothers style croon and some Nick Cave styled menace and is a perfect match for the music.

Brooding, intense, sometimes forlorn and always compelling – we think Dennis Hopper Choppers are one to keep a serious eye on.

Order from HMV here.

Download Dennis Hopper Choppers – Good To Me mp3 (from Be Ready)

Whichever knob alleged infringement of copyright and reported to DMCA – get your facts right or contact us direct! This track is shared with full permission of Top Button Digital who represent the band.