Posts Tagged ‘Django Django’

Here are tracks 40-31 in our countdown of Mad Mackerel’s favourite tunes of the past ten years.

40 Avett Brothers – January Wedding (2009)

Banjo, guitar, authentic romantic country and a beautiful ballad.

 

39 First Aid Kit – Wolf (2012)

 

Gorgeous folk harmonies given an almost tribal, native American feel.

 

38 Big Thief – Shark Smile (2017)

 

An airy, meandering number with a hint of Sharon Van Etten about it that tells the story of two lovers involved in a car accident, one of whom lives while the other dies, related from the perspective of the survivor. It is another very fine example of frontwoman Adrianne Lenker at the peak of her storytelling powers.

 

37 Django Django – Default (2012)

Crackles along with all kinds of weird and wonderful sounds. A viciously catchy and erratic tune – it never stops surprising a little more with each listen.

 

36 She Keeps Bees – Gimme (2008)

 

Fiery and reserved, seductive and vaguely crude. Gimme is simultaneously fierce, sultry and intriguing.

 

35 Stornoway – I Saw You Blink (2010)

It’s sunshine and dreaminess and love. There’s self doubt and possibly even a Shelley-esque metaphor used (eyes being the window of the soul and all that). All sung to a back-drop of retro, up-tempo, carefully layered music. He’s in love, distracted, missed his train, and constantly wondering what she’s thinking.

 

34 Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Revenge Of The Extra From Zulu (2010)

Quivering, quavering vocals, violins, a throbbing cello, guitars that flit from the minimal to the staccato and all overlaid with some of the most surreal (and entertaining) lyrics you’ll ever hear. There is a sly, knowing humour to Revenge Of The Extra From Zulu as well as regret, bitterness and a healthy dose of the macabre.

 

33 We Are Augustines – Chapel Song (2011)

 

This is The Jam’s The Bitterest Pill brought bang up to date and made better. The song is from the view of a fella stood in a chapel whilst the love of his life walks down the aisle … with another bloke. Suffice to say, he’s not in a good place and the vocals lend to this feeling of impotent misery perfectly. Strained, angry and a little menacing, the lyrics match the tune perfectly which is … well … strained, angry and a little menacing.

 

32 Lower Dens – Brains (2012)

 

Opens with a drumbeat that grips your lapels up like a rottweiler on heat.  And then… well, it just gets better of course. Weirdly beautiful, it is throbbing, insistent drone-pop on the one hand and haunting, ghostly freak-folk on the other.

 

31 Houndmouth – Sedona (2015)

The best sing-a-long chorus of 2015 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“.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-51, and 50-41.

  1. Calexico – End Of The World With You
  2. No Age – Soft Collar Fad
  3. Jim White – Far Beyond The Spoken Word
  4. Father John Misty – Pure Country
  5. Hater – Blushing
  6. Django Django – Tic Tac Toe
  7. A. Savage – Ladies From Houston
  8. Surfing Magazines – One Of These Days
  9. Anna St. Louis – Fire
  10. The Deep Dark Woods – Deep Flooding Waters
  11. Miss World – Click And Yr Mine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Django Django delivered an excellent debut album in 2012 that brilliantly mixed a glam rock stomp with funky electronica and smothered it all in a glistening, infectious psych-pop sheen.

They are back with a new track and First Light is as slinky, as sinewy, and as effortlessly catchy as you’d expect.

Dive in.

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MM's Best of 2012 Nos 80-61

Here are tracks 80 – 61 in our countdown of Mad Mackerel’s 100 favourite tunes of the year. Don’t forget to check out numbers 100 – 81 in yesterday’s post here and check back tomorrow for numbers 61 – 40.

Here we go…

80 SUN KIL MOON – SUNSHINE IN CHICAGO
Beautifully bittersweet reflections of wandering troubadour preparing for another gig in Chicago and how the times have changed…

Sunshine in Chicago makes me sad
My band played here a lot in the nineties when we had
A lot of female fans and fuck they all were cute
Now I just sign posters for guys in tennis shoes

Download Sun Kil Moon – Sunshine In Chicago mp3

79 IMAGINATION HEAD – SANDCASTLE
An absolute gem of gently swelling prog-folk spun through with gentle psychedelia. Sandcastle could easily sit amongst any of the classic Mercury Rev offerings…it is that good.

Download Imagination Head – Sand Castle mp3

78 BETH ORTON – CALL ME THE BREEZE
Gorgeous and pastoral. Call Me The Breeze is a sultry, surging hymn to becoming one with nature, and a stunning return to recording after a six year hiatus.

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77 HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF – ODE TO JOHN & YOKO
Slow burning, heartfelt tribute to the aspirational dreams of the hippy couple.

Download Hurray For The Riff Raff – Ode To John And Yoko mp3

76 JBM – CROOKED BRANCHES
Fragile and haunting folk – I’m sure she swam out of the lake in her yellow dress – but it is a rather beautiful song. (Mrs M)

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75 FATHER JOHN MISTY – MISTY’S NIGHTMARES 1 & 2
A ramshackle countrified excursion into 70s rock that ambles along with a grace and sure footedness that belies the wry lyrics and droll delivery.

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74 STEPHEN PAUL SMOKER – GREEN CITY
One of the year’s best riffs wedded to a pulsating psych-rock groove and foot stomping rhythm.

Download Stephen Paul Smoker – Green City mp3

73 BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE – TEMPER TEMPER
Going back to my roots here; you can’t do without a good guitar riff or a head banging drum beat, this is one of my essential driving tunes. I feel a certain empathy with the lyrics too, I’m sure they weren’t really written about me. (SB)

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72 WILD NOTHING – PARADISE
Retro-electro pop, but damn it, I just like it. Whenever I hear it I feel I have gone back about 20 years, sitting round the edge of a village hall hoping not to dance. (PP)

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71 DARREN HAYMAN – ELIZABETH CLARKE
For centuries the upper echelons of British society have covered up their own misdeeds by getting the lower orders to turn against each other. These days, so called benefit cheats are vilified in the tabloids. The 17th century equivalent were called witches and strung up. Thankfully we’re not allowed to string people up these days. This song is about the hanging of an 80-year-old lady who gave her confession after being tortured by Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. It’s not a cheerful listen but is beautifully executed (oops!) by Darren Hayman who really captures the atmosphere. (BSF)

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70 DJANGO DJANGO – DEFAULT
Crackles along with all kinds of weird and wonderful sounds. A viciously catchy and erratic tune it never stops surprising me a little more with each listen. It’s fun goddammit…(CP)

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69 GOODNIGHT TEXAS – JESSE GOT TRAPPED IN A COALMINE
A mandolin-driven elegy for a doomed young fiancé, it has the authentic twang and gritty lyrics of the very best Appalachian folk and the echoes of its rootsy Americana hangs in the air like a ghostly fog long after the song has finished.

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68 TAME IMPALA – ELEPHANT
The sound of modern day glam rock – like Marc Bolan crossed with Hawkwind, Elephant is the ultimate slice of freaked out, loved up, psych-frazzle that is nothing short of perfect.

Download Tame Impala – Elephant mp3

67 STEALING SHEEP – SHUT EYE
This song by a psychedelic-folk girl band from Liverpool is completely nuts. It sounds like something my 5 and 7 year olds would come up with if they were locked in a studio with a load of instruments and for that reason, I love it. (TS)

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66 BAT FOR LASHES – LAURA
I love the simple piano music of this song, especially the intro and the way it builds to a crescendo. Her voice is haunting too, a much more sophisticated Lana Del Ray. This is a glass of wine in hand, relaxing song. (SB)

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65 QUICKBEAM – 700 BIRDS
Chill out, close your eyes and drift away on this tune of pure atmosphere. Scotland has always produced fantastic bands with distinctive but diverse sounds. This little gem shows a gentler, more ghostly side of Celtic music – if you want to lose a bit of anger for 3 mins 50 seconds, give it a try. (BSF)

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64 THE WALKMEN – HEAVEN
What can I say? The title track of The Walkmen’s 2012 album is another piece of genius from the Washington rockers. I don’t need to say any more other than ‘LISTEN TO IT’ (BSF)

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63 ALT-J – MATILDA
A fantastic song (named after the girl in the Luc Besson film Leon apparently) from a top album which sounds like some kind of Tim Burton bedtime story. I could have picked anything off the album to be honest but this was the song I heard first and the one that provided the biggest WTF factor! I downloaded this tune the second I heard it and to quote a famous sports agent, this song “had me at hello”. (TS)

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62 THE GROWL – WITH THE SHARP END OF A TROWEL
What’s that you Say? Grimy, dirty rock, half sang half drawled. Yeah, OK. Where do I sign? It seems The Growl can do no wrong, producing some of the best tunes I’ve heard this year. It was a tuff choice between This song and Cleaver Lever. Really I would have liked to put them in a paddling pool full of Nutella and watched them fight it out, but in the end this song wins through. For it is dirt rock purity. (DR)

Download The Growl – With The Sharp End Of A Trowel mp3 (from Cleaver Lever EP)

61 HOWLER – BACK OF YOUR NECK
It may not be the most original approach in the world, but Howler’s turn-of-the-year single of tight, turbo-charged surf rock hurtles to an ultra-catchy adrenalin fuelled conclusion with nary a backward glance.

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Remember…check back for numbers 60 – 41 tomorrow…

Thanks to Mrs Mackerel (Mrs M), Christy Popper (CP), Barry-Sean (BSF), Polly Pocket (PP), Dr Roddy (DR), Starbie (SB) and Toy Steve (TS) for their contributions.

No Direction Home Festival: A Review.

No Direction Home Festival  ||  Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire  ||  8-10 June 2012

The omens were not good for the inaugural No Direction Home music festival, setting out in heavy rain that only got heavier as the traffic got slower the further north I went. However, despite the slate grey skies and constant brake lights of the M1, a journey of over 5 hours was rewarded on arrival by a break in the weather than unbelievably lasted for the whole three days.

No Direction Home is a new “little brother” venture from those behind the End of the Road Festival (those who read MM even semi-regularly will know what a fantastic event that is) and so felt very familiar from the moment we set foot in the main arena. Familiar food stalls, the Rough Trade tent, the book tent, the cinema tent and more had all been transplanted wholesale to just south of Sheffield. Likewise the music line-up was the same mix as the End of the Road – predominantly Americana, folk (both freak and traditional), country, indie and a smattering of some ultra-heavy psychedelic rock over two main stages and a small, intimate café stage by the lake.

Indeed many of the performers (perhaps slightly too many) were equally familiar as End of the Road veterans: The Low Anthem, Gruff Rhys, Richard Hawley, Django Django, Other Lives, Dirty Three, The Unthanks.

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In fact our opening set came from another EotR alumni, Lanterns on the Lake, their heavy, ethereal, ambient tinged folk a perfect atmospheric companion to the sullen, overcast skies and heavy clouds, whilst in the somewhat optimistically named Electric Dust Bowl Big Top, Wet Nuns flailed away with a punishing set of hardcore riffing and gravelly vocals – furiously competing with the elements outside.

It took Django Django to brighten the mood; their good-natured approach and twangy electro-krautrock pop lifting collective spirits. A huge improvement on when we saw them at EotR in 2010, now they ooze confidence and are happy to let the songs from their excellent debut album stand up for themselves; Life’s A Beach, Waveforms, Skies Over Cairo, Wor and standout single Default all being highlights.

Finally as the night set in fully, The Low Anthem took the stage as the night’s main attraction. As they did at the EotR, they soon captured and then captivated the audience with their haunting and melancholic brand of folk holding everyone rapt as they performed one stunning song after another. There was just time to catch a set from Canadian electro-rockers Austra to finish the night – and a perfect illustration of the eclectic reach of the festival. Not something we are likely to listen to at home, but live an astonishingly powerful and captivating spectacle with three front women dynamically weaving repetitive musical patterns in a manner akin to Siouxsie Sioux fronting Can.

SATURDAY

Having gone to bed chanting the Woodstock refrain of “No rain, no rain” to myself I was rewarded on Saturday both with a dry start and a sweetly enchanting set of pastoral folk from Tiny Ruins, fresh from their recent tour support with the Handsome Family. Highlight being the surreal, but true tale of the Brazilian priest Fr. Carli who tried to fly using 1,000 helium balloons…some pieces of him were never recovered. Next up was quirky singer-songwriter Liz Green who sadly failed to sparkle as we’d hoped, and seemed a little daunted by the gravitas of the main stage, so it was back to the big top for Tyne & Wear’s Cornshed Sisters whose traditional finger-in-the-ear choral folk songs were much appreciated and provided a calming, bewitching effect over the audience.

Emerging, blinking and slightly dazed for Euros Childs it took a few songs for me to realise what an thoroughly excellent songwriter he is (for that genuinely is his real name), and for the last twenty years or or so he has been performing his own brand of slightly unhinged psych-pop laced with black humour and waspish wit. With Cavendish Hall he provided one of the songs of the weekend and one of those lovely ‘discovery’ moments of a new artist you know you’re going to enjoy for a long, long time to come.

Next up was Mrs Mackerel’s fave and one of the most individual performers of the weekend in anti-pop, anti-folk, anti-conventionalist Beth Jeans Houghton with her Hooves of Destiny. Opening with the galloping, infectious Atlas and running through many of the highlights of their excellent debut Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose (Dodecahedron, The Barely Skinny Tree, Lilliput, Harlequin and Sweet Tooth Bird) as well as non-album cuts like the barber-shop drenched harmonies of Honeycomb, the irreverent Shampoo (“looks like cum, smells like flowers, I use shampoo in the shower“) and Your Holes, it was the most delightfully unique set of the weekend and demonstrates that the independent spirit of indie pop is alive and well in BJH’s hands.

Other Lives followed with a set of wonderfully melodramatic orchestral folk rock that somehow reminded me of The Waterboys crossed with Radiohead and was every bit as good as that combination sounds ridiculous. Gruff Rhys was exactly as you would have expected – unconventional and predictably unpredictable, expertly mixing the glam rock stomp of In A House With No Mirrors with the gently psych-whimsy of Candylion and the melancholic pop of Lonesome Words. There was no such variety with the swirling headfuck of Moon Duo’s powerfully propulsive heavy-psych that suffered slightly from a muddy sound and their seeming insistence for playing in complete darkness on stage. They were followed by the equally pulverising Pyramids whose crunchy guitar riffs, slashing rhythms and howled vocals played out like an adrenalin fuelled Hawkwind on speed. Headlining the main stage was arch whistler Andrew Bird and despite his over-fussiness (no pictures, no family members, constant irritated gesturing to the soundman) he pleased the crowd with a set of winsome folk and some quite impressive violin manoeuvres.

SUNDAY

Slow Club

The sun shone. Some of the thick mud dried up, a bit, and the wonderfully uncompromising Trembling Bells kicked off the day with a set of traditional British folk underpinned with the occasional ferocious onslaught of psychedelic pyrotechnics that was as bruising as it was soothing. The much-admired Cold Specks brought authentically sorrowful tales of the delta flavoured with a soulful taste of the Mississippi to the main stage, so authentic in fact you almost expected to see a paddle steamer on the adjacent lake. They were followed by a fabulously entertaining set of quirky and surreal indie rock from The Wave Pictures and back inside the big top local boys The Crookes charged up the crowd with a fizzing, high energy set of guitar pop. By now the crowd was gathering to pay homage to folk legend Martin Carthy who introduced each song with a conversational air and as though he had all the time in the world. Exuding bonhomie, he ran through a selection of traditional and classic folk songs and demonstrated why he is universally revered by fellow musicians as one of the best acoustic guitarists around. A pleasure to watch.

And on the back of that came the unexpected highlight of the weekend. While ex-Fleet Foxes drummer Joshua Tillman, aka Father John Misty’s album Fear Fun has gradually been growing on me over the past few weeks, to hear him play it live made it obvious what an outstanding set of songs they are. Just one man and his guitar, it was dark night of the soul stuff, visceral, bawdy, and confrontational. In between he was ironic, self-deprecating and slightly sarcastic and it quickly became one of those rare occasions where the audience become transfixed by what is being placed before them. Fun Times In Babylon, Only Son Of The Ladies’ Man, Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings, Nancy From Now On, Writing A Novel – each song greeted with more rapture than the last and as he finished with the stunning Now I’m Learning To Love The War and Every Man Needs A Companion the entire tent breathed a collective sigh and then erupted. It was worth the ticket price on its own.

Back outside Slow Club entertained with their jolly mix of folk and indie pop, and the sweet voices of The Unthanks accompanied by the Brighouse and Rastrick Band provided the perfect accompaniment to the setting sun over the lake. And finally, despite a broken leg (which precipitated a much appreciated parody of the famed Nirvana-at-Reading style entrance in a wheelchair), local hero Richard Hawley delivered a festival closing set perfectly in keeping with the mood. His velveteen vocals cloaking the bitter sting and melancholy of his lyrics while the 60s tinged psychedelic guitar of his latest album Standing At The Sky’s Edge weaved intricate patterns in the cool night air.

And so it was time to fight the pop-up tent and go home, one amongst 3,000 satisfied punters. No Direction Home succeeded in keeping the intimacy that makes The End of the Road so special and had many memorable performances that will linger long in the memory. Tickets are already on sale for next year (click here) and we’re hoping with a year under their belt, they will go with a slightly more original and bolder line-up. If so, we will be there again!

Download Euros Childs – Cavendish Hall mp3 (from Ends)

Download Cold Specks – Holland mp3 (from I Predict A Graceful Expulsion)

Download Father John Misty & Phosphorescent – I Would Love You mp3

Download The Wave Pictures – I Love You Like A Madman mp3 (from Instant Coffee Baby)

Download Andrew Bird – If I Needed You mp3 (Townes Van Zandt cover)

Download The Crookes – Backstreet Lovers mp3 (from Dreams Of Another Day)

Download our full Festival mixtape here.

No Direction Home Festival: Free Mixtape.

As you read this I will probably still be speeding northwards through the torrential rain on the M1 heading for Sherwood Forest and the inaugural No Direction Home music festival. Having spent the last two years happily enjoying the fantastic End of the Road festival, my plans were scuppered for a hat-trick by a sneaky move in dates making it clash with our first overseas family holiday in years to the beaches of Spain.

Thankfully, the same folk are behind this one so despite the rotten weather forecast, hopes are high for another fantastic event and judging by the line-up, we should be in for a treat. Friday night will be headlined by The Low Anthem, Saturday by Andrew Bird and Sunday by Richard Hawley. In between times we will have the pleasure of sets from Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny, Other Lives, Moon Duo, Lanterns On The Lake, The Wave Pictures, Wet Nuns, Father John Misty, Mikal Cronin and Spectrals. Best of all though will be discovering those artists and bands that we’ve not come across before and who turn out to be jaw-droppingly good.

Here is a free mix just to give you a taste of what we’ll be enjoying over the weekend, or if you fancy snapping up one of the last few tickets you can get one here.

Look out for a full review next week.

Download Father John Misty – Nancy From Now On mp3 (from Fear Fun)

Download Mikal Cronin – Apathy mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

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

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

Download Spectrals – Chip A Tooth (Spoil A Smile) mp3 (from A Spectrals Extended Play EP)

Download Moon Duo – Mazes mp3 (from Mazes)

Download The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin mp3 (from O My God, Charlie Darwin)

Download The Low Anthem – This God Damn House mp3 (from What The Crow Brings)

Download David Thomas Broughton – Nature mp3 (from Outbreeding)

Download David Thomas Broughton – Walking Over You mp3 (from The Complete Guide To Insufficiency)

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

Download Slow Club – Beginners mp3 (from Paradise)

Download Django Django – Love’s Dart mp3 (from Storm / Love’s Dart 7″)

Download The Cornshed Sisters – Nowhere Man mp3 (from Mojo Presents – Yellow Submarine Resurfaces)

Download Peter Wolf Crier – Crutch & Cane mp3 (from Inter-Be)

Download Zulu Winter – Lets Move Back To Front mp3 (from Language)

Download Woodpigeon – I Live A Lot of Places mp3 (from Treasury Library Canada)

Download Wet Nuns – Heavens Below mp3 (from Heavens Below 7″)

Download Tiny Ruins – The Death Of A Russian mp3 (from Some Were Meant For Sea)

Download The Wave Pictures –Stay Here And Take Care Of The Chickens mp3 (from Long Black Cars)

Download Veronica Falls – Bad Feeling mp3 (from Veronica Falls)

Download Austra – Lose it mp3 (from Feel It Break)

Download Joe Gideon & The Shark – True Nature mp3 (from Harum Scarum)

Welcome to our longest ever post, and a whole bucketful of great songs. Last weekend, Barry-Sean came with me to the End of the Road Festival and outside of the musical orgy that is SxSW, we agreed it is the best festival we’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. In fact he’s been writing about it ever since. Here’s what he has to say….

Having arrived early on Friday afternoon (yes, we missed secret guests Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell on Thursday night due to a prior 5-a-side football engagement), and after popping up tents we headed off to the Big Top for a gentle introduction of sunny, African-tinged, psych pop from the Ruby Suns before one of Mr M’s current favourites, Elliott Brood took the stage. What a great start to the weekend. With their casual, friendly banter and energetic riffs and vocals, the band drew a sizeable crowd and got them jumping. Hi-energy hoedown to get everyone in the festival mood.

Download Elliott Brood – Wolfgang mp3 (from Ambassador)

Being on the wrong side of forty, as Mr M headed off elsewhere, I decided to calm down a bit by staying at the Big Top for Woodpigeon, a group I heard for the first time recently (note to Mrs M here – be a bit more forthcoming with your musical discoveries please … Mr M tells me you’ve been a bit of a Woodpigeon fan for ages). Soothing melodies, tight musical arrangement and lyrics that cover a range of topics from love and reaching manhood to tales of the gods of nature in old Canada. This is contemporary folk and utterly excellent it is too. Lady Gaga fans probably won’t like it but we do … each to their own and we love Woodpigeon … so much so that I went back for second helpings when they stood in for Timber Timbre at the Garden Stage the following afternoon.

Download Woodpigeon – Empty-Hall-Sing-Along mp3 (from Die Stadt Muzikanten)

While this was going on MM was enjoying a thoroughly pleasant main stage set by Freelance Whales before heading over to catch the sultry, southern tones of singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield – already a fave of his, it was a performance that held the audience both captivated and spellbound. Meanwhile, I made a dash to the beautiful Garden Stage to see the truly wonderful Mountain Goats. These chaps aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but, like other favourites of mine The Hold Steady, they have a big enough following not to worry about that too much. Being slightly late, I couldn’t get anywhere near the front, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment. If you’ve not heard anything by them, start yourself off with these gems.

Download The Mountain Goats – Dance Music mp3 (from The Sunset Tree)

Download The Mountain Goats – Genesis 3:23 mp3 (from The Life Of The World To Come)

Download Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kiss Me Again mp3 (from With Blasphemy So Heartfelt)

Time then for a change of pace with Wolf Parade. And despite a poor sound (the one time it happened in 3 days), the rabid crowd and full-on 100% rock ‘n’ roll performance ensured everyone was happy, and with This Heart’s On Fire, we had an early contender for song of the weekend.

Download Wolf Parade – Ghost Pressure mp3 (from Expo ’86)

And then we had Modest Mouse. As you’d expect, a very large crowd had gathered at the Garden Stage for biggest name of the day and they did not disappoint them one little bit. The die-hard fans rocked and jumped while admirers like Mr M and I swayed a bit and bobbed our heads in appreciation … except perhaps to the sublime Float On, where I may have shuffled my feet and sung along a bit. A great show with which to round off events on the main stage.

But the music wasn’t over. We still had time to take in The New Pornographers who closed proceedings in the Big Top with a surprisingly frenetic and high energy set that left the crowd breathless and us ready for our tents.

We’ll skip the rainstorm of Friday night/Saturday morning that caused my feet to get a good soaking while I slept. I might write a Leonard Cohen style song about it one day called ‘Wet feet at the End of the Road’ … sounds more like Half Man Half Biscuit when you look at it written down.

Anyway, I digress from the start of possibly one the most beautiful days of my music-loving life. Saturday in this part of North Dorset dawned with grey skies and a grim, relentless drizzle but gave way to sunshine, cider and truly fantastic music.

Over to the Garden Stage again for Forest Fire. I’d not really paid much attention to this US four-piece before but I certainly will be from now on. Full of character and attitude, these guys are indie-rock through and through. The lead guitarist threatened to steal the visual show with a combination of double denim, eye make-up, lipstick and cool cravate and armband. Try and imagine a meeting of Bruce Springsteen, Freddie Mercury (mid-70’s) and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs and you’ll be somewhere close to the look … shouldn’t have worked but did.

Anyway, the guy can play, but rather than steal the show, complimented the others in the group perfectly. The geeky looking but slightly menacing lead singer, cool chick on bass and excellent drummer. I loved Fortune Teller with the brilliant lyric ‘gattling gun social skills’ but the real crowd pleaser came at the very end of the set as Forest Fire entered into a krautrock crowd-pleaser that became one of the many highlights of my festival. If anyone out there was at this gig and knows the name of that last song, please let me know. I want it!

Download Forest Fire – Fortune Teller mp3 (from Survival)

And then came Phosphorescent. The brilliant ‘Phossie’, loved by all at The Mad Mackerel, came to our attention when Mr M and younger brother Christypopper saw them at SxSW 2009. They have been in our hearts and playlists ever since. For this one, Mr M and I used our considerable frames to get to the very front row of the crowd and we spent the hour pretty much mesmerised by the haunting and haunted vocals of Matthew Houck backed up by a flawless performance by the band. This was a clever, crowd-pleasing set with a couple of songs from the sublime To Willie album, a stunning version of Wolves from the Pride album, and a few new ones from Here’s to Taking it Easy thrown in. Oh, and just for good measure, the lads were joined by their mates from Deer Tick who provided backing vocals on Los Angeles. The sun had come out and it felt like this day couldn’t get any better. How wrong can one person be?

Download Phosphorescent – Wolves mp3 (from Pride)

Download Phosphorescent – Reasons To Quit mp3 (from To Willie)

We didn’t bother moving from our front row spot at the Garden Stage. Why would we? Deer Tick were coming on and we love Deer Tick. They didn’t disappoint. A great set that varied from well paced jig-a-longs through to a truly beautiful rendition of Ashamed meant they had the crowd captivated and happy.

Download Deer Tick – Twenty Miles mp3 (from The Black Dirt Sessions)

So a break from the music for a few minutes while Mr M and I went to the Phosphorescent and Deer Tick signing sessions. And here happened the high point of my festival.

MM is queuing for his Deer Tick CD and Phossie are still hanging around, drinking their beer and smoking fags. Which is exactly what I was doing. Then drummer Chris Marine catches our eye and engages us in conversation. He gave a very candid view on playing at Bestival and a glowing character reference on David Gray (who Phossie have recently been supporting). He has never been a favourite of ours but if he’s okay with Phosphorescent, maybe we should try a bit harder to understand him (or lets not, MM). After failing miserably at a really cool handshake (sorry Chris, I was never as cool as you) we had a quick chat and photo shoot with lead-singer, Matthew Houck, in which we even discussed at which angle our cigarettes should be hanging from our lips. How cool are Phosphorescent?

Okay, a little self-indulgence on my part there…so back to the music.

And on to my eye-opener. MM has long been an admirer of Brakes. I have not … until I heard them at End of the Road. Their music doesn’t fit with the general laid back feeling of most other musicians at the festival but man it was good. It was better than good. I stood there mesmerised and energised by a group I didn’t even think I liked. It wasn’t quite an epiphany moment for me but it wasn’t far off. Playing live like the Ramones on speed, and featuring a four second long song as the set closer, I shall be listening to more of Brakes from now on.

Download Brakes – All Night Disco Party mp3 (from Give Blood)

However, I had to cut out on them to run across to the Local stage to see Caitlin Rose. I had heard rave reviews about her and wanted to hear the US songstress for myself. She had packed out the venue and I was forced to stand very near the back … it was worth it. If angels exist, they probably sing like Caitlin Rose. I saw four songs and found myself desperate to get hold of her album Own Side Now. One to keep a close eye on for the future.

And back over to the Big Top for a bit of Saturday night heavy rock with Black Mountain. Now I’ve never been into heavy rock and probably never will be. But I do like Old Fangs and thought I’d try and broaden my horizons with a bit of ear-splitting guitar and drums. I enjoyed it, Mr M loved it and judging by the reaction of the very large crowd who had gathered to see them Black Mountain were very much on form. Great stuff … as long as you like heavy rock.

Download Black Mountain – Old Fangs mp3 (from Wilderness Heart)

You’d think by this point Mr M and I would have been through with music, wouldn’t you? Oh no, not us. Grabbing another pint of cider from the Somerset Cider van, we scooted along to the Jarvis Cocker vs Richard Hawley DJ set for a bit of almost-dad-dancing.

Sunday. Our last day at The End of the Road. Where did the weekend go?

First to catch the ears as the sun shone down, were the gorgeous harmonies and traditional folk sound of The Smoke Fairies, who still managed to evoke a vague Wicker Man feeling to the proceedings.

Mr M had told me very good things about Kath Bloom and Woodpigeon had indicated that Ms Bloom had tried leading him astray, so I thought I’d give the veteran alt country singster a go. At the cosy Big Top stage, she charmed us all with lilting vocals, intimate chats and a great all-round performance. I’ve not followed Kath Bloom over the two or three decades she’s been performing but if this was anything to go by, she still got ‘it’.

Download Kath Bloom – Heart So Sadly mp3 (from Thin Thin Line)

Meanwhile MM was taking in the slightly experimental folktronica of Lanterns On The Lake and then finding himself completely absorbed by the raw, plaintive folk of Joe Pug. Reminiscent of Dylan, the lyrical wordplay of Hymn 35 and the brilliant, brooding despair of Not So Sure were two more standout tracks to add to the weekend’s collection.

Download Joe Pug – Not So Sure mp3 (from Messenger)

Onto the early evening and the Hawaiian inspired indie groove of Django Django brought the Big Top crowd up into one big head nodding, swaying mass. Like a less threatening Archie Bronson Outfit, the threesome melded krautrock rhythms with dance-friendly synths and big, big choruses to put (even bigger) smiles on the faces of the watching audience.

Download Django Django – Love’s Dart mp3 (from Storm / Love’s Dart 7″)

Then it was on to see the enigmatic, super-energetic, super-talented Felice Brothers. My (and MM’s) favourite performance of the entire festival. Before End of the Road, I was only really familiar with the beautiful ballad, Cooperstown, and I went to this performance expecting more of the same. What we got was the ultimate masterclass in ramshackle crowd pleasing..like the Waterboys on speed, or perhaps The Pogues on Red Bull and vodka?

For a bunch of brothers (which four of the guys really are) they’re pretty different. The lead singer, Ian, had the attitude (and even a slight look) of a young Roy Keane. Violinist, Farley, looked like an all-American college kid who could have easily played at the wildest hoe-down. Then, there’s the multi-talented, multi-instrumental James who got the large crowd singing along, stamping along and generally having a great old American time. In between, they introduced humour, irony and even a little self-effacement. What a great start to the evening.

Download The Felice Brothers – Run Chicken Run mp3 (from Yonder Is The Clock)

So, with the crowd literally jumping around and howling for more of the same, the Felice Brothers left us and as darkness descended across this little part of North Dorset, on came The Low Anthem. Energy levels dipped and as a hush descended across Larmer Gardens we waited like children eager for their bedtime story.

I’ve never seen The Low Anthem live and wasn’t prepared for the spellbinding performance. As each beautifully sung, tightly played song drifted across the gardens, the crowd were silent. Mr M reckons he couldn’t hear the pin he dropped … the rest of us were too transfixed too even notice he’d dropped it. If you like our sort of music, you’ll probably know To Ohio and Charlie Darwin but if you haven’t already heard it please listen to This God Damn House. It is a song of beautiful genius and could quite easily melt the coldest of hearts.

So was this a quiet set? Was it the musical equivalent of a mug of Horlicks? Don’t you believe it. The end of each song was met with rapturous appreciation and lead singer, Ben Knox Miller soaked up the adoration with unbridled happiness before finishing with a cover of the blues classic, Sally Where’d You Get Your Liquor From? Go and see The Low Anthem and if you can’t get to see them, buy Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, sit back with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and enjoy …

Download The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin mp3 (from O My God, Charlie Darwin)

Download The Low Anthem – This God Damn House mp3 (from What The Crow Brings)

It is now 9.30 on Sunday evening and the Garden Stage, which has been full to capacity for most of the day, is now fit to bursting with expectant ‘End of the Roaders’ awaiting the mighty Wilco. Guitars – lots and lots and lots of guitars – would send us on our way back up the road to Oxfordshire. And to songs like I Am Trying to Break Your Heart and Bull Black Nova we were slowly walking back to the car and heading home.

Download Wilco – Bull Black Nova mp3 (from Wilco (The Album))

A great festival, a superb weekend of music, laughs and the odd pint or six thrown in for good measure. Mr M and I will definitely be heading back to the End of the Road festival next year.

So should you.