Posts Tagged ‘Elf Power’

  1. The National – The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness
  2. Monks – I’m Watching You
  3. Chastity Belt – 5am
  4. This Is The Kit – Moonshine Freeze
  5. Elf Power – Watery Shreds
  6. Terror Watts – Time Bomb
  7. Milk – Lord, Don’t Take Me To Prison
  8. Neils Children – I Am Not Anchor










Videos of the Day

Videos to banish the January blues! Watch top notch musical films from Secret Colours, the second in a series of four new videos from Cass McCombs, Austin Lucas’ Elvis impersonation, Elf Power’s recruitment of the infamous Goth Clogger, and the excellent Persian Leaps.








Elf Power Release New Album

Our favourite psych-tinged folkies, Elf Power release their latest long player Sunlight On The Moon tomorrow.

We’ve already posted two stellar tracks from it, and here is a third for your listening pleasure, the rather lovely Lift The Shell. 

Order the album here.

Elf Power New Album

Elf Power formed in 1994 and over the last 19 years have released twelve albums, two eps, and a handful of singles.

They will soon add to this list with the release of their new album Sunlight on the Moon (out October 1st) and having already posted the title track, we now have the wonderfully named A Grey Cloth Covering My Face for your listening pleasure.

As melodic psych-tinged folk tunes go, it is hard to think of anyone doing this kind of stuff better!

Wednesday Means Six Of The Best!

Another in our semi-regular round-up of the best tunes to hit our inbox and the web.

First up is another track from Scott & Charlene’s Wedding’s imminent new album, Any Port In A Storm. This latest, the album closer Wild Heart has more of a classic American slacker-pop feel to it a la Pavement or Mission Of Burma, it is a laconically heartfelt tale of a flatmate on the path to self-destruction.

Next we have the sludgy, stoner rock of White Orange and the heavy doom-laden psychedelic riffing of Dinosaur Bones.

Third up are the veteran psych-folkies Elf Power and latest album, Sunlight On The Moon, which expertly combines the scuzzy, sleazy recording qualities of their early lo-fi masterworks with their powerful live bombast – check out the title track.

Los Angeles based indie rockers TORCHES have released the new single If The People Stare, the title track of the new EP released this past May.

Our penultimate offering is the twangy surf inspired rockabilly of Crazy Pills. Break It Down from forthcoming album Restless is a triumph – likely to induce a mosh pit riot and as authentic a nod to the halycon days of quiffs and leathers as you’re ever going to hear.

And finally, the second single from Expwy’s highly anticipated new album is a heartwarming tale of small-town cannibals. Scraping Blue Terra Cotta (Waterloo Cannibals) is a power pop gem and something that Mikal Cronin would be mighty proud of…

[Click through for free download]






Here at MM we share, chat, argue, bury and praise music on a pretty regular basis…like daily. So throughout the year, the Mackerel crew (Mrs Mackerel, Barry-Sean, Christy-Popper, Dr Roddy, Polly Pocket, Starbar, MM and others) keep their own ever-changing top tens ready for publication at the climax of the festive season.

Fifth in line is the indomitable lion of Hixet Wood…Mr Christy-Popper.

10. Local Natives – Airplanes  (Download here, Daytrotter Session)

The first big tune of the year for me, I sort of rediscovered this while compiling my top ten. A classic sing-a-long chorus shouldn’t, and doesn’t thankfully, overshadow the rest of the song, which is arranged perfectly.  All of it fits in so seamlessly – as comfy as an old pair of slippers (and responds very well to be playing loud after a night out). Is there any greater praise?

9. Sheepdogs – I Don’t Know (Download here)

As infectious as Rabies it bumbles along with a great hook and a kind of 70s’ feel. I imagine the lead singer looking like a young Lemmy without the warts. This is of course no bad thing. I can vaguely remember (through the smoke and wine) the sudden realization I loved this song. A real foot stamper, get me to that barn dance and put the Sheepdogs on!

8. Vanish Valley – Become The Night  (Download here)

This song seems to have an indefinable quality to it, not that I’ll let that stop me…I could mention the honey-laden chorus, Andrew McAllistair’s perfect vocal or the understated but utterly brilliant guitar. It just instinctively hits the spot like music does sometimes. Truly a sum of its parts.

There, I tried.

7. Wooden Wand – Ragtop Ruby

Ahhh, Wooden Wand. At nearly 6 minutes this is a rare ‘long’ song (my attention span isn’t great) but it still makes number 8. You have to adapt for a genius… From the start we know we’re in Wooden Wand territory. Lonesome guitar and his familiar drawl, along with the line of the year – “with just enough rope in his trunk to make you uneasy”. We’ve all been there I think, although my own personal memory is a man with a lump hammer on his dashboard when hitching a ride at 15 years old. But hey that’s another story.

6. Strayfolk – What Wouldn’t I Do  (Download here)

True, it’s simple country… basic some would say (shame on them). And I say, so what. It’s a magical song, with all the right ingredients for a country classic. Strayfolk let the song do all the work, while I sit with drunken tears streaking my puffy face, asking where it all went so wrong. Don’t you just love songs that have no happy ending? If Kenneth Williams was here today he’s commit suicide all over again after hearing this… what’s the bloody point!

5. Tallest Man On Earth – King of Spain  (Download here)

Throughout 2010 I have never tired of listening to this song. Manic strummed guitar like a cracked out flamenco dancer it spins and twists whilst TMOE sings in ‘that’ voice. Despite my best efforts it never annoyed me, unlike so many others. The combination of the voice and guitar gives it a unique quality, the most distinctive sound of the year for me and well deserving of a top 5 place.

4. Wooden Wand – Uncle Bill  (Download here)

Mr Wand’s second entry is an absolute beauty. I am an Uncle. I think I may be a bit like Uncle Bill. I certainly hope so. I can remember as a small person sneaking in to my brother’s record collection, although I never picked ‘Heroin’ or ‘Cocaine’. That came later. I am genuinely in awe of WW, he is without doubt my man of the year (bollocks to Mr Facebook). It’s all so effortless, with lyrics that are poignant yet laced with the darkest humour. I make no apologies for picking out another of his brilliant lines (which always makes me wince/smile in silent acknowledgement) “I seen you when you think I ain’t looking son, you don’t need no help doing bad…”

3. What Would Jesus Drive – The Girls Are In Charge  (Download here, live version)

On first listen I loudly declared this would be my number 1 so it is with a heavy heart I place it third. And it’s a belter. I love the back and forth insults with that brutal guitar riff, frankly the best I’ve heard all year (at least it won something). A twisted Islands In The Stream for people like me. That’s cynical and sarcastic and exactly how I like it. Also what would Jesus drive..? My guess is a Hillman Avenger.

2. Common Prayer – Us Vs Them  (Download here)

This is my song okay. No one else is allowed to like it as much as I do. The change of key just before the first chorus… That’s just for me alright. I can only suggest Common Prayer got together and discussed how to get in my head before writing this masterpiece. I know that word is banded around lightly and I freely admit to doing it now. Who knows I’ll probably read this in June and think what the hell was I saying. But right now… well it’s a masterpiece with a tinkly piano and a snare drum to die for. Just remember it’s mine, all mine.

1. Avett Brothers – January Wedding

This is indisputably the best song of the year. I wouldn’t be so short sighted as to accuse my fellow Mackerel scribes of being wrong, but… you know, they are. I got married in June, what a clutz! If I had my time again I would obviously have gone for January, then I would have made 18 months instead of the frankly disappointing 14. By the end of the song I find myself genuinely hoping they live happily ever after. This is the complete opposite to how I usually feel, so just for that it’s unique. A beguiling song, complete with Audrey Hepburn name check and the laid back tempo of a country classic. Perfect.


Bubbling Under – 5 that just didn’t make it…

5. Elf PowerStranger In The Window

4. Fist FamSF Bay

3. Nathaniel Rateliff – Brakeman

2. Vitamin SeesIlluminati Mind Control

1. Tapes ‘n’ TapesFreak Out

Best Songs first heard this year, but not 2010

3. Wilco – Handshake Drugs

2. Felice Brothers – Whiskey In My Whiskey

1. Knife In The Water – Young Blood In The River

Guilty Pleasure

Brian Jonestown Massacre – Lets Go Fucking Mental

According to the excellent Allmusic website, “The Athens, Georgia based Elf Power emerged as part of the second wave of bands linked to the Elephant 6 Recording Company collective, a coterie of likeminded lo-fi indie groups — including the Apples (In Stereo), Neutral Milk Hotel, and the Olivia Tremor Control — who shared musicians, ideas, and sensibilities. Formed by singers/multi-instrumentalists Andrew Rieger and Laura Carter, Elf Power debuted in 1995 with the self-released Vainly Clutching at Phantom Limbs, followed a year later by the Winter Hawk EP, which heralded the additions of bassist Bryan Helium and drummer Aaron Wegelin.”

Now fifteen years later the band are just about to release their tenth album, the self-titled and quite superb Elf Power (out on the 14th September). Dedicated to the memory of close friend, collaborator and mentor Vic Chesnutt, it is a glorious mix of indie folk and psych-rock that stands head and shoulders above the norm for its beautiful and varied instrumentation and its thoughtful, poignant lyrical wordplay. It is a MM fave of 2010, so we were delighted when Andrew agreed to answer some questions about the band and the new record.

How did the name Elf Power originate?

I saw it etched into the concrete in downtown Athens,GA , but when I passed the spot a few days later it was no longer there. Perhaps it was a hallucination, or a  divine communication.

How did you get together? What inspired you to form the band back in the mid-nineties?

The band began as a recording project. When I first started writing songs, I recorded them on a 4 track cassette recorder, and eventually released the first album Vainly Clutching at Phantom Limbs for my own amusement. We pressed up some copies on vinyl, hand screen printed the covers, and gave them to friends. People liked the record, so I formed a live band to play the songs.

The band has been together about 15 years and this is your tenth studio album – that’s much more than most bands achieve. What is the secret to your longevity?

We try to approach writing and playing music differently, and we try different approaches to keep things fresh, such as collaborating with Vic Chesnutt on the album Dark Developments, or making the movie Major Organ and the Adding Machine, a surrealist children’s film directed by our drummer, Eric Harris, and starring me as Francisco, a good intentioned swashbuckler.

How do you create a song together – what happens to make a song appear?

Methods vary.  Sometimes I will write a song on acoustic guitar and bring it to the band to work up an arrangement, which is often much different from how I hear it in my head. Other times other band members write the music, and I write the vocal melody and lyrics. Sometimes someone will just introduce a fragment that turns into a full song, other times full songs will be written and then trashed only to have one part of the song reused in a different song.

The new self-titled album is (in our opinion) a superb record. How much did the sad passing of Vic Chesnutt influence the music?

Thank you. Vic died only a week before we began recording the album, so the songs were all written before he died. He was certainly on our minds throughout the recording.

If we had to sum the album up in one word, we might be tempted to use ‘eloquent’. How do you feel about that? And what one word would you use?

Eloquence is an admirable quality, sure why not?

Given you have been around a while, are there any recurring themes or topics to the music you write? How has your music evolved over time?

Death, life, dreams, love ,the human experience, you know the  shit everyone writes about. The early records were crude and primitive, and we’ve refined our approach over the years, but we still like to have a certain amount of sleaze seeping in.

What song(s) are you most proud of writing/recording?

I like them for different reasons, it’s impossible to pick one. I feel incredibly lucky that we got to record Dark Developments with Vic Chesnutt, as he has always been a musical hero to me.

Who are your greatest heroes / influences (musical or otherwise)?

Vic Chesnutt, for his wonderful croon, and hilarious, brilliant lyrical observations.

Jandek for his mystery.

T. Rex for the smooth sleaze.

Royal Trux for the rough sleaze.

You can play with anyone live on stage (alive or dead) – who would it be and what venue would you play?

G.G. Allin, the notorious punk rock scumbag, just to experience the insanity, any shitty dive would do.

What was the first record you ever bought or the first record that really meant something to you?

Men at Work Business As Usual was the first album i ever bought.I was 10 years old, and it was popular at the time. I put it on the other day and really still liked a lot of it. Great singing and lyrics. Their song Overkill is still one of my all time favorite songs.

What is/are your favourite records/songs of all time?

Brian Eno The True Wheel is my favorite song today, but it’s always changing.

What are you currently listening to? Who would you recommend to Mad Mackerel today?

I like Tonetta a lot. He’s a mysterious Canadian man in his fifties or sixties, who has never performed a live show, but has been home recording bizarre songs since 1983 and creating strange videos of himself dancing to the songs, sometimes wearing strange masks or women’s clothing or very little clothing at all. The music is distorted, danceable, and very sexual in nature. His first album 777 was just released and it collects songs written from 1983-2009

Can you give us a 5 song playlist to make us smile or cry, but tell us which…


1. Cee Lo Fuck you, genius new single from Gnarls Barkley, singer, really funny and really great.

2. Die Antwoord Rich Bitch

3. Tonetta My Bro

4.Joanna Newsom Good Intentions Paving Company

5.Guided by Voices Game of Pricks

What song would you have played at your funeral?

Probably just my friends chanting and wailing and beating on shit if they felt moved to do so.

Our very grateful thanks to Andrew for taking the time to talk to us and to answer our questions, and like we said, Elf Power is one heck of an album – well worth tracking down. You can pre-order it here or explore some back catalogue from eMusic here.

Visit their MySpace here. Visit their website here.

Download Elf Power – Stranger In The Window mp3 (from Elf Power)

Here is our regular monthly round up of 25 of the best tracks posted on Mad Mackerel in the past month, and three new gems too. That’s a more than decent mixtape sorted even if we were crap in the World Cup!

The FuturebirdsBattle For Rome mp3

Glorious, up-tempo alt-country gem that recalls Neil Young at his finest

Puro InstinctCalifornia Shakedown mp3

Dreamily seductive slice of icy pop

Burnt OnesBury Me In Smoke mp3

Sleazy, dirty, hook-laden surf rock and heavy doses of 7os glam

Mississippi ManMountain mp3

Superb blend of Americana and country-folk

The Vitamin Sees Illumanati Mind Control mp3

Mesmerising and hypnotic, with repetitive guitar riff and laconic vocals. Our discovery of the month!

Black Mountain – Old Fangs mp3

Scorched, driving, desert blues

HollowbellyLong Road mp3

Raw, stomping, hellfire and brimstone blues

Sharon Van EttenI Couldn’t Save You mp3

Languid, lonely and desolate. As stark and as stunning a heartbreaker as you could imagine

Ferocious FewKathleen mp3

Joyous raiding of the rock’n’roll cupboard to produce a two-minute classic

Elf PowerStranger In The Window mp3

Gentle, pensive, country-tinged, psych-pop. Gorgeous

Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Mynah Birds Call mp3

Fragile, Syd Barrett influenced unorthodox folk whimsy

All Saints DayYou Can’t Be Alone mp3

Pop overdosing on distortion and reverb

Lail AradEveryone Is Moving To Berlin mp3

Wonderful blend of sharp-tongued pop and lovely folk overtones

The WhigsDying mp3

Visceral, slow burn of a track, builds into crescendo of guitars, drums and feedback

Tame ImpalaSolitude Is Bliss mp3

Bold, fuzzed up blues standout from recent album Innerspeaker

Karen ElsonThe Ghost Who Walks mp3

Gothic-tinged, country murder ballad

TennisMarathon mp3

Sweet and catchy pop gem

Tweak BirdA Sun Ahh Ahh mp3

Brilliant mix of full-on old-school metal riffing and psychedelic overtones

The MinksFuneral Song mp3

Vintage Cure bassline, icy synths and shadowy, sombre lyrics

The Black LipsBefore You Judge Me mp3

Typically swaggering boozy cut of garage rock

We Are Country MiceFestival mp3

Garage goodness, awash with reverb, duelling guitars and a tinge of psychedelia

The Local NativesCareful mp3

Chiming cover of Television album track

SalemKing Night mp3

Ghostly leanings and haunting, desolate beats

CrocodilesSleep Forever mp3

Full on indie rocker in the spirit of the Bunnymen

Emily ReoWitch Mtn Pt. 2 mp3

Dreamily seductive and captivating fuzzy Beach House style pop

And  three new ones for you to finish off:

The Vitamin SeesEvil Eye mp3

More tripped out, pulsing krautrock from our new band discovery of the month

Port O’BrienMy Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) mp3

From the wonderful Buffetlibre/Amnesty Peace project (180 tracks for $5 minimum) comes this brilliant Ramones cover by MM faves Port O’Brien. Buy this compilation here now!

Wild NothingYour Rabbit Feet mp3

Latest chilled (and chilly) dream pop from new indie-wunderkind

This song is simply stunning! Elf Power formed in 1994 and over the last 16 years have released ten albums, two EPs, a handful of singles, while also touring America, Europe, and Japan. The Athens, Georgia pioneers have readied their tenth studio album for release – a self-titled, dozen-song song collection cementing their place as the flagship band of the celebrated psych-rock scene, which they helped forge over a decade and a half ago.

Elf Power is dedicated to the memory of their dear friend, mentor, and close collaborator Vic Chesnutt, who committed suicide in late 2009.  The Elves recorded a collaborative album Dark Developments, with Chesnutt in 2008 and toured extensively with him through the years. Elf Power’s latest album found shape in the vacuum caused by Vic’s loss, and finds the band exploring the void created by his departure.

Opening track The Taking Under is an otherworldly collision of warped 1950s balladry and tripped out, cavernous drumming, pinned together by majestic string flourishes. Wander Through is a frantic explosion of joyful noise, filled with wild riffing and bizarre sound effects.   Songs like Tiny Insects and Ghost of John conjure a meeting between the heavy, dark and prog-informed pop of The Soft BoysUnderwater Moonlight and the fuzzed-out, giddy bedroom psych of New Zealand weirdos and Elf Power associates Tall Dwarves.  Gentler, more-pensive moments like the country-tinged, yet simultaneously futuristic, Stranger in the Window and the heart-tearing Little Hand allow the Elves to dive headlong into folk music that sounds at once both modern and traditional.

Elf Power sees release on September 14 on the band’s own label, Orange Twin Records. American and European tours are scheduled for September and November respectively, with dates to be confirmed.

We have Stranger in the Window for you below. It is utterly, utterly gorgeous. Download it, and then buy the album when it’s out.

Visit their MySpace here.

Download Elf Power – Stranger In The Window mp3 (from Elf Power)