Posts Tagged ‘Haunted Windchimes’

As you may know The Haunted Windchimes have become favourites of both Mrs M and myself over the past twelve months, making it into our Best of Lists for albums and tracks at the end of 2010.

They will be releasing a live album soon with, as they say, all your favourite Windchimes songs, and to tempt us have offered up this short video teaser to whet the appetite.

Visit their MySpace here or their website here.

Download The Haunted Windchimes – Lordy Lordy mp3 (from An Evening With: The Haunted Windchimes)

Download The Haunted Windchimes – Don’t Take My Baby Away (Baby Back) mp3 (from Honey Moonshine)

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.

So last, but very much not least, is the lovely (though flu-stricken) Mrs Mackerel and her choices for 2010.

We all sweat a little over our top tens and I don’t know why really. This is just what I think, you will undoubtedly think a little different. But I’ve always found my fellow top ten contributors a great source of new sounds that maybe I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen myself. And if you find one song you like that you didn’t know before, then job done really. So to all the musicians that kindly let us post their wares, a heartfelt thank you – here’s to the next 12 months.

10. Kurran & The Wolfnotes – Your Four Limbs (Download here)

Sunny upbeat music with a beautiful harmonies, juxtaposed with a rather a dark message. A masochistic love of complete surrender; one-sided blind devotion and infatuation. It doesn’t end well.

9. Adam Green – What Makes Him Act So Bad  (Download here)

Appeals to the latent rock chick in me: she may lie sleeping, but she’s still in there. The laconic, growling delivery of the lyrics makes this tune twist and dip. Late night smoky bar sort of song, bit of a hip swayer over a cocktail or two. “I know you’re a wonderful dancer” – why thank you, Adam, I expect I’m the one with the answers too.

8. Lykke Li – Get Some  (Download here)

A proper bit of girl power in the form of a punchy, irrepressible foot-stomping beat. It’s not one to get your daughters to sing along to, but I love the rhythmic no-messing attitude of this song. It’s not often you hear such a drum/percussion-dominated track but this only means it beds into your mental song library very easily. And unlike with say, Two Little Boys (sorry Rolf), you don’t end up irritating yourself.

7. Two Wounded Birds – Night Patrol  (Download here)

A sleazy, sultry mix which tips a nod to Chris Isaacs and maybe even the Raveonettes too; the drums sound like a heartbeat, the guitars borrow a little from Hank Marvin. This song belongs to a different era, where women had beehives and men wore hats and chain-smoked. Just fabulous.

6.  Tallest Man On Earth – King Of Spain  (Download here)

Off we gallop at a rollicking pace before yep, here he comes, the Tallest Man on Earth, this time masquerading as the King of Spain. He has a unique and idiosyncratic voice that truly sets him apart from many of his contemporaries, and my great musical regret of 2009 is that MM and I were unable to make his London gig in last autumn.

5. The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

Oh I do like a man with a voice as deep as the night. Matt Berninger’s unmistakeable baritone cuts through this lament, with the drums bringing up the rear. Hypnotic offering from a band that have been waiting in the wings for some much deserved recognition from the wider world.

4. Haunted Windchimes – Sea Bride  (Visit their website here. We can’t post the song or find a stream or a video…but you can listen via spotify here)

I loathe wind-chimes. Pointless instruments of aural torture. But once I got past the name, well this is a finger-pickin’ good tune. One of my outstanding films of 2010 was Winter’s Bone and there’s a scene in it where a hill-billy Nan and her mates are sat round in what looks like someone’s front room/bar. What they make is real music for the soul. I could imagine the Haunted Windchimes pulling up a chair and being right at home – and I mean this musically, not in an in-bred, gun-toting sort of way (she adds hastily).

3. Stornoway – I Saw You Blink

To me this is our MM summer of 2010 song: 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. Dammit, Lucy, he needs to know – are you one he’s been waiting for so, so long? I’m rather glad I’m not 20-something any more …

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2. Laura Marling – What He Wrote

What she writes, what she sings, what she plays is incomparable to any of her peers. But age sometimes belies wisdom. I struggled to choose from the riches of her second album, but this wins over Goodbye England by a smidge, simply because I prefer the latter in its unaccompanied arrangement. Here we have a piece of Greek mythology entwined with some war time letters; cause and effect; love and loss. “I am broken too and spoken for, do not tempt me.” A talent of rare and precious mettle.

1.Avalanche City – Ends In The Ocean  (Download here)

This snuck up when I wasn’t looking: the more I listened, the more I liked it. Kiwi Dave Baxter is Avalanche City; he taught himself to sing, plays all the instruments (apart from the drums) on this track, and recorded his debut album, solo, armed with a week’s supply of veggie curry. I like that in a person. And the song? It’s about losing yourself, and finding yourself again. It’s uplifting and positive and life-affirming – and it has a goodness that radiates through my very skin. “But now all that I see is life breaking free, so long captivity for me.” Not a bad way to end the year.

This year’s honourable mention goes to…

Jason Ward – Bless You  (Download here)

Bless you, Jason Ward. And bless you, MM. It’s quite a feat to make someone laugh when they’re in that much pain. Lies, deceit and fraud just ain’t enough for some people – let’s chuck in assault and battery too. Bless You is the anthem for the lesser common psycho. Delusional and toxic, they often hunt in pairs. Napoleon and Squealer. The Liver Turds. All should be sealed in a room and made to listen to Alexandra Burke on a loop. All together now, “How horrible are you …”

Bubbling Under:

5. Isobel Campbell & Willie Mason – Cool Water

4. Gorillaz – Melancholy Hill

3. Pancake BreakfastBallad of Maynard Noe

2. Mumford & SonsUnfinished Business

1. Port O’BrienMy Brain is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg)

And the Mrs Mackerel “Missed the Boat” or Songs I love that are not 2010

She Keeps Bees & Sharon Van EttenCuddle Alone

Just about the saddest song ever written. There’s nothing else to say really. Haunting.

The Dutchess & The DukeScorpio

Well, often timing is everything; I became aware of D&TD about ten days after they split up. Was it something I said? Scorpio is a particular favourite, a painfully observed lament about a dying relationship.

So after much deliberation, head scratching, discussion, and more head scratching, we have MM’s favourite albums of 2010. And we choose our words very carefully here, because we would not presume them to be the best, only those that have given us the most pleasure and enjoyment, records that we have returned to again and again, and for whatever reason have captured a moment or special place in our hearts.

And while we have limited our selection to 25 albums there were many, many more that could have, and maybe should have, featured. But there that’s the beauty of music, entirely subjective and based on individual opinions not fact.

So without further ado, here are our 25 favourite albums of 2010.

25 Sharon Van Etten – Epic


Haunting, ethereal and stunning album from a modern day siren. Sad prairie folk music indeed.

Download Sharon Van Etten – Love More mp3

24 Haunted Windchimes – Honey Moonshine


Traditional, old-timey backwoods, backporch music that burrowed its way into your head and then refused to budge.

Download The Haunted Windchimes – Don’t Take My Baby Away (Baby Back) mp3

23 The Streets On Fire – This Is Fancy


High voltage, good time, bad boy rock ‘n’ roll that was as good and as unashamedly fun as it was simple. Garage rock reclaimed.

Download The Streets On Fire – That’s Hard To Find mp3

22 Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues


The son of the peerless Steve Earle comes of age with a perfectly judged set of tales that in their honesty and unashamed frankness are worthy of Townes himself.

Listen to Harlem River Blues.

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21 Titus Andronicus – The Monitor


With repeated listens the sheer power and passion of The Monitor becomes overwhelming. So what if it is a concept album about the American Civil War, its ambitious, rebellious, and rousing. Just play it loud!

Download Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union mp3

20 Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Hawk


Another perfectly judged record from the perfectly matched duo. Campbell’s lovely whispering tones offset by Mr Lanagan’s threatening growl.

Listen to Snake Song.

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19 Lower Dens – Twin Hand Movement

An album of dreamy, unsettling rock melded with freak-folk to provide one of the year’s most unusual and most rewarding listens. At times it sounds like an evil Beach House and at others spare and caustic where hope is slowly, but firmly drowned in a swirling, atmospheric mix of twinkling guitars and alluring voices.

Download Lower Dens – Hospice Gates mp3

18 The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt


A fine follow up to the outstanding Shallow Grave, the trademark Dylanesque vocals allied to a set of cracking tales from the bible to bullfighting.

Download The Tallest Man On Earth – The King Of Spain mp3

17 The Migrant – Travels In Lowland


With its dreamlike journey into psych-indie, the debut album from The Migrant was one of the most surprising and engaging folk records of the year.

Download The Migrant – The Organ Grinder mp3

16 Tweak Bird – Tweak Bird


In the vein of the much lauded and genuinely good Tame Impala, Tweak Bird were louder, faster, and simply rocked harder. A superb mix of motorcycle rock riffs with dirty fingernail blues and even a hint of jazz. This was stoner rock for the 21st century and it was brilliant.

Download Tweak Bird – A Sun Ahh Ahh mp3

15 Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions


In Christ Jesus from the Black Dirt Sessions, Deer Tick delivered one of the truly primal and affecting moments of musical recording in 2010, and the rest of the album wasn’t half bad either.

Download Deer Tick – Twenty Miles mp3

14 Delta Spirit – History From Below


Indie rock with a country inflection, Delta Spirit packed History From Below full of dusty, rural Americana and bar room blues boogie. With the impassioned and distinctive voice of Matt Vasquez backed by a rumbling juggernaut of percussion and rhythms, the album was a welcome addition to the long tradition of classic American rock.

Download Delta Spirit – Bushwick Blues mp3

13 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs


Indie gods manage to live up to, and then surpass the hype with The Suburbs, an album full of outstanding tracks that demand they be listened to as a whole – a proper music album.

Watch Ready To Start.

12 Band Of Horses – Infinite Arms


Despite some occasional iffy AOR moments, Infinite Arms was like the girl with the curl, and when it was good (which it mostly was), it was brilliant.

Watch Laredo.

11 Black Keys – Brothers


Authentic blues duo cranked out their best yet and in tracks like Sinister Kid and Howlin’ For You added some more classic cuts to their catalogue.

Watch Tighten Up.

10 Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can


Showcasing her incredible natural talent despite such tender years, I Speak Because I Can truly marked Laura Marling out as a worthy heiress to Joni, Emmy Lou and the like. Darker, stronger, and more confident than her debut, she is surely poised for great things.

Watch Rambling Man.

9 Liars – Sisterworld


A brilliant collection of crushing guitars, machine gun percussion and soaring vocals that retained its experimental art-noise edge but became much more accessible and much more listenable – welcome to the big league time?

Listen to the superb Proud Evolution.

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8 The National – High Violet


Overcoming the music blogger’s ‘big band’ prejudice with ease, High Violet was bigger, better and more affecting than anything the National have done to date.

Listen to Conversation 16.

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7 Strand Of Oaks – Pope Killdragon


Having caught our attention with their wonderful Springsteen cover on Hear Ya, Strand of Oaks more than lived up to our expectations with Pope Killdragon. Sparse folk tunes mixed with occasional and abstract guitar wigouts and also showcased Tim Showalter’s ability to grab the attention with some of the best lyrical couplets of the year. Stand out track Alex Kona a case in point, starting “Alex Kona was twelve feet tall, his mother was killed by a bowling ball” – what’s not to like?

Download Strand of Oaks – Bonfire mp3

6 Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – How Snakes Eat


Spare, beautiful, mournful and melancholic, the fragile folk of Mathew Sawyer hid whiplash lyrics and biting black humour that revealed and revelled in a bittersweet world where daydreams and nightmares fought to the death for supremacy.

Download Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Mynah Birds Call mp3

5 Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart

Backwards-looking it maybe, but that’s to miss the point of Black Mountain. This was an album bursting with rock riffs that were so good you thought they must have been invented in the classic age of rock, and in Let Spirits Ride, the band provided the headbanging anthem of the year.

Download Black Mountain – Old Fangs mp3

4 Dr Dog – Shame, Shame


Another wonderful record of rousing, country infused tunes. Each listen revealed more of its anthemic charms and spirited, rugged rock on an album full of top notch tunes from start to finish.

Watch Shadow People.

3 Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer Of The Void

A brilliant and worthy follow-up to the exceptional Furr, and in songs like The Man Who Would Speak True, Blitzen Trapper showed they had worthy successors to classics like Black River Killer and the like. Full of prog-folk, dusty rural ballads, sci-fi synths and more, Destroyer of the Void was a stunning record.

Download Blitzen Trapper – Heaven And Earth mp3

2 Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy

After the sublime To Willie tribute last year came the originals. From the loose, ramshackle rock of It’s Hard to Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama) to cowboy ballads, transcendental homages, and the climactic, Neil Young like, epic album closer L.A.

Download Phosphorescent – The Mermaid Parade mp3

1 Wooden Wand – Wither Thou Goest, Cretin

Despite Wither Thous Goest, Cretin only receiving an initially limited release, and despite it being overshadowed by the subsequent release of (the also excellent) The Death Seat on Michael Gira’s label, Wooden Wand delivered an album of stunning simplicity, in equal parts poignant, heartbreaking, and redemptive.

With lyrics that are the match of any songwriter we know (“He had just enough rope in his trunk to make her nervous”) allied to sparse, plucked folk on the one hand and footstomping barnyard rhythms on the other, there is not a wasted moment, nor a false step on the entire album.

Download Wooden Wand – The Fly mp3

Here is our usual round-up of the best songs we’ve posted in August together with a couple of our favourite covers and three new songs to tempt you. Another perfect mix tape we think.

Black AngelsTelephone mp3

Gentler psych-pop approach from new album calling to mind classic era Zombies

DreamendMagnesium Light mp3

Superb psych-folk from the loosely joined and hellish story of a serial killer

The Migrant The Organ Grinder mp3

Gentle, low-key start before the swelling, insistent guitar strum builds and builds while the plaintive vocals keep pace the whole time

EfrenStay High mp3

Psych-folk tale of trying to lose love, dreams of family past, tall boys, gambling, and whiskey stills…

TV TorsoI Can See Your Face mp3

Excellent, hypnotic pulses and sixties harmonies

Amen DunesBy The Bridal mp3

Hazy, sunlit psychedelic folk

Nick MarshBest Shag In The World mp3

Like an evil Richard Hawley on smack singing something from Blue Velvet

Victorian English Gentlemens ClubA Biting Wind Followed By An Occasional Drift Of Snow (Was No Way To Cure A Hangover) mp3

Excellent new track from post–punk, art-rock weirdos

White Noise SoundSunset mp3

Corrosive feedback, pulsating krautrock rhythms, floating vocals and wall-of-sound guitars combine into an ear-shattering, blissed out climax

White Dress No Solid State mp3

Noir rock, taut and quivering with all kinds of emotion poured into the vocals

Small BlackPhotojournalist mp3

Lilting sliding beat dropping into a gorgeous moment of ambient wash

Paul Hawkins & The Awkward SilencesI’m In Love With A Hospital Receptionist mp3

Anti-folk masters of oddball lyrics, black humour, biting satire and sometimes poignant political comment

Ono PalindromesBlack Lungs mp3

Ferocious energy, vicious circling guitars and gunshot percussion

The NationalYou Were A Kindness mp3

New, suitably downtempo piano ballad

American GraveyardCommon Ones mp3

Debauched Americana, delivered in the timeless style of all classic protest songs

Truman Peyote Featuring Emily ReoTurn Into Feathers mp3

Like something from a banned 1970s horror flick it quickly transforms into a delightfully skewed three minute pop song for freaks and outsiders

Haunted WindchimesDon’t Take My Baby Away (Baby Back) mp3

Authentic, bewitching folk that draws you in and holds you tight

Baby EagleDay Of Our Departing mp3

A corking track with echoes of Neil Young, Gram Parsons and Pavement

We Are TreesDear Chan Marshall mp3

Deceptively simple song with some lovely flamenco style guitar and clever lyrics

Pepper RabbitOlder Brother mp3

Folk with chamber leanings and a twisted, slightly psych-pop edge

The War On DrugsComin’ Through mp3

Strummed guitar delight from forthcoming album

Roy PaymonImonetta mp3

Simply georgeous, fragile pop song

Our cover versions of the month are these two:

Download Fever RayMercy Street mp3

Download Mumford & SonsUnfinished Business mp3

And three excellent new tracks to finish off with: firstly another cover – The Drums doing Arcade Fire, the new taster track from indie-folk God Sufjan Stevens and finally some superb, caustic, drone punk from The Band In Heaven.

Download The DrumsWe Used To Wait mp3

Download Sufjan StevensI Walked mp3 (from The Age of Adz)

Download The Band In HeavenSuicide Pact mp3 (from The Band In Heaven / Weird Wives Split Tape)

We became aware of Haunted Windchimes via an eMusic recommendation and having some credits to use, duly downloaded the album Honey Moonshine as much for the great name and great artwork as anything else.

And, boy are we glad we did.

It is a wonderful album of authentic, bewitching folk that draws you in and holds you tight. Beautiful harmonies and the traditional topics of love, heartbreak, lonliness and desperation abound, but there is also the righteous anger of political protest A Ballad Of Human Progress to finish the album with a snarl. Banjo, guitar, harmonica, violin and drums provide much of the instrumentation and it is done wonderfully without a single bum note.

We have the video to Waitin’ On A Train for you, plus a download from previous album An Evening With The Haunted Windchimes. In fact both their previous albums can be downloaded for free from The Internet Archive here.

Visit their MySpace here or website here. Download the new album from eMusic here.

Download The Haunted Windchimes – Don’t Take My Baby Away (Baby Back) mp3 (from Honey Moonshine)

Download The Haunted Windchimes – Lordy Lordy mp3 (from An Evening With: The Haunted Windchimes)