Posts Tagged ‘James Arthur’s Manhunt’

Day four of our countdown of our favourite 200 songs of the past 10 years.

140 Chelsea Light Moving – Groovy & Linda (2012)

 

A distorted, bloody jam in tune with the bloody, violent nature of the 1960s shooting it narrates. Any Sonic Youth undertones? What do you think.

 

 139 Dan Auerbach – Heartbroken, In Disrepair (2009)

The gritty guitar sound sets up a soulful, dirty blues where hopelessness finally overpowers determination.

 

138 Spectrum Meets Captain Memphis – The Lonesome Death Of Johnny Ace (2008)

Biopic-epic groover shows the two musicians playing off a southern fried radiation telling the tale of a famous singer’s Russian Roulette tragedy on Christmas day.

 

137 Houndmouth – For No One (2015)

Spare and epic. Surreal and vivid. Plaintive and slyly humorous. An absolute gem of Dylan-esque storytelling that manages to be anything but derivative.

 

136 Deer Tick – Chevy Express (2011)

Sombre, reflective, and undeniably sobering. Chevy Express is the soundtrack to a heavy heart and lonely regret washed by the first light of an early morning dawn and may well be the best thing they’ve ever done.

 

135 Howling Owls – Family Tree (2010)

 

Sinister, noir-ish folk from the Howling Owls. Family Tree is ominous, forbidding, baleful – all the things we love from one of our favourite discoveries of the past ten years.

 

134 The Silver Jews – Strange Victory, Strange Defeat (2008)

David Berman’s lyrics were amongst the sharpest, wittiest, pithiest and most potent in the whole of indie-rockdom. The rumbling Strange Victory, Strange Defeat’s opening verse is Squirrels imported from Connecticut / Just in time for fall / How much fun is a lot more fun? / Not much fun at all and it just gets better from there…

 

133 Tweak Bird – A Sun / Ahh Ahh (2010)

 

Brilliant mix of full-on old-school metal riffing with psychedelic overtones and an absurdly heavy climax. Rock on dudes.

 

132 A.A. Bondy – I Can See The Pines Are Dancing (2009)

Both intriguing and evocative, A.A. Bondy’s lovely, road-weary voice conveys a rarely felt depth of experience on the back of a melody steeped in warm melancholy.

 

131 Angus Stone – It Was Blue (2012)

Borrowing a Stooges’ style riff, It Was Blue is a stunningly good, modern day excursion into fuzzy 70s psychedelic rock.

 

130 Joe Pug – Hymn 35 (2009)

Classic singer-songwriter fare, but set apart from the crowded competition by the the consistently thought-provoking lyrical wordplay and the chance to holler along in the car with I have done wrong / I will do wrong / There’s nothing wrong / With doing wrong.

 

129 James Arthur’s Manhunt – Killzone (2016)

 

An intense, tribal, maelstrom of churning, filthy guitars and pounding percussion that veers into space rock by way of spaghetti westerns and Italian horror films.

 

128 Nightjar – Poor Man’s Son (2008)

 

A wonderfully simple tale of a son done wrong set to a classic bluegrass inflected folk-strum.

 

127 Southerly – Desolation Row (2013)

 

Darkest of dark pop, infectious melody, ominous drone, sparing song structure and astute lyricism.

 

126 Protomartyr – Pontiac 87 (2015)

 

Brilliantly hypnotic riff. Brilliantly hypnotic reflection on a dispiriting Papal visit to Pontiac, Michigan in the late eighties.

 

125 Julie Ruin – I Decide (2016)

 

Somehow manages to be outrageously catchy, while simultaneously sounding like an angry bunch of wasps trapped in a jam jar.

 

124 Low – Plastic Cup (2013)

 

Moody and smart-ass sarcastic story of substance abuse, a lifetime of dependence on others, and the soul-crushing future of pointless drug tests. All set to an understated, super-low tempo, and wonderful co-ed vocal harmonies between Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker.

 

123 Port O’Brien – I Woke Up Today (2008)

 

A chaotic, swelling modern day seafarer’s shanty. And the biggest damn sing along chorus in the whole list.

 

122 Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight (2008)

What can you say. Overblown, theatrical, bombastic and yet still one of the greatest indie rock songs of the past ten years. The bluster eventually revealing the true pain and sorrow of desolate heartbreak.

 

121 Fritjof Norrmo – Set Me On Fire (2015)

 

Swedish singer-songwriter’s endearing and somewhat nostalgic tale of a brief, but passionate love encounter. A true heart warmer.

 

Don’t forget to check out tracks 200-181, 180-161, 160-141.

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Our final Best of post of 2016 is MM’s own selections. You can also listen via Spotify here.

20 TRAAMS – A House On Fire
I always think I don’t really like long songs and yet they always seem to end up in my favourite tracks of the year. This TRAAMS song is nearly nine minutes long yet hurtles along in a blur of krautrock inspired grooviness that is irresistible.

 

19 BAIT – I’m Still Here
Out-slaved anything on the last Slaves record and mentions evil genius Timmy Mallet. Top marks.

 

18 Mind Spiders – Running
An unstoppable, frantic force of razor sharp guitars and seething urgency.

 

17 Underworld – I Exhale
See what I mean about long songs… Another eight minutes of hypnotic, motorik techno that cannot be denied.

 

16 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife
Described by the band as a ‘never-ending album’, Nonagon Infinity features nine songs connected by musical motifs which flow ‘seamlessly’ into each other with the last track ‘linking straight back into the top of the opener’. The first single, a psych-rock/trash metal wig out, Gamma Knife contained a riff from the song People Vultures and both songs are our favourites on the record. This just edges it for its sheer grooviness.

 

15 Terry – Don’t Say Sorry
I love this song for making me feel 15 again and discovering all those now punk classics. Nervy, incessant, catchy as hell and the best deadpan vocals of the year. Why would you say sorry for that?

 

14 Van William – Revolution
We still miss Port O’Brien and (whisper it) Van Pierszalowski’s new musical vehicle WATERS haven’t really been a patch on PO’B, so we were delighted to discover Van William, another new project, but this time returning to the folksier roots of his previous band. Add in a mournful trumpet and the gorgeous harmonies of First Aid Kit and a lovely record is suddenly elevated to another plane altogether. Fingers crossed for more from Van William

 

13 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand
Starts like the Butthole Surfers and then gets better. The bit from 45 seconds to one minute is my favourite 15 seconds of punk rock this year.

 

12 Damien Jurado – Exit 353
Concluding the single story he has been telling over a trilogy of albums with Visions of Us on the Land, the lead single Exit 353 was a snapshot view of life and death, love and betrayal told through a perfect combination of expansive, evocative guitars with their roots in the heyday of classic 70s psych and Western movie strings that called to mind sun-blasted vast, parched sands.

 

11 James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone
An intense, tribal, maelstrom of churning, filthy guitars and pounding percussion that veers into space rock by way of spaghetti westerns and Italian horror films.

 

10 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow
Only You Remain was an excellent debut album of beautiful, pastoral Americana cut through with an almost sinuous psychedelic haze – imagine Beach House and Mazzy Star with Gram Parsons and Neil Young. Undertow was a dreamy, reverb-rich, reflective highlight.

 

Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore
A song about gender, identity and being taken seriously as an artist that manages to be funny and biting and smart. It is a perfect rallying cry, all wrapped up in biting lyrics and a driving riff that has as much Joey Ramone in it as it does Pavement or Yo La Tengo.

“I don’t wanna be funny anymore / I got a too short skirt, maybe I can be the cute one / Is there room in the band? I don’t need to be the front man / If not, then I’ll be the biggest fan”

 

Cave Singers – That’s Why
A perfect, slightly fuzzy, rolling baseline, stomping drums and Pete Quirk’s unmistakeable vocals. The Cave Singers gave us a new album this year. That’s Why was the first single and as soon as we heard it we knew they at least wouldn’t be letting us down in a year that turned out to be one of monumental disappointments.

 

7 Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga
A late entry thanks to Mrs M as the Pixies finally manage to turn back the clock and deliver a southern gothic rocker of bracing urgency and delirious intensity.

 

6 Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack
I imagine that one of the ten commandments of music might be “Black Mountain shall deliver the riff of the year” and so, just as it was with 2010’s Let Spirits Ride, so it was with 2016’s Florian Saucer Attack. This is just top notch rocking out of ‘turn it up to eleven’ Spinal Tap proportions – I mean that in an entirely good, and non-ironic, way of course, which is a shame for American readers as “apparently” you don’t get irony. I doubt it is true although while many of your countrymen and women were damning the celebrity support of Hilary Clinton as out-of-touch and unrepresentative, millions were happily voting for a billionaire celebrity on the other side. Go figure…

 

5 Parquet Courts -Dust
Droning, danceable guitars brilliantly provide a backdrop to a jittery 50 word essay on the inherent grossness of dust and the futility of cleaning. “It follows, now swallow, You’re biting it now, Suffocate, suffocate, Breathe, Dust is everywhere, Sweep”.

 

4 Ashley Shadow – Tired
A bleary, resigned mid-tempo rocker from the twin-sister of Black Mountain’s Amber Webber that somehow feels like being stood in the epicentre of a mini-hurricane.

 

3 Car Seat Headrest – Fill In The Blank
I came late to the Car Seat Headrest album because everyone was pushing the Drunk Drivers/Killers Whales song which was OK, but not good enough to make me want to check out the album. Turns out that was my mistake as it is by far the worst song on the best album of the year. It opens with Fill In The Blank, which pushes Black Mountain mighty close in the riffage stakes for a start and also has my favourite lyric of the year: “You have no right to be depressed, You haven’t tried hard enough to like it.”

 

2 Dr. Dog – Bring My Baby Back
Laying a yearning, plaintive vocal over the top of a perfect mix of  pop, gospel and psych rock, Dr Dog created the nigh on perfect Bring My Baby Back. Majoring on themes of betrayal, repentance, solitude, and revenge, wrapped up in a perfectly strummed acoustic guitar, it was the most innocently beguiling tune of the year.

Simple plea, make them pay and make them bring my baby back to me. Oh make them pay and make them bring my baby back to me

 

1 Car Seat Headrest – (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)
Sounding uncannily like Will Sheff of Okkervil River at the start of (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem), Will Toledo delivers a stunning combination of self-deprecating disgust, mundanity and insight without sacrificing one ounce of musicality. Equally rich and raw, with an honesty and openness that is all too rare these days, Car Seat Headrest is a genuine poet – the closest thing to a modern day Leonard Cohen that I have heard and  I simply can’t praise him more highly than that. Sheer genius.

 

And our other annual ‘awards’..

Gig of the Year: Protomartyr at the 100 Club, London

 

Cover of the Year: Julien Baker – Ballad of Big Nothing (Elliott Smith cover)

 

Car-run anthem: Insane Clown Posse – Chicken Huntin’

 

So there we have it for another year.  To check out the Italian Job’s top 20 click here or here for Chris T Popper’s selections and here for Mrs Mackerel’s. Click for the full run down of our 100 favourite tracks (100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-1) and albums.

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The first of our four individual listings comes from The Italian Job – she of the detailed spreadsheets and punk rock outlook. Listen on Spotify here.

20. Underworld – I Exhale

 

19. The Wave Pictures – Pool Hall

 

18. Arborist – I Heard Him Leaving

 

17. Kyle Craft – Before The Wall

 

16. Terry Malts – Used To Be

 

15. Quiet Hollers – Broken Guitar

 

14. Parquet Courts – Dust

 

13. Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack

 

12. Old Sea Brigade – Sleep In The Park

 

11. Mind Spiders –  Cold

 

10. Jamie T – Tinfoil Boy
Let’s start with this song that, quite frankly (and weirdly) I am still not quite sure what to make of. It is an unusual Jamie T’s song, to say the list, but I have to be true to my admit that I just find it absolutely brilliant and totally catching. So, in all its glorious eccentricity, there it is, happily sitting at no.10.

 

9. The Julie Ruin – I Decide
This song nearly didn’t make it to my top ten because, you know, fierce competition and all that.. but I was just kidding myself! These girls managed to combine whimsical and nonsensical lyrics sung with a childish, cheeky voice with earth-shattering bass guitars mixed with a slightly dark but brilliant beat. It’s catchy, it works, I love it!

 

8. Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand
This track’s got it all. The noise, the energy, the sand, the heat, the sweat, the City of Angels.. you can feel it all! Without a doubt the best intro of my entire top 20, a screechy prelude to bold and distorted guitars reminiscent of the soundtrack to a particularly violent ’70 television crime drama. Hot!

 

7. James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone
A last minute entry, this song delivers the perfect balance between anger and.. more anger; my cup of tea, it hit me instantly! The ‘wicked’ brief guitar solo about two minutes into the song is what definitely sealed the deal for me! A powerful track.

 

6. The Bones of J.R. Jones – Hammers and Nails
It could not get more ‘folk’ than this, totally captivating! Hammers and Nails tells of ancient tales from the deep south, ritualistic dance routines around bonfires (well, in my head at least) and unnerving dark secrets. With its infectious beats it has firmly remained one of my favourite songs of this year since the first time I’ve listened to it.

 

5. Communist Daughter – Balboa Bridge
This is another last minute entry and holds a special place in my heart -and in my top 10. I read there is a story behind this song, a story of difficult times and a mental health struggle that gives it a deep meaning that goes beyond the beautiful, sweet and romantic tone. The lead singers’ voices are stunning and heart warming, this is a true gem of a song.

 

4. Mind Spiders – Running
Brilliantly played, from the first sharp guitar note this song’s pace is relentless and intense, borderline exhausting. It perfectly conveys the message in the title, setting off my little brain on a mild state of underlying-anxiety. It starts on a high that unrelentingly continues throughout. Cannot get enough of it.

 

3. Great American Canyon Band – Undertow
What a beautiful, beautiful song. A deep, languid ballad that gets better and better with every upcoming note, until the lead guitar comes in and suddenly takes it to yet another level. I could get lost in this song, I could praise it ‘at infinitum’. It’s an outstanding piece of music.

 

2. TRAAMS – A House on Fire
Seeing TRAAMS live recently was a revelation in itself, their performance was nothing short of magnificent! Powerful, aggressive, implacable, with unbelievably impressive guitars. Their latest single A House on Fire is all this and even more, if any more is possible! An 8-minute long, epic, mind-blogging track that totally blew me away. One thing is clear, TRAAMS do not mess about.

 

1. Ashley Shadow – Tired
Every now and then a song comes along that, like a mirror, seems to have the power to reflect a bit of your life back at you, that makes you think and makes you ‘feel’, with a message comforting and melancholic at the same time. This is what this stunning, timeless piece does for me. Ashley Shadow’s voice is angelic, warm and reassuring; the song is classy, beautiful, unsophisticated. My indisputable choice for the top spot of the year. Totally deserves it!

 

Tomorrow we have Chris T Popper’s favourite twenty songs of the year. Click through to check out our favourite 100 tracks of 2016 (100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-1) and our album choices here.

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And so here we are, our favourite tracks of the year counting down from 25 to number 1.

Enjoy…

 

25 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife

 

24 Little Barrie – I.5.C.A.

 

23 She Drew The Gun – Since You Were Not Mine

 

22 Car Seat Headrest – Fill In The Blank

 

21 Communist Daughter – Balboa Bridge

 

20 Mitski – Your Best American Girl

 

19 Dr Dog – Bring My Baby Back

 

18 Yak – Victorious (National Anthem)

 

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

 

16 TRAAMS – A House On Fire

 

15 Terry – Don’t Say Sorry

 

14 The Wave Pictures – Pool Hall

 

13 Jamie T – Tinfoil Boy

 

12 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand

 

11 Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack

 

10 The Mind Spiders – Running

 

9 Underworld – I Exhale

 

8 James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone

 

7 Terry Malts – Used To Be

 

6 Van William – Revolution

 

5 Damien Jurado – Exit 353

 

4 The Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga

 

3 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow

 

2 Ashley Shadow – Tired

 

1 Parquet Courts – Dust

 

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

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