Posts Tagged ‘James McMurtry’

We’re getting towards the sharp end of our mammoth count down now. Here are songs 30-21 of our favourites of the past ten years.

30 Bear Bones – Oil And Lacquer (2010)

 

An eight-piece folk explosion of rousing, thickly accented, swagger and swing.

 

29 James McMurtry – Copper Canteen (2015)

 

Opening with the quasi-funny, possibly serious “Honey don’t you be yelling at me while I’m cleaning my gun“, plucked banjo and descending guitar plot the staging posts of a jaundiced marriage – one of America’s finest, and uneasiest, singer-songwriters.

 

28 Cave Singers – At The Cut (2009)

 

A three minute, foot-tapping, bone-trembling dust-up. At The Cut is the Cave Singers at their sweaty, percussion-heavy finest.

 

27 Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Colour Television (2008)

 

The insistent guitar is ravaged with a punk attitude I thought was long dead. Could have come from 1976 and share a gob full of spit with the best of that era, by that I mean The Clash and there is no greater praise I can bestow. Another story televised / Another billion hypnotised. Quite

 

26 The Lumineers – Flapper Girl (2012)

 

Simple, sincere, parlour-room folk of the most heartfelt and vulnerable kind.

 

25 Junip – Line Of Fire (2013)

 

Wistful and reflective; there’s more than a kernal of truth in these insightful lyrics: You realise it’s just a whim/And you notice it matters/Who and what you let under your skin.

 

24 We Are Augustines – Ohio (2011)

Our second cover in the countdown, We Are Augustines’ stunning take on Damien Jurado’s wonderfully evocative and painfully sad tale of parental kidnap.

 

23 Jamie T – Spiders Web (2009)

The pretty acoustic guitar motif is offset by Jamie T’s uniquely rasping vocal of part rap, part song and part slur, and all backed up with a rowdy chorus that could blast stone from a quarry.

 

22 Howling Owls – A Wordsmith’s Reverie (2011)

 

More queasily understated folk from Howling Owls. With an almost waltz-time feel, here is another perfectly delivered everyday tale of resignation and failed expectations.

 

21 Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud (2014)

 

It’s a temporary fix / In case you don’t come down’ – and maybe it is. A lingering air of melancholy over a simple soaring musical arrangement, this is (in a way) the musical religion of Damien Jurado. All seeing, all knowing, quietly anthemic and ethereal.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-41 and 40-31.

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best of the weekIt’s a big week of new releases in the Mad Mackerel world – new tunes from Foxygen, Cloud Nothings, the wonderful Traams and Blossoms to name but four.

Add to that songs from James McMurtryWeyes Blood, TOY, and long standing MM faves Trance Farmers and Estrons and we’ve had a bonanza seven days.

Nine songs for you. Enjoy.

  1. Cloud Nothings – Modern Act
  2. Foxygen – America
  3. Traams – Slipping
  4. Blossoms – Blown Rose
  5. James McMurtry – Screen Door  (Adam Carroll cover)
  6. Estrons – I’m Not Your Girl
  7. Trance Farmers – The Show
  8. Weyes Blood – Generation Why
  9. TOY – Clouds That Cover The Sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MM Best of 2015 no guitarThe latest instalments of personal Top Tens comes from regular MM contributor Polly Pocket.

Enjoy.

 

10. Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best
I always find myself smiling and shouting along to this one in equal measure. A ton of lyrics that shouldn’t work together but somehow sound perfect. I’ve always loved origami.

 

9. Noah Gundersen – Slow Dancer
This is a beauty. A simple tune, full of emotion. Best listened to fairly loud.

 

8. James McMurty – Copper Canteen
Thank you MM for bringing this to my attention this summer. I first heard it with a very cold beer in hand trying to find some shade from the very hot Spanish sun. I’m taken back there every time I listen to it.

 

7. Bjork – Stonemilker
I’ve never been a massive Bjork fan but Stonemilker is such a beautiful track I knew early on in the year it would make its way into my top ten. Bjork’s unmistakeable voice against the strings throughout is a heartbreaking combination. Love it.

 

6. The Decemberists – Make You Better
Long awaited and worth it. Folk meets pop in a great partnership here. Enjoy.

 

5. Tow’rs – The Kitchen
A beautiful folk song beautifully sung by these married two. Such lovely harmonies to be found in words that make you think “you don’t say you love me, so I’ll do the same”.

 

4. Gaz Coombes – 20/20
The unmistakable voice of Gaz Coombes. This is a late entry to my top ten. Possibly my most grown up choice? The gospel chorus alone earns it a place here.

 

3. Ghostpoet – Off Peak Dreams
A bleak, gritty kind of tune. A little hypnotic and not always the easiest to listen to, but awesome none the less.

 

2. Dan Mangan + Blacksmith – Mouthpiece
I have Mr Pocket to thank for this brilliant tune. It was a happy day when he introduced me to this, the stand out track from the album Club Meds. Fast paced, full of drama.

 

1. Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin
This is the classiest song of the year for sure. I was hooked the first time Vile sings that he “didn’t recognise the man in the meeeror”! It builds beautifully with great lyrics to match. I regularly find parts of the song stay with me as very welcome earworms. There is no doubt, it deserves the no.1 spot.

 

You can see our full countdown of our favourite 100 Tracks of the year here (100-76), (75-51), (50-26), (25-1) and favourite 30 Albums here (30-16), (15-1).

MM BEST OF 2015

It’s the third instalment of our end of year list of our favourite tracks of 2015. Today we enter the top half of the chart with numbers 50 through to 26.

 

50 Mutual Benefit – Not For Nothing

 

49 Rats On Rafts – Last Day On Earth

 

48 Slaves – Ninety Nine

 

47 Diet Cig – Harvard

 

46 Decemberists – The Harrow And The Haunted

 

45 Laura Marling – I Feel Your Love

 

44 Elephant Stone – The Devil’s Shelter

 

43 Harrison Storm – Sense Of Home

 

42 Protomartyr – Dope Cloud

 

41 Noah Gundersen – Slow Dancer

 

40 Karen Meat & The Players – Pizza & Beer

 

39 Du Blonde – Chips To Go

 

38 Bjork – Stonemilker

 

37 Chaika – The Mirror

 

36 Marika Hackman – Drown

 

35 Gun Outfit – Gotta Wanna

 

34 Traams – Silver Lining

 

33 Fat White Family – Whitest Boy On The Beach

 

32 Abandoned Delta – I Never Lived In New Orleans

 

31 Jeffrey Lewis + The Bolts – Scowling Crackhead Ian

 

30 Fritjof Norrmo – Set Me On Fire

 

29 James McMurtry – Copper Canteen

 

28 Tow’rs – The Kitchen

 

27 Hanni El Khatib – Moonlight

 

26 Gaz Coombes – 20/20

 

Check in tomorrow for the final countdown to our number one choice of the year. Click here for numbers 100-76 and here for 75-51.

MM BEST OF 2015

Here are our favourite albums of 2015.

15 Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle

Julien Baker

 

14 Joe Ely – Panhandle Rambler

joe ely

 

13 Low – Ones And Sixes

LOW_OnesSixes_cover

 

12 James McMurtry – Complicated Game

james mcmurtry

 

11 Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

titus andronicus

 

10 Quiet Hollers – Quiet Hollers

quiet hollers

 

9 Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie

girl band

 

8 Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion

ezra furman

 

7 The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World

decemberists

 

6 Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Goin Down…

kurt vile

 

5 Slaves – Are You Satisfied

slaves

 

4 Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts – Manhattan

Jeffrey Lewis

 

3 Houndmouth – Little Neon Limelight

houndmouth

 

2 Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit

courtney barnett

 

1 Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

protomartyr

 

Check the list from 30-16 here, and our tracks of the year so far here and here.

MM BEST OF 2015

Time for the MM countdown of our favourite tracks of the year to begin. Over the next few days we’ll be revealing our top 100 tracks and top 30 albums of 2015, with contributions from Mrs Mackerel, Chris T Popper, Polly Pocket and Franca. We’ll also share their personal choices with you next week.

So without further ado, here are numbers 100 through to 76.

100 Ultimate Painting – Woken By Noises

 

99 Samantha Crain – Elk City

 

98 Diet Cig – Dinner Date

 

97 Cruising – Safe Corridor

 

96 Gold Class – Life As A Gun

 

95 Beach Slang – Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas

 

94 Arborist – Twisted Arrow

 

93 Kodiak Deathbeds – Borderline

 

92 Summer Twins – Demons

 

91 Together PANGEA – Blue Mirror

 

90 Tallest Man On Earth – Dark Bird Is Home

 

89 Wilco – Random Name Generator

 

88 James McMurtry – South Dakota

 

87 J Fernandez – Between The Channels

 

86 Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang – I’ve Been A Long Time Leaving

 

85 Drenge – We Can Do What We Want

 

84 Spray Paint – Thrash Master

 

83 Bueno – Babyface

 

82 Slaves – Despair And Traffic

 

81 Ezra Furman – Ordinary Life

 

80 Table Scraps – Motorcycle (Straight To Hell)

 

79 Trance Farmers – Garbage Night

 

78 The Felice Brothers – Carriage

 

77 Wavves – My Head Hurts

 

76 Titus Andronicus – Into The Void (Filler)

 

Check back tomorrow for numbers 75 – 51.

Back in the 1980s when I first moved out of home and into a shared house, our days and nights were soundtracked for a long time by the wonderful Ted Hawkins.

Largely overlooked in the States, he became hugely popular overseas later in his lifetime, but now, Cold and Bitter Tears: The Song of Ted Hawkins, (out on 23rd October on Austin-based Eight 30 Records), marks the first tribute album to the soulful Venice Beach street performer.

The Mississippi native died on New Year’s day in 1995 after a hardscrabble life and brief autumnal rise in popularity. He earned a following as a longtime busker on the Venice Beach boardwalk, but his unpredictable lifestyle prevented widespread notice. He made minor critical waves with his 1982 debut Watch Your Step, an album that failed commercially, but earned a five-star review in Rolling Stone and was the record we all loved in that summer.

The tribute album includes such luminaries as James McMurtry (taking on Big Things), Mary Gauthier (a wonderful version of the brilliant Sorry You’re Sick), and Gurf Morlix covering another personal favourite I Gave Up All I Had.

Listen below to Big Things and Kasey Chambers and Bill Chambers’ version of Cold And Bitter Tears, and take a moment to listen to a Ted Hawkins original too.

“What do you want from the liquor store?
Something sour or something sweet?
I’ll buy you all that your belly can hold,
you can be sure you won’t suffer no more”

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