Posts Tagged ‘Kurt Vile’

Into the top half of our favourite songs of the year. Here are tracks 50 through to 26.

50 Murder By Death – True Dark

 

Murder By Death have built a career on gothic country rockers and sun-baked desert folk, yet even after all these years they still manage to surprise and True Dark is them at their twangiest best.

 

49 Fontaines DC – Too real

 

The second entry for Fontaines DC. The band’s latest single, Too Real is another storming track of undeniable power and swagger that just begs to be played loud, and on repeat.

 

48 Frog – American

 

Stripped back, insistently sparse folk and a lyrical gem, “Yes by God I’m American, God is great he’s hilarious, What the fuck y’all staring at? Tall, dark, bald and arrogant”

 

47 Shame – Gold Hole

 

We know this isn’t strictly a new song this year but we’re claiming editorial immunity and sneaking it in anyway as it does feature on London punks Shame’s debut long player that came out at the beginning of 2018. Gold Hole is an uncomfortably close-to-the-bone story of a lecherous older man buying the affections of a young girl – it is seedy and sordid and brilliantly observed. “Sweat stains the wrinkles/Tongue touches the hole, She feels so dirty, she knows that it’s wrong, But she feels so good in Louis Vuitton.

 

46 Conor Oberst – No One Changes

 

Is there anyone else who can make melancholia sound so stunningly gorgeous? No One Changes is an introspective, sombre beauty, as elegant as it it fragile.

 

45 Oldermost – The Danger Of Belief

 

Creating era-blending Americana-infused rock & roll with a more indie rock vibe, rollicking, anthemic  single The Danger of Belief was made for a long straight highway with the windows down and the volume up.

 

44 Kurt Vile – One Trick Ponies

 

A highlight from his most recent album, One trick Ponies has all the trademark Kurt Vile ingredients: woozy guitar lines, mumbled stream-of-consciousness lyrics, sly humour and a touch of the surreal. But this is a generous, big-hearted song and the hazy sheen he coats it in just adds the prefect amount of gentle bonhomie.

 

43 Cass McCombs – Sleeping Volcanoes

 

Almost without noticing Cass McCombs has become one of our most influential and important songwriters. Sleeping Volcanoes, the thematic centrepiece of his upcoming album, is a delight of pensive, dreamlike rock, albeit anchored by a rumbling groove and his world-weary vocals.

 

42 Wing Defence – Stuck

 

Aside from the netball connotations, Aussie duo Wing Defence delivered a sublime single of indie pop with Stuck, the infectious melody is of major earworm quality, and shot through with a core of wonderfully bitter lyrics.

 

41 Sunflowers – Castle Spell

 

The pulverising riffing and chanted lyrics of Castle Spell combine into a freakbeat spectacular of psyched-out space rock – like Silver Machine on speed.

 

40 Mary Gauthier – The War After The War

 

Rifles & Rosary Beads was an album that was four years in the making, it is a collaborative record in the sense that the eleven songs were co-written with wounded veterans in the SongwritingWith: Soldiers retreats. Taken from the album, the heartbreakingly poignant and evocative The War After The War, with its gorgeous violin backdrop and insistent guitar had one of our favourite opening verses of any song we heard this year.

Who’s going to care for the ones
who care for the ones who went to war?
There’s landmines in the living room
and eggshells on the floor

 

39 Death Valley Girls – Disaster (Is What We’re After)

 

Awash with a swirling riff and Thor-like percussion, Disaster (Is What We’re After) is a churning, boiling psych-punk rocker that rides its undeniable, repetitive groove like a drunken cowboy at a rodeo.

 

38 DBUK – In San Francisco Bay

 

DBUK, a side project of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club will return early in the new year with their second album. The first single In San Francisco Bay is a southern gothic four-de-force. Hypnotic, mesmerising and menacing – think of it as the musical equivalent of a naked preacher sat in a box full of venomous snakes.

 

37 Cabbage – Arms Of Pleonexia

 

Blending social comment with mordant black humour and a keen eye for detail, Arms Of Pleonexia was a savagely frenetic addition to Cabbage’s rapidly growing collection of brilliantly observed post-punk anthems

 

36 American Wrestlers – Ignoramus

 

Described by American Wrestlers (aka songwriter Gary McClure) as “a weird little country song with hokey lo-fi strings that bent into black memories“, Ignoramus is all that and more – in fact we’d go as far as to say it is a snidely understated masterpiece.

 

35 Stick In The Wheel – Over Again

 

Over Again is classic British folk story-telling. Hurtling along on the back of an irresistible melody, it begs to be sung along to (and there’s even room for some handclaps).

 

34 Laura Gibson – Tenderness

 

Laura Gibson’s album Goners explored themes of grief and loss and a standout was the haunting and beautiful Tenderness. An intimate and somewhat pensive fable that reflects, almost dreamlike, on how we project pain and lash out, holding on to each other’s trauma and sorrow. “Certain men can smell a wound a room away, you are melancholy well, beauty only made you lonelier

 

33 FEWS – Paradiso

 

Paradiso from brilliant Anglo/US/Swedish noiseniks FEWS was yet another example of their slashing, incandescent guitars and ferocious, pummelling percussion.

 

32 Yves Tumor – Lifetime

 

We’re allowing Polly Pocket this one… a multi-faceted tune of bright, crisp synths, ethereal backing vocals and relentless, unforgiving drums that call to mind Disintegration era Cure.

 

31 Lost Brothers – Come Tomorrow

 

A gently insistent folk song complete with the duo’s trademark tender harmonies and sense of bruised heartache. It is an absolute gem of a tune.

 

30 She Makes War – Undone

 

She Makes War (aka Bristol based artist and multi-instrumentalist Laura Kidd) wrote Undone in a daze the day after her grandmother Constance died last May. The song’s monster guitars deliver palpable rage at the bad things that happen to good people, acting as an openhearted rallying cry against the British stiff upper lip brigade. “We need to give ourselves a break”, she says. “Giving ourselves time to feel devastated doesn’t make us weak.

 

29 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Bellarine

 

A brilliant debut album and a brilliant rolling track of jangling guitars and driving motorik percussion.

 

28 Interpol – The Rover

 

The Rover opens with ringing guitars and percussion taken directly from Krautrock’s halcyon heyday. It is a relentless, menacing rush of pure rock’n’roll.

 

27 Gretchen Peters – Wichita

 

Where would we be without a good murder ballad? This is classic country story-telling given a contemporary twist as Gretchen Peters brilliantly sketches a tale of a woman driven to desperate measures to protect her little sister from a predatory male.

 

26 Parquet Courts – Tenderness

 

Ever since the brilliant Stoned and Starving, Parquet Courts have shown an uncanny ability to create some of the catchiest, toe-tappers around, whilst still managing to diversify their sound into new genres and styles. Tenderness is up there with the best of them – surprisingly slinky, jaunty and knowingly insecure, “Like a junkie going cold, I need the fix of a little tenderness“. We can all relate to that.

 

Check out tracks 100-76 here, and 75-51 here.

  1. The Dodos – Center Of
  2. Cass McCombs – Noise Suite For The Green Party
  3. Deer Tick – Hey! Yeah!
  4. Kurt Vile – Learning To Fly  (Tom Petty cover)
  5. The Smoking Trees – Who Is The Villain?
  6. American Pleasure Club – Oranges
  7. Magic Potion – Foamy Lace
  8. Girlpool – Lucy’s
  9. Strange Ranger – The Wires

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Titus Andronicus – Only A Hobo
  2. BRONCHO – Keep It In Line
  3. Phosphorescent – C’est La Vie No. 2
  4. Courtney Barnett – Small Talk
  5. Kurt Vile – One Trick Ponies
  6. Flat Worms – The Apparition
  7. Death Valley Girls – (One Less Thing) Before I Die
  8. The Berries – Junkyard Dog
  9. Laura Gibson – Domestication
  10. SOAK – Everybody Loves You
  11. New Rose – Plenty Of Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. together PANGEA – Hi-Fi Television
  2. Kurt Vile – Bassackwards
  3. The Distillers – Blood In Gutters
  4. FIDLAR – Too Real
  5. Human People – Black Flowers
  6. Courtney Marie Andrews – Heart and Mind
  7. Fucked Up – House Of Keys
  8. Marc Ribot featuring Tom Waits – Bella Ciao
  9. Hiss Golden Messenger – Rock Holy
  10. Moaning Lisa – Comfortable
  11. TOY – The Willow
  12. Beachtape – Figure It Out
  13. William The Conqueror – Bleeding On The Soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New From Kurt Vile

Posted: August 16, 2018 in Alternative, Indie, Music, Psychedelic, Rock
Tags:

Kurt Vile has shared a video for Loading Zones, which collaborations apart, it is the first new music to surface from him since 2015.

The video is a paean to his City of Brotherly Love, and a farcical tribute to the song’s lyrics, themselves an account of Vile’s peculiar parking strategy. “I park for free!” he proclaims, as he goes about his day moving his car from one loading zone to another, narrowly avoiding parking tickets and irate meter maids played by Kevin Corrigan (Superbad, The Departed, Goodfellas) and Matt Korvette (frontman of Pissed Jeans).

Watch it here.

 

Mad Mackerel is ten years old. Who would have believed it.

So, thanks to everyone who has ever visited the blog, listened, commented, submitted music, sent e-mails, sent CDs, t-shirts and even vinyl, and given us a guest list pass. We really do appreciate it.

Thanks too to our regular contributors over the years – too numerous to mention all, but extra special thanks to the sprats (of course), Barry-Sean, Polly Pocket, Dr Roddy, The Italian Job, Chris T Popper and the fishily fabulous Mrs Mackerel.

And most of all thanks for letting us discover some truly great tunes. Here are ten of them – our favourites of the past ten years of Mad Mackerel.

Cheers!

 

10 The Felice Brothers – Frankie’s Gun (2008)

 

Untarnished, unpolished, unadorned. Heavy on rhythm, accordion and piano. Frankie’s Gun is a stomping, beer-swilling square dance with the grim reaper hovering in attendance. This brilliantly evocative song packs enough into three verses and a beer-hall singalong chorus to create its own Netflix series.

 

9 Grinderman – Palaces Of Montezuma (2010)

Unhinged list of over-the-top romantic promises set to a loose, funky bassline and with a subtle, gospel style shuffle that is simply sublime.

 

8 Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer (2008)

 

A darkly pensive tale of multiple murder that emerges from Dylan’s shadow to tramp from the bright lights of LA to the desolation of the prairies and the desert in search of more victims. Black River Killer drips with the authentic haunted quality of an old, gothic murder ballad and we can’t give it higher praise than that.

 

7 Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed (2008)

Eerily reminiscent of the drugged up haze of a Johnny Thunders with possibly the bleakest lyrics we’ve ever come across. “Friend of mine drank something fine, choked to death before his time last night / He said, “Found that thing you really need, cough it on down ’til you can’t breathe alright / Everyone’ll be there at the burial in your head, and a tear or two they’ll shed / Then they’re gonna go digging in your hole and find: someone else instead” or “Oh, he didn’t like people much at all, tasted better with alcohol, you know how that one goes / Realized he’d missed his whole life; kissed his dog, and shot his wife last night.

Buriedfed is anguished circular verses of regret, dependency and death, slowly building up from the twang of a lone acoustic guitar to soundtrack a rollicking daydream of Robinson’s own death and ensuing funeral.

 

6 The Quiet Hollers – Côte d’Azur (2015)

 

The unbearably poignant and dark tale of Côte d’Azur – about those memory markers that resurface in the depths of your dreams and the half way stage when the sun warms your face, and what’s real and what’s not – the journey and the destination – merges into one; always searching. This song breaks my heart at every single listen, so I turn up the white noise.

 

5 The Roadside Graves – Far And Wide (2009)

 

A seamless fusion of country and classic rock, with just a hint of punk’s reckless abandon. Kicking off with a great riff and whiskey raw vocals, this wonderfully ramshackle Americana is like musical heroin.

 

4 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin’ (2015)

So, it takes Kurt a little while to recognise himself as the “man in the mee-rah”. Wakey, wakey son. But after a minor identity crisis and a bit of a teeth mix-up, everything’s pretty pimpin. It is a fingerpicked earworm where a sprawl of twangy guitar and surreal, laconic lyrics combine to create the perfect ode to stoned self-reflection, and a very well-loved tune amongst Team Mackerel.

 

3 Willy Mason – Restless Fugitive (2012)

 

With rumbling percussion, echoing guitars and an almost reggae-like rhythm, Willy Mason announced his return after a five year hiatus with this outstanding tune, a dusty, world-weary hymn to moving on. Swaying along to this beauty in a large field clasping an overpriced (but comfortingly strong) cider is what summer should be all about.

 

2 Middle Brother – Portland (2011)

Shared a cigarette for breakfast? More than one I reckon. John McCauley of Deer Tick has a voice that was made for this song. One for the road, sung in chorus, gives me the warmest, fuzzy feeling all over. Stick me on a greyhound bus with Middle Brother playing to the open road and I reckon I’d be a happy girl. Just about the best darned cover (yes, I know but don’t care) I ever heard. Pure magic.

 

1 PHOSPHORESCENT – SONG FOR ZULA (2013)

 

It is Matthew Houck’s ragged, yet fragile vocals that stitch together Zula’s imagery, which cuts far and deep. Intensely poignant lyrics, sweeping strings, pulsing drum machine: it all weaves together to form an emotional testament to the end of a relationship. Ever had your heart broken? This is what it feels like.

 

So there we have it, 200 of our favourite songs since 2008. Everyone a gem, everyone a memory. Enjoy!

 

Check out the full countdown here: 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-4140-3130-21 and 20-11.

Four cracking new tracks for you this morning. The latest from Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s much anticipated collaboration, another absolute shredder from Aussie duo DZ Deathrays, more potent pop-punk from Bully, and indie-pop God Ezra Furman’s new track Driving Down To L.A., which he describes as “This is a song of paranoia, escape and ecstatic ego-death. We decided to make a video about me and my angel companion escaping from modern-day Nazis. It is terrible to watch America’s white supremacist roots flourish like this again, not to mention the accompanying misogyny, queerphobia and anti-Semitism. I intend this song, video and my entire career as a protest against those attitudes.

Hear hear – enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty much figure we’ve all been waiting to hear this… Over Everything is the first fruits of the collaboration between Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile and is taken from the forthcoming album Lotta Sea Lice.

Enjoy those dovetailing vocal lines and intricate, shimmering guitar! We are…

 

best of the weekAnd so as we head north to Mackem country here are 8 songs to keep you company over the weekend. All lovingly culled from the week’s new releases for you and including songs from Hope Sandoval & The Warm Intentions featuring Kurt Vile, Greys, MV & EE, Honeyblood, Luxury Death and the incomparable Leonard Cohen.

Enjoy.

  1. Greys – Fresh Hell
  2. Itasca – No Consequence
  3. Black Honey – Hello Today
  4. Honeyblood – Sea Hearts
  5. Hope Sandoval & The Warm Intentions featuring Kurt Vile – Let Me Get There
  6. Luxury Death – I Feel Your Pain
  7. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
  8. MV & EE – Feel Alright

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MM Best of 2015 no guitarAnd so here is the final personal Top Twenty of the year. This time it is my turn!

Another twelve months neatly wrapped up and delivered for your listening pleasure and here’s to 2016…

20. Quiet Hollers – Mont Blanc

An apocalyptic, “end-is-nigh” rolling, country rock anthem. Pure poetry with the best coda to a song I heard all year, “shed a tear for the books I shoulda read“.

 

19. H. Hawkline – Spooky Dog

Melodic, haunting, weird. Perfect psych-pop with added twisted electronics.

 

18. Arborist – Twisted Arrow

Brilliant debut single of lilting folk-rock concealing a bleak heart and featuring the hushed vocals of none other than Kim Deal of the Pixies.

 

17. Courtney Barnett – Depreston

With her forensic eye for lyrical detail and the ability to capture emotional turmoil in the sparest of sentences, Depreston is the sombre standout from her brilliant debut album proper. A tale of house hunting in Melbourne suburbia that travels from the mundane to the tender to the revealing.

 

16. Grandparents – Kids In The Alley

Take the most infectiously catchy refrain, add jangly guitars, carefree percussion and bubblegum melodies. This is what you get. A hallucinatory classic.

 

15. Futurekids – White Girl In A Wu Tang T-Shirt

Irresistible foot-tapping indie rock, the like of which you just don’t hear very much anymore.

 

14. Woolen Men – Life In Hell

A clattering, staccato burst of tense, nervy post-punk that recalls the best of Wire and The Wipers. The aural equivalent of being jabbed in the throat by a stray elbow in the mosh pit.

 

13. Rats On Rafts – Last Day On Earth

A mini masterpiece of epic, circling, incessant grooves. Far, far, far out man.

 

12. Decemberists – Carolina Low

This was one of those stopped-in-your-tracks moments that music gives you sometimes. Watching the Decemberists live in Bristol at the start of the year and Colin Meloy transfixing the whole audience into rapt attention with just guitar and voice. Also spent much of the year repeating “You’ve got an ugly little mouth boy” in a poor imitation of an American accent.

 

11. Low – What Part Of Me

Classic Low – haunting, spectral, fuzzy and quietly, poignantly devastating.

 

10. Spray Paint – Signal Master

Like Chris T Popper, Spray Paint are my favourite discovery of 2015. Easily the sleaziest, seediest offering of the year – caustic, dead-eyed junkie punk, bleak, repetitive, and crushingly brilliant. “It’s time to put the dog down“.

 

9. Protomartyr – Why Does It Shake

The Agent Intellect was unexpectedly my favourite record of 2015 and any number of tracks could legitimately have gatecrashed my favourite songs of the year. In the end I had to limit myself to two. This one, Why Does It Shake is described by the band as a “back-handed ode to humanity’s resilient self regard in the face of inevitable oblivion. Then the trap door opens.” and is equally exasperated and eloquent. It sets the tone with the doom-laden “False happiness is on the rise, See the victims pile high” and concludes in a stunning climax of clatter and squall.

 

8. Quiet Hollers – Côte d’Azur

A hit man, a traffic jam. A sparkling ocean. Another extraordinary track of ominous, foreboding beauty from the Quiet Hollers.

 

7. Gun Outfit – Gotta Wanna

I’m a sucker for dusty, sun-parched rock and expansive widescreen Americana and Gotta Wanna combines the two in perfect unison. This is humming road-weary, dusty desert blues of the finest vintage.

 

6. Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts – Scowling Crackhead Ian

The latecomers entry to the list. Over the course of a few short weeks Jeffrey Lewis’s wryly told tale of growing up with the evil anti-hero of his school days, until they are the only two left in the neighbourhood has firmly embedded itself in to my psyche. It effortlessly helps you to recall your own equivalent of Ian, someone you actively tried to avoid and whose unpredictability could be shocking and whose meanness was legendary (mine was Robert Beckett). “Forever you’ve been Crackhead Ian, It was your kid nickname if we spoke it, You were an insane human being, Whether you ever did or didn’t really smoke it“. Says it all really.

 

5. Girl Band – Pears For Lunch

Girl Band’s Holding Hands With Jamie was a criminally underrated release this year. A band that manages to take the most discordant, contradictory noise and meld it into something magnetically compelling that grips like a vice. Pears For Lunch combines a manic energy with Dara Kiely’s lethargic, disinterested vocals as he intones, “Spend my time watching Top Gear with my trousers down, Covered in Sudocrem and talking to myself, Garlic Curry Cheese Chips“. Exactly!

 

4. Traams – Succulent Thunder Anthem

Just shy of three minutes of propulsive, throbbing bass, skimming guitars and urgent vocals. This is Traams at their rollicking, ferocious best.

 

3. Protomartyr – Pontiac 87

The finest riff of the year, and a brilliantly hypnotic reflection on a dispiriting Papal visit to Pontiac, Michigan in the late eighties.

 

2. Houndmouth – Sedona

The best sing-a-long chorus of the year 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“.

 

1 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin’

Probably the most overwhelming choice for number one song of the year that we’ve had in seven years of voting. A fingerpicked earworm, a sprawl of twangy guitar and surreal, laconic lyrics combine to create the perfect ode to stoned self-reflection.

 

And some other random choices..

Favourite cover of the year: Kinky Friedman – My Shit’s Fucked Up (Warren Zevon cover)

 

Gigs of the year: Fat White Family (Oxford) and The Decemberists (Bristol)

 

Song I wished I’d heard earlier in the year: Robert Chaney – The Ballad Of Edward And Lisa

 

Best Songs Heard For The First Time, But Not From This Year: Justin Townes Earle – Yuma & Sleaford Mods – Chop Chop Chop

 

 

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).