Posts Tagged ‘Laura Marling’

Our final personal list of the year is from the fairest, and finest, of fishes… Mrs Mackerel.

2017: probably a year when I’ve listened to the least new music in recent times, so this is very much a short list in all senses.

Life – and death – gets in the way sometimes.

10 PINS – Serve the Rich
It’s no surprise that Jamie Hince of The Kills produced this anti-Conservative polemic. It may be no surprise then that I like this so much.

 

9 Queens of the Stone Age – The Way You Used To Do
I just really, really love the frenetic pace of the drumming on this tune, which greatly appeals to my rock chick lineage. There are some things that I just haven’t grown out of.

 

8 The Divine Comedy – To the Rescue
This songs punctuates a particularly difficult point in the year and its wistful sadness reminds me very much of that time. Apparently, it’s dedicated to Neil Hannon’s long term girlfriend, who cares for mistreated and neglected horses over in Ireland. Perhaps MM will pen a similar tune for me as my plan for feline domination of West Oxfordshire takes hold?

 

7 The Moonlandingz – Vessels
Oh hello, here’s another dominant drum roll – I seem to be developing a theme… A fantastic slice of psychedelic, electro pop as recommended to me by my very good friend, Mr Nightshift.

 

6 Mark Lanegan – Beehive
Much as I suspect that Lanners’ liver might be held together with vinegar and brown paper, his voice retains the growling, tremulous signature that is all his own. Sweeping guitars and a catchy chorus made this one to remember – and he was spellbinding live.

 

5 Cherry Glazer – Nurse Ratched
I loved this song right from the off, dedicated to the avenging angel who needs no introduction, Nurse Ratched. Some lovely twiddly guitar bits and harmonies, presumably as an antidote to Nurse R’s very individual bedside manner.

 

4 Cabbage – Celebration of Disease
Scratchy guitars and an earworm of a chorus meant that this was always going to bed itself into my subconscious. A celebration of a disease, a symptom of emotional greed/A celebration of disease, corrected by technology/A celebration of disease, a prescription to the new age dream.

 

3 Whispertown – Born to Ride
A floaty Americana sound with an ode to the open road and the promise of freedom, delivered through Morgan Nagler’s wonderfully hazy vocals. Hey watch out, the road will try to own you. I often sing this to the dog as we set off on our daily trek. Not really.

 

2 Laura Marling – Don’t Pass Me By
Semper Femina was my album of the year; the one I listened to on repeat. There’s something about the melancholy of her vocals over the finger-picking guitar beneath that’s so haunting: Take my old tune/Turn it into something new/Something good. Laura Marling is peerless, a one-off.

 

1 Big Thief – Shark Smile
So I thought I would crown my top ten with another uplifting ditty: a road trip song that ends in tragedy. The understated delivery of the lyrics, undercut with the slidey guitar are so tender you can almost hear her heart breaking. A very worthy, if rather poignant, number one.

 

This year’s footnote:

Louis Armstrong – We have all the Time in the World

We have all the love in the world
If that’s all we have, you will find
We need nothing more.

This one’s always for you, Dad. Our goodbye song.

 

30 Meat Wave – The Incessant

 

29 L.A. Witch – L.A. Witch

 

28 Oh Sees – Orc

 

27 Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now

 

26 Deer Tick – Deer Tick Vol. 1

 

25 Ty Segall – Ty Segall

 

24 Public Service Broadcasting – Public Service Broadcasting

 

23 Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger In The Alps

 

22 Alvvays – Antisocialites

 

21 Sleaford Mods – English Tapas

 

20 Spectres – Condition

 

19 Whispertown – I’m A Man

 

18 The Americans – I’ll Be Yours

 

17 King Krule – The Ooz

 

16 Ron Gallo – Heavy Meta

 

15 Flat Worms – Flat Worms

 

14 Micah P. Hinson – Micah P Hinson Presents: The Holy Strangers

 

13 The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

 

12 Kevin Morby – City Music

 

11 Mark Lanegan – Gargoyle

 

10 LIFE – Popular Music

 

9 Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent

 

8 Laura Marling – Semper Femina

 

7  Terry – Remember Terry

 

6 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Flying Microtonal Banana

 

5 Black Angels – Death Song

 

4 Cabbage – Young, Dumb & Full Of…

 

3 Big Thief – Capacity

 

2 The Moonlandingz – Interplanetary Class Classic

 

1 IDLES – Brutalism

 

 

25 The Moonlandingz – Black Hanz

 

24 FEWS – La Guardia

 

23 The Coathangers – Captain’s Dead

 

22 Cherry Glazerr – Nurse Ratched

 

21 Beaches – Void

 

20 Lo Tom – Covered Wagon

 

19 Trevor Sensor – High Beams

 

18 Mark Lanegan – Beehive

 

17 Sun Seeker – Won’t Keep Me Up At Night

 

16 Laura Marling – Don’t Pass Me By

 

15 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Vomit Coffin

 

14 Terry – Take Me To The City

 

13 The Moonlandingz – Vessels

 

12 Ha Ha Tonka – Race To The Bottom

 

11 Lød – Folder

 

10 Public Service Broadcasting – All Out

 

9 Metz – Drained Lake

 

8 Cool Ghouls – Gord’s Horse

 

7 PINS – Serve The Rich

 

6 Idles – Exeter

 

5 The Fresh & Onlys – Wolf Lie Down

 

4 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter

 

3 Whispertown – Born To Ride

 

2 Cabbage – Celebration Of A Disease

 

1 BIG THIEF – SHARK SMILE

 

Best of 2017: 50 – 26

Best of 2017: 75 – 51

Best of 2017: 100 – 76

100 Anna St. Louis – Fire

 

99 Deep State – No Idea Pt. II

 

98 Ron Gallo – Really Nice Guys

 

97 Wooden Wand – Aurora

 

96 Diet Cig – Sixteen

 

95 Prism Tats – The Liar

 

94 Julie & The Wrong Guys – Love And Leaving

 

93 Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Continental Breakfast

 

92 Alvvays – Plimsoll Punks

 

91 The Venisons – Heart

 

90 Cigarette Bums – Death In Texas

 

89 Chest Pains – Shame

 

88 Micah P Hinson – Lovers Lane

 

87 The Mind Spiders – Outside

 

86 The Americans – Hooky

 

85 Soft Fangs – Honey Colony

 

84 Muertos – Spin

 

83 Eat Fast – Immortal Kombat

 

82 L.A. Witch – Untitled

 

81 Laura Marling – Wild Fire

 

80 Spectres – Neck

 

79 Big Thief – Mary

 

78 Drahla – Silk Spirit

 

77 W.H. Lung – Want

 

76 Dumb Things – Drivin’ Home

 

A rare treat then to go to a gig with Mrs Mackerel, and also Movie Mate and the Mother of Kittens too.

Also a rare treat to not be the oldest swingers in town, judging by the clientele as we entered Oxford’s gloomy Carling Academy. Laura Marling has that rare capacity to attract those from all ages – from the intent young girl on my left silently mouthing along to virtually every song to the middle-aged, too-loud blokey blokes behind me (“when I’m walking the dog in the morning with a hangover you need a bit of mellow“) and the suited, slightly creepy silver haired older gentleman in front of us intently watching Ms Marling through a pair of binoculars.

It is all too easy to remark on Laura Marling’s incredible maturity for one still so tender of years, or to fall into the wise head on young shoulders cliche, or comment on her innate ability to absorb, adapt and possess the influences of so much of what has gone before and restlessly turn it into something fresh and unique – yet it is hard not to re-tread these well trodden paths because it so damn striking each and every time she does something.

With a stage presence and quiet confidence that I hadn’t witnessed before, her performance was one that contrasted sharply with the narrow, oppressiveness of the venue and the often shocking sound – the regular drop outs akin to randomly jumping from rich stereo to weedy mono (or listening with only one ear-bud for younger readers).

Despite their regular efforts, the amateur acoustics could not detract from the songs. As expected, many came from outstanding new release Semper Femina, in fact, the opening five mirrored exactly the album track list – the faintly tropical, sinuous Soothing, the calm, nylon-string acoustics of The Valley, and the rich crackle of Wild Fire set a tone, and a standard that was effortlessly sustained on the wry Don’t Pass Me By and the gorgeous Always This Way.

With six albums in nine years, she now has a wealth of material to draw on. As well as Semper Femina, we were treated to much from 2011’s A Creature I Don’t Know (Salinas, Night After Night, Don’t Ask Me Why and a particularly powerful version of Sophia) and finished with a trio of tracks from I Speak Because I Can, the title track sandwiched between a rapturously received Darkness Descends and a triumphantly challenging Rambling Man.

Laura Marling has a way with words that can make others in the same game seem clumsy and cack-handed. She takes the classic singer-songwriter ingredients of melancholy introspection and self-reflection and balances them exquisitely against wit and candor without being obvious or blatant. Here in Oxford, we had further evidence, if it were needed, of her ability to question and ponder on heartfelt subject matters with a rare lightness of touch and deftness that in turn separates songs from the merely good to something much more special.

And yes, she is old beyond her years.

 

 

 

 

 

best of the weekPart two of our weekly round up of the best tracks from the past seven days kicks off with another fine track from Laura Marling’s new album, and an excellent new single from The Districts.

We have another brash slab of riotous rock from Charly Bliss and something equally propulsive from Hiccup (should keep the indie kids happy). Trance Farmers slow things down with their ominous new single, while Cotillon’s new track is a masterclass in hazy slacker rock. Finally, White Reaper round things off with the title track from new album The World’s Best American Band.

  1.  The Districts – Ordinary Day
  2. Laura Marling – Nothing, Not Nearly
  3. Trance Farmers – Witches
  4. Hiccup – Neverwhere
  5. Charly Bliss – Percolator
  6. Cotillon – Alex’s Room
  7. White Reaper – The World’s Best American Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

best of the weekAfter last week’s bonanza of new tunes, we’re back with eleven more tracks gathered up from the past seven days. No reduction in quality either with another (and the best yet) taste from Laura Marling’s new record Semper Femina, a brand new instrumental track from pastoral psych rockers Allah Las and another ominous slice of brooding Americana from Timber Timbre.

We also have new singles from Hater, Luxury Death and WATERS, a Talking Heads cover from Japandroids and another entry from the Our First 100 Days Project – this time it is DRINKS and a hazy, 60’s inspired tune. We have another song from Adam Torres’ upcoming EP and an unbearably sad Mount Eerie track. Finally that rarest of sightings on MM, a remix of sorts with Parquet Courts’ Captive of the Sun brilliantly reworked in tandem with rapper Bun B.

Enjoy y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Round Up

The new releases juggernaut has well and truly got into gear for 2017 with a whole host of new tracks from some longstanding MM faves seeing the light of day this week.

So, rather than post them all one-by-one, we’ve rounded them up for you into one neat package.

Wonderful New York duo Diet Cig have announced the forthcoming release of their hugely anticipated debut album entitled Swear I’m Good At This. The album will be released on 7th April via Frenchkiss Records. Today the band have shared the first single off the album – the highly infectious Tummy Ache.

 

Toronto alt-rock quartet The Wooden Sky will also release their new album Swimming in Strange Waters on 7th April via Nevado Music. Drawing its title from a line in Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel, DuneSurvival is the ability to swim in strange water – the record finds frontman and multi-instrumentalist Gavin Gardiner struggling to come to terms with the trauma and unknowns haunting both his personal life and the world at large. Have a listen to the title track.

 

Churning out hauntingly bittersweet lo-fi, Manchester girlfriend/boyfriend duo Luxury Death are back with their new single Glue, alongside the announcement of their debut EP of the same name.

 

Laura Marling has shared a second track, Wild Fire, from her upcoming new album Semper Femina.

 

Laura Marling also contributes backing vocals to Karen Elson’s new track Distant Shore, which comes from the English-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s sophomore album Double Roses – also out on 7th April (mark the date!) via H.O.T Records Ltd.

 

Long-running Toronto indie-folk trio Rural Alberta Advantage have shared Beacon Hill, it comes ahead of a planned new album for later in the year.

 

Experimental psych-rock institution Grails have just shared a second track Pelham, ahead of their first studio album in six years, Chalice Hymnal. The track is a visceral collusion of acid-psych, 20th century Western film scores, and jazz-infused prog.

 

Ignorecam is Pissed Jeans crushing new offering from Why Love Now, their forthcoming fifth album available 24th February on Sub Pop.

 

And finally, noisy post-punk duo Japandroids have given us No Known Drink Or Drug, a new track from their long awaited third album, Near To The Wild Heart Of Life.

 

 

 

 

best of the weekAs the year draws to a close and the best of lists start to appear, here is our pick from a surprisingly good week of new releases.

We have the first taste from Laura Marling’s new album, Besnard Lakes’ new 12′, and Milo Greene’s new EP as well new tracks from Grandaddy’s, Las Kellies and Syd Arthur’s recent releases and a track from indie rockers Sloppy Heads’ debut long player Useless Smile.

Over to you.

  1. Laura Marling – Soothing
  2. Milo Greene – We Kept The Lights On
  3. Grandaddy – A Lost Machine
  4. Allo Darlin’ – Hymn On The 45
  5. The Besnard Lakes – Laura Lee
  6. Syd Arthur – Monsters
  7. Las Kellies – Sugar Beat
  8. The Sloppy Heads – Suck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MM Best of 2015 no guitarOur Best of the Year posts are coming to a close and for the penultimate list we hand over to the ever fragrant Mrs Mackerel.

Over to you Mrs M…

Another year banked. As ever, I look at my list and think yes, there are some that are keepers and others that maybe were just a mirage. A little like life really.

 

20 The Tulips – Winter Winds

19 Hanni El Khatib – Moonlight

18 Jamie T – Marilyn Monroe

17 Amason – Moon as a Kite

16 Haunted Hearts – Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good

15 Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best

It’s a blistering guitar-led onslaught that plays out against a searing vocal style. Lyrically, it’s very much a commentary on her new found fame: Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you. She’s learning fast, is Courtney.

 

14 Mutual Benefit – Not For Nothing

A very gentle tune with lulling melody and meaningful lyrics; throw in a bit of violin to the mix and it ticks all the boxes for me. The lyrics are sung very quietly, but if you listen hard, you can catch every word. Often the quietest people have the most to say.

 

13 The Decemberists – The Harrowed and the Haunted

Vintage Decemberists: lots of maritime imagery and a dark, sad tale of longing. Will you be there waiting/Or is your heartbeat fading?/ Fading from the time/ Still miles to go til I arrive.

 

12 Laura Marling – I Feel Your Love

You must let me go before I get old/I need to find someone who really wants to be mine/I feel your love. A change of musical style, but the sage words and usual lyrical dexterity remain a constant from the enigmatic Laura Marling, here in rock chick mode.

 

11 Harrison Storm – Sense of Storm

Storms, hurricanes, water: you sense a theme building in my top twenty this year. A really beautiful piece of acoustic folk about losing your sense of home from this talented Australian troubadour. Enough said.

 

10 Houndmouth – Sedona

A tribute to the city of Sedona, when it was known as ‘Arizona’s Little Hollywood’ and home to three decades of A-list movie making, before it all headed west (Hey little Hollywood/You’re gone but you’re not forgotten). The band’s four-part harmonies peppered throughout gives this bit of classic Americana an extra layer.

 

9 Fat White Family – Whitest Boy on the Beach

I like a heavy bass line I do, and this one sucks you in and pulls you along. I like it to steer me round the kitchen, dancing while I work. Rhythmically, Whitest Boy demands some sort of production line movement: mince pie making, possibly. Have another listen – get it now?

 

8 Du Blonde – Chips to Go

So BJH ditched the hooves, went blonde and hitched her wagon to a brand new edgier sound. Good for her, so it seems. Sold to the fish in the corner on the chorus alone, with it’s epic drum/guitar mash-up, she’s got one hell of a vocal range that wallops a whole range of emotions into orbit.

 

7 Marika Hackman – Drown

The unusual and subdued musical arrangement suits the hypnotic (almost lethargic) vocals, and floats around the brooding darkness of the lyrics. It’s easy to be swept away by the prevailing sense of emptiness and loss; guaranteed to send me into sad reflective mode, even if I’m high on sugar and caffeine.

 

6 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin

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. Finger-picking guitar, foot tapping rhythm and a rasping vocal drawl made this a very well-loved tune amongst Team Mackerel.

 

5 Ezra Furman – Haunted Head

A one-off original, Mr Furman. And if the youngest Sprat had written a top ten, Ezra would be there, one to ten. Here we meander downtown, with lyrics that evoke the mania of being bipolar, under the influence of Velvet Underground and a vocal nod to Bowie. Haunted head? Frankly, I know how he feels.

 

4 Calexico – Follow the River

Calexico has a special place in my heart, and the familiarity of a beloved old friend, albeit one who lives on the US/Mexico border. We sync well, Calexico and myself: Follow the River is a sad, wistful song that offers hope, despite itself. I’ll take that, thanks lads.

 

3 Tracey Thorn – Goodbye Joe

I just love this song; I go to bed listening and wake up humming this tune. Do I care that it was originally released in 1982, or that it’s a COVER? Zut allors, MM had a bit of a fishy fit. He is now lying on his side. I am, of course, a stroppy fish wife. And always right. Ahem.

 

2 Lord Huron – Hurricane (Johnnie’s Theme)

Oh little darling/don’t you look charming/here in the eye of a hurricane – well you know, with a good hat, soft lighting and the right amount of blusher, anything is possible. Upbeat, up-tempo, lots of gee-tar: my top twenty sort of needed this – and the album is an overlooked gem of 2015.

 

1 The Quiet Hollers – Côte d’Azur

And here with me lies my song for 2015, by a very long country mile: the unbearably poignant and dark tale of Côte d’Azur as my own private metaphor for everything from life and death, loss and yearning – and all that lies in between. 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.

 

Best gig of 2015:

The Decemberists, O2 Academy, Bristol

En famille. Colin Meloy is a magnificent raconteur, in addition to his musical prowess and distinctive vocal style. I’d waited a long time to see the Decemberists and they did not disappoint, closing the set with a magnificent rendition of The Mariner’s Revenge Song. Again, please.

 

School Anthem:

The Decemberists – A Beginning Song

Played out the final primary school assembly for smallest Sprat. Anthemic and emotional, this builds to epic finale that despite the best efforts of the pantomime horses, played out a celebration of the joy, achievements and idiosyncrasies that all our bright lights gave to us.

 

New to me in 2015: Dr Dog – It

I loved this at first listen, meandering through a blistering heatwave in rural Spain. Such well observed lyrics, for really, it truly is all in how you look at it: It’s real and it’s a lie/It’s the answer and the question when you wonder why. Yeah; ain’t that so.

 

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).