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).

MM’S BEST TRACKS OF 2015: 50-26


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’S BEST ALBUMS OF 2015: 30-16


As we’re halfway through our tracks of the year (see 100-76 here, and 75-51 here) which resume on Monday, it felt like a good time to break things up with our choices of our favourite albums of 2015. Here then are numbers 30 through to 16.

30 Sarah Cracknell – Red Kite

sarah cracknell


29 Desaparecidos – Payola



28 Kodiak Deathbeds – Kodiak Deathbeds

kodiak deathbeds


27 Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

sufjan stevens


26 Lord Huron – Strange Trails

lord huron


25 Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

father john misty


24 Torres – Sprinter



23 Wavves – V



22 Woolen Men – Temporary Monument

Woolen Men


21 Laura Marling – Short Movie

Laura Marling


20 Tallest Man On Earth – Dark Bird Is Home

tallest man on earth


19 Samantha Crain – Under Branch & Thorn & Tree

samantha crain


18 Rats On Rafts – Tape Hiss

rats on rafts


17 Traams – Modern Dancing



16 Wilco – Star Wars



You can get our top fifteen album list tomorrow. For our favourite tracks of the year click here for numbers 100-76 and here for 75-51.

Video Round Up

Forget the eggs and celebrate Easter with a selection box of musical videos that are all pre-screened to ensure the equivalent of the orange creme hasn’t sneaked through…instead take your pick from folk, indie, psychedelia, punk, Americana….













Eight Songs You Should Have Heard This Week

Here is our regular gathering up of some of this week’s best new releases for you. Enjoy.

1. Daughn Gibson – Shatter You Through
2. Laura Marling – Strange
3. This Is The Kit – Silver John
4. Bully – I Remember
5. Tame Impala – Let It Happen
6. Adam Torres – Dusty Wing Spirit
7. Lower Dens – Ondine
8. Mikal Cronin – ii) Gold









PS – Phil, I hope that’s better!😉

Nine Songs You Should Have Heard This Week

Here is our regular weekend feature highlighting the songs that you really should have made time to hear this week. Enjoy offerings from Laura Marling through to Thee Oh Sees by way of Vetiver and Joanna Gruesome amongst others, as well as the very welcome return of Holly Miranda.

1. Laura Marling – I Feel Your Love
2. Mexican Slang – Fever
3. Chastity Belt – Joke
4. Joanna Gruesome – Honestly Do Yr Worst
5. Tom Williams – Oh Boy
6. Vetiver – Loose Ends
7. Thee Oh Sees – Web
8. Creepoid – American Smile
9. Holly Miranda – All I Want Is To Be Your Girl











Video Round-Up

A whole host of excellent new videos have come our way recently. Check out new musical films from Laura Marling, Spector, Stealing Sheep, The Rebel Light, Skinny Lister and Run Rabbit Run.








Another New Laura Marling Track…False Hope

Laura Marling returns with her new album Short Movie which will be released through Virgin Records on the 23rd March – we’ve already posted the title track here.

The new album is a departure from previous releases, a freer and loser sound with a much bigger, electric feel. The latest track to be shared from it is False Hope.



Best of the Year: Mrs Mackerel’s Top Twenty

Mrs M's Top 20 2014

Our penultimate offering comes in the shape of Mrs Mackerel’s favourite songs of 2014…

I think, being a fish of some advancing years now, I know what I like – but at least that ranges quite widely (she says, defiantly). As usual, though, I’m late to deadline, so without further pontification or procrastination, here are my favourite songs of 2014.

20. War On Drugs – Red Eyes


19. Cate Le Bon – He’s Leaving


18. Mark Lanegan Band – Sad Lover


17. The Districts – Funeral Beds


16. Simone Felice – Running Through My Head


15. Wytches – Burn Out the Bruise


14. Matt Kivel – Insignificance


13. Smashing Pumpkins – Being Beige


12. Water Liars – Swannanoa


11. Shovels & Rope – Evil


10. Dead Fingers – Twisted
Husband and wife duo, Dead Fingers, produce a finger-picking good sound here. It’s a hoedown with a twist that chases a thigh-slappingly quirky rhythm. Love it.


9. The Vacant Lots – Mad Mary Jones
An infectious, upbeat intro to the Vacant Lots: guitar-led rock’n’roll with psychedelic undertones. I’m quite partial to a bit of pscyh-rock, as it goes. The lyrics are secondary but the driving foot-tapping rhythm means you’ll be humming this for the rest of the day.


8. Royal Blood – Figure It Out
Play this loud – very loud, actually. And ramp up the bass while you’re at it. Led Zep meets The Darkness: just over three minutes of rock fest with a rousing finale of guitar versus drum duelling that builds and builds. Epic. My rock chick alter ego is sated.


7. The Felice Brothers – Constituents
A move away from the usual rollicking, rootsy sound that’s trademark Felice Brothers. This weaves a slower, more brooding tempo with darker overtones: And all my constituents agree/I’ve been changed like a pebble in the sea/By the politics of time/But riddle me this: what happiness is mine?’


6. Eels – Mistakes of My Youth
Sold to me on sentiment alone. Mistakes of my youth, of my 20s, of my 30s and so on: like a cat running at a closed cat flap, we are all stuck on repeat and yes, sometimes it really does hurt. A gentle melody that meanders through wistful moments of reflection, there’s nothing surprising or unusual in this Eels offering, but many could do worse than heed the quiet, cautionary wisdom of the gravel-voiced Mr Everett.


5. Bombadil – Have Me
I’d forgotten all about this song until recently. One man, a piano and a cello: a sad, reflective, rather beautiful lament. You won’t be dancing in the kitchen, rather gazing out of the window. ‘You can’t have everything you want/Or even sometimes what you need/Even if you need it desperately.’


4. Sharon Van Etten – Tarifa
Here’s my slow dance for this year, complete with saxophone, courtesy of the haunting vocals of Sharon Van Etten. Small moments captured like a photograph, a song about trying to hold onto a memory; lyrics filled with regret and longing. Everyone else/Hasn’t a chance, don’t fail me now/Open arms, rest.’ Aah.


3. Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me?
You expressed explicitly your contempt for matrimony.’ Archie does not want to get married, but hey (hey), she does. I sense trouble brewing there. Jangly indie guitars and plenty of reverb, means that if you’re dancing, I’m most definitely asking. I had to be told twice, no less, that I would (of course) love Alvvays. Obviously, I hate it when other people are right, so I’m off to see them next month with Nightshift.


1= Jamie T – Limits Lie
Five years away is a long time musically but he’s a complicated creature Mr Treays, and all the better for it. As with many of his songs, the music belies the lyrical weight and depth; life observed with pin-sharp accuracy: Who knows where your limit, where your limit lies/ you’re given, what you’re given and now the giver must die.’ Without question, my gig of the year (Alexandra Palace), and Carry On the Grudge, my album of the year.


1= Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud
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. I played nothing but Brothers and Sister of the Eternal Son for at least the first six weeks of this year: endings and beginnings, beginnings and endings, sometimes you never know what you’re seeing.


Special mentions:

School Run Anthem 2014:

The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice
Cos I’m high on Halloween candy again/And your lips are sweet as brandy.’ Yes, it’s absolutely true; I often operate in a sugar-induced trance, even while driving. This will be the last school run anthem (sniff), as primary school will be no more for my youngest after the summer. So we might as well go out on a high, with his favourite band, at their rambunctious best.


Best Covers:

Phosphorescent – Tomorrow is a Long Time
Matthew Houck sings Bob Dylan: bellisimo.


Low – I’m On Fire
I love Bruce Springsteen and I’ve been on fire a couple of times. Mainly because I used to wear hippy skirts, drink too much cider, and then light fragrant candles. It was a long time ago, but you know what they say about moths and flames.

Guilty Pleasure:

Lonelady – Groove It Out
Yeah, it’s disco – what of it?! I like dancing.


And hello, hello; look who’s back…

Laura Marling – Short Movie


Happy New Year, fishy friends.

New Laura Marling Album & Video

Laura Marling has announced a new album for release in March.

Titled Short Movie, we have the animated video for the superb title track below. First impressions are that this is likely to be (another) very good album indeed.