Posts Tagged ‘Lord Huron’

It’s time for MM’s annual round up of our favourite songs of the year. Thanks as always go to all our regular contributors – Mrs Mackerel, Chris T Popper, the Italian Job, Polly Pocket and a very welcome return to the fold for Dr Roddy.

So without further ado, lets start the countdown.

100 Cabbage – Preach To The Converted

 

In a year that we lost the great Mark E Smith, Manc neighbours Cabbage stepped up to the plate and delivered an album of sneering, swaggering and violently nihilistic songs that were cut from the same cloth as the Fall. Preach to the Converted is a prime example, a snarling, surf-tinged punk stomper.

 

99 Yowl – Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living

 

Yowl capture the frustration of the 9-to-5 London grind like few others (also making Chris T Popper’s best of the year list in 2016). In frontman Gabriel Byrde, they have someone who can spin poetry on songs about alienation and exhaustion. Yowl are often viciously loud, but on Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living) it is tempered with a more fatalistic, loose feel that calls to mind Lou Reed as much as it does Parquet Courts.

 

98 Teenage Cavegirl – No Good/So Bad

 

Austin, Texas boy/girl duo Teenage Cavegirl offer exactly what their name says they should. The tribal drums and trash-pop guitar lines combine to create a deceptively simple slab of primal garage rock. Throw in some plaintive lyrics, an anthemic chorus and wrap it all up in under two minutes.

 

97 Black Delta Movement – Let The Rain Come

 

Inspired by the ghosts of the Sonics and MC5, influenced by the kaleidoscopic thrum of the Black Angels and Wooden Shjips, Let The Rain Come is a propulsive, mesmerising gem of powerful psych-rock that layers an industrial sheen over it’s pummelling hypnotic heart.

 

96 Cool Ghouls – CCR Bootleg

 

A boisterous, jerky slice of indie that rambles along with an unshakeable airy confidence and a knowing nod to the great band’s chooglin’ style.

 

95 Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

 

Channelling their inner Talking Heads, Wide Awake is a shout along anthem propelled on something akin to tropical percussion and a sparse, funky and naggingly insistent guitar refrain.

 

94 Yak – White Male Carnivore

 

A welcome return from the noisenik trio. White Male Carnivore is what, in the old days, we’d have called a rip-snorter. Crunchy, muscular and prone to an odd left turn (those weird backing vocals, the wry nod to American spirituals), the song careers along moving everything out of its path with sheer force of will.

 

93 Sunflowers – Sleepy Sun

 

A mutating slab of space rock – all slurred riffs and acid-bleached vocals. Just as likely to be a nightmare as a dream depending on your drug of choice…

 

92 Strange Cages – Hypothalmus Blues

 

Brighton’s Strange Cages are purveyors of a snotty, psych-surf rock ‘n’ roll sound in the vein of The Cramps or Ty Segall. The wonderfully titled Hypothalamus Blues combines elements of krautrock and post-punk with a paranoid, schizophrenic vocal.

 

91 Sleep Eaters – Ghost On Fire

 

Just over two minutes of cacophonous, fuzzed out, desert, cowboy garage-rock, that sounds like a feral cross between The Black Lips, The Stooges and the Screaming Blue Messiahs – imagine all three dropped into a sun-baked, spaghetti western playing to a whiskey bar full of gunslingers on speed.

 

90 Ron Gallo – Really Nice Guys

 

Taking aim squarely at the music industry and those bands who are “better people than musicians“, Ron Gallo’s blackly acerbic wit is filtered directly through the prism of 60s garage rock and fuzzy psychedelia.

 

89 Nest Egg – Denied Doctrine

 

A three-piece from Asheville, North Carolina who describe their head-heavy and kosmische psych-rock wig-outs as ‘mood music for nihilists’. Denied Doctrine is a mind scrambling swirl of malevolent, chugging guitars and hypnotic reverb.

 

88 Mothers – Pink

 

Pink grips like a vice and over seven taut, potent minutes of nervy, hypnotic, krautrock it builds layer upon layer of bewitching intensity that never lets up.

 

87 Lonely Parade – I’m So Tired

 

A mix of wiry post-punk and buzzsaw guitars – disaffected dissonance never sounded so good!

 

86 Crepes – Bicycle Man

 

Infectious indie-pop par excellence. A groovy bass-line and hooks sharp enough to burrow deep under the skin.

 

85 American Pets – Forgetting

 

Taking inspiration from the likes of The Velvet Underground, Wilco, Tom Petty, and Serge Gainsbourg, LA based indie band American Pets’ Forgetting is a quietly strummed mix of bleak suburban nostalgia and nightmare.

 

84 Wharves – High School Hero

 

The naggingly, groove infused High School Hero sounds like a weird mash up of glam-rock era Bowie, Devo, Nick Cave, The Clash’s Magnificent Seven and Tom Tom Club’s Wordy Rappinghood. Even more weirdly it works… brilliantly.

 

83 Lord Huron – Ancient Names (Part II)

 

Lord Huron are not particularly known for their garage rock credentials, but Ancient Names (Part II) bursts out the blocks with a heavy, distorted sense of urgency proclaiming “gone are the days of laughter and love“, and over the course of two short minutes conveys a darkness of heart and soul that is epitome of resigned despair and hopelessness.

 

82 Thurston Moore – Mx Liberty

 

A typically corrosive broadside at the “mockery of democracy” that currently prevails in the USA. Thurston Moore’s brings his trademark barbed guitar squall and brutal, bruising percussion to the table and wins the argument. Hands down.

 

81 Flasher – Skim Milk

 

Crisp, exhilarating guitar riffs matched to a melodic ease and with some enjoyably rowdy call and response vocals, Skim Milk is a gem of sharp, precise indie rock.

 

80 LICE – The Human Parasite

 

Lyrically obtuse, melodically caustic and revelling in ugly, uncomfortable home truths, LICE’s debut single was a scratchy, skronky, instant classic. “All humans carry, through their daily lives / A compulsion to torture and destroy / Be not afeared of your impulse to despise / Your neighbour just because they have an accent you dislike.

 

79 The Men – Maybe I’m Crazy

 

A wired, pulsating, synth-driven rocker complete with wonky sax at the end. Play loud.

 

78 Phosphorescent – Around The Horn

 

The centrepiece of latest album C’est La Vie, on Around the Horn Phosphorescent calls the shimmering motorik of the War on Drugs and then raises it with an eight minute mini masterpiece of swelling, throbbing country-psych.

 

77 Gong Gong Gong – Siren 追逐劇

 

Desert psych anyone? South-east Asian freakout? Chinese blues? All this and more is thrown into the melting pot and stirred to a magnificent, galloping frenzy.

 

76 Phobophobes – Where Is My Owner?

 

The low rumble of menacing, dirty sleaze – a fetid, swampy stomp set atop twinkling drums and sweet organ flourishes. Over it all is the sardonic refrain of “Where is my owner? I thought that I came with one”

 

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Welcome to numbers 120 through to 101 of our favourite tunes of the past ten years…

120 Black Mountain – Let Spirits Ride (2010)

Who cares if the riff is nicked from another song, or if it sounds like 1972. I don’t when it as good as this. Pure riffola magic.

 

119 Faith Healer – No Car (2015)

 

Kicking up a meaty riff from the outset and telling the tale of an abusive ex-lover, the impact of No Car is unstoppable – a powerhouse of a tune

 

118 Car Seat Headrest – (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)(2016)

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. The closest thing to a modern day Leonard Cohen that we have heard and simply can’t praise him more highly than that. Sheer genius.

 

117 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand (2016)

 

Starts like the Butthole Surfers and then gets better. Pure bristling, raw, visceral, fuck-you rock’n’roll.

 

116 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter (2016)

 

Irrepressibly hazy psych rock where lurking amidst a jovial, almost childish rhythm is something nightmarish revealed through harsh, distorted guitar riffs.

 

115 Soft Black – Time gets Away And Has Its Way With You (2009)

 

Ah, that gentle rhythm and those sweet harmonies. Simply gorgeous meandering, psych inflected indie rock.

 

114 The Tallest Man On Earth – Leading Me Now (2o12)

Fast paced, catchy and, dare we say, light-hearted, finger picked folk with a unique melody and those wonderful scratchy vocals.

 

113 Creepoid – Grave Blanket (2011)

 

Rattling psych-rock, all creeping reverb laden malevolence.

 

112 Wooden Wand & The World War IV – I Hate The Nightlife (2013)

 

Bleak psych-country with Crazy Horse era guitars soundtracking the grimy fuzz of a regular, always hungover, road trip.

 

111 Lord Huron – Time To Run (2012)

An epic Western of a tune: a story song with a foot-tapping rhythm that mimics the flight of yer man and a great mid point when the bells of doom literally ring for our outlaw friend on the run.

 

110 This Is The Kit – Silver John (2015)

 

Spine tingling, mysterious and poetically reflecting on nothing less than the impending end of the world.

 

109 Nathaniel Rateliff – Brakeman (2010)

Folk lullaby dripping with regret and despair.

 

108 Grass House – A Cradle A Short Breath (2011)

In a conscious effort to avoid being type-cast in a dark or brooding vein, the song hints at the lighter side of the London group’s repertoire. Even so, it is still menacing enough to send most other indie bands screaming to their mummies.

 

107 Royal Sea – This Summer (2012)

 

Opens with a spectacularly catchy drum beat before the vocals come in like a rush of sugar coated adrenalin, plaintively announcing: “We crashed everybody’s parties / we drank cheap wine and whiskey / We partied up on the rooftops / I’m glad it was just you and me”. This should have been the woozy, feel good hit of the summer of 2012.

 

106 Delta Spirit – Trashcan (2008)

Clicking percussion gives way to a frantic rhythm and battle-cry vocals – a marvel of infectious folk rock.

 

105 John Grant – I Wanna Go To Marz (2010)

Grant’s effortlessly rich, expansive baritone, couched in a typically heartbreaking, lush melody courtesy of Midlake’s familar 1970s soft-rock style.

 

104 Alt J – Left Hand Free (2014)

Twangy indie rock with a shuffling beat, a quirky chorus and some bluesy undertones.

 

103 Moonlandingz – Vessels (2017)

 

A perfect blend of sleazy glam rock riffs and twisted lyrics – as delightfully grubby as it gets.

 

102 Sonny + The Sandwitches – Through The Fog And The Haze (2010)

 

Inspired by a near-drowning, Through The Fog And The Haze is perfectly observed, elegant folk filled with briny, aquatic imagery.

 

101 The Cave Singers – Gifts And The Raft (2011)

Pete Quirk’s rustic rasp set to some classic backwoods acoustic charm.

 

Check out tracks 200-181, 180-161, 160-141, and 141-120.

  1. Wooden Shjips – Staring At The Sun
  2. Kevin Morby & Waxahatchee – Farewell Transmission  (Songs: Ohia cover)
  3. Cool Ghouls – CCR Bootleg
  4. Gun Outfit – Life Of Ease
  5. Loma – Joy
  6. Lord Huron – Ancient Names (Part 1)
  7. Oneida – All In Due Time
  8. Mind Spiders – Shock And Repeat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs Mackerel's TFI Friday (1 Jan 2015)

Yo, swimmers. It’s been a while. Still, it’s a brand new year; time to leave the sadness, disappointments and malaise of 2015 behind.

It’s funny, in the course of writing this short paragraph I decided to revisit the music I was listening to when I last wrote TFI. Weird. Music is a peculiar and very personal punctuation mark for life’s events, don’t you think?

Last year, after a particularly spiky observation I made about the quality of music at some event or gathering, someone asked me what exactly would make me get up and dance. Clearly the music was shite in this particular instance and – obviously in some attempt to minimise offence – I replied that I think we all have a frequency, a rhythm that fits, draws us in, gets that foot a-tapping, those fins a-wiggling. But as we all know, there really is no accounting for taste or a complete lack of imagination or curiosity…

Here’s one that has me up and dancing with my usual partner, kitchen wall (strong, solid, silent type). As MM (who doesn’t dance, ever) will testify, I’m never happier than when dancing barefoot, in a corner, with my back to the world, after a couple of shandies.

It’s 2016 calling; let’s start anew.

 

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 BEST OF 2015

Here we go then, our final countdown of our favourite tracks of 2015, with no fewer than three artists managing two entries in the top 25 this year! And don’t forget you can see the other 75 choices here (100-75), here (75-51) and here (50-26).

Enjoy.

25 Ghostpoet – Off Peak Dreams

 

24 Tracy Thorn – Goodbye Joe (2015 re-issue)

 

23 Calexico – Follow The River

 

22 Decemberists – Make You Better

 

21 Mikal Cronin – iv) Ready

 

20 Sleaford Mods – Tarantula Deadly Cargo

 

19 Ezra Furman – Haunted Head

 

18 Slaves – Feed The Manta Ray

 

17 Man Of Moon – The Road

 

16 Dan Mangan + Blacksmith – Mouthpiece

 

15 Free Weed – Later

 

14 Spray Paint – Day Of The Rope

 

13 Lord Huron – Hurricane (Johnnie’s Theme)

 

12 Low – What Part Of Me

 

11 Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best

 

10 Protomartyr – Pontiac 87

 

9 Spray Paint – Signal Master

 

8 This Is The Kit – Silver John

 

7 Decemberists – Carolina Low

 

6 Traams – Succulent Thunder Anthem

 

5 Girl Band – Pears For Lunch

 

4 Houndmouth – Sedona

 

3 Protomartyr – Why Does It Shake

 

2 Quiet Hollers – Cote D’Azur

 

1 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin

 

MM BEST OF 2015

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

Desaperecidos

 

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

torres

 

23 Wavves – V

wavves

 

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

traams

 

16 Wilco – Star Wars

wilco

 

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.

Austin SXSW Day 2

Yesterday was not a great day.

It is the little things sometimes.

Things like when you wake up and realise that despite knowing I was away for 10 days in total, I had only bought clothes for 8 (except t-shirts which bizarrely could last me for 13) and the suncream tube is actually some kind of foaming face wash. Or all the eggs have gone at breakfast meaning as a non-meat eater the sausages and bacon are not great substitutes. And then some crappy news from work, and by the time all is sorted I am rushing for the bus with just enough time to get downtown to see Savages at the Brooklyn Vegan day party except the bus pulls into a stop and then just stops. For five, then ten, then fifteen minutes. And by the time it starts again and enters the slow crawl of traffic heading into the heart of the city there is no chance of getting there on time.

Akron Family

So I head for the Filter day party at the Clive Bar and do get there in time for The Guards who offer an energetic if somewhat formulaic take on muscular big-on-choruses-indie-rock. I manoeuvre my way to the front for the Akron Family who, despite starting late, good naturedly indulge in some of the loudest psych-folk freakout jams I have ever heard. They could have played twelve songs or two, but however many it was I enjoyed it. It is packed now for the party headliners Lord Huron, but they, or rather the sound guys, cannot get things set up properly. They hear one mic but not another, then no drums, then drums but no bass. It goes on and on and even the party going crowd start to get a bit fidgety in the sun. Eventually they start 35 minutes late and offer a tropically breezy set of folk that sounds at times uncomfortably close to Vampire Weekend for these ears. There is an absolutely majestic Time To Run which gets the crowd going, but the rest is a little bit of a disappointment. And of course they have to cut the set short because of the late start.

I head back into the mayhem of Sixth Street and the start of the evening showcases. Compared with my last visit in 2009, it seems twice as busy, twice as packed, twice as intense. My plan had been to aim for one of the two big hitting events, Nick Cave at Stubbs or Japandroids and Iggy Pop at Mohawk. They’re close to each other so it seemed reasonable to see which was easiest to get into. Being late from the Clive Bar meant the Stubbs line stretched at least a block and a half just for the wristband holders so on I went to the Mohawk. I found the back of the line, but that was for badge holders only, a nice SXSW volunteer cheerfully pointed me towards the wristband line…it writhed like a snake for what seemed miles. Pointless queuing.

Lord Huron

Plan B, head for Red 7 and see Blessed Feathers, surely that will be easier. But in complete contrast to my last visit, every single venue I pass en-route has enormous queues. I join the Red 7 queue and half an hour later I am in at the Patio Bar with a beer and waiting for the band. They come on. They are from Wisconsin and probably look like it; Donivan Berube’s garb makes him look wonderfully like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. A partnership duo playing guitar and banjo they charm and delight for 25 minutes against the backdrop of chatter and the band next door with Hey All You Floridians and the wonderful Stinging Nettle, Honeysuckle particular stand outs.

A SXSW photographer tells me the queue is now even longer outside and they are at capacity inside, and it is much the same everywhere else. I abandon plans to try and go and see Murder By Death, Lily Hiatt or Salesman and decide to stay put to see up and coming English buzz band Peace.

I am glad I did. They come on stage, painfully skinny and good looking, a study in affected insouciance, and in attire that looks like a cross between Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s Child Catcher, Alice In Wonderland and Richmal Compton’s Just William. Then they plug in and play a set of outstanding psychedelic indie rock that completely and utterly wins the crowd over and in California Daze and especially ten minute epic 1998 (Delicious) have songs that are destined to live long in the memory. For Peace the buzz is justified.

Outside it is busier than ever. The queues for the Black Angels at Buffalo Billiards and Phosphorescent at the Hype Hotel are ridiculous. I decide to call it quits and catch the last bus back towards my Interstate hotel and ask the driver to let me know when we get to my stop on Saint Elmo Road. “Sure” he says, so I am surprised a while later to see the bus fly past it without stopping. I ask him, he looks at me blankly and I get off at the next stop and start the walk back.

It is dark and no-one is around. A car stops. A police car. Politely they ask if I am OK, and slightly less politely, to see my ID. I show them my passport and they are satisfied. I explain I missed my stop and am walking back to the hotel. The policeman shakes his head, “bad luck sir” he says.

To finish off our favourites of the year, here are numbers thirty to sixteen of the albums we have most enjoyed in 2012.

Don’t forget to check back for our 100 Favourite Tunes and the MM contributor’s best of lists too.

Joe Pug GD

30 Joe Pug – The Great Despiser

a

dcw

29 David Cronenberg’s Wife – Don’t Wait To Be Hunted To Hide

a

boh mirage rock

28 Band Of Horses – Mirage Rock

a

lord huron ld

27 Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams

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jbm stray ashes

26 JBM – Stray Ashes

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mama rosin bbb

25 Mama Rosin – Bye Bye Bayou

a

red river dialect awell

24 Red River Dialect – Awellupontheway

a

damon moon lungs

23 Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams

Download Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams mp3 (from Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams)

Download Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Loose Ends mp3 (from Lungs, Dirt, & Dreams)

diamond rugs

22 Diamond Rugs – Diamond Rugs

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gravenhurst gid

21 Gravenhurst – The Ghost In Daylight

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daughn gibson ah

20 Daughn Gibson – All Hell

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wof thirst

19 Waves Of Fury – Thirst

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felice bros gbya

18 The Felice Brothers – God Bless You Amigo

Download The Felice Brothers – Lincoln Continental mp3 (from God Bless You Amigo)

bjh ytcn

17 Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – Yours Truly Cellophane Nose

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simone felice album

16 Simone Felice – Simone Felice

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tmoe tnln

15 The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

MM's Best of 2012 Part 4 40-21

Today we countdown songs 40-21 in the Mad Mackerel Favourite 100 tunes of the year. You can check out the previous days entries here: 100-81, 80-61, 60-41.

40 ALABAMA SHAKES – HOLD ON
Almost a head-banger done country style, love the underlying guitar rhythm. (SB)

a

39 LOWER DENS – BRAINS
When I picked this song out in June I said it was like a child pulling at your sleeve after it’s seen the ice cream van. Incessant and under no circumstance will it be ignored. There is also a sense of chaos, which I always find agreeable – a feeling it‘s not entirely sure where it’s going but doesn’t actually care too much. A stalwart of the year’s playlists for me and still listened to as often as it was six months ago. Can’t give it a bigger tribute really. (CP)

a

38 PATTERSON HOOD – 12.01
Great story song about a guy going across the border to buy liqor instead of going home to his empty shell of a relationship. The tune picked out on the guitar and the drums have that metronomic sound that reminds me of being in a car late at night with no music, say, around “12:01, The rain and the wipers play a spooky song”. The cello sounds like other vehicles morbidly passing, heading to where you have come from, or maybe where you should be heading? (DR)

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37 TUNNG – JENNY AGAIN (BBC SESSION)
Released from 2012’s BBC Sessions, this murder ballad is set to a really jaunty, cheerful tune and sees the deceased telling us about how he was stabbed and left to die whilst his girlfriend (the lovely Jenny) buggers off with the fella who killed him. He goes on to tell about how his Jenny and the murderous ‘other man’ go on to live perfectly normal lives whilst keeping their secret. I love the fact that Tunng have crafted a really sad story around a cheerful, jog-along tune. (BSF)

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36 FIRST AID KIT – BLUE
So beautiful and so sad. Its about a girl whose only love dies in an RTA when he’s twenty-two and from that moment on she decides not to love anyone else. Yep, its another feel-good corker! (BSF)

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35 WAKE UP LUCID – FEEL IT
Loud, brash and all the better for it. Considering my changing (or is that evolving…) taste in music it genuinely fills me with joy that I still love a proper hard as nails guitar frenzy. The feedback is utterly magnificent, as is the drawled out vocals snarling over the fuzz. Sort of song I would listen to before I had to have a fight. (CP)

Download Wake Up Lucid – Feel It mp3 (from Feel It)

34 WE ARE AUGUSTINES – BALLAD OF A PATIENT MAN
This song was my live gig moment of the year, amongst many great gigs. Fantastic guitar wig out and drummy bit in the middle, sung with the emotional intensity that’s trademark Billy McCarthy. Awesome song, bloody awesome band. (Mrs M)

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33 GRAVENHURST – THE FOUNDRY

The Foundry is played out over a backdrop of acoustics so profoundly beautiful that the sourness of the lyrics pack an even greater punch. “And you won’t know when evil comes, evil looks just like anyone, and I blame, I blame, I blame anyone but me“. Like having your first French kiss and finding your tongue’s been bitten off.  (MM)

Like a modern-day story from The Brothers Grimm, the whole song carries with it a threat and a sense of foreboding. I think the meaning might lie in the rise of Nazi Germany and how ordinary people can get swept up in a rising tide of violence and persecution. That’s my interpretation but I’ve been known to be wrong. Anyway, have a listen and heed the message well. Just in case you had it in mind to burn some books and persecute some unfortunate section of our society. (BSF)

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32 HOUNDMOUTH – PENITENTIARY
An old fashioned, whiskey drinking, tobacco chewing kind of a song and its a song sung well. (PP)

Such a great intro to this song. The melody picked out on the guitar and a Hammond organ providing the chords that pull you into this tale of a man who much like Fletcher from Porridge “Accepts arrest as a occupational hazard”. Throughout what is not to beezer a time, the song never once turns melancholy, if anything it rouses the spirit with its beautiful harmonies and soporific melody. A sort of Country, I Fought The Law?  (DR)

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Download from Rough Trade for free here.

31 TWO GALLANTS – BROKEN EYES
“Hey there girl with the broken eyes”, this startling imagery starts Two Gallants most nostalgic song on The Bloom And The Blight. Poignant without ever being cloying, it is a perfectly judged slice of wistful Americana. (MM)

Download Two Gallants – Broken Eyes mp3

30 JAKE BUGG – LIGHTNING BOLT
Awesomely twangy guitar and a Sun-era rockabilly rhythm. The ghost of Johnny Cash is alive and well and comes from Nottingham. (MS)

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29 FATHER JOHN MISTY – WRITING A NOVEL
Carried along on a jaunty, rolling rhythm and spewing forth a lyrical stream of consciousness that borders on genius, and contains one of the years simplest and best lines, “I”m writing a novel, because its never been done before”. (MM)

Download Father John Misty – Writing A Novel mp3

28 BAND IN HEAVEN – SLEAZY DREAMS
I am a 50p head when it comes to musical tastes: I like to mix it up big time. Heavy, bassy, pounding rhythm, wall of guitar noise, this is my (kitchen) dance floor number of 2012. Rock on. (Mrs M)

Download Band In Heaven – Sleazy Dreams mp3

27 ALT-J – TARO
It was a hard to know which track to pick from (in my humble opinion) the album of the year, An Awesome Wave. In any given situation this song always sounds perfect. I understand none of it but love all of it, particularly the instrumental twiddly middle which always takes me to far away lands, even when stuck on the M4. This song, like much of the album creates something brilliant. (PP)

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26 KING CHARLES – LOVE LUST
This great indie-pop song always has me dancing. I love the lyrics and the fizzing, funky beat it has going on. My favourite song off one of my favourite albums of 2012. (MS)

Download King Charles – Love Lust mp3

25 MONUMENT VALLEY – THE VERY FIRST ALARM
I adore the hopeless feel to this song. I could write endlessly about my love for this song but honestly It’s simplicity, beauty, deftness of lyric and the mesmerizing sound of Ned Youngers voice that coats the lyrics of this bitter song with a sweet syprupy glaze (for the Masterchef fans out there), that keeps pulling me back to it over and over again. (DR)

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24 STRAND OF OAKS – TRAP DOOR
I’ve fallen through the Trap Door that Tim Showelter sings about many, many times. I’m getting home late again, been looking for old friends, been looking for anything… He obviously has too. It builds to a fabulous vocal performance leaving me a bit spellbound every time I hear it. The repeated cries of ‘giving it all away’ at the end can find me with eyes screwed tightly shut while mouthing along in a ‘we’re brothers in arms’ kind of way! And that’s when I’m sober!  (CP)

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23 THE WALKMEN – SONG FOR LEIGH
The phrase chiming guitars was invented for this song. And boy do they chime, setting a hypnotic pace to the song before the pleading, soaring, chorus threatens “I’ll sing myself sick, sing myself sick, sing myself sick about you”. I hope its enough. (MM)

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22 LORD HURON – TIME TO RUN
An epic Western of a tune: a story song with a foot-tapping rhythm that mimics the flight of yer man and a great mid point when the bells of doom literally ring for our outlaw friend on the run. He did it all for love, silly boy, ‘cause when they catch him, he’s toast. (Mrs M)

Download Lord Huron – Time To Run mp3

21 BETH JEANS HOUGHTON – LILLIPUT
A storming phantasmagoria of a song, guided by the soaring vocals of BJH, a sweeping string arrangement and a drumming tattoo of percussion. When I grow up I want to be just like Beth Jeans Houghton. Lili put your hands in mine and let’s dance: hoof power rules. (Mrs M)

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Check back tomorrow for the final countdown (as Europe might say). The favourite twenty songs of the year according to the MM contributors – Mrs Mackerel (Mrs M), Chris T Popper (CP), Barry-Sean (BSF), Polly Pocket (PP), Dr Roddy (DR), Starbie (SB) Middle Sprat (MS) and Toy Steve (TS).