Posts Tagged ‘Low’

Christmas Is Coming…Here Are Low

Posted: December 1, 2016 in Music
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It is December, which means (decent) seasonal and festive songs are now fair game!

So, to kick us off we have a new Christmas offering from Low, a band with an unparalleled pedigree when it comes to releasing seasonal aural delights. Their eight-song 1999 EP Christmas is one of best Christmas records ever.

To coincide with the start of their UK & Ireland tour – on which they’re set to play tracks from the above mentioned EP – the Duluth trio present a brand new festive recording. Some Hearts (at Christmas Time) finds Mimi Parker’s lead vocal soaring above Alan Sparhawk’s own artfully processed vocal and plaintive guitar motif.

The song comes with a short message from the band: “To friends who have moved away and friends who have passed on this year. To one and all, especially those who are alone, we wish you a Merry Christmas and new hope for the new year. May we all find ways to lift each other. With love, Mimi, Alan and Steve.

Stream it below. Tour dates too – though most are already sold out!

 

01 December – Norwich – Arts Centre (SOLD OUT)
02 December – Buxton – Opera House
03 December – Brighton – St. Georges (SOLD OUT)
05 December – London – Union Chapel (SOLD OUT)
06 December – London – Union Chapel (SOLD OUT)
07 December – Bristol – St. Georges (SOLD OUT)
08 December – Salford – Eagle Inn* (SOLD OUT)
09 December – Halifax – Minster (SOLD OUT)
10 December – Glasgow – St. Lukes Church (SOLD OUT)
12 December – Belfast – Empire
13 December – Dublin – Christchurch (SOLD OUT)
14 December – Kilkenny – Set Theatre

 

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).

MM Best of 2015 no guitarIt is a warm welcome back into the fold for Barry-Sean, and he kicks off our individual contributors personal favourites of the year.

Take it away maestro…

 

10. Slaves – The Hunter 

So, they’re not the most mature lyrics ever. In fact they make a lot of the old punk stuff I listened to as a teenager sound quite sophisticated. But there’s a rawness about Slaves that I really enjoy and who doesn’t love the sound of drums having the living daylights beaten out of them with some cold, hard axe-bashing as an accompaniment? Great track.

 

9. Curtin – I’m a Ghost

And from the loud, tortured sound of Slaves to the softly tortured and slightly menacing sound of this track. I couldn’t make up my mind if I liked it or not when I first head it, but it gradually grew on me and permeated the musical side of my brain.

 

8. Crocodiles – Crybaby Demon

Being a big fan of Echo and the Bunnymen, I’m probably biased towards Crocodiles but this track really does bring to mind the Mighty Macca and his band of not-so-merry men. I’m sure a lot of unkind music critics would call Crocodiles some sort of Bunnymen tribute band but who cares? This is a cracking tune.

 

7. Wave Pictures – I Could Hear the Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)

Another quirky tune from Wave Pictures that never fails to put a smile on my face. It all just sounds a bit daft really but I love these witty little story-ettes. They remind me a lot of 80s bards, The Brilliant Corners, but brought bang-up-to-date. Catchy as you like …

 

6.  Fat White Family – Whitest Boy on the Beach

For some reason, I really enjoy listening to The Fat White Family but always walk away feeling a bit guilty and like I’ll never be clean again. I came across this track late in the year and get the very same feeling with it. Deliciously grimy and sleazy. Top work chaps!

 

5. Modest Mouse – Lampshades on Fire

Whilst Lampshades on Fire is one of my favourite tracks of 2015, it’s still nowhere near my favourite Modest Mouse song ever. That just shows how high they’ve set the bar. Another brilliant tune from a truly great band.

 

4. Low – Lies

Another dark and mellow tune from the band that brought us Plastic Cup. I really liked this track on first hearing and have since grown to love it since.

 

3. Houndmouth – Gasoline

I know most people would have opted for Sedona if they were to choose a Houndmouth song from this year. But I just love these vocals. I could listen to this song several times a day.

 

2. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)

It’s all about the vocals again isn’t it. I’ve deliberately not looked up the lyrics or listened to them too hard for fear of ruining the Father John Misty singing experience. This song is a bit of a drift away for me.

 

1. Courtney Barnett – Elevator Operator

So I’m sat in a café, or a bar or walking along and this girl is telling me a story. And that’s pretty much how I listen to Courtney Barnett songs. She’s got such a conversational, easy going voice and such detailed lyrics (that’s detailed about the small things like vegemite crumbs) that the story Ms Barnett sings is really convincing. She brings a character in a song to life and makes me want to carry on listening. This, and indeed Courtney Barnett, won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But I’d be happy to listen to one of her stories over a cup of tea. Top song!

 

You can see our 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

Here are our favourite albums of 2015.

15 Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle

Julien Baker

 

14 Joe Ely – Panhandle Rambler

joe ely

 

13 Low – Ones And Sixes

LOW_OnesSixes_cover

 

12 James McMurtry – Complicated Game

james mcmurtry

 

11 Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

titus andronicus

 

10 Quiet Hollers – Quiet Hollers

quiet hollers

 

9 Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie

girl band

 

8 Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion

ezra furman

 

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

decemberists

 

6 Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Goin Down…

kurt vile

 

5 Slaves – Are You Satisfied

slaves

 

4 Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts – Manhattan

Jeffrey Lewis

 

3 Houndmouth – Little Neon Limelight

houndmouth

 

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

courtney barnett

 

1 Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

protomartyr

 

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

A day late, but surely none the worse for all that, our collection of some of the best tracks from last week.

  1. Low – Lies
  2. The Mantles – Doorframe
  3. Laura Stevenson – Torch Song
  4. Lanterns On The Lake – Faultiness
  5. Heaters – Gum Drop
  6. Nai Harvest – Ain’t That Enough (Teenage Fanclub cover)
  7. Alien Hand Syndrome – Something In The Way (Nirvana cover)
  8. Moses Sumney – Pleas

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Three of our favourite bands have, by happy coincidence, all offered up new tracks so we thought we’d stick them altogether in one neat package for you.

First up are indie legends and slowcore stalwarts Low with another excellent tune from their forthcoming album Ones and Sixes, which is out in September. What Part Of Me, is a beauty of sparse harmonies and slightly fuzzy melody (see UK tour dates below).

Next, Coke Weed has announced the release of its fourth album, Mary Weaver, due out October 9th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. The album features interweaving guitars, grooving rhythms, and smooth, haunting vocals, all while exploring dark themes of romantic and chemical alienation. Incorporating elements of Bolan’s boogie, the kraut/R&B hybrids of Bowie’s Station to Station, and the desperate romanticism of Roxy Music and Iggy Pop, for a first taste of the record, you can stream the lead single Dead Man Walking.

Finally, post punk trio TRAAMS have announced their return later this year with their second album, Modern Dancing, the follow up to their superb 2013 debut Grin. The first offering from the LP, due out 13th November through FatCat Records, is the wonderfully named Succulent Thunder Anthem.

Stream all three below.

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Low Live Dates

04-06 September – End Of The Road Festival, Wiltshire
04-06 September – Electric Picnic Festival, Stradbally (Ireland)
07 October – Cathedral, Manchester
08 October – Art School, Glasgow
10 October – Roundhouse, London

This week we have the welcome return of Low amongst our weekly round up of new tunes, as well as top notch tracks from White Reaper, Beach Baby, Sianna Plavin and no less than three covers too…

Dig in!

1. Low – No Comprende
2. Delta Spirit – (Cream cover)
3. Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) (Talking Heads cover)
4. Beach Baby – U R
5. Sianna Plavin – Cruel
6. White Reaper – Pills
7. Drenge – Bad Blood (Taylor Swift cover)
8. Ouch My Face – Creep Heart

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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

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19. Cate Le Bon – He’s Leaving

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18. Mark Lanegan Band – Sad Lover

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17. The Districts – Funeral Beds

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16. Simone Felice – Running Through My Head

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15. Wytches – Burn Out the Bruise

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14. Matt Kivel – Insignificance

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13. Smashing Pumpkins – Being Beige

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12. Water Liars – Swannanoa

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11. Shovels & Rope – Evil

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?’

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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.

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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.’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Best Covers:

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

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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.

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And hello, hello; look who’s back…

Laura Marling – Short Movie

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Happy New Year, fishy friends.

1. Shovels & Rope – Evil
2. Girl Band – De Bom Bom
3. Tweak Bird – Peace Walker
4. Teleman – Skeleton Dance
5. Low – I’m On Fire

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