Posts Tagged ‘Magnetic Fields’

We’re celebrating ten years of MM. Today we’ve reached the top 50 of our favourite songs of the past decade.

50 Discount Guns – I Heard (2012)

 

Ass kicking blend of blues rock and country and western with big riffs, plenty of fuzz and loads of reverb. Like the Black Keys with balls.

 

49 Thee Oh Sees – Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster (2013)

 

A bass line and guitar riff that are simple genius, massively addictive and unwavering in ferocity as the song crescendos during the chorus. It was the one song that year that whenever anyone heard it for the first time they sat there quietly, and then at the end, would say without fail “That was awesome, Who was that?

 

48 Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – Lilliput (2011)

 

Experimental freak-folk, pop song writing, and a slyly humorous outlook all combine in a stunning fashion. Lilliput’s gentle opening soon gives way to cantering drums, gilded strings and some marvellously versatile falsetto vocals.

 

47 Parquet Courts – Stoned And Starving (2012)

 

Two irresistibly hypnotic chords carry a song of deadpan delivery, like Wire doing slacker rock (which obviously would be a very good thing indeed).

 

46 Blitzen Trapper – The Man Who Would Speak True (2010)

Like a companion piece to Black River Killer (still to come folks, still to come), a surreal, dark fairytale with tumbling rhymes over minimal percussion and a splash of lovely harmonica and always remember “You better guard your tongue like your enemy

 

45 Water Liars – Linens (2013)

 

Gorgeous heartbroken country ballad, “And what I would give to be quiet beside you / with the window open, a record playing low / to feel your skin between the clean bed linens / inside a room where sadness never goes”

 

44 Port O’Brien – My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) (2010)

Amongst other things Port O’Brien were a fabulous covers band. This is the sweetest Ramones cover ever.

 

43 Felice Brothers – Fire At The Pageant (2011)

Voodoo, zombies, sinister nursery rhyme chants, classic Felice Brothers lyrics and a woozy, old-timey, back porch rhythm means this song should have been an utter mess. That it was the complete opposite stands tribute to this bunch of ramshackle mavericks of increasingly experimental Americana.

 

42 The Decemberists – June Hymn (2011)

June Hymn crafts pastoral and emotional imaginery into exquisite, literate, and ultimately hopeful indie rock.

 

41 Magnetic Fields – Drive On Driver (2008)

A serpentine melody couched in woozy, soft-focus feedback. The ultimate distorted road trip.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-61 and 60-51.

Here is Part 2 of our countdown of our favourite songs from the past ten years…

180 Strand Of Oaks – Alex Kona (2010)

“Alex Kona was twelve feet tall, his mother got killed by a bowling ball”. What else is there?

 

179 Port O’Brien – My Will Is Good (2009)

 

Rhythmic and punchy folk-rock, but with a hook most pop songs would die for.

 

178 Savages – Husbands (2013)

 

A stealthy, thrumming motorik bassline anchors a dark post punk nightmare. As intense as they come…

 

177 Old NobaddaddyGun Is Coming (2016)

 

Swampy blues built on a stomping revivalist rhythm that leans towards the dark side. This is brooding, gospel-noir of the highest order.

 

176 Spray Paint Cussin’ (2014)

 

A relentlessly ominous, intense slab of brooding punk rock. Terrifying in a totally good way.

 

175 The Magnetic FieldsToo Drunk To Dream (2008)

Sober life is a prison / Shit faced it is a blessing / Sober nobody wants you / Shit faced they’re all undressing / Sober you’re old and ugly / Shit faced who needs a mirror The best drinking song of the past ten years? Probably.

 

174 FoxygenNo Destruction (2013)

 

We may have lost Lou Reed, but his spirit lives on in No Destruction, a naturally laconic pretender to his throne, and this song has the best use of “weaseled” in any song we’ve heard

 

173 My People Sleeping – Seahorse (2008)

 

A  hypnotic and sorrowful journey into dream pop with flowery psychedelic overtones and an absolute ear-worm of a chorus.

 

172 Real Estate – Fake Blues (2009)

 

A bit surf-rock, a bit pastoral psych, but really this is a gem of a twisted country tune smothered in a melancholy haze of gentle reverb.

 

171 Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear (2011)

 

Anthemic, swaggering blues boogie at its fiery best.

 

170 Fontaines DC – Chequeless Reckless (2018)

Chequeless Reckless is built on a beefy,  hypnotic, kraut-rock infused cyclical riff and some scalpel sharp lyrics. Play really loud.

 

169 Ezra Furman – Restless Year (2015)

 

A wonderful slab of feelgood indie rock, doo-wop refrains and bristling, unrestrained energy.

 

168 Blessed Feathers – Real Song For Emily (2013)

 

Stunning folk song with fierce harmonies and a tense, urgent feel. Despite being only two and a half minutes long, the song’s plaintive coda has a bitter air of finality. “Nowhere to look at that horizon, I can’t help, but feel nothing”

 

167 together PANGEA – Money On It (2017)

 

Borrows some surf-rock vibes and not a little guitar jangle to fashion a strutting, intense rocker.

 

166 William Elliott Whitmore – Old Devils (2009)

 

Foot-tapping, frenzied social commentary, with a strangely prophetic feel

 

165 The Obits – Two Headed Coin (2009)

 

Simply wonderful sleazy, rockabilly rumble. Should lurk in the shadows with a greasy quiff and a flick-knife.

 

164 Vic Chesnutt – Little Fucker (2008)

No one does vindictive, savage, and just plain nasty with such confidence and certainty. Bullseye.

 

163 The Walkmen – Heartbreaker (2012)

 

An initial riff wound so tight it might snap morphs into a mid-tempo jangle of light-touch guitars and jubilant percussion.

 

162 Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Janglin (2009)

 

A horn-driven, totally infectious tune that is utterly without peer for indie-pop charm.

 

 161 Houndmouth – Penitentiary (2013)

 

Lyrically and vocally perfect, Houndmouth’s debut single is a classic down-on-my-luck tale matched to a rootsy persuasive groove. Nigh on perfect Americana.

 

You can see tracks 200-181 here.

Anti Valentine's Day mix

You know the score. MM is a blog that (musically) tends to favour the seedier side of life – murder ballads, heartbreak, despair, stories of the downtrodden, the down-on-their-luck, and the downhearted – you know the kind of things we mean. Ours is a world of lonely beer and whiskey chasers nursed in the back booths of dead-end bars, of crack-whores turning tricks in trailers while their children listen on from the next room, and of purposeless drifters stumbling broke, and broken, through dusty ghost-towns.

Its just the way we like it round these parts.

And frankly, given the last six months of luck that we’ve seen our nearest and dearest suffer, if Cupid were to shoot us with his arrow at the moment it would probably go through our eye and not our heart.

The point of this pointless preamble is to give Cupid the finger, and you the perfect dozen…of misery, sorrow and regret.

Be our guest, pour that whiskey and come wallow for a while.

Download John Prine – Sam Stone mp3MM's Anti Valentine Mix
“Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios”

Download Big Star – Holocaust mp3
“You’re a wasted face. You’re a sad-eyed lie. You’re a holocaust”

Download The Handsome Family – So Much Wine mp3
“But when you fell asleep with blood on your teeth, I got in my car and drove away.”

Download Smog – Your New Friend mp3
And in this chair tonight. I wouldn’t mind if I die. And left you to your new friend.”

Download The Magnetic Fields – 100,000 Fireflies mp3
You won’t be happy with me. But give me one more chance. You won’t be happy anyway”

Download The Smiths – I Know It’s Over mp3
“As I climb into an empty bed. Oh, well, enough said.”MM's Anti Valentine Mix

Download The Pernice Brothers – Chicken Wire mp3
And all the walls will fade to black. Could she be thinking of another?”

Download Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Death To Everyone mp3
Death to all, and death to each, our own God-bottle, s’within reach”

Download The Red House Painters – Katy Song mp3
“Quiet in the corner. Numb and falling through. Without you what does my life amount to?”

Download Jolie Holland – I Wanna Die mp3
Well, I wanna die. I don’t care how, I’m getting out. Down south Louisiana. And the lonesome highway sound.”

Download American Music Club – Blue And Grey Shirt mp3
I sat up all morning so why did you call? Cause now I just sing my songs. For people that are gone from now on”

Download Shellac – Prayer To God mp3
“Him – just fucking kill him, I don’t care if it hurts. Yes I do, I want it to, fucking kill him but first, make him cry like a woman”

MMs Anti valentine Mix

MM's Best of 2012 (100-81)

So the waiting is over, and here are the first twenty entries in our Top 100 of 2012, part of MM’s much expanded Best of the Year review. Over the next five days we will reveal our favourite songs and those of our contributors: Mrs Mackerel, Christy Popper, Barry-Sean, Dr Roddy, Polly Pocket, Middle Sprat, Starbie, and Toy Steve. These are not the most “popular” songs of the year, nor do they lay any subjective claim to being the “best”, but they are without doubt the favourites of all those who have written for MM one way or another this year.

So without further ado…

100 GRASSFIGHT – NASSAU
With shades of Interpol in the hypnotic, propulsive percussion, echoes of Dinosaur Jr in the swirling guitar, and a classic indie deep, monotone vocal, Nassau successfully ticks all the necessary boxes for a post-punk extravaganza.

Download Grassfight – Nassau mp3

99 FUTURE OF THE LEFT – CITY OF EXPLODED CHILDREN
Humming, hypnotic , menacing krautrock rumble over which Andy Falkous intones possibly the best opening lyric of the year:  “Chicken tikka bathsalts found at bus stops

(No stream or video available)

98 WELL HUNG HEART – DEVIL
Like the feral lovechild of Howling Wolf, Mick Jagger, Joan Jett and Suzi Quattro fronting a hybrid of Nirvana and the Black Keys. All in a good way. A very good way.

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97 FIELD REPORT – I AM NOT WAITING ANYMORE
Haunting, poignant and fragile first single that heralded a stunning debut album of more than five years in the making.

Download Field Report – I Am Not Waiting Anymore mp3

96 THE WAVE PICTURES – SEAGULLS
With an infectious guitar jangle and clever lyrics – reminiscent of classic 80s UK indie bands like The Brilliant Corners – this year The Wave Pictures finally became the UK’s answer to the brilliant Mountain Goats. (BSF)

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95 JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE – LOWER EAST SIDE
In the Spring of 2012 Justin Townes Earle released Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now. His best record to date, this song, tucked away in the middle of the album perfectly captured how it feels to be in a city of millions yet to be completely alone.

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94 BECK – I JUST STARTED HATING SOME PEOPLE TODAY
A track of three very distinctive parts. The first to the twang of country guitar and cowboy vocals telling us that he’s seen the light and that people really aren’t very nice at all. He hates them all. Then ears are suddenly assaulted by a volley of Jack White’s fury reminiscent of late 70s punk before finishing on smooth, jazzy notes as Karen Elson,with silky tones, lets a bloke called Randy know that he is “Sooooooooooo dead“. Insane but brilliant. (BSF)

(No stream or video available)

93 DAUGHN GIBSON – ALL HELL
Rarely can the opening “insane preacher monologue” approach been used as effectively as this. Yet 45 seconds of spittle-flecked insanity is taken far, far deeper into black, murky waters as over  a humming bassline and fragmented crackles and loops, Gibson’s unflinching baritone reminds us over and over again “its a long way down“.

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92 CALEXICO – FORTUNE TELLER
Gorgeous standout from the Algiers album with the ghostliest of vocals.

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91 THE MARK LANEGAN BAND – GRAY GOES BLACK
Gravel voiced soul-searching carried out over a motorik rhythm.

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90 THE MAGNETIC FIELDS – ANDREW IN DRAG
This song is really a bit of fun and it makes me smile every time I hear it. A guy turns up to see his mate, Andrew, dress up in drag. He does it on a whim for a laugh but ends up fancying him. An amusing story that bobs along with a catchy, but low-key tune. (BSF)

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89 BEN HOWARD – ESMERELDA
Murkier, darker waters abound for this highlight from this year’s Burgh Island EP. Howard’s lonely voice struggles to break free from a claustrophobic and ominous backdrop.

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88 SHOVELS & ROPE – BIRMINGHAM
Much like The Lumineers, Shovels & Rope deal in unashamed folk anthems whose harmonies effortlessly evoke good-time, back porch sing-a-longs amongst the fireflies and the moonshine.

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87 LAST AMERICAN BUFFALO – BREAK MY HEART
At the turn of the year, Last American Buffalo released a short series of free-to-download digital signals that were uniformly brilliant. The first of two entries in our Best Of listing, Break My Heart is exquisitely blended folk, blues and classic country rock with a bitter edge that spits and snarls its discontent with the world.

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86 FATHER JOHN MISTY – ONLY SON OF THE LADIESMAN
What a voice. This song is worth a listen just for Father John Misty’s delivery. It’s like bubble bath without the bathwater – a hymn to the dead ladies man. Try sitting back with a cup of coffee, closing your eyes and letting this track soothe away your mental aches and pains (BSF)

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85 S T E A K H O U S E – SPIDER BITE
Somehow crossing 70s krautrock with desert blues and a stoned rockabilly twang to create a mesmerising journey through a venom-induced surreal otherworld.

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84 THE LUMINEERS – HO-HEY
As winning a combination of catchy folk-stomp and hollered vocals as it is possible to imagine. A deserved break-out hit for one of the most heartwarming success stories of the year.

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83 THE WALKMEN – HEARTBREAKER
The first of four entries from one of the finest albums of the year. Heartbreaker is the sound of a band in complete control of their own destiny, who know their destination and exactly how they’re going to get there. Thrilling, urgent and vital. It’s not the singer, it’s the song.

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82 FREEDOM FRY – SUMMER IN THE CITY
If there was any justice, Summer In The City would have been the soundtrack of barbecues and bakeouts the world over. It was as perfect as indie-pop is able to get, it made you want to pop the top off a cold one and party on the rooftops all day long.

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81 KESTON COBBLER’S CLUB – FOR WORDS
A truly beautiful folk composition, light of touch and sure of foot.

Download Keston Cobblers’ Club – For Words mp3

Leave a comment to us know what you think.

CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR TRACKS 80 – 61

One of the advantages of having a blog like this is being able to make up the rules as you go along, and today that means giving the limelight to our youngest Joe, who reaches the ripe old age of seven today. Now, we are all guilty of bias and of nepotism at times (and this is one of them), but I think you’d be hard pressed to find another seven year old with music tastes as good as his. From age five he chose to go to sleep to the soothing strains of Mclusky loudly singing along, “My dad’s better than your dad” and playing air guitar, and we know with each mix CD we put in the car that he will soon be making selections from the back, “can we have number three then number seven” before creating his own mix CDs for his room.

He has a brilliant ear for a riff, a rhythm and a melody, and picks out lyrics with the best of them. Best of all his choices are all his own – independently reached and determinedly defended.

And for those that are interested, his current ‘hot picks’ are the outstanding Honda Civic from the new Felice Brothers album and the gentle acoustics of Wire from Alessi’s Ark’s Time Travel album.

So, here we have twelve personally hand picked tracks from the coolest seven year old we know. From rockabilly twang to visceral punk to woozy pop and protest folk, he loves it all. And we love him. Way to go Joe!

Download The Magnetic Fields – Drive On Driver mp3 (from Distortion)

Download The Range Rats – Colt 44 mp3

Download Port O’Brien – My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) mp3 (Ramones cover)

Download Joe Pug – Hymn 35 mp3 (from Nation of Heat EP)

Download The Sheepdogs – I Don’t Know mp3 (from Learn & Burn)

Download Mumford & Sons – Unfinished Business mp3 (White Lies cover)

Download Grass House – A Cockroach mp3 (from Plough More Sky EP)

Download Jones Street Station – The Understanding mp3

Download Mclusky – To Hell With Good Intentions mp3 (from Mclusky Do Dallas)

Download Pancake Breakfast – The Ballad Of Maynard Noe mp3 (from Pancake Breakfast)

Download Katherine Hepburn’s Voice – Out Like This mp3 (from Unlimited Nights & Weekends EP)

Download The Felice Brothers – Run Chicken Run mp3 (from Yonder Is The Clock)

Indulge me today.  My youngest boy was six on Tuesday.  Blessed with an excellent fledgling taste in music, his current faves includes Jason Ward, Stornoway and Dr Dog.  Perhaps being named after MM’s all time hero, Joe Strummer (or Joe Drummer as our Joe called him for some time), has helped.  So much personality packed into one so small.

Anyway, enough of these frivolities, we’ve a hung parliament to consider and Tory Dave as our local MP – or possible PM – what a bummer.  But let’s look on the bright side.  Oxford Utd are on their way to Wembley and my beloved Sunderland might even finish tenth.

And me? I’m rather loving Laura Marling’s brand new offering. But this Friday belongs to Joe.  So here’s one he used to sing to me in the back of the car, aged four: Drive on Driver by the Magnetic Fields.  Awesome.

Happy Days.

Mrs M

Download The Magnetic Fields – Drive On Driver mp3 (from Distortion)

Download Joe Strummer – Tennessee Rain mp3 (from Walker)

Download Jason Ward – Bless You mp3 (from Graceful Bow)

Download Dr. Dog – Shadow People mp3 (from Shame, Shame)