Posts Tagged ‘Murder By Death’

Into the top half of our favourite songs of the year. Here are tracks 50 through to 26.

50 Murder By Death – True Dark

 

Murder By Death have built a career on gothic country rockers and sun-baked desert folk, yet even after all these years they still manage to surprise and True Dark is them at their twangiest best.

 

49 Fontaines DC – Too real

 

The second entry for Fontaines DC. The band’s latest single, Too Real is another storming track of undeniable power and swagger that just begs to be played loud, and on repeat.

 

48 Frog – American

 

Stripped back, insistently sparse folk and a lyrical gem, “Yes by God I’m American, God is great he’s hilarious, What the fuck y’all staring at? Tall, dark, bald and arrogant”

 

47 Shame – Gold Hole

 

We know this isn’t strictly a new song this year but we’re claiming editorial immunity and sneaking it in anyway as it does feature on London punks Shame’s debut long player that came out at the beginning of 2018. Gold Hole is an uncomfortably close-to-the-bone story of a lecherous older man buying the affections of a young girl – it is seedy and sordid and brilliantly observed. “Sweat stains the wrinkles/Tongue touches the hole, She feels so dirty, she knows that it’s wrong, But she feels so good in Louis Vuitton.

 

46 Conor Oberst – No One Changes

 

Is there anyone else who can make melancholia sound so stunningly gorgeous? No One Changes is an introspective, sombre beauty, as elegant as it it fragile.

 

45 Oldermost – The Danger Of Belief

 

Creating era-blending Americana-infused rock & roll with a more indie rock vibe, rollicking, anthemic  single The Danger of Belief was made for a long straight highway with the windows down and the volume up.

 

44 Kurt Vile – One Trick Ponies

 

A highlight from his most recent album, One trick Ponies has all the trademark Kurt Vile ingredients: woozy guitar lines, mumbled stream-of-consciousness lyrics, sly humour and a touch of the surreal. But this is a generous, big-hearted song and the hazy sheen he coats it in just adds the prefect amount of gentle bonhomie.

 

43 Cass McCombs – Sleeping Volcanoes

 

Almost without noticing Cass McCombs has become one of our most influential and important songwriters. Sleeping Volcanoes, the thematic centrepiece of his upcoming album, is a delight of pensive, dreamlike rock, albeit anchored by a rumbling groove and his world-weary vocals.

 

42 Wing Defence – Stuck

 

Aside from the netball connotations, Aussie duo Wing Defence delivered a sublime single of indie pop with Stuck, the infectious melody is of major earworm quality, and shot through with a core of wonderfully bitter lyrics.

 

41 Sunflowers – Castle Spell

 

The pulverising riffing and chanted lyrics of Castle Spell combine into a freakbeat spectacular of psyched-out space rock – like Silver Machine on speed.

 

40 Mary Gauthier – The War After The War

 

Rifles & Rosary Beads was an album that was four years in the making, it is a collaborative record in the sense that the eleven songs were co-written with wounded veterans in the SongwritingWith: Soldiers retreats. Taken from the album, the heartbreakingly poignant and evocative The War After The War, with its gorgeous violin backdrop and insistent guitar had one of our favourite opening verses of any song we heard this year.

Who’s going to care for the ones
who care for the ones who went to war?
There’s landmines in the living room
and eggshells on the floor

 

39 Death Valley Girls – Disaster (Is What We’re After)

 

Awash with a swirling riff and Thor-like percussion, Disaster (Is What We’re After) is a churning, boiling psych-punk rocker that rides its undeniable, repetitive groove like a drunken cowboy at a rodeo.

 

38 DBUK – In San Francisco Bay

 

DBUK, a side project of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club will return early in the new year with their second album. The first single In San Francisco Bay is a southern gothic four-de-force. Hypnotic, mesmerising and menacing – think of it as the musical equivalent of a naked preacher sat in a box full of venomous snakes.

 

37 Cabbage – Arms Of Pleonexia

 

Blending social comment with mordant black humour and a keen eye for detail, Arms Of Pleonexia was a savagely frenetic addition to Cabbage’s rapidly growing collection of brilliantly observed post-punk anthems

 

36 American Wrestlers – Ignoramus

 

Described by American Wrestlers (aka songwriter Gary McClure) as “a weird little country song with hokey lo-fi strings that bent into black memories“, Ignoramus is all that and more – in fact we’d go as far as to say it is a snidely understated masterpiece.

 

35 Stick In The Wheel – Over Again

 

Over Again is classic British folk story-telling. Hurtling along on the back of an irresistible melody, it begs to be sung along to (and there’s even room for some handclaps).

 

34 Laura Gibson – Tenderness

 

Laura Gibson’s album Goners explored themes of grief and loss and a standout was the haunting and beautiful Tenderness. An intimate and somewhat pensive fable that reflects, almost dreamlike, on how we project pain and lash out, holding on to each other’s trauma and sorrow. “Certain men can smell a wound a room away, you are melancholy well, beauty only made you lonelier

 

33 FEWS – Paradiso

 

Paradiso from brilliant Anglo/US/Swedish noiseniks FEWS was yet another example of their slashing, incandescent guitars and ferocious, pummelling percussion.

 

32 Yves Tumor – Lifetime

 

We’re allowing Polly Pocket this one… a multi-faceted tune of bright, crisp synths, ethereal backing vocals and relentless, unforgiving drums that call to mind Disintegration era Cure.

 

31 Lost Brothers – Come Tomorrow

 

A gently insistent folk song complete with the duo’s trademark tender harmonies and sense of bruised heartache. It is an absolute gem of a tune.

 

30 She Makes War – Undone

 

She Makes War (aka Bristol based artist and multi-instrumentalist Laura Kidd) wrote Undone in a daze the day after her grandmother Constance died last May. The song’s monster guitars deliver palpable rage at the bad things that happen to good people, acting as an openhearted rallying cry against the British stiff upper lip brigade. “We need to give ourselves a break”, she says. “Giving ourselves time to feel devastated doesn’t make us weak.

 

29 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Bellarine

 

A brilliant debut album and a brilliant rolling track of jangling guitars and driving motorik percussion.

 

28 Interpol – The Rover

 

The Rover opens with ringing guitars and percussion taken directly from Krautrock’s halcyon heyday. It is a relentless, menacing rush of pure rock’n’roll.

 

27 Gretchen Peters – Wichita

 

Where would we be without a good murder ballad? This is classic country story-telling given a contemporary twist as Gretchen Peters brilliantly sketches a tale of a woman driven to desperate measures to protect her little sister from a predatory male.

 

26 Parquet Courts – Tenderness

 

Ever since the brilliant Stoned and Starving, Parquet Courts have shown an uncanny ability to create some of the catchiest, toe-tappers around, whilst still managing to diversify their sound into new genres and styles. Tenderness is up there with the best of them – surprisingly slinky, jaunty and knowingly insecure, “Like a junkie going cold, I need the fix of a little tenderness“. We can all relate to that.

 

Check out tracks 100-76 here, and 75-51 here.

We’ve long been fans of Murder By Death’s gothic country twang, and new track True Dark has it in spades.

It comes from upcoming long player The Other Shore (out 24th August) and it has been a long wait – four years since their last album. The signs are good though – stream the ominous and creepily excellent single below.

 

 

Videos of the Day

Watch videos from longstanding MM faves Murder By Death who have a brilliantly animated film for Lost River and Shakey Graves who has a slightly disturbing one for Unlucky Skin. There is an appropriately sparse film to accompany Nathan K.’s wonderfully plaintive track Bob Seger and we finish with Wolf Alice’s new video for their top notch recent single Bros.

Download Murder By Death – Lost River mp3 (from Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon)

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New Album From Murder By Death.

We have been longstanding fans of Murder By Death’s parched, dusty, and often desolate outlaw country-folk and so it was the cause of much excitement to hear the first taste from forthcoming album Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon.

The brooding and cinematic Lost River is a song they describe as being “about a lover who drowned in the river calling out and beckoning the living to join them

The album is released later this month on the ever reliable Bloodshot Records – pre-order a copy here.

Download Murder By Death – Lost River mp3 (from Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon)

Here at MM we share, chat, argue, bury and praise music on a pretty regular basis…like daily. So throughout the year, the Mackerel crew (Mrs Mackerel, Barry-Sean, Christy-Popper, Dr Roddy, Polly Pocket, Starbar, MM and others) keep their own ever-changing top tens ready for publication at the climax of the festive season.

Now is the time to reveal all…

Our third contribution this year comes from the mighty Dr Roddy, house-mate, chef, Leeds fan, and occasional soiler of his own trousers.

10. Strayfolk – What Wouldn’t I Do (Download here)

A peach of a song to start me off with, a sparse and beautiful track. Maybe not the most uplifting of tales that is to be told in this song, but that only seems to compliment the voice of Swedish vocalist Henrik Thoren, who has, for my money, the sound of a man who has been smoking cornpipes and drinking ‘shine on porches in the south of America, for many a moon.

9. Murder By Death – Foxglove  (Download here)

This song sets its stall out right from the start. I was smitten immediately with the haunting sound of the cello and the military/marching band drum’s are like a heart beat running through the song. The music and sound of Adam turlas voice,  may lead you to think that this fevered hunt for a lover is doomed for bad times and worse, but knowing that “It was always You” puts a smile on my face.

8. Pancake Breakfast – The Ballad Of Maynard Noe  (Download here)

From the first sound you have an idea that this tune could have a real groove to it and you’re not to be disappointed. The guitar plays a funky rhythm, whilst Mike Midlo leads us into a tale of a hard, uncompromising, thug of a man who eventually gets his comeuppance. The lyric “And he’d cruise up every night, like a dog in a bin looking for a fight” paints a great image of Maynard Noe. When the song breaks it does so with gusto, it also has a fantastic guitar and trumpet solo.

7. Yeasayer – Ambling Alp

There is a great bassline to this song and the chorus is contagious, once heard you can’t shift it (in a good way, not a pop ear rot way). The drums are simple, but resounding and there is some great work on the keyboards that create a kind of electro feel, but with a real modern twist. There are some gems of lyrics in this song too concerning “old man Schmelling”. And Ambling Alp. All in all a ripsnorter of a tune.

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6. Fist Fam – S. F. Bay  (Download here)

This song is a real piece of feel good hip hop. From its first listening, it put a smile on my face, I just couldn’t stop my head from nodding. For 3 minutes and 52 seconds  I felt “street”, then, remembering I was a 30 something year old British male, that all came crashing down around my ears. But I thank Fist Fam for those fleeting moments. The harmonica has a real summery, Stevie Wonder type sound and the bassline is something that Rick James would have been proud of. The lyrics set the scene  of a carefree summer city. As I write this there is about two feet of snow outside, so that is a welcome thought.

5. Nathaniel  Rateliffe – Brakeman.

I find this song has an almost lullaby quality to it. The lyrics just seem to drip with regret and despair. The piano seems to frame that perfectly as Nathaniel Rateliffe sings a tale of a man who seems to be at the shit end of work, love and life. The song itself seems simple and uncomplicated by heavy production, which is by no means a bad thing. A definite case of less is more. And at 2 minutes 25 seconds that makes it perfect.

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4. Street Sweeper Social Club – The New Fuck You.

Great name for a band, great tune. There is nothing wrong with a power chord riff that is more infectious than MRSA. This also has some of the greatest lyrics I have heard in one song, ever! I could repeat some of them here, but that would just mean writing the song pretty much verbatim. The only thing I can say is get yourself some understanding neighbours, beers and turn this one up!!

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3. The Tallest Man On Earth – King of Spain  (Download here)

What a song. It couldn’t be any simpler, just a man and a guitar. Filling the speakers with such a rich sound you almost think there is a whole band there. This track was a instant hit in my house, you could listen to it in any frame of mind and take something from it. Because of this it has become the sound track to many a refined night of co-co and slippers obviously?  The pace of this track is excellent it gallops along like a giddy mare. While the lyrics leave you pining for rioja and siesta in warmer climes. A great winter warmer.

2. Wooden Wand – Ragtop Ruby

This song has the lyric of the year of the year for me “Mr Kyle from Saint Charlies, I guess you met a man there, He’d just enough rope in his trunk to make you uneasy”. A work of genius.  Although this is the opening line the rest of the song doesn’t disappoint with more inspired lyrics, while the guitar creeps along at a nice rhythm to accompany Wooden Wand’s drawling delivery. It was hard to choose between the WW songs I’ve heard this year but there could only real be one winner. Ragtop Ruby.

1. What Would Jesus Drive – The Girls Are In Charge  (Download here, live version)

Here it is: without question song of the year. As soon as heard this on a CD of Mr Mackerel’s latest offerings I knew it was going to be my number one. It has everything I love – thumping drum beat, power chords and a good bit of wit. Listening to Amy Casey and Tim Box banter the lyrics back and forth at one another  is a nice touch. But it’s the guitar riff that makes this song a sure fire winner. The bass and drums are the backbone but it’s that riff. Oh and I don’t know if I mentioned the killer riff?

Bubbling Under (Songs That Came So Close)

5. Overmountain MenLooking For Dr. Caligari

4. Gaoler’s DaughterNine Pieces Of Silk

3. UnclesSettler’s Song

2. Sheepdogs – I Don’t Know

1. Wooden Wand – Uncle Bill

Best Songs First Heard this Year, But Not 2010

5. Frank Turner – Try This At Home

4. Willard Grant Conspiracy – Drunkard’s Prayer

3. Get Busy Committee – My Little Razor Blade

2. Wooden Wand – Son Of Wand (Hard Luck Prince)

1. Wilco – Handshake drugs

Guilty pleasure (I’m in no way repentent)

Lena Meyer – Satellite