Posts Tagged ‘Natural Child’

MM's Top 20 Best of 2014

And so we bring our round up of favourite songs, albums, covers, and guilty pleasures to a close with the final “best of” post, Mad Mackerel’s own top twenty.

20 Kye Alfred Hillig – My Young Love Was As Blind As Ray Charles And Half As Cold As Heat

.

19 Parquet Courts – Black And White

.

18 Jamie T – The Prophet

.

17 The Amazing Snakeheads – Here It Comes Again

.

16 The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice

.

15 Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

.

14 Girl Band – Lawman

.

13 The War On Drugs – Red Eyes

.

12 Together PANGEA – River

.

11 Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

.

10 Faces On Film – Percy
Percy kicks off with pulsating, tribal percussion that doesn’t quit throughout the song’s entire four and half minutes. It is like a small child in a sweet shop relentlessly pummelling you into submission until there is nothing left to do but give in. Then once you have you realise this was by far the best course of action anyway – the most infectious rhythm of the year. Resistance is futile.

.

9 Sun Kil Moon – Dogs
Dogs is unashamedly, perhaps deliberately, cringingly frank and revealing. No-one sings more conversationally than Mark Kozelek, but it is exactly the lack of sentiment and judgement in this song that gives it such impact. A deadpan tale of sexual fumblings and failures mixed with an all too accurate recollection of our self obsessed teenage selves gives the song a wincing recognition for every listener’s own emotions that makes listening to it almost too painful.

.

8 Dream Police – My Mama’s Dead
In my head this is a follow up to Hendrix’s classic Hey Joe. Except my head has been split in two by the sheer brutal, pneumatic force of this song, a snarling, distorted beast of a tune that is as brilliantly grim and unforgiving as the title suggests. Am I the only one who thinks the Dream Police are a far more enjoyable listen than alter-egos The Men?

.

7 Parquet Courts – Ducking And Dodging
Ducking And Dodging boasts the catchiest punk riff since, oh I don’t know, Stoned And Starving perhaps. Yet this time it comes with extra ingredients, a little added anger and a whole cauldron full of world weariness and frustration giving their take on a traditional tune a fiery new incarnation and showing once and for all that they were always far, far more than simple Velvets or Pavement disciples.

.

6 Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Body Electric
A word perfect riposte to all those endless murder ballads where the woman’s part is merely that of hopeless victim. Over an deceptively hypnotic refrain Alynda Lee Segarra reveals that the tables are turning, “He’s gonna shoot me down, put my body in the river, Cover me up with the leaves of September, Like an old sad song, you heard it all before, Well, Delia’s gone but I’m settling the score

.

5 Houndmouth – For No One
Houndmouth announced their return with this sublime slice of surreal Americana. More obtuse than before, it boasted the best opening verse of any song we heard this year, then over a deceptively simple strummed guitar line, Matt Myers travels from resignation to bitterness and ultimately acceptance. For No One is a sparse, poignant ballad that is as close to perfection as you’re likely to hear.

.

4 Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud
Metallic Cloud seems packed full of meaning, overflowing with imagery and allusion and cloaked in layers and layers of mystery. Curiously it feels to me like a companion piece to Neil Young’s After The Goldrush, and I can’t really think of a higher compliment than that. The first song to reduce me to tears this year, in tandem with the red wine mind you.

.

3 The Pink Mountaintops – North Hollywood Microwaves
Surreal, obscene, freaky, offensive,  lewd. Repulsive, coarse, vulgar, gross and rude. But unquestionably, undeniably, uniformly brilliant. This was the sound of rock’n’roll updated for the here and now.

.

2 The Water Liars – Swannanoa
Sometimes the simplest things are the best. Water Liars delivered an exceptional album this year, and this is an undoubted highlight, a melancholy story of searching and loss, of heroin and girls with stutters, of cowardice and looking death in the face. There is no one, but no one, who does this stuff as well as the Water Liars and why they aren’t massive is a source of constant bemusement to me.

.

1 The Amazing Snakeheads – Where Is My Knife
I’m gonna show you if it takes all night, We’re staying here till you get it right, It’s been three whole days with no end in sight“, so opens the year’s most chilling, and thrilling, song. An irresistible mix of primeval rock’n’roll, trashcan punk and swampy voodoo blues provides the most exquisitely perfect soundtrack for Dale Barclay’s unhinged protagonist.

.

Guilty Pleasure:

Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
F**k off, it’s brilliant.

.

Favourite Cover of the Year:

Hearts Of Oak – Must Have Been Drunk (George Jones cover)

.

Reissue of the Year:

Crime – Piss On Your Dog (from Murder By Guitar)

.

Chris T Poppers Top 20 2014

20) Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

.

19) Hamilton Leithauser – 11 O’Clock Friday Night

.

18) Faces On Film – Percy

.

17) Early Winters – A Thing For You

.

16) Sleaford Mods – Routine Dean

.

15) Eels – Mistakes of My Youth

.

14) Chimes – Total Sunflower

.

13) Dust From A 1000 Yrs – Smoke Em Up

12) Screaming Females – Ripe

11) The War On Drugs – Red Eyes

.

10) Houndmouth – For No One

Any song which opens with a tortured reference to dropping acid will naturally pique my interest and coupled with Matt Myers vocals and stark production my curiosity is aroused further. Deftly suckering you in, For No One then tries to lead you down a darkened alley for a damn good kicking. It also proves you don’t necessarily need anything more than a guitar and a great vocal to pack an extraordinary punch.

.

9) Sleaford Mods – Tiswas
Sleaford Mods’ album Divide & Exit (undoubtedly my favourite record of 2014) grasped the moment perfectly with it’s skewering of modern British life. I won’t try and dissect Tiswas, it’s just a banging tune with the lyrical equivalent of having your ears punched quite a lot. “I don’t want my dog on a string… that’ll hurt the thing” is my favourite line of the year. The humour, frustration and utter contempt is breathtaking at times. They are unlike anything else I’ve heard all year.

.

8) Wooden Wand – Waveland
Ah, Mr Wand, I’ve been expecting you (sorry). A regular contributor over the years to my top 10’s Mr James Jackson Toth delivers yet again. It’s a song which appears to be absolutely straightforward; Toth recorded this by himself at home with his guitar and an 8-track recorder. However, like a particularly enormous onion there seems to be layer upon layer that reveals itself upon each further examination. And with the added onionesque quality of bringing a tear to the eye – through joy and sadness, my ridiculous metaphor is complete. With every listen I get a bit more from Waveland, it’s one of the hardest tricks to pull off but as usual Toth does it perfectly.

.

7) Jonah Tolchin – Mockingbird
Opening up with kick-ass harmonica before the fiddle and guitar join the party Mockingbird is Tolchin’s sideways look at the nursery rhyme Hush Little Baby. So far so intrigued. It certainly has a strangely traditional feel and a classic break/riff stomp to it. It reminds me in a strange way of the climax of the classic 1981 film Southern Comfort where Powers Booth and Keith Carradine are serenaded by a full on Cajun hoedown. Brilliant deep, dark country on a low burn, just how I like it.

6) Horse Thief – Little Dust
Pretty much a sure thing for my top 10 from the first listen, the Oklahoma quintet Horse Thief (even the name makes me love them more) have struck gold with this perfectly formed piece of Americana. It begins with the piano before the guitar and rhythm section slide in forming the ‘taking it real easy…’ groove. It already feels like a country classic.

.

5) The Amazing Snakeheads – Where Is My Knife
Take this song on in a fight – go on. I dare you. It will win hands down. In May this year I watched the Amazing Snakeheads deliver the best live performance I have seen for a long time and it blew my tiny mind. Dale Barclay is a man to be admired first and foremost. Mainly because he looks unfeasibly hard and secondly because he fucking means it. Menacing serial killer lyrics and a guitar picking out threats with a drum beat to rival any Tarzan film kind of works for me. Try it live when you’ve only ever heard one song by them before – quite an eye opener. Barclay growled at the audience ‘are youse my friends?’ my hand shot up like a rocket. Yes, I am, just don’t hurt me or get your knife.

.

4) Elijah Ocean – Ride It Out
The other day this song was playing and my girlfriend was on her laptop, watching faces or something, when I noticed she was unconsciously singing along to the chorus. That’s what this song does; whoever you are (providing you have a soul) it touches you. The melody is simple enough, gently building throughout with the message of just getting through it, which is fairly universal. It actually becomes quite inspirational by the end with its catchy chorus infecting your brain. Life can sometimes feel like it’s on a continual loop of making you ride something or other out – good to have Elijah there to sing the soundtrack.

.

3) Damien Jurado – Metallic Cloud
Been a firm favourite from the moment I heard it. Jurado’s voice sounds amazing, and the string section is nothing short of magnificent. It’s one of those songs where you can be listening in the car and when it finishes you realise your turning was a couple of miles back and you never noticed. Or, you’ve not seen one of those bastard mobile speed cameras because you’re singing along so loudly and enjoying the moment. Let’s see if I enjoy my Speed Awareness Course as much in the New Year…

.

2) Girl Band – Lawman
Fucking chaos. That’s why I signed up; as soon as that guitar started I was dug in like a tick on a hound. Experimental without being utterly awful (which lets face it you don’t hear that too often.) The drums halfway through are pure moony, just listen to it. Keith Moon banging on your brain or Reverend Moon washing it…. take your pick, same result applies. The long drawn out guitar with heavy feedback compliments/adds to the cacophony perfectly. To paraphrase the band themselves this song is ‘…driven by insistent low-end skronk’. Quite.

.

1) Sleaford Mods – Smithy
It’s all over in under 2 and a half minutes but still manages to make me grimace, smile and cower in equal measure. A brutal bass line and drum riff accompanies singer Jason Williamson’s verdict on the state of the nation. Not so much angry as bored with the sheer futility of it all, Sleaford Mods drill down until they reach (or is that retch) in to the unpleasant shitty bits of our modern culture. I like absolutely everything about this record, right down to Andrew Fearn throwing in a bit of chopper noise at the end. ‘Who cares about rock stars anymore?’ asks Williamson – not me mate. I’ve watched all my old heroes become parodies of themselves or even worse John bloody Lydon and I’m well and truly out of it.

.

Following our countdown of favourite songs of the year, here is part one of MM’s selection of the forty albums we most enjoyed throughout 2014.

40 The Orwells – Disgraceland

The Orwells - Southern Comfort

.

39 Iceage – Plowing Into The Field Of Love

iceage

 

38 The Cult Of Dom Keller – The Second Bardo

cult of dom keller

37 Mark Lanegan Band – Phantom Radio

mark lanegan band

.

36 Hamilton Leithauser – Black Hours

Hamilton Leithauser Solo Album

.

35 Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

sturgill simpson

.

34 Micah P Hinson & The Nothing – Micah P Hinson & The Nothing

micah p hinson

.

33 Temples – Sun Structures

temples

.

32 Avers – Empty Light

Avers

.

31 Amen Dunes – Love

Amen Dunes - Love

.

30 Simone Felice – Strangers

simone felice

.

29 Natural Child – Dancing’ With Wolves

natural child

.

28 Dead Fingers – Big Black Dog

Dead Fingers

.

 

27 Wooden Wand – Azag-Toth

wooden wand azag-toth

.

26 The Dune Rats – The Dune Rats

Dune Rats

.

25 Hookworms – The Hum

hookworms the hum

.

24 The Wytches – Annabel Dream Reader

wytches

.

23 Ty Segall – Manipulator

ty segall

22 Parkay Quarts – Content Nausea

parkay quarts

.

21 First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

First Aid Kit - M

.

MM's Best of 2014 40-21

Day four of five – reaching the top of the MM charts for 2014. Here are our favourites from 40 down to 21.

40 Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves

.

39 Dead Fingers – Twisted

.

38 Alt J – Left Hand Free

.

37 Screaming Females – Ripe

.

36 Sleaford Mods – Tiswas

.

35 Sun Kil Moon – Dogs

.

34 Jamie T – Zombie

.

33 Spookyland – Silly Fucking Thing

.

32 Dream Police – My Mama’s Dead

.

31 The Felice Brothers – Constituents

 

30 Jonah Tolchin – Mockingbird

 

29 Mac DeMarco – Brother

.

28 The Vacant Lots – Mad Mary Jones

.

27 Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Body Electric

.

26 Sharon Van Etten – Everytime The Sun Comes Up

.

25 Wooden Wand – Waveland

.

24 Mark Erelli – Ice Fishing

.

23 Bombadil – Have Me

.

22 Faces On Film – Percy

 

21 The Felice Brothers – Cherry Licorice

.

Don’t forget to check out numbers 100 – 81 here, 80 – 61 here, and 60 – 41 here.

MM's Best of 2014 So Far

The longest day has come and gone, and halfway through the year we are. It seemed a good point to reflect and share thirty of our favourite albums of 2014 so far, and so here they are, in strictly alphabetical order of course…

.

The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads

.

Amen Dunes – Love

.

Avers – Empty Light

.

Dan Baker – Pistol In My Pocket

.

Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

.

The Drive-By Truckers – English Oceans

.

Dune Rats – Dune Rats

.

Simone Felice – Strangers

.

The Felice Brothers – Favorite Waitress

.

First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

.

Emil Friis – Sand In Your Eyes

.

Micah P. Hinson & The Nothing – Micah P. Hinson & The Nothing

.

Hurray For The Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes

.

Damien Jurado – Brothers & Sisters Of The Eternal Mind

.

Hamilton Leithauser – Black Hours

.

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – Chambers

.

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Make My Head Sing

.

Natural Child – Dancin With Wolves

.

Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

.

Orwells – Disgraceland

.

Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

.

Pink Mountaintops – Get Back

.

Strand Of Oaks – Heal

.

Sun Kil Moon – Benji

.

Together Pangea – Badillac

.

Vacant Lots – Departure

.

Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

.

The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream

.

Water Liars – Water Liars

.

Wooden Wand – Farmers Corner

.

MM's Favourite Cover Songs of 2013

Here are our favourite covers of the year.

Marissa Nadler & Angel Olson – Frisco Depot
(Original by Mickey Newbury)

.

Shearwater – Fucked Up Life
(Original by the Baptist Generals)

.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
(Original by Otis Redding)

.

Betse Ellis – Straight To Hell
(Original by The Clash)

.

Jessica Lea Mayfield – I’m In A Hurry (And I Don’t Know Why)
(Original by Alabama)

.

Shovels & Rope – Johnny 99
(Original by Bruce Springsteen)

.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Swim Until You Can’t See Land
(Original by Frightened Rabbit)

.

Milo Greene – Parents
(Original by The Descendents)

.

Pickwick featuring Sharon Van Etten – Lady Luck
(Original by Richard Swift)

.

Natural Child – White Light/White Heat
(Original by the Velvet Underground)

.

Phosphorescent – Storms Never Last
(Original by Waylon Jennings)

.

Phosphorescent – Ya Hey
(Original by Vampire Weekend)

.

The Avett Brothers – Hammer Down
(Original by Jason Molina)

Burger Records Velvet Underground Tribute

Having only posted Natural Child’s new split 7″ single two days ago, they are back with their version of the Velvet Underground’s classic White Light/White Heat as part of Burger Records tribute to the Velvet’s album of the same name.

Listen below – it’s pretty damn good –  and also check out Mozes and the Firstborn’s Lady Godiva’s Operation, The Memories taking on The Gift (one of our all time VU favourites) and Curtis Harding’s uplifting gospel style version of Here She Comes Now.

It is out on December 10th – more details from Burger Records here.

.

.

.

Natural Child - Don't Wake The Baby

Natural Child are big favourites of MM regular Chris T Popper, and he will be delighted with this new offering from the Nashville based blues rockers.

The Surf  N Turf EP is a split 7″ with Guantanamo Baywatch, and the Natural Child offering, Don’t Wake The Baby is more brilliant backwoods southern-fried country which these boys are so damn good at, whilst on the flip side we get two slabs of twangy garage punk from the Portland, Oregon surf-rockers.

It was released yesterday on Suicide Squeeze Records.

.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My first trip back to Austin since 2009, and compared with then the town is hectic even before any music is officially due to start. Streets are teeming with folk whereas previously four years ago, the day before the event, Chris T Popper and I had strolled around empty streets and then casually into the marvellous Waterloo Records and bought wristbands for the coming evenings showcase events. We had no idea then just how useful that was going to be.

This year, pre-armed with wristband knowledge, I went to Waterloo Records on Sunday only to be told that they were pretty sure they weren’t getting any at all to sell this year. Judging by the folk that were around even then, a wristband (and entry into the evening showcases) seemed a forlorn hope.

But hope springs eternal and this morning, by judicious following of the official SXSW news updates, I discovered a very limited number of wristbands would be on sale from selected music venues today. Only it didn’t say which ones.

I e-mailed the SXSW e-mail address and eventually got a reply telling me to look in the Austin Chronicle. I went online and finally found a list of 8 venues selling wristbands and armed with this knowledge grabbed my stuff and caught the bus into town.

I rushed to the first and closest venue. Shut. The second. Shut. Third, a helpful man said they wouldn’t be selling wristbands until 7.30pm. The fourth. Shut. The fifth just had a sign saying We aren’t selling wristbands yet – I asked, they shrugged and said come back this evening. The sixth told me to come back at 6pm.

At this point, I stopped to take stock.

A car went by dressed as a rabbit. A giant mobile phone, clearly unable to see, careered into people. A magician with green hair scammed happy passers-by. Cops watched on. The sun beat down. A man wearing a werewolf’s head played the fiddle. Someone was sick. Another man dressed only in cardboard sheets marched by with a placard “Be like me. Crazy”.

I needed to get out of the sun (suncream left in haste at the hotel) and seemingly having no chance of a wristband until the evening, I headed for The Mohawk and a day party that looked promising on paper. On came the Beach Fossils looking the epitome of New York cool in skinny black jeans and t-shirts and proceeded to delight a packed crowd with a set of upbeat, indie rock anchored on chiming guitars and short, uncomplicated songs.

As they departed I decided to use the bathroom and was joined at the urinals by the large imposing figure of grunge legend and forefather of the no-wave movement, none other than guitar maestro Thurston Moore who was up next with his new band Chelsea Light Moving. Somewhat disconcerted by being confronted with the erstwhile leader of Sonic Youth with not so much as pants down as flies open, I managed a garbled greeting to which he amiably replied “enjoy the show man”. And enjoy it I did, a blistering set of guitar histrionics and punk rock that made me determined to investigate much more thoroughly their recently released album. Highlights included Sleeping When I Fall, a brutal Groovy & Linda, the Roky Erickson tribute Empires of Time, a more brutal Lips and closing new songs Sunday Stage and the most brutal of all, No Go.

A difficult act to follow and so it proved for Barcelona’s Delorean, who strived to please with their blend of danceable, indie rock, but it was a bit like watching a shower after a tsunami and it took the good ole boy southern blues rock of Natural Child to properly raise the tempo again. Looking like a cross between Status Quo and ZZ Top, they joyfully retuned the Mohawk to its Texas roots with a set of choogling boogie and good natured bonhomie.

Party over, I headed for the appropriately named sports bar, Buffalo Billiards where wristbands were apparently going on sale from 7pm. I joined a small, but growing queue headed by a Joe Strummer lookalike in a Clash City Rockers leather jacket, an excitable midget from New York, a honeymooning couple arguing over a Bratwurst, and an wizened old tattooed Texan and Austin resident who had inexplicably missed the sale of wristbands to locals. Behind me the queue grew exponentially as the dwarf from Brooklyn regaled us all with tales of previous SXSW’s, mainly about endless taxi woes, and finishing every sentence with “you gotta be a ninja about it”. He then exposed the Strummer lookalike as a phony as, when asked, he was unable to confirm whether Clash City Rockers was a song or an album. Twat.

After an hour or so a SXSW volunteer arrived to announce she had 30 wristbands only that were going to be available as cash purchases. I headed for the ATM with the honeymooning husband (who had driven down from Montreal via Memphis and New Orleans) as he confessed, “if you were a judge I’d get you to divorce us” and  withdrew the necessary funds. Against all odds I had the precious wristband.

Just time then to return to the Mohawk and the Pitchfork party, smugly jump the enormous queue of non-wristband folk wanting to get in, and catch a set from new faves of Mrs Mackerel, Night Beds. The indoor stage is jam-packed, testament to the buzz they have created as the latest of the “folksinger in a cabin” stories, but unlike Bon Iver these are more robust songs, ornate and orchestral, they powerfully rise and swell to fill the room and the band clearly look set for bigger things. Finally it is Torres and a set of quiet/loud indie rock illuminated by her intense vocals and cracked washes of distorted guitar, amongst which Honey is an absolute stand out. Although there is more than enough in the rest of their material to suggest they may be more than just a temporary flavour of the month.

I leave. Hail a taxi, the first I see. It stops. You’ve got to be a ninja about it.

Offically, SXSW hasn’t started yet. Unofficially it is off to a stormer.

Download Torres – Mother Earth, Father God mp3 (from Torres)

Download Natural Child – Hard Workin Man mp3 (from 1971)

Download Natural Child – B$g P$mp$n mp3 (from The Muse American Songwriter September Sampler)

Download Delorean – Real Love mp3 (from Subiza)

Free September Mix From American Songwriter.

The latest free Sampler from American Songwriter is a gem, featuring 12 tracks from, amongst others, Turbo Fruits, the wonderful Felice Brothers, Amy Cook, Dylan LeBlanc, Blake Mills and Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons.

Check out a couple of our choices from it below: the scruffy, skuzzy garage rock and fiery hooks of Fly Golden Eagle and Natural Child’s hybrid stew of surf rock and breakneck punk rock. Alternatively head to the Bandcamp page here to get the whole darn thing for free.

Download Fly Golden Eagle – Devil’s Eye (Basilisk) mp3 (from The Muse American Songwriter September Sampler)

Download Natural Child – B$g P$mp$n mp3 (from The Muse American Songwriter September Sampler)