Posts Tagged ‘Quiet Hollers’

So here we have it – the top of the pile! Our favourite songs of 2018.

25 Ought – Disgraced In America

 

Way back in January, Montreal based quartet Ought kicked off 2018 with the bright guitar sound and ultimately noisy percussion and spaced-out synths of Disgraced in America. It was a fine start.

 

24 Spiritualized – I’m Your Man

 

I’m Your Man was the brilliant lead single from Spiritualized’s new album And Nothing Hurt. It wraps layer upon layer of gloriously transcendent sound together to create something utterly mesmerising and cinematic, and with a towering guitar solo – where the waves of blissful noise are almost overwhelming.

 

23 Jon Spencer – Hornet

 

Jon Spencer can be relied upon to deliver a sleazy, bone-shaking excursion into the underbelly of classic blues and with Hornet he delivers in spades – growling, primitive and with a suitably buzzing guitar figure.

 

22 Fat Earthers – Letter Bomb

 

We love the Isle of Wight and now we love it even more because it is home to the insane noise of the Fat Earthers whose punked-up garage rock didn’t so much explode out of our speakers, as leave them gibbering in twisted shards of plastic and cable in the corner. There is always one song that gatecrashes our favourites at the end of the year and Letter Bomb is it.  I hope they’re from Ventnor!

 

21 Western Scene – Strange but True

 

A chugging, exhilarating earworm of a song that recalls something of the best of Lord Huron or Wilco, with its irresistible melody and immediate emotional energy.

 

20 American Pets – Bad Dream

 

Sublime, sweetly melodic indie rock. The kind so many bands try to do, and so many fail to achieve. It is impossible not to be carried away on the rise and fall of the harmonies and Bad Dream’s gentle swell of mildly psychedelic beauty.

 

19 Ron Gallo – Always Elsewhere

 

Ron Gallo seems to be one of those absurdly hyperactive songwriters, flitting from one genre to another as though on a never ending quest for musical nectar. That he does it so well seems equally absurd as he rolls out gem after gem in a prolific manner. Always Elsewhere is garage rock, psych-pop, new wave, glam and 70s NY punk. It is jerky, obsessive and compelling and held together by his anxious, exasperated vocals.

 

18 FEWS – Businessman

 

Just unstoppable, pulverising noisy psych built on the most pulsating riff imaginable.

 

17 The Twilight Sad – I/m Not Here (Missing Face)

 

After too long an absence Twilight Sad returned with I/m Not Here (Missing Face) which was a driving, motorik anthem, with wailing guitars and swirling synths circling around frontman James Graham’s repeated declarations of “I don’t want to be around you anymore.” Graham describes the track’s lyrical basis as being “about my ongoing battle with not liking myself, trying to be a good person but constantly feeling like I’m failing myself and everyone I care about.

 

16 Young Fathers – In My View

 

As much spoken as sung, In My View is a fractured, down-tempo track set atop skittering percussion and synths.

 

15 Superorganism – Everybody Wants To Be Famous

 

Like a mutated cross between Uptown Top Ranking and some long-forgotten video game, Everybody Wants To Be Famous manages to take its wonderfully kaleidoscopic groove to a whole new level of infectious electro-pop flourescence.

 

14 Dr. Dog – Listening In

 

On their brilliantly assured new album Critical Equation, Dr. Dog barely put a single foot wrong, and an absolute standout for us was Listening In. Another exceptional example of their warm, psych-infused Americana, carried along on metronomic percussion and a typically plaintive and questioning vocal.

 

13 Phosphorescent – Christmas Down Under

 

The introspective smoulder and slow burn of Christmas Down Under is a pedal-steel led tale of surreal Americana. One for the sunset and the open road…

 

12 Katie Toupin – Danger

 

After a long stint with Houndmouth, Katie Toupin’s first foray into solo territory resulted in the bluesy rock of her debut EP Moroccan Ballroom. The raw, haunting beauty of Danger mixes heartbreak with a smattering of grit and her always stunning vocals to create something very special indeed.

 

11 Fontaines DC – Chequeless Reckless

 

Our third and final entry from Fontaines DC – back in February we said we were pretty sure Chequeless Reckless would end up in our best of the year lists and so it proves. Channelling past masters like the Modern Lovers, The Fall and Iggy Pop, as well as contemporaries like Idles and Shame, Chequeless Reckless is built on a driving, hypnotic, kraut-rock infused cyclical riff, and some scalpel sharp lyrics.

A sellout is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money,
An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of the thinking
A phony is someone who demands respect for the principles they affect
A dilettante is someone who can’t tell the difference between fashion and style

 

10 Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Billy The Kid And Geronimo

 

In the rich vein of classic country like Pancho and Lefty, the fantastical Billy The Kid and Geronimo – about an imagined meeting between the two 19th century outlaws whose lives became the stuff of legend in the American West has Gilmore, who is part Native American, voicing the thoughts Alvin wrote for Geronimo, the Chiricahua Apache chief who was one of the last Native American leaders to abandon his resistance against white colonisation of the American Southwest.

 

9 Decemberists – Severed

 

Channelling their inner New Order and 80’s electronic new wave, the Decemberists delivered another left-turn in their long career with I’ll Be Your Girl. Chief among them was Severed, all fuzzy synths, rolling bass and an unrelenting guitar riff. The juxtaposition of shiny, shimmering melody and bleak lyrics was just the icing on the cake.

 

8 Cold Soda – Anna May

 

Cold Soda is a Cave Singers side project, and Anna May is brilliant, brooding Americana, built on a sinewy rhythmic groove and Pete Quirk’s ominous rasp.

 

7 Silverbacks – Dunkirk

 

Brilliantly delivering their own louche take on NYC-indebted rock, Dublin art-punks Silverbacks’ single Dunkirk is underpinned by an insistent, nagging bassline and creepy crawly guitar lines, it provides the ideal vehicle for frontman Daniel O’Kelly’s stream of consciousness ramblings about martial strife, the perfect sandcastle and spotting a con artist when he sees one. The track lurches forth, pressure building from the undulating backbeat and layers of skronking guitars accenting Daniel’s increasingly frazzled yelps before finally collapsing into a sugar sweet coda.

 

6 Rod Picott – Coal

 

Coal is a tough track. A hard-driving, unflinching snapshot of an industry’s decline. It is a world of darkness, small enclosed spaces, rusted machines and steel tied boots. It is simple, unadorned folk storytelling at its spartan best.

 

5 Quiet Hollers – Addicted

 

Addicted is a powerful rumination on opiate addiction – Quiet Hollers frontman Shadwick Wilde has struggled with addiction since adolescence. Although he didn’t intend for it to be a “drug song” necessarily, its inception came at a time when his family was struggling with the loss of his mother’s brother, who died of a fentanyl overdose so he felt it was important to acknowledge how deeply vulnerable we all are to these things, and how serious that problem really is. The track is a perfect mix of alt-country shot through with grungy guitars and a resigned honesty shared through fittingly world weary vocals.

 

4 Dan Mangan – Peaks And Valleys

 

Dan Mangan is a restless troubadour, from the earnest straight up folk of Postcards & Daydreaming to the darkly experimental Club Meds, he has always been both an explorer and an observer. Peaks and Valleys comes from new record More or Less and is a up-tempo, easy going reflection on the simple things in life and the wisdom and understanding that comes with getting older. Sometimes the most obvious things can be the most revealing and so it is with this lovely reminder that optimism is not a bad weapon to have in these turbulent times.

 

3 Drenge – Bonfire Of The City Boys

 

It started with a bang” the opening line from Bonfire of the City Boys could almost be a prediction as a stuttering, repetitive bassline starts up and Eoin Loveless’ spoken word vocals cut in over the top before a crushing guitar riff takes centre stage. Heavier than they’ve ever been, with a sound more akin to Future of the Left, Bonfire of the City Boys is four minutes of joyously ferocious hardcore.

 

2 Decemberists – Cutting Stone

 

Like one of their classic ornate folk fantasies turned dark, appropriately enough Cutting Stone is cut through with a synth accompaniment that brilliantly contrasts a brittle, futuristic feel to Colin Melloy’s literate and verbose tale of wayward children and dying brides.

 

1 Oh Sees – Nail House Needle Boys

 

Nail House Needle Boys – a deliriously scorched excursion around the outer limits of prog-rock and glam, sucking in great gulps of Can, Deep Purple and King Crimson and exhaling them as little more than smoke and ash, drifting down on to the still twitching corpse of psychedelic rock.

 

Check out the rest of our countdown: 100-76 here, 75-51 here and 50-26 here.

Quiet Hollers are back with an excellent new single, Addicted.

It is their first release since last year’s sophomore album Amen Breaks, and carries on that record’s theme of tackling important socio-political issues.

Addiction is a powerful rumination on opiate addiction – frontman Shadwick Wilde has struggled with addiction since adolescence. Although he didn’t intend for it to be a “drug song” necessarily, its inception came at a time when his family was struggling with the loss of his mother’s brother, who died of a fentanyl overdose so he felt it was important to acknowledge how deeply vulnerable we all are to these things, and how serious that problem really is.

Have a listen – it is a perfect mix of alt-country shot through with grungy guitars and a frank, world weary vocal.

 

Mad Mackerel is ten years old. Who would have believed it.

So, thanks to everyone who has ever visited the blog, listened, commented, submitted music, sent e-mails, sent CDs, t-shirts and even vinyl, and given us a guest list pass. We really do appreciate it.

Thanks too to our regular contributors over the years – too numerous to mention all, but extra special thanks to the sprats (of course), Barry-Sean, Polly Pocket, Dr Roddy, The Italian Job, Chris T Popper and the fishily fabulous Mrs Mackerel.

And most of all thanks for letting us discover some truly great tunes. Here are ten of them – our favourites of the past ten years of Mad Mackerel.

Cheers!

 

10 The Felice Brothers – Frankie’s Gun (2008)

 

Untarnished, unpolished, unadorned. Heavy on rhythm, accordion and piano. Frankie’s Gun is a stomping, beer-swilling square dance with the grim reaper hovering in attendance. This brilliantly evocative song packs enough into three verses and a beer-hall singalong chorus to create its own Netflix series.

 

9 Grinderman – Palaces Of Montezuma (2010)

Unhinged list of over-the-top romantic promises set to a loose, funky bassline and with a subtle, gospel style shuffle that is simply sublime.

 

8 Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer (2008)

 

A darkly pensive tale of multiple murder that emerges from Dylan’s shadow to tramp from the bright lights of LA to the desolation of the prairies and the desert in search of more victims. Black River Killer drips with the authentic haunted quality of an old, gothic murder ballad and we can’t give it higher praise than that.

 

7 Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed (2008)

Eerily reminiscent of the drugged up haze of a Johnny Thunders with possibly the bleakest lyrics we’ve ever come across. “Friend of mine drank something fine, choked to death before his time last night / He said, “Found that thing you really need, cough it on down ’til you can’t breathe alright / Everyone’ll be there at the burial in your head, and a tear or two they’ll shed / Then they’re gonna go digging in your hole and find: someone else instead” or “Oh, he didn’t like people much at all, tasted better with alcohol, you know how that one goes / Realized he’d missed his whole life; kissed his dog, and shot his wife last night.

Buriedfed is anguished circular verses of regret, dependency and death, slowly building up from the twang of a lone acoustic guitar to soundtrack a rollicking daydream of Robinson’s own death and ensuing funeral.

 

6 The Quiet Hollers – Côte d’Azur (2015)

 

The unbearably poignant and dark tale of Côte d’Azur – 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.

 

5 The Roadside Graves – Far And Wide (2009)

 

A seamless fusion of country and classic rock, with just a hint of punk’s reckless abandon. Kicking off with a great riff and whiskey raw vocals, this wonderfully ramshackle Americana is like musical heroin.

 

4 Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin’ (2015)

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. It is a fingerpicked earworm where a sprawl of twangy guitar and surreal, laconic lyrics combine to create the perfect ode to stoned self-reflection, and a very well-loved tune amongst Team Mackerel.

 

3 Willy Mason – Restless Fugitive (2012)

 

With rumbling percussion, echoing guitars and an almost reggae-like rhythm, Willy Mason announced his return after a five year hiatus with this outstanding tune, a dusty, world-weary hymn to moving on. Swaying along to this beauty in a large field clasping an overpriced (but comfortingly strong) cider is what summer should be all about.

 

2 Middle Brother – Portland (2011)

Shared a cigarette for breakfast? More than one I reckon. John McCauley of Deer Tick has a voice that was made for this song. One for the road, sung in chorus, gives me the warmest, fuzzy feeling all over. Stick me on a greyhound bus with Middle Brother playing to the open road and I reckon I’d be a happy girl. Just about the best darned cover (yes, I know but don’t care) I ever heard. Pure magic.

 

1 PHOSPHORESCENT – SONG FOR ZULA (2013)

 

It is Matthew Houck’s ragged, yet fragile vocals that stitch together Zula’s imagery, which cuts far and deep. Intensely poignant lyrics, sweeping strings, pulsing drum machine: it all weaves together to form an emotional testament to the end of a relationship. Ever had your heart broken? This is what it feels like.

 

So there we have it, 200 of our favourite songs since 2008. Everyone a gem, everyone a memory. Enjoy!

 

Check out the full countdown here: 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-4140-3130-21 and 20-11.

We’ve been sharing a few tracks from Quiet Hollers forthcoming album Amen Breaks (it is out tomorrow via sonaBLAST!).

The latest is Funny Ways, a song about criminality and the self-perpetuating prison-industrial complex. Have you ever had a friend that just can’t seem to stay out of trouble? That’s exactly who frontman Shadwick Wilde wrote this song for….

Listen below.

 

More From Quiet Hollers

Posted: June 8, 2017 in Americana, Indie, Music, Rock
Tags:

Following on from Medicine, the first track from Quiet Hollers’ forthcoming new album Amen Breaks, we now have the reflective St. Valentine’s Boys for your undoubted listening pleasure.

Watch the video below which features lead singer Shadwick Wilde breaking into some mean calisthenics and DIY dance moves, lending to the whimsical nature of the video. He describes the narrator in the song, a type of enforcer working for a mob-boss version of Saint Valentine, the patron saint of love. He goes around breaking hearts, a euphemism he likes to use, doing someone else’s dirty work, when he wishes he could just lay in bed in the morning and listen to the birds. He also sees the end coming, but he doesn’t want to spoil it for anyone.

 

 

 

Quiet Hollers have announced a new album Amen Breaks, a record that draws parallels with the cultural crossovers and the anxieties of the 1970s, a decade marred by division, political corruption, and terrorism.

Long standing MM faves (they delivered our second favourite tune of 2015), the band have expanded their shape-shifting palate to include vintage drum machines and samples. On Amen Breaks, Quiet Hollers raise questions of spirituality, sexuality, and mental illness in tones that range from the cinematic to the psychedelic.

The first single from it is Medicine, a compelling personal story from frontman Shadwick Wilde about crippling anxiety, depression, existential malaise, and society’s attitudes toward medication and addiction.

Have a listen. The album is out on the 7th July.

tij-top-20

 

The first of our four individual listings comes from The Italian Job – she of the detailed spreadsheets and punk rock outlook. Listen on Spotify here.

20. Underworld – I Exhale

 

19. The Wave Pictures – Pool Hall

 

18. Arborist – I Heard Him Leaving

 

17. Kyle Craft – Before The Wall

 

16. Terry Malts – Used To Be

 

15. Quiet Hollers – Broken Guitar

 

14. Parquet Courts – Dust

 

13. Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack

 

12. Old Sea Brigade – Sleep In The Park

 

11. Mind Spiders –  Cold

 

10. Jamie T – Tinfoil Boy
Let’s start with this song that, quite frankly (and weirdly) I am still not quite sure what to make of. It is an unusual Jamie T’s song, to say the list, but I have to be true to my admit that I just find it absolutely brilliant and totally catching. So, in all its glorious eccentricity, there it is, happily sitting at no.10.

 

9. The Julie Ruin – I Decide
This song nearly didn’t make it to my top ten because, you know, fierce competition and all that.. but I was just kidding myself! These girls managed to combine whimsical and nonsensical lyrics sung with a childish, cheeky voice with earth-shattering bass guitars mixed with a slightly dark but brilliant beat. It’s catchy, it works, I love it!

 

8. Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand
This track’s got it all. The noise, the energy, the sand, the heat, the sweat, the City of Angels.. you can feel it all! Without a doubt the best intro of my entire top 20, a screechy prelude to bold and distorted guitars reminiscent of the soundtrack to a particularly violent ’70 television crime drama. Hot!

 

7. James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone
A last minute entry, this song delivers the perfect balance between anger and.. more anger; my cup of tea, it hit me instantly! The ‘wicked’ brief guitar solo about two minutes into the song is what definitely sealed the deal for me! A powerful track.

 

6. The Bones of J.R. Jones – Hammers and Nails
It could not get more ‘folk’ than this, totally captivating! Hammers and Nails tells of ancient tales from the deep south, ritualistic dance routines around bonfires (well, in my head at least) and unnerving dark secrets. With its infectious beats it has firmly remained one of my favourite songs of this year since the first time I’ve listened to it.

 

5. Communist Daughter – Balboa Bridge
This is another last minute entry and holds a special place in my heart -and in my top 10. I read there is a story behind this song, a story of difficult times and a mental health struggle that gives it a deep meaning that goes beyond the beautiful, sweet and romantic tone. The lead singers’ voices are stunning and heart warming, this is a true gem of a song.

 

4. Mind Spiders – Running
Brilliantly played, from the first sharp guitar note this song’s pace is relentless and intense, borderline exhausting. It perfectly conveys the message in the title, setting off my little brain on a mild state of underlying-anxiety. It starts on a high that unrelentingly continues throughout. Cannot get enough of it.

 

3. Great American Canyon Band – Undertow
What a beautiful, beautiful song. A deep, languid ballad that gets better and better with every upcoming note, until the lead guitar comes in and suddenly takes it to yet another level. I could get lost in this song, I could praise it ‘at infinitum’. It’s an outstanding piece of music.

 

2. TRAAMS – A House on Fire
Seeing TRAAMS live recently was a revelation in itself, their performance was nothing short of magnificent! Powerful, aggressive, implacable, with unbelievably impressive guitars. Their latest single A House on Fire is all this and even more, if any more is possible! An 8-minute long, epic, mind-blogging track that totally blew me away. One thing is clear, TRAAMS do not mess about.

 

1. Ashley Shadow – Tired
Every now and then a song comes along that, like a mirror, seems to have the power to reflect a bit of your life back at you, that makes you think and makes you ‘feel’, with a message comforting and melancholic at the same time. This is what this stunning, timeless piece does for me. Ashley Shadow’s voice is angelic, warm and reassuring; the song is classy, beautiful, unsophisticated. My indisputable choice for the top spot of the year. Totally deserves it!

 

Tomorrow we have Chris T Popper’s favourite twenty songs of the year. Click through to check out our favourite 100 tracks of 2016 (100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-1) and our album choices here.

mms-best-of-2016-header

Inside the top fifty of our favourite songs of the year now. Check numbers 50 – 26 and come back tomorrow for the final countdown…

50 BAIT – I’m Still Here

 

49 Big Thief – Paul

 

48 Kyle Craft – Before The Wall

 

47 Staches – Total Commitment

 

46 Arborist – I Heard Him Leaving

 

45 Hooded Fang – Dead Battery

 

44 Yowl – The Imminent Return

 

43 Quiet Hollers – Broken Guitar

 

42 Ultimate Painting – Bills

 

41 Mind Spiders – Cold

 

40 Flat Worms – Petulance

 

39 Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore

 

38 Old Sea Brigade – Sleep In The Park

 

37 Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree

 

36 Jacuzzi Boys – Lucky Blade

 

35 Fat White Family – Breaking Into Aldi

 

34 The Cave Singers – That’s Why

 

33 Neighbors – Angel O

 

32 The Lumineers – Gale Song

 

31 The Julie Ruin – I Decide

 

30 The Bones Of J.R. Jones – Hammers And Nails

 

29 PJ Harvey – Guilty

 

28 Joseph Coward – Peanut Girl

 

27 Magic Potion – Milk

 

26 Agnes Obel – Its Happening Again

 

Check the full list so far: 100-76, 75-51.

Quiet Hollers

With their mix of yearning alt-country and literary indie rock, Quiet Hollers featured large in our best of 2015 lists, and now we are excited to learn they have announced a brand new single, the gorgeous Broken Guitar. It is the first new song they’ve shared since their brilliant eponymous debut album that came out in October.

Listen below, it is a hazy, harmony-filled heartbreaker and reminds us exactly why we fell in love with them in the first place.

“She slipped from my hands and fell to the floor
couldn’t stand for me to touch her anymore
my baby broke her back trying to get away
the broken record tried to play”

 

Having proved themselves to be one of our bands of the year in our Best Of lists, it seems entirely appropriate that today’s Festive Fayre offering comes from Quiet Hollers.

They have shared their cover of Nightmare River Band’s Christmas tune, First Christmas. All proceeds from the sale and publishing of the song (so please do buy it) will go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital until Three Kings day (January 6th).

 

And the original..