Posts Tagged ‘She Keeps Bees’

Chris T Popper has been with MM from the very first post. Every year he produces his own list of favourite tunes and here are his selections for 2019. This year he was helped by Stan the greyhound. Next year I’m hoping we get Stan’s choices…

 

10. She Keeps Bees – Kinship
Never got bored of that opening drum groove. Backed up by Jessica Larabee’s smooth intonations it’s aural ketamine for the ears. Her voice really is something special, giving the song an affecting, unique quality.

 

9. Water Music- It Ain’t Over…
As time went by I got proper gripped up by this tune. It’s dreamlike; alternating between the plaintive wonderfully sparse vocal to a splendid guitar pay-off three quarters through. ‘Everyone’s a leader but no one’s got a plan’ warbles Matty Barker, the creative force behind Water Music. Which seems to nail it, the year 2019 summed up in 9 words.

 

8. DJ Shadow (feat Rockwell Knuckles, Tef Poe, Daemon) – Urgent, Important, Please Read
Over Shadow’s gnarled chords and clashing drum breaks, Rockwell Knuckles, Tef Poe and Daemon take turns to administer the warnings. Angry and bleak it also feels kind of uplifting which is what makes it so interesting for me. Buried inside is a glimmer of hope, somewhere. A properly brutal record when played loud, which is always an added bonus.

 

7. Baxter Dury – Slumlord
Every time I sit down at the laptop to write about this song I play it, quite loud to be fair, to help my creative juices flow. Transfixed I listen to the whole song and by the end I haven’t written a single word. Just listened to it. Again. Baxter Dury has a way with words, a sort of analgesic to the unremittingly dull male solo artists currently filling the airwaves. Baxter’s world is shadowy betting shops, dodgy landlords, grimy comedowns and all the other type of things I readily relate to.

 

6. Lightning Dust – Led Astray
From the album Spectre, their first in four years comes this absolute gem. I’ve kept an eye on Lightning Dust since I heard I Knew, which I think was 2009ish when LD were more of a side project for Amber Webber and Josh Wells. Since the beginning Webber’s vocals have had me under a bit of a spell and the arrangement on Led Astray feels utterly flawless, including some groovy tremolo guitar. This year’s earworm for me, just couldn’t get it out of my noggin.

 

5. Siskiyou – Unreal Erections///Severed Heads
Another four year hiatus for Siskiyou’s Colin Huebert before releasing this mini epic. Whatever is happening in those four years seems to work. There is a sense of wretchedness to the whole song which appeals to my darker inclinations. Although half way through it almost gets upbeat with a wonderfully maniacal ‘ha ha’ thrown in for good measure. It ends up feeling quite playful, horns blaring out but… but… it still feels like it’s simply masking the futility of it all. Echoes of one of my favourite artists Howling Owls, which is as big a compliment as I can pay.

 

4. Hideous Sun Demon – Cheap Association
A deep bassline coupled with a sneering Australian accent is right up there on my list of ‘musical triggers I like’. It’s one of those tunes that hits you square between the eyes at first listen. It’s so damn accessible I was singing along with the ‘Mac DeMarco’ bits from the get-go. With each passing year I find myself getting a little more cynical and disappointed. When I do, I just put this on and I instantly know someone else understands.

 

3. Sleaford Mods – OBCT
I’m in a love/hate relationship with Sleaford Mods (mainly love) and this song encapsulates the problem. The authenticity of what you carp on about. Well everything changes and you can’t be a gobshite forever. Cognitive dissonance with a kazoo. And Fearn’s banging bass line which is guaranteed to get my jaw grinding along. Favourite line of the year is Williamson’s guilty admission ‘You know, now I just fantasiiiissse in a house 3 times the sizzzzzze… of my old one’ A belter of a tune and probably the song I have played the most this year.

 

2. Dry Cleaning – Magic of Meghan
Tackling the complexities of the UK’s relationship with Meghan Markle using a belter of a guitar lick (just like Meghan ‘it’s a smasher!’) and Florence Shaw’s superbly droll narration this is perhaps the only lens to view the chaos through. Considering recent events I like Meghan more and more. Maybe she’ll bring down the monarchy. Fingers crossed.

 

1. hd hausman – a modern weight
So my favourite song of the year… Many a time my greyhound Stanley has pricked up his ears as I whistle the whistling bit from a modern weight for the 9,000th time. He fucking hates this song now. It never grows tired to my ears though. The catchy melody shimmers about your lugholes with multiple layers of instruments and Liam Palmer’s brilliant vocal combining to make a song so packed with emotional punch I can get a bit teary. And I have no idea why. The power of music eh. Stan still hates it though.

 

 

And here we have the final part of our favourite tunes of 2019… Discover and enjoy.

25 UV Race – Mr Blame
A brash, unapologetic race through proto-punk stomp and malodorous glam-punk aesthetics.

 

24 Lonesome Shack – The City is a Desert
Anchored by an insistent country blues refrain that has a touch of something primal about it, and sounds like it could almost be a lost take from the Doors’ LA Woman.

 

 

23 Sudakistan – Automaton
A storming, irresistible slab of psych infused garage rock. Prepare to be pounded into submission.

 

22 Siskiyou – Nothing Disease
Hushed, twilight folk matched with a macabre, ironic pathos. Gorgeous stuff.

 

21 Ezra Furman – Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone
Vicious. A fast and furious thrash. Like an amphetamine fuelled Lou Reed for our own desperate times.

 

20 The Felice Brothers – Special Announcement
I’m saving up my money / To be president / I can promise more berries / On Blueberry Hill / I can promise you this / Charlie Parker on the ten dollar bill
Classic Felice Brothers ramshackle Americana and our favourite lyrics of the year – mobsters eating lobsters in dim-lit rooms!

 

19 The Lumineers – Gloria
A song about addiction and love. The catchy uptempo folky strum is perfectly juxtaposed with the resigned sadness of the lyrics.

 

18 DIIV – Blankenship
Capitalist greed, climate destruction. Explosive riffs and distortion sets off the condemnation perfectly.

 

17 Lightning Dust – Led Astray
A haunting reflective ballad set to cosmic synths.

 

16 The Tallest Man On Earth – I’m A Stranger Now
A poetic, heartbreaking rumination on growing apart. A little drop of poison in the rain / a little drop of madness in my heart

 

15 FEWS – More Than Ever
More Than Ever takes FEWS’ propulsive menace and aligns it once more to themes of estrangement and alienation. It is a song about apathy and pointlessness, and is a brilliant, unrelenting anthem for the disenfranchised.

 

14 Water Music – It Ain’t Over Yet…
Outsider folk of the very best kind. Dark, melancholic and lyrical.

 

13 Fontaines DC – Big
Dogrel was album of the year for many, and a host of Fontaines DC’s tunes from it featured in our round up last year. However, Big was one of the new tracks, and it was another crackerjack of short, snappy, irresistibly catchy punk rock.

 

12 Baxter Dury – Slumlord
Slumlord is a tale of the unpleasant, the tainted and the grotesque, whilst still retaining a sense of something despairingly romantic about it. It is the musical equivalent of a bare lightbulb swinging in a dingy bedsit, casting sickly light on things you might not want to see, and then suddenly illuminating something that might break your heart. Musically there are echoes of The Clash, of Straight to Hell perhaps, and some Nile Rodgers style funk that just settles into a groove that quickly becomes irresistible.

 

11 She Keeps Bees – Kinship
Drum heavy, hypnotic folk. A meditative hymn to mother nature.

 

10 Hideous Sun Demon – Cheap Association
Savage, scuzzy slab of punk rock that is so good it would give Buddha a migraine.

 

9 Ohtis- Runnin
Beautifully dark country-Americana taking us through songwriter Sam Swinson’s autobiographical journey of indoctrination and addiction. Has a touch of Lord Huron about it.

 

8 Ian Noe – Meth Head
Stark, brutal and unforgettable folk. A despairing, unflinching story of prowling junkies that are way beyond hope or redemption. I just kept pacing by / Swattin’ through the flies / And her stench, rancid and stout / While she stood there cryin’ “Please!” / With her fist between her knees / And the sores drainin’ ’round her mouth

 

7 Dry Cleaning – Magic of Meghan
A sparkling, effervescent joy of shimmering guitars and indie jangle. And prophetic to boot…

 

6 Party Hardly – Rats in the Kitchen
A rousing indie anthem that is the musical equivalent of waking a guard dog – a bit woozy in places, but equally likely to suddenly tear your ears off with no warning and no apology! 

 

5 WIVES – Servants
Like the Rolling Stones seen through the prism of New York’s seediest underside, a perfect bass-driven combination of menacing modern blues and post-punk rumble.

 

4 Deliluh – Lickspittle A Nut In The Paste
By equal measure propulsive and laconic, it hums along at a fair old pace with something of classic era Sonic Youth about it.

 

3 The Murder Capital – Feeling Fades
Intense, brooding post-punk par excellence, a song with menace aforethought…

 

2 Guru – Ltd
Reminiscent  of the best of Traams, Brighton punks Guru deliver a brilliantly tense, propulsive anthem that builds to a frenzied crescendo.

 

1 hd hausmann – A Modern Weight
Taking in elements of folk and Americana but ultimately producing a kind of outsider pop, hd hausmann recall the early works of The National or David Kitt crossed with Leonard Cohen’s poetic charms. Anchored by a deep, velvety vocal the gently hypnotic A Modern Weight surreptitiously wormed its way into our consciousness and would not be dislodged. A slow burner that creeps up and grips like a vice.

 

 

Here is a round-up of some new songs and videos from the likes of Kevin Morby, Fat White Family, Eels, The Cadillac Three, Honeyblood, Justin Townes Earle and plenty more.

Some damn good stuff. Dive in…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are tracks 40-31 in our countdown of Mad Mackerel’s favourite tunes of the past ten years.

40 Avett Brothers – January Wedding (2009)

Banjo, guitar, authentic romantic country and a beautiful ballad.

 

39 First Aid Kit – Wolf (2012)

 

Gorgeous folk harmonies given an almost tribal, native American feel.

 

38 Big Thief – Shark Smile (2017)

 

An airy, meandering number with a hint of Sharon Van Etten about it that tells the story of two lovers involved in a car accident, one of whom lives while the other dies, related from the perspective of the survivor. It is another very fine example of frontwoman Adrianne Lenker at the peak of her storytelling powers.

 

37 Django Django – Default (2012)

Crackles along with all kinds of weird and wonderful sounds. A viciously catchy and erratic tune – it never stops surprising a little more with each listen.

 

36 She Keeps Bees – Gimme (2008)

 

Fiery and reserved, seductive and vaguely crude. Gimme is simultaneously fierce, sultry and intriguing.

 

35 Stornoway – I Saw You Blink (2010)

It’s sunshine and dreaminess and love. There’s self doubt and possibly even a Shelley-esque metaphor used (eyes being the window of the soul and all that). All sung to a back-drop of retro, up-tempo, carefully layered music. He’s in love, distracted, missed his train, and constantly wondering what she’s thinking.

 

34 Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Revenge Of The Extra From Zulu (2010)

Quivering, quavering vocals, violins, a throbbing cello, guitars that flit from the minimal to the staccato and all overlaid with some of the most surreal (and entertaining) lyrics you’ll ever hear. There is a sly, knowing humour to Revenge Of The Extra From Zulu as well as regret, bitterness and a healthy dose of the macabre.

 

33 We Are Augustines – Chapel Song (2011)

 

This is The Jam’s The Bitterest Pill brought bang up to date and made better. The song is from the view of a fella stood in a chapel whilst the love of his life walks down the aisle … with another bloke. Suffice to say, he’s not in a good place and the vocals lend to this feeling of impotent misery perfectly. Strained, angry and a little menacing, the lyrics match the tune perfectly which is … well … strained, angry and a little menacing.

 

32 Lower Dens – Brains (2012)

 

Opens with a drumbeat that grips your lapels up like a rottweiler on heat.  And then… well, it just gets better of course. Weirdly beautiful, it is throbbing, insistent drone-pop on the one hand and haunting, ghostly freak-folk on the other.

 

31 Houndmouth – Sedona (2015)

The best sing-a-long chorus of 2015 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“.

 

Check out numbers 200-181, 180-161, 160-141140-121, 120-101, 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-51, and 50-41.

She Keeps Bees have dropped a new track, the grungy, heavy-slow strum of Head Of Steak, which takes on Donald Trump’s self-interest and climate change denial.

The lyrics are quite explicit, which is fitting because I find the current administration to be completely vulgar.” says Jessica Larrabee. All profit from the first year of sales will be donated to organisation Earth Justice. The song is also the B-side of Our Bodies, a forthcoming limited edition 7″ vinyl.

the emperor with no clothes on
walking around, bare ass in a crown
head of steak, you deal in snake oil
poison our Mother for a fucking dollar

About sums it up. Listen here.

 

She Keeps Bees have shared a new, beautifully shot yet slightly surreal and unsettling video for Owl, a standout track from their most recent release Eight Houses.

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More From She Keeps Bees

Posted: September 3, 2014 in Americana, Folk, Indie, Music, Rock
Tags:

Another From She Keeps Bees

She Keeps Bees have unveiled a second, excellent single from new album Eight Horses.

Radiance is another beautifully crafted, low-key slice of compelling, yet punchy Americana that is as emotionally dense and questioning as it is confident and challenging.

Have a listen.

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1. She Keeps Bees (featuring Sharon Van Etten) – Owl
2. Slaves – Hey
3. Mazes – Salford
4. Itasca – Nature’s Gift
5. Allo Darlin’ – Romance And Adventure
6. Ausmuteants – Fed Through A Tube

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1. Delta Spirit – From Now On
2. She Keeps Bees (featuring Sharon Van Etten) – Is What It Is
3. Lilac Daze – Knives
4. Woods – Tomorrow’s Only Yesterday
5. Destruction Unit – Dust
6. The Cambodian Space Project – Here Comes The Rain

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Mrs Mackerel's TFI Friday (26th October).

To celebrate the end of term, daughter sprat and I loafed into the local market town today. Her treat was a trip to the fishy foot parlour, and Mama went too… Nothing has given me such a fit of the giggles in quite some time. Sadly, the fish didn’t share the joke. I thought I saw a few waving white handkerchiefs while others threw themselves out of the tank onto the floor. Not really.

So it’s a trip to London to the theatre (darling) tomorrow. How bloody exciting – and travelling on the train too. I’m going Jumpy courtesy of Jenny Wren with Mrs Olive Grove. We’re going to the matinee because we’re old and we can lunch before hand and still be home in plenty of time for Match of the Day and a cup of cocoa. I know how to live.

Come Sunday, it’s off I jolly well go to see Welsh Spanner in (yes, you guessed it) deepest darkest Wales with Sprat 1 and 2. I feel that once again we will be testing the golden rule of trips to Pembrokeshire: that it doesn’t rain in Wales. Sorry to disappoint you kids, but you’re deluded. Anyway, crazy but hugely lovable Auntie Spanner is always great value and after 20 plus years she will even hug me and my children willingly. I was born an enthusiastic hugger/cuddler. The very first birthday of hers that we celebrated together prompted a spontaneous hug from me. Her response? I grew up on a farm, Scares; we don’t do hugs. This was followed by me presenting her with a cake adorned with those re-lighting candles. We had to evacuate the building as the fire alarm went off. Happy days.

Still, I believe hugging is good for the soul. Happy Friday.

Mrs Mackerel x

Download Thin White Rope – The Fish Song mp3 (from The Ruby Sea)

Download Franz Ferdinand – The Dark Of The Matinee mp3 (from Franz Ferdinand)

Download Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – I Wanna Hug Ya, Kiss Ya, Squeeze Ya mp3 (from Dirt Don’t Hurt)

Download She Keeps Bees & Sharon Van Etten – Cuddle Alone mp3 (from Let’s Kiss & Make Up (Slow and Fast))