Posts Tagged ‘Shellac’

MM's Best Of The Year 2014

Today the countdown begins of Mad Mackerel’s favourite 100 songs of 2014. From Monday to Friday check back to see what tickled the earbuds of MM’s contributors, followed by our Albums of the Year at the weekend and then our individual contributors’ choices.

So without further ado….

100 Micah P Hinson – The Same Old Shit

.

99 Wooden Wand – Dambuilding

.

98 Juan Wauters – Water

.

97 Shellac – Dude Incredible

.

96 Broncho – What

.

95 Shunkan – Wash You Away

.

94 Martyr Privates – Someone’s Head

.

93 Slaves – Hey

.

92 Tense Men – RNRFON

.

91 Dead Fingers – Big Black Dog

.

90 Jamie T – Peter

.

89 Avers – Girl’s With Headaches

.

88 Mazes – Astigmatism

.

87 New Bums – Black Bough

.

86 Thurston Moore – Detonation

.

85 Spray Paint – Cussin

.

84 White Sands – The Wait

.

83 Eagulls – Possessed

.

82 Happyness – Naked Patients

.

81 Steve Gunn – Milly’s Garden

.

Check back tomorrow for numbers 80 – 61.

Advertisements

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

Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.So, the penultimate entry before Mrs Mackerel finishes off this year’s set of Top Ten postings tomorrow is my very own.

Without further ado…

10. Milk Music – Beyond Living

Although it was released early in the year, I only discovered it recently. A full on, no holds barred, nihilistic 70s punk attitude and the very best of the heavyweight riffs of the grunge era is a mighty powerful combination. One that makes me wish my car stereo went all the way up to eleven.

Download Milk Music – Beyond Living mp3 (from Beyond Living EP)

9. Yuck – Holing Out

Similarly, Yuck’s Holing Out effortlessly recalled the 90s with a crunchy distorted riff, reverb and a fuzz slathered hook. That it also had one of the best videos of the year was just another bonus.

a

Download Yuck – Holing Out mp3 (from Yuck)

8. Wooden Wand – No Hayride

If there is one mystery to me in the world of music, then it is how James Jackson Toth aka Wooden Wand can be so damn prolific across so many genres and yet suffer no discernible dip in quality – not that I’m complaining. Another great year and too many tracks to choose from, but in the end it was this, seemingly an afterthought on his forthcoming boxset that makes up Volume 3 of his archives – a simple folk ballad that still managed to be head and shoulders above most things released this year.

Download Wooden Wand – No Hayride mp3 (from Archives Vol 3)

7. Kurt Vile – Peeping Tomboy

Top ten from the opening moments of this song; the hazy, shimmering guitar and the lazy drawled vocals intoning

“I don’t want to change, but I don’t want to stay the same
I don’t want to go but I’m running
I don’t want to work, but I don’t want to sit around all day frowning

I don’t want to give up, but I kinda want to lie down
But not sleep just rest
Give me a break how much does it really take?
Get my head outta here”

a

6. Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear

It made a lot of other MM guest top tens so no need to add anything new. Anthemic, swaggering blues boogie at its fiery best.

Download Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear mp3 (from Donkey Jacket)

5. The Royal Sea – This Summer

I’ve mentioned this two or three times recently and posted it earlier today so not much more needs to be said about this either. Simply that it is pure, sugar-coated garage pop with just the right amount of surf inspired twang that in a parallel world would have been the woozy, feel-good hit of the summer.

Download The Royal Sea – This Summer mp3 (from The Royal Sea)

4. Deer Tick – Chevy Express

Deer Tick’s Divine Providence was, mostly, a rowdy, rambunctious good time rock’n’roll record that was meant for late nights of whiskey drinking and bar-room brawls. But tucked away in the middle of all the heady intoxication was this track: sombre, reflective, and undeniably sobering. It was the soundtrack to a heavy heart and lonely regret washed by the first light of an early morning dawn and may well be the best thing they’ve ever done.

3. Felice Brothers – Fire At The Pageant

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.

Download The Felice Brothers – Fire At The Pageant mp3 (from Celebration, Florida)

2. Tom Williams & The Boat – Get Older

The most bitterly caustic song I heard all year meant it was a shoe-in for my top ten. I originally said “it drips venom over a heavy, single drumbeat, a vicious guitar strum, and spits lyrics like physical bullets”, and this still sounds a pretty fair summation to me.

a

1. Middle Brother – Daydreaming

From the simple picked guitar line and weary, melancholy opening lyric, the scene is set for a raw, unflinching excursion courtesy of McCauley’s craggy vocals and beer-soaked romanticism. Loneliness never sounded so…well, lonely.

a

Almost Made It

The Wooden Shjips pulverising Lazy Bones, Tom Williams & The Boat’s observationally wry and off kilter Wouldn’t Women Be Sweet, the blistering euphoria of Wye Oak’s Civilian, and LONG’s criminally ignored and under-rated Shoot Your Dog. If there was a better example of dark, claustrophobic psych-rock this year than the Ganglian’s Jungle then I didn’t hear it, while A.A. Bondy’s dark-hearted The Twist and Twilight Hotel’s epic road trip Mahogany Veneer were both superb examples of modern Americana. Back home, Metronomy’s ultra catchy The Look, and Male Bonding’s fuzzed up, yet still sugary What’s That Scene? flew the flag for the UK – on another day, in another year, all could so easily have been in the final shake up.

Download Wooden Shjips – Lazy Bones mp3 (from West)

Download The Ganglians – Jungle mp3 (from Still Living)

Download Metronomy – The Look mp3 (from The English Riviera)

Favourite Covers

Hurray for the Riff Raff’s mesmerising My Sweet Lord and Phosphorescent’s reverent take on Neil Young’s Are You Ready For The Country? were both outstanding, but just pipped by Siskiyou’s own Young cover, the skeletally menacing Revolution Blues. Titus Andronicus payed due homage to Nirvana’s classic Breed, but best of all was Middle Brother’s version of the Replacement’s Portland.

Download Phosphorescent – Are You Ready For The Country? mp3

a

a

Best Tunes First Heard This Year But Not 2011

How on earth had Okkervil River escaped me for so long, particularly John Allyn Smith Sails and the superb For Real. Likewise with Wilco’s Misunderstood – I’d heard it, but this year I actually listened to it. Shellac’s Prayer To God is the most vicious song I’ve ever heard and one of the best, and so too Fugazi’s Waiting Room. Richard Buckner’s heartbreaking Emma was a revelation and James McMurty’s rollicking live version of Choctaw Bingo was eight minutes of pure, adrenalin fuelled Americana.

Download Shellac – Prayer To God mp3 (from 1000 Hurts)

Download Richard Buckner – Emma (Devotion & Doubt Outtake) mp3

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year. Here’s to 2012 when it all starts again!

Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.With probably the longest entry of 2011 we give the floor to regular MM contributor and top ten compiler…Dr Roddy.

Well it seems to be that time of year again. I always spend 340 days looking forward to doing this and 25 agonising over it. This year especially though, as I think there has been a bumper harvest of great songs. When I looked at my Top Ten playlist (with over 100 songs in it) I just thought one thing: bugger!

I got there in the end though. There have been certain parties that have tried to throw spanners in the works, by sending e-mails containing latecomers and over looked songs. Cheers you heartless bastards. So without further ado….

10. Monument Valley – Dear John Letters

This is a bit of a late arrival to my top ten but the moment I heard this song I fell for it totally. That old adage of less is more, is plain for all here. A pendulum-esque rhythm is picked out on an acoustic guitar, whilst the story is sung to us in an almost lullaby fashion by Ned Younger. Who wrote these songs from a collection of pictures of strangers? The song seems to tell of two people who were once side-by-side, parted then reunited. There is a line in the song, “And though we weren’t quite whole, turned out we were all each other needed to grow old“. That is such a simple and genuine way to describe what you need from another person, which fits wonderfully into this simple and genuine song.

Download Monument Valley – Dear John Letters mp3 (from Tongues EP)

9. Cosmo Jarvis – My Day

This song elbowed its way in to my Top Ten, with that wonderful punk fuelled fervour. You can’t ignore it. Lyrically it is a tour de force. I do love a bit of cutting social satire all set to unashamed balls ‘n all guitar work – in fact It seems as if all the instruments are being given their last rights, in that “play it like you nicked it” fashion. The passion and power that is behind the delivery of the lyrics are awesome: the line “Grew up thinking we were so advanced and had the largest heads / Didn’t masturbate with our own minds instead we used the Web“, what a great way to point at a general loss of social imagination and it is the line of this year for me.

a

8. Dirty Bourbon River Show – Train Is Gone

This is such a funky tune there is no way it was going to get left out. The verses could easily be written as a warning to anyone who enters X-Factor and the chorus is definitely a warning to anyone who WINS the bleeding thing. That aside what we have here is a awesome tune – the bassline rolls along with the kind of sound that makes you want to walk a bit like Mister Soft. The guitar and drums lollop alongside it at perfect pace and all together it’s like a big spliff in audio format. Now I’ll be honest I’m not too big on sax breaks in songs, but this is the exception. It acts as a real nice jazzy kind of break in the song, leaving you hungry… no, greedy for some more of that bassline.

Download Dirty Bourbon River Show – Train Is Gone mp3 (from Volume 2)

7. Warped 45s – Grampa Carl

I do love a good story song and this is about as good as it gets. We are told the story of Grampa Carl who was a Rum-runner in America during the prohibition era of the 20s. This seemed to be funded by a spot of illegal gambling. I do like to take the side of the rogue, especially a rogue who likes a bet and a drink, although this tale ends with Carl being buried in a Presbyterian cemetery. No religious hypocrisy there then! The tale in between is all engrossing with many a slip between cup and lip. There is a great line at the end of this song, “My grandpa said to me when I was just a kid / Just cusp someone says something’s wrong doesn’t mean that it always is“. I love that, and have employed it as a mantra for some years already. All of that is accompanied by some fantastic musicianship. There is the cool rumbling of a Hammond organ in the background and the guitar work is laced heavily with a bluesy feel, reminiscent of Drive-By-Truckers, which I think can only be seen as a compliment.

Download The Warped 45s – Grampa Carl mp3 (from Matador Sunset)

6. Danny Brown – Die Like A Rockstar

This song helped to reinvigorate my love for Hip Hop. There had been pretty much nothing in this genre that had excited me for years. Then boom! (Irony, honest) I heard this. From the very first opening when you hear that rolling drum beat it sounds special, then you get that menacing b-line and lyrics that pull you straight into the middle of the track. The lyrics are basically a who’s who of famous party animals from music, film and T.V. and this is done with wit, intelligence and a phenomenal turn of phrase. “Sniff it at a roll, off the counter in my kitchen / Trippin’ off the shit that had Brian Wilson flippin’” is just one off a fistful of gems from this one tune. Danny Brown certainly has a wonderful delivery (I think the kids call it a “FLOW”), a sort of southern drawl that is helped by his missing front tooth, giving it a sort of lispy quality and has a distinct whiff of nihilism about it. That monster bassline just continues to snarl along at you through the whole song. Just brilliant!

Link – left click only: DOWNLOAD: Danny Brown – Die Like A Rockstar – RCRD LBL

5. Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear

The energy in this song is the equivalent to 15 speed freaks at a coffee morning. Even the guitar at the start is reminiscent of a racehorse being held off its true power until the time comes and don’t worry it will. The opening lyrics are the way to start a song “You’ve got street fighting hands/ and a rock and roll face / But you show affection in other ways“. These match the general feeling of the song perfectly; it has that raw, grimy, slightly sullied sense about it. When the drums join the party the song truly comes alive, with the kind of fire that I’ve only ever really heard in Nirvana tracks (And there’s only two of these guys). As the song settles back down and you stop looking like the guy from the old Maxell adverts (showing my age with that cultural reference) the guitar glides along and takes you with it, with points where you think its going to drop again but these are just teasers. Don’t worry though there are plenty more guitar breaks to come. A bit of a latecomer to the list but there was no way it could be ignored.

Download Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear mp3 (from Donkey Jacket)

4. Dennis Hoppers Choppers – Good To Me

Sounding like the start of a Sergio Leone western is a good way to grab my attention. I love the sound of that trumpet along with the violins/fiddles – it creates such an atmospheric start. When the bass and guitar come in, they seem to be able to hold that atmosphere, perfectly but with a different slant. They bring with them a down-to-earth country style, which is held up perfectly by the lyrics of Ben Nicholls, who has a lamenting sound to his voice (and is also a one man band, talented – a bit!!). You think you’re in for a typical kind of alt-Country song but then something new, the strings are back along with keys that give this song an almost Egyptian feel. A friend of mine who is a musician said this song has some great work in the minor keys; I will have to take his word for that. All I know is that this is a truly beautiful and dynamic track; the fact that it’s not my number one still grates on me whenever I hear it. Self-flagellation for punishment methinks.

a

3. Little Barrie – Tip it Over

We are in to the top three now, this is where shit gets real and what a song to jump into it with. This song was a surefire winner for me. The high hat ride at the intro, then the understated guitar and bass enter the fray…they sound so innocuous, but if only you knew what they are to become. I love the notion of this song as well “Tip it over, what you need it for” could apply to so many things. It carries with it a certain amount of venom and it would have made a great soundtrack for the UK riots this year. The musicianship in this tune is truly fantastic – there is great work on the drums, though for me the true star is the guitar, you could be forgiven for almost losing it in the rest of the song, then just to remind you it’s alive and dangerous it has a little echo of the vocals in the chorus. Then it is let loose like some kind of wild beast and drags your ears with it. This song always gets my foot going and without question wins the award for song that every time I hear it I think to myself, “Shit! I want to learn to play guitar”.

a

2. Brown Bird – Bilgewater

From the very first listening I adored this song with a passion that I only usually give to Leeds Utd and gin & tonic. From the opening line of “Don’t matter if the cold wind blows, I’m going to wind up working in the thick of it“, I felt a affinity with this song, I work as a coalman so this sums up my job in one fell swoop. The bluesy feel to the rhythm of this song lends itself perfectly to the gritty nature of the lyrics and they give you a hard look at life. Those rose tinted glasses you’ve been wearing? Well this tune takes those off and stamps all over them. This is delivered without threat or malice, just in a matter of fact way – “this is how it is”. It’s nice to hear that once in a while – dilutes the saccharine a bit. There are so many brilliantly phrased lines in here, each verse holding a fistful of lyrical gems. The only way I can really give this song enough praise is to say that if Bill Hicks was still with us, I think he would appreciate this song and it’s honesty. That is massive praise I think.

Download Brown Bird – Bilgewater mp3 (from The Sound of Ghosts EP)

1. Mummy Short Arms – Cigarette Smuggling

I took you via the scenic route but we’ve arrived. Number one and that is exactly what it is. Just the best song I’ve heard this year by a country mile. From the very first hearing to listening to it while I write this, the whole thing fascinates me. The opening sounds like some kind of nightmare dream sequence from an episode of Hammer House of Horror, weird sounds and insane babbling, accompanied by a disjointed guitar and harmonica. As the drumbeat cuts in, it pulls it all together, and then we get to hear the greatest of gravelly voices. If you were to tell me this guy don’t smoke Capstan full strength and gargle with Napalm I’d call you a liar. As the song builds with an absolutely wonderful bassline driving it along, so does the intensity of the lyrical delivery. Now this maybe childish (in fact it is) but I think if going to swear in a song why not say c#@t and why not say it lots. Some people may find this offensive but it is a common saying down my way, meaning positive and negative things. The harmonica is stitched throughout the tune harking back to that eerie bedlam-esque start.  From start to finish it is the real deal. Brilliant melody, great bassline, witty lyrics, profanity and raw-throated vocals. These are a few of my favourite things!

a

Bubbling under (The songs that scream why? at me in the middle of the night)

1. Grass House – A Cradle, A Short Breath

2. Tom Williams & The Boat  – Wouldn’t Women Be Sweet

3. Creepoid – Grave Blanket

Download Creepoid – Grave Blanket mp3 (from Horse Heaven)

4. Jason Isbell & The 400 – Codeine

5. Lovely Eggs – Fuck It

Best Cover of the year

Siskiyou – Revolution Blues

Best I’ve heard for the first time this year (but not from this year)

1. Mountain Goats – No Children

2. Joe Pug – I Do My Father’s Drugs

3. Modest Mouse – Doin’ The Cockroach

4. Shellac – Prayer To God

Download Shellac – Prayer To God mp3 (from 1000 Hurts)

5. Fugazi – Waiting Room

Download Fugazi – Waiting Room mp3 (from 13 Songs)

Guilty Pleasure (Go on hate away!)

Lana Del Rey – Video Games

One Thousand Posts - A Celebratory Mix. We moved MM to WordPress in April 2010, after being one of the many blogs to get screwed by Google Blogspot. We noticed that this is our one thousandth post since that time and so we have marked the occasion (for such that it is for us) with an appropriately themed mix for your enjoyment.

So, from the classic sound of Tenpole Tudor’s new wave power-pop via The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s protest cow punk to the folk of Joe Pug and the Floydian prog-rock of The Silver Machines, there should be something for everyone to get their teeth, and ears, into.

Dig in! Here’s to the next thousand.

Download Pariah Beat – 1000 Songs mp3 (from Bury Me Not)

Download Secret Machines – 1,000 Seconds mp3 (from Ten Silver Drops)

Download Tenpole Tudor – Swords Of A Thousand Men mp3 (from Eddie, Old Bob, Dick & Gary)

Download Giant Sand – Curse Of A Thousand Flames mp3 (from Valley Of Rain)

Download Joe Pug – A Thousand Men mp3 (from In The Meantime EP)

Download Detroit Social Club – Thousand Kings mp3 (from Kiss The Sun Single)

Download Antic Clay – Thousand Star Hotel mp3 (from Hilarious Dead Blues)

Download Shellac – Prayer To God mp3 (from 1000 Hurts)

Download The Men They Couldn’t Hang – Ironmasters mp3 (from Night Of A Thousand Candles)

Download Richard Thompson – Oops I Did It Again mp3 (from 1000 Years Of Popular Music)