Posts Tagged ‘Van William’

The third part of our epic countdown of our favourite songs of the past ten years.

160 The Pink Mountaintops – North Hollywood Microwaves (2014)

 

Filthy, snarling, primal rock’n’roll featuring some pornographic rapping from Annie Hardy (ex-Giant Drag). A case of the bite being much worse than the bark.

 

159 Calexico – Two Silver Trees (2008)

Atmospheric and relaxed, Two Silver Trees meanders on a river of accordion, keys, hushed guitars and seductive vocals.

 

158 Mountain Man – Animal Tracks (2009)

 

A perfect combination of old-timey acoustic guitars and lilting, reverbed harmonies. And that chorus was made for a campfire late in the evening.

 

157 Wire – One Of Us (2008)

One of Us is a coiled spring of minimalist musical tension. Taut, melodic and streamlined, it is a post-punk classic.

 

156 The Willard Grant Conspiracy – Preparing For The Fall (2009)

Set to a vivid strummed guitar, Robert Fisher sings a sprawling apocalyptic tale about the soul of man with a voice rich in world weary resignation. “And  I see the devil sitting in my favorite chair / he says he wonders why I’m, I’m still here / And I say that I’m having trouble finding the door / And he says if we wait a little longer / Won’t have trouble anymore / And I’m just preparing for the fall

 

155 Dr. Dog – Bring My Baby Back (2017)

 

Laying a yearning, plaintive vocal over the top of a perfect mix of  pop, gospel and psych rock, the nigh on perfect Bring My Baby Back majors on themes of betrayal, repentance, solitude, and revenge, wrapped up in a perfectly strummed acoustic guitar. It was the most innocently beguiling tune of 2016.

 

154 Whalers – That Rabbit (2010)

 

What. A. Riff. A wonderfully straightforward blend of thudding, bass-heavy rock that makes us think of the best bits of QotSA melded with the Black Angels and then given some 60s style reverb treatment.

 

153 Van William – Revolution (2017)

 

Van William is a return to the folksier roots of his previous band Port O’Brien. Add in a mournful trumpet and the gorgeous harmonies of First Aid Kit and this lovely record is suddenly elevated to another plane altogether.

 

152 Tom Williams & The Boat – Get Older (2011)

 

Get Older is a musical storm of thumping bass drum, growled, restrained vocals and a stunning violin-led riff – it all combines to deliver an energy and edginess that is on a par with its catchiness.

 

151 Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Nikorette (2009)

 

Riding in on the back of a classic rock groove, and morphing into a loping country rock shuffle, Nikorette sounds like a brilliant lost outtake from a late-era Clash album.

 

150 The Black Angels – Don’t Play With Guns (2013)

Their trademark psych-drone is matched to provocative lyrics,  a big, ominous organ groove and an even bigger riff. Wonderful stuff.

 

149 The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin (2008)

Haunting and lachrymose, Ben Knox’s pitch perfect falsetto weaves a sad tale on the back of tranquil beauty.

 

158 Chad VanGaalen – Cries Of The Dead (2008)

 

I can hear the cries of the dead / Maybe it’s your neighbour beating his dog in the basement. Emotive vocals and a twee, but never saccharine harmony tinged with sadness, sets this fractured slice of indie-pop apart from the also-rans.

 

147 Middle Brother – Daydreaming (2011)

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.

 

146 Arborist – Twisted Arrow (2015)

 

A fabulous slice of rolling, countrified folk and Kim Deal’s hushed and plaintive vocal adds weight to a familial tale of detachment and is the perfect counterpoint to Mark McCambridge’s sharp delivery.

 

145 Tom Williams & The Boat – See My Evil (2011)

 

Menacing, righteous fury set to threatening percussion and a thick, pulsing bass-line.

 

144 Sparks – Let The Monkey Drive (2008)

Ultra catchy surreal tale of a couple so eager to consummate their love that they’d let a primate steer the car while they fumble in the back seat. And it has one of our favourite lyrical couplets of the past ten years too: “Let the monkey drive, and it’s only fair / It’s the monkey’s car and he hates to share

 

143 Titus Andronicus – Titus Andronicus (2008)

Huge drums start thumping behind the rhythm guitar, throw in bass, piano and a wicked harmonica as frontman Patrick Stickles thrashes through the song. All together now “Your life is over / your life is over“.

 

142 TRAAMS – Succulent Thunder Anthem (2015)

Traams at their absolute, unstoppable motorik best. Propulsive, urgent, threatening.

 

141 Pontiak – Shell Skull (2008)

 

A serrated rhythmic stomp and slow crawling groove captures the ghosts of Black Sabbath and the Doors in this bass heavy rocker.

 

Check out songs 200-181 and 180-161 as well.

  1. First Aid Kit – Ruins
  2. Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain
  3. Suuns – Watch You, Watch Me
  4. Alela Diane – Ether & Wood
  5. Nap Eyes – I’m Bad Now
  6. Prism Tats – Daggers
  7. Public Access T.V. – Lost In The Game
  8. U.S. Girls – Pearly Gates
  9. Sunflower Bean – Crisis Fest
  10. Rik & The Pigs – America
  11. Frankie Cosmos – Jesse
  12. Kal Marks – Today I Walked Down To The Tree, Read A Book, And When I Was Done I Went Back Inside
  13. Shitkid – Yooouuu
  14. H.C. McEntire – Quartz In The Valley
  15. Van William – Cosmic Sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our final weekly round-up of the year…

  1. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – All Is Known
  2. Decemberists – Ben Franklin’s Song
  3. Ron Gallo – Really Nice Guys
  4. Van William – Before I Found You
  5. A Savage – Linger  (Cranberries cover)
  6. Purling Hiss – My Dreams
  7. S. Carey – Still, Still, Still.
  8. NØMADS – Xenophobia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our final Best of post of 2016 is MM’s own selections. You can also listen via Spotify here.

20 TRAAMS – A House On Fire
I always think I don’t really like long songs and yet they always seem to end up in my favourite tracks of the year. This TRAAMS song is nearly nine minutes long yet hurtles along in a blur of krautrock inspired grooviness that is irresistible.

 

19 BAIT – I’m Still Here
Out-slaved anything on the last Slaves record and mentions evil genius Timmy Mallet. Top marks.

 

18 Mind Spiders – Running
An unstoppable, frantic force of razor sharp guitars and seething urgency.

 

17 Underworld – I Exhale
See what I mean about long songs… Another eight minutes of hypnotic, motorik techno that cannot be denied.

 

16 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife
Described by the band as a ‘never-ending album’, Nonagon Infinity features nine songs connected by musical motifs which flow ‘seamlessly’ into each other with the last track ‘linking straight back into the top of the opener’. The first single, a psych-rock/trash metal wig out, Gamma Knife contained a riff from the song People Vultures and both songs are our favourites on the record. This just edges it for its sheer grooviness.

 

15 Terry – Don’t Say Sorry
I love this song for making me feel 15 again and discovering all those now punk classics. Nervy, incessant, catchy as hell and the best deadpan vocals of the year. Why would you say sorry for that?

 

14 Van William – Revolution
We still miss Port O’Brien and (whisper it) Van Pierszalowski’s new musical vehicle WATERS haven’t really been a patch on PO’B, so we were delighted to discover Van William, another new project, but this time returning to the folksier roots of his previous band. Add in a mournful trumpet and the gorgeous harmonies of First Aid Kit and a lovely record is suddenly elevated to another plane altogether. Fingers crossed for more from Van William

 

13 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand
Starts like the Butthole Surfers and then gets better. The bit from 45 seconds to one minute is my favourite 15 seconds of punk rock this year.

 

12 Damien Jurado – Exit 353
Concluding the single story he has been telling over a trilogy of albums with Visions of Us on the Land, the lead single Exit 353 was a snapshot view of life and death, love and betrayal told through a perfect combination of expansive, evocative guitars with their roots in the heyday of classic 70s psych and Western movie strings that called to mind sun-blasted vast, parched sands.

 

11 James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone
An intense, tribal, maelstrom of churning, filthy guitars and pounding percussion that veers into space rock by way of spaghetti westerns and Italian horror films.

 

10 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow
Only You Remain was an excellent debut album of beautiful, pastoral Americana cut through with an almost sinuous psychedelic haze – imagine Beach House and Mazzy Star with Gram Parsons and Neil Young. Undertow was a dreamy, reverb-rich, reflective highlight.

 

Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore
A song about gender, identity and being taken seriously as an artist that manages to be funny and biting and smart. It is a perfect rallying cry, all wrapped up in biting lyrics and a driving riff that has as much Joey Ramone in it as it does Pavement or Yo La Tengo.

“I don’t wanna be funny anymore / I got a too short skirt, maybe I can be the cute one / Is there room in the band? I don’t need to be the front man / If not, then I’ll be the biggest fan”

 

Cave Singers – That’s Why
A perfect, slightly fuzzy, rolling baseline, stomping drums and Pete Quirk’s unmistakeable vocals. The Cave Singers gave us a new album this year. That’s Why was the first single and as soon as we heard it we knew they at least wouldn’t be letting us down in a year that turned out to be one of monumental disappointments.

 

7 Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga
A late entry thanks to Mrs M as the Pixies finally manage to turn back the clock and deliver a southern gothic rocker of bracing urgency and delirious intensity.

 

6 Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack
I imagine that one of the ten commandments of music might be “Black Mountain shall deliver the riff of the year” and so, just as it was with 2010’s Let Spirits Ride, so it was with 2016’s Florian Saucer Attack. This is just top notch rocking out of ‘turn it up to eleven’ Spinal Tap proportions – I mean that in an entirely good, and non-ironic, way of course, which is a shame for American readers as “apparently” you don’t get irony. I doubt it is true although while many of your countrymen and women were damning the celebrity support of Hilary Clinton as out-of-touch and unrepresentative, millions were happily voting for a billionaire celebrity on the other side. Go figure…

 

5 Parquet Courts -Dust
Droning, danceable guitars brilliantly provide a backdrop to a jittery 50 word essay on the inherent grossness of dust and the futility of cleaning. “It follows, now swallow, You’re biting it now, Suffocate, suffocate, Breathe, Dust is everywhere, Sweep”.

 

4 Ashley Shadow – Tired
A bleary, resigned mid-tempo rocker from the twin-sister of Black Mountain’s Amber Webber that somehow feels like being stood in the epicentre of a mini-hurricane.

 

3 Car Seat Headrest – Fill In The Blank
I came late to the Car Seat Headrest album because everyone was pushing the Drunk Drivers/Killers Whales song which was OK, but not good enough to make me want to check out the album. Turns out that was my mistake as it is by far the worst song on the best album of the year. It opens with Fill In The Blank, which pushes Black Mountain mighty close in the riffage stakes for a start and also has my favourite lyric of the year: “You have no right to be depressed, You haven’t tried hard enough to like it.”

 

2 Dr. Dog – Bring My Baby Back
Laying a yearning, plaintive vocal over the top of a perfect mix of  pop, gospel and psych rock, Dr Dog created the nigh on perfect Bring My Baby Back. Majoring on themes of betrayal, repentance, solitude, and revenge, wrapped up in a perfectly strummed acoustic guitar, it was the most innocently beguiling tune of the year.

Simple plea, make them pay and make them bring my baby back to me. Oh make them pay and make them bring my baby back to me

 

1 Car Seat Headrest – (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)
Sounding uncannily like Will Sheff of Okkervil River at the start of (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem), Will Toledo delivers a stunning combination of self-deprecating disgust, mundanity and insight without sacrificing one ounce of musicality. Equally rich and raw, with an honesty and openness that is all too rare these days, Car Seat Headrest is a genuine poet – the closest thing to a modern day Leonard Cohen that I have heard and  I simply can’t praise him more highly than that. Sheer genius.

 

And our other annual ‘awards’..

Gig of the Year: Protomartyr at the 100 Club, London

 

Cover of the Year: Julien Baker – Ballad of Big Nothing (Elliott Smith cover)

 

Car-run anthem: Insane Clown Posse – Chicken Huntin’

 

So there we have it for another year.  To check out the Italian Job’s top 20 click here or here for Chris T Popper’s selections and here for Mrs Mackerel’s. Click for the full run down of our 100 favourite tracks (100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-1) and albums.

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Our third Best Of listing comes from the ever lovely Mrs Mackerel. Listen on Spotify here.

2016 turned out to be fairly music-light by my standards in that I didn’t listen to nearly as much as I usually do, partly in response to spending so much time driving up and down the country. For this, I need the spoken word rather than the sung one, hence a dirty dozen from me rather than the usual 20.

12 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife

 

11 Fat White Family – Breaking into Aldi

 

10 Jamie T – Tinfoil Boy

This was my favourite Jamie T song from his new album, Trick, even before last month’s gig in Brixton. It’s the second time I’ve seen him live and if you ever get the chance, just do it. Even if you find yourself in an isolated demographic. There was a young chap dancing to this track in the aisle of the balcony, trance-like; he was lost to the song and I was mesmerised. Music: it gets you like that sometimes.

It’s times like this I feel tricked into waking up.’ There’s a reflection for the past 12 months if ever I heard one.

 

9 Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree

Although I believe that all the songs from the Skeleton Tree album were recorded prior to the tragic death of his much-loved son, grief and loss resonate across every note. More than anything, I feel grateful that I cannot feel what he feels.

 

8 Joseph Coward – Peanut Girl

I hear the sound – or at least the influence – of Belle and Sebastian with a peanut topping. I love this slightly retro-sounding bouncy ode to feeling young and lusty.

 

7 Van William with First Aid Kit – Revolution

This has all the hallmarks of a Mrs Mackerel fave written all over it, and when the familiar harmonies of those youthful Swedish warblers kick-in, I’m sold. I love a slightly mournful lyric juxtaposed with a jaunty, foot-tapping tune, said the fish as she swam away upstream.

 

6 The Lumineers – Gale Song

A familiar annual scenario: top ten compiled, a song is returned by MM to moi as ‘not being 2016’. But as we all know, I ain’t a fish wife for nothing. So here it is, originally recorded some time ago (tsk), released on Cleopatra in 2016. I played this short, poignant song an awful lot this year. And I love a Wesley Schultz vocal, so really, don’t argue.

 

5 Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga

My other alter ego also resurfaced this year: rock chick. Or perhaps gnarly old hen. Anyway, the Pixies back to making new music like they bloody mean it. Play loud, with attitude: But I’ll just keep on walking/It’s starting to hit me/ They’re coming to get me.

 

4 Agnes Obel – It’s Happening Again

A song for when you’re swimming with the algae, trapped with your own thoughts and unable to escape the malady of ever-revolving mental anguish. Hypnotic, bleak and maudlin. For those days when you don’t feeling like rocking out but hunkering down.

 

3 She Drew the Gun – Since You Were Not Mine

Tell me I’m just dreaming won’t you wake me up? Sadly not. The nightmare that has been 2016 is real but still, new bands, new music, new earworms. I sang this to the dog relentlessly in what seemed like some huge Freudian slip. Fortunately, he’s the strong silent type. Psych-pop with a shade of darkness.

 

2 Mitski – Your Best American Girl

Young love: sometimes life, love and relationships don’t work out quite as simply as you think it might do at the time, so she sings. Ah, but how great wisdom comes with age! This song builds, climbs and then explodes into a great big wall of sound. Heavy on the guitar and absolutely brilliant.

 

1 Damien Jurado – Exit 353

A big song with big meaning and a wide expansive sound that splits right open about a minute and half in. It’s that exact moment that clinched its numero uno spot for me. The moment I wish for really expensive speakers that can do its majesty justice. Sigh.

 

A change of school and routine means no school anthem this year, unless you count Thought For the Day. Not really.

 

Best gig of 2016:

Damien Jurado, Islington Assembly Hall, London, April 2016

Just edged it over Jamie T; a phenomenal gig, worth the midweek trek to the Big Smoke. Despite being surrounded by people over seven feet tall, every bit of neck ache was worth it when he played a beautiful version of one of my favourites, Museum of Flight.

 

Tomorrow we have Mad Mackerel’s top twenty of the year. To check out the Italian Job’s top 20 click here or here for Chris T Popper’s selections. Click for the full run down of our 100 favourite tracks (100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-1) and albums.

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Our second individual listing comes from long-standing contributor Chris T Popper, he of the creaking joints and club foot (and yet still the second-best footballer in his family). Another cracking collection of tunes, and you can always listen on Spotify here.

20 Big Thief – Paul

 

19 Mind Spiders – Running

 

18 Hooded Fang – Dead Battery

 

17 Van William – Revolution

 

16 Staches – Total Commitment

 

15 Yowl – The Imminent Return

 

14 Ultimate Painting – Bills

 

13 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow

 

12 Flat Worms – Petulance

 

11 Jacuzzi Boys – Lucky Blade

 

10 Neighbors – Angel O

To begin my countdown we have the troubled Neighbors. The band are new to me and unfortunately I won’t be getting to hear any new material as they split up earlier this year. Thankfully they did have the good sense to sign off with a cracker. Angel O with its spiky guitars, rhythm changes and Jose Diaz’s Rohena’s distorted vocal ending the song audibly weeping is definitely one to pique my interest in checking out their back catalogue.

 

9 Parquet Courts – Dust

Dust is everywhere – it’s all around you ‘you’re biting it now’ it taunts. Held together by a driving tempo that breaks occasionally for a trip around all kinds of added extras including traffic noise it’s a celebration of the mundane. Sweep.

 

8 PJ Harvey – Guilty

The foreboding nature of the beat – a combination of tom tom through a whammy pedal – and lyrics feels particularly pertinent considering what a strange year’s 2016 has been. Decrying the US drone strikes ‘what’s he doing with that stick, which one is guilty?’ and ‘nobody asked us if we’re one of ‘them…’’ feels like a question likely to be repeated in 2017.

 

7 Magic Potion – Milk

I love the weirdly tuned guitars, slacker attitude and the way it just does it’s thing almost unnoticed. There is a kind of warmth to the whole thing (it was recorded and produced by the band) that seems to permeate and the doleful tones of lead singer Gustaf Montelius are a perfect match to the fab wonky guitar.

 

6 Terry – Don’t Say Sorry

Melbourne quartet Terry are a band made up of Australian post punk royalty. With members from different bands (including the wonderfully monikered Constant Mongrel) they’ve created an insanely catchy song with the sort of chorus that strikes earworm gold. Obviously I can’t help but sing along with it every time – it’s just instinctive.

 

5 The Wave Pictures – Pool Hall

This one ambles in to my top 5 with a nicely laid back swagger. Inspired by the disconnection of a society that’s seems intent on closing all our interesting places of social interaction, it’s a bluesy lament to those smoky pool halls now disappeared ‘your past gets closed down bit by bit’ says guitarist/vocalist and songwriter Dave Tattersall, adding (we’re now living)‘…in a bankrupt culture, one that celebrates bongo pop morons and largely ignores the real thing’. About right.

 

4 Underworld – I Exhale

From humble beginnings it’s when the synth cracks in to life that I Exhale starts it’s inexorable rise to becoming my go to record of the year. How many times did I put this on really loud when I was feeling shitty and found Hyde’s spoken word lyrics carrying me off to a different place, ably assisted by that pounding hypnotic beat.

 

3 Little Barrie – I.5.C.A.

Little Barrie made an appearance in a previous top 10 of mine and they’ve delivered another beauty with I.5.C.A. Bit of a slow burner, but that filthy opening riff soon pulls you in and the guitar throughout is just extraordinary. Inspired by hallucinatory trips driving up and down Interstate 5 on their last tour goes some way to explaining it’s otherworldly appeal.

 

2 Terry Malts – Used To Be

I have a real soft spot for Terry Malts, their tune I Was Not There was a big favourite from 2013. Now three years later they’re back with another cracker. I love the lyrics, grieving for a life that is just a nostalgic mirage. Do you want it back how it used to be? it asks before signing off with a ‘not me’ slapping any rose tinted glasses off your face in the process.

 

1 Yak – Victorious (National Anthem)

The chaos this song provides in just over 2 minutes is quite magnificent. The monster bass break preceding the chorus is proper badass and coupled with the strangulated vocals it gallops along with such an endearing lunacy I knew it was my favourite record of the year pretty quickly. There is something I love about a band doing exactly what they want… and it works a treat.

 

Tomorrow we have Mrs Mackerel’s dirty dozen. To check out the Italian Job’s top 20 click here or click for the full run down of our 100 favourite tracks (100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-1) and albums.

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And so here we are, our favourite tracks of the year counting down from 25 to number 1.

Enjoy…

 

25 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife

 

24 Little Barrie – I.5.C.A.

 

23 She Drew The Gun – Since You Were Not Mine

 

22 Car Seat Headrest – Fill In The Blank

 

21 Communist Daughter – Balboa Bridge

 

20 Mitski – Your Best American Girl

 

19 Dr Dog – Bring My Baby Back

 

18 Yak – Victorious (National Anthem)

 

17 Car Seat Headrest – (Joe Gets Kicked Out Of School For Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)

 

16 TRAAMS – A House On Fire

 

15 Terry – Don’t Say Sorry

 

14 The Wave Pictures – Pool Hall

 

13 Jamie T – Tinfoil Boy

 

12 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand

 

11 Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack

 

10 The Mind Spiders – Running

 

9 Underworld – I Exhale

 

8 James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone

 

7 Terry Malts – Used To Be

 

6 Van William – Revolution

 

5 Damien Jurado – Exit 353

 

4 The Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga

 

3 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow

 

2 Ashley Shadow – Tired

 

1 Parquet Courts – Dust

 

So that’s our top 100 done for another year. Check back for the rest of the countdown here (100-76, 75-51, 50-26) and look out for our favourite albums list tomorrow and then individual lists from The Italian Job, Chris T Popper, Mrs Mackerel, and MM.

Check out previous end-of-year best ofs using the links at the top of the page.

Revolution is the brilliant second single from Van William of WATERS and (previous MM faves) Port O’Brien fame.

It is much more reminiscent of the latter, and also features the glorious harmonies of Swedish duo First Aid Kit.

Listen below. An absolute gem.