Posts Tagged ‘Villagers’

New Video: Villagers – Courage

Posted: February 4, 2015 in Folk, Indie, Music, Pop, Rock
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Darling Arithmetic is the third album from Villagers, set for release in April.

The follow-up to Conor O’Brien’s debut, Becoming a Jackal, and its successor, Awayland – both hugely acclaimed and each nominated for the Mercury Prize – is a beautiful, intimate album entirely about love and relationships.

The opening track and first single, Courage, concerns the most important kind of love – for yourself.

It took a little time to get where I wanted
It took a little time to get free
It took a little time to be honest
It took a little time to be me.

Watch the video for it here.

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Mrs Mackerel's Top Songs of 2013

As well as our Top 100 tunes of the year that we’ve posted over the past few days, each of the MM contributors have put together their own lists. Today it is the turn of Mrs Mackerel.

20. Steve Mason – A Lot of Love
Love the piano on this song and the catchy, sing-a-long chorus – a guaranteed earworm if I had any (ears that is… being a fish, of course.) Steve Mason’s gentle vocals reflect on love lost and the hope of finding it again.

19. The Villagers – Nothing Arrived
I’m loving the piano this year and there’s a good bit of gutsy playing here. What were we hoping to get out of this boys? Nothing actually. People are so bloody disappointing aren’t they?

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 18.  Junip – Line of Fire
Sold to me in wistful and reflective mode; there’s more than a kernal of truth in these insightful lyrics: You realise it’s just a whim/And you notice it matters/Who and what you let under your skin.

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17. Sisters – Clearhead
Here are my shoes. See how I gaze at them. It says 2013 on the label, but I’ve gone back to the early 90s. Lovely.

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16. Foxygen – No Destruction
It’s the lazy, laconic drawl and the finger-clicking rhythm – just one hand if you’re me, as the other doesn’t seem to work – and the way you can sing along to ‘No destruct-shaan’ quite happily, even in modest company.

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15. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Wide Lovely Eyes
Oh clever, clever Nicholas Cave and his voice so hypnotic, deep and dark. You could imagine this as part of a recruitment drive to join a cult (yes you, with your wide lovely eyes). With a teasing yet subdued musical arrangement, this is the gospel according to St Nick.

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14. Head & the Heart – Shake
The bass drum kicks this one into action, then a little bit of clapping and the rest of the band follows. There’s a sweet change of tempo for the chorus: ‘And the memories we made will never be lost, no.’ Maybe not with the ink, pens, and prevailing wind and all that shaking.

13.  Arcade Fire – Reflektor
We are right in the mix here: a bit of dance therapy needed. Remember the hypnotic triangle of cooker/fridge/sink? Throw some shapes, make a curry, go knock yourself out; I didn’t want to dance, but they made me.

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12. Laura Marling – Devil’s Resting Place
There’s menace and a brooding darkness in this devil’s resting place as LM returns to the pared back sound of Alas I Cannot Swim.  But there are many layers to this music and her latest album has an intensity and intelligence that means she’s still my number one gal.

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11.  Jus Post Bellum – It’s a Shame
Cowboys! Gunfight! This is an upbeat folky number with a wicked drum backbeat that pulls it all together like a rolling canter. He’s a bad ‘un and it’s a shame.

10. Waxahatchee – Swan Dive
The rhythmic drumming and finger picking guitar counter balance Katie Crutchfield’s rich, husky vocal in this short, melancholic lament: you hold on to the past, you make yourself miserable/and I’m ruled by seasons and sadness that’s inexplicable. So there.

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9.   Shovels & Rope – Johnny 99
Yes, it’s a Bruce Springsteen cover, but quite frankly, so what? This is a damn fine tune and that’s one hell of a Marlboro red voice she’s got there. And did I mention the piano (again)?

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8.   Alela Diane – Colorado Blue
Sharply observed lyrics float over a gently strummed backdrop, this song is plumbed from the emotional depths of her divorce album. Might not get you in the Christmas spirit but is sure to bring a lump to your throat.

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7.   Night Beds – Even If We Try
It starts off acappela, and finishes somewhere around dawn. Yes, this is indeed a late night/wee small hours tune if ever there was one. Recorded Bon Iver-style in a self-built studio, this is an intimate song of longing and reflection:  As you watch the colours/Fleeting with the cover/Nature set on fire/Truth found in the mire. There’s space under my wing, Winston.

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6.   Water Liars – Linens
Pull up a chair, I wanna tell you a story about tormented man. To be honest, he’s too much trouble for me (cook your own bacon, change your own sheets boyo), but I like a good yarn and a telling verse: The mind is a place unto itself/ And in it makes a heaven of hell/And a hell of heaven. Quite.

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5.   Jesse Woods – Cold Blood
This one’s a bit of a swayer and despite the title, Cold Blood is lyrically beautiful and uplifting. You can drift into the rise and fall of the music and the harmonies – and, like the man says, we’ve got places to be and nothing to prove.

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4.   James Yorkston – Just As Scared
Every couple of years I seem to find the perfect smoky bar song. Here’s just such a tune: a cheek-to-cheek intimate duet that shuffles around the piano with a bluesy feel that gets my foot a-tapping. Now where’s your shoulder, let me very gently lay my head…

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3.  Wooden Wand – Southern Colorado Song
I could rename this Southern Devon song: late July, lying on the beach with the waves rushing into my ears.  Can you hear the cymbal tremor throughout this song? Nowhere seems the only place to go; aye, Captain.

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2.   Georgia’s Horse – Thistlebomb
Tales from the battlefield: an unusual, almost discordant arrangement with sublime vocals. If I was looking for an influence, maybe a hint of Kate Bush? Quite unique and utterly brilliant.

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1. Phosphorescent – Song for Zula
Matthew Houck’s ragged voice was not always to my taste. But time has altered us both and it’s his strong 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.

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Special mentions:

School Anthem 2013

Woody Pines – Hobo and his Bride
What’s a five mile trip to school without a bit of crooning about a hobo? It’s just me and the littlest Sprat in the Minner now and it’s often a power struggle over the play list. Joe, you win: your sing-along to this is top banana.

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Best Covers:

Deep Red Sky – Kids

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Eddie Berman with Laura Marling – Dancing in the Dark

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Jessica Lea Mayfield – I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)

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Best gig:

Phosphorescent, Village Underground, London (15 May 2013)
Fab acoustics and great sound, and, of course, the warm-up for his Muchacho tour. For me, there was no finer album of 2013. Perfect.

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Wooden Wand – Winter in Kentucky
Most. Favourite. Song. Ever.

If I had to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

MM's Top Tracks of 2013: 100 - 76

It is that time of year again. The votes have been polled from our MM contributors, the results collated and without further ado, here are Mad Mackerel’s favourite hundred tracks of 2013.

Today, we’re counting down the first twenty five, from 100-76.

100 Woody Pines – Hobo And His Bride
Classic, ramblin’ country blues, where songs are filled with characters fighting to climb up or sliding their way back down – wandering broken hearts, swaggering pimps, crusty hobos – and all inhabiting rundown roadhouses, juke joints and the dusty backroads. Have a listen to the epic tale of young love, The Hobo And His Bride.

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99 The Dodos – Confidence
Warm and wiry indie rock.

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98 Blessed Feathers – Real Song For Emily
Fiercer harmonies and a tenser, more urgent feel than this duo usually give us. Despite being only two and a half minutes long, the song’s plaintive coda has a bitter air of finality.

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97 Bill Callahan – The Sing
Well the only words I said today are “beer” and “thank you” / Beer, thank you / Beer, thank you / Beer

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96 Best Coast – Fear Of My Own Identity
The best fuzzed up pop single of the year.

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95 Eula – I Collapse
Seething, fractured, post-punk blues.

Download Eula – I Collapse mp3

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94 Torres – Honey
A single distorted guitar strum, unsupressed tension, and a raw, slow-burning payoff.

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93 Mark Mulcahy – Let The Fireflies Fly Away
Penguins, a hitch-hiking chicken, a donkey in a Chevrolet and a monkey family feud.

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92 Coke Weed – Sunseekers
A woozy, narcoleptic trip through the realms of psychedelia, indie rock and hazy Americana.

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91 Water Liars – Sucker
The first of three entries from Water Liars. Sucker is the buzzing opener to one of our albums of the year.

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90 The Oblivians – Run For Cover
Garage punks first album for 16 years didn’t disappoint. Run For Cover was a high octane highlight.

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89 Grass House – Spinning As We Turn
Cascading guitars and a hypnotic rhythm section that channels the spirits of Joe Meek and the Velvets.

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88 Ooga Boogas – Sex In The Chillzone
Featuring members of long time faves Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Sex In The Chillzone is an eight minute psych-rock lockdown into the year’s grooviest bass line that sounds like a blend of the Velvet Underground and Parliament.

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87 Of Montreal – Imbecile Rages
Your folks, they are such lovely people / I can’’t understand where you came from“, one of the best opening couplets of this or any other year.

 

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86 The Acquaintances – Paramounts
Tremolo’ed and reverby guitars and echoed out vocals wash over a top-notch rhythm section creating spaced-out garage-influenced rock with a melodic sensibility.

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85 Dim Peaks – Reason
Laid back, folk infused Americana.

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84 Colleen Green – Heavy Shit
Totally infectious, stoned punk.

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83 Shadows At Play – Into The Sun
Upbeat, ethereal folk song that alludes to the Greek mythology story of Icarus, exploring the notion that a man is free once he is defeated.

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82 Harmed Brothers – Love Song For The Assumed
Mixing folk and bluegrass with a wistful twist of poignant melancholy, Love Song For The Assumed was as sweet and as simple a song of heartbreak and longed for resolution as we heard in the whole year.

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81 Villagers – Nothing Arrived
I’m loving the piano this year and there’s a good bit of gutsy playing here. What were we hoping to get out of this boys? Nothing actually. People are so bloody disappointing aren’t they? (Mrs M)

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80 Phox – Noble Heart

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79 Black Angels – Indigo Meadow
Tribal drumming, 60s Hammer-Horror organ, and reverb.

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78 The Coathangers – Adderall
A propulsive, jittery, slice of post-punk agitation, borne in on the back of tribal drums and a perfect match for a commonly abused drug used to stimulate the central nervous system!

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77 Steve Mason – Lot Of Love
Love the piano on this song and the catchy, sing-a-long chorus – a guaranteed earworm if I had any (ears that is… being a fish, of course.) Steve Mason’s gentle vocals reflect on love lost and the hope of finding it again. (Mrs M)

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76 Jules Larson & AG – Bend Into The Break

Check back tomorrow for tracks 51-75.

Video of the Day: Villagers

Posted: October 29, 2012 in Folk, Indie, Music, Rock
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Video of the Day: The Villagers.

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The Villagers Release Cecelia Video. One of the highlights of seeing the Villagers play live in Oxford about 18 months ago was the final song of the set, a poignant and heartbreaking song called Cecelia Her Selfhood. It turns out it has long been a live favourite, but only recently has it been finally recorded in the studio and an accompanying video made. Although we are a little late with it, we wanted to post it because the video (which is more of a short film) is truly superb. It even lives up to the press release blurb: “The film charts the development of a young man as he navigates his way through an impressionistic landscape in search of an elusive monster which is intent on destroying his childhood home”

And so it does – in brilliant animation which provides the perfect visuals for the song.

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Main image courtesy of Jon Mackay photography.

So last night it was off to Oxford to see recent Mercury Prize nominees The Villagers supported by Cate Le Bon. I was accompanied by major-league Villagers fan Stu, so was hoping that expectations would be met…

We only managed to catch the end of Cate Le Bon’s set (on at a ridiculously early 7.30pm), but what we heard was enough to make us wish we’d arrived earlier. A voice that recalled vintage Grace Slick and a sound that strayed enticingly into the experimental, rather than ploughing a straight and narrow folk furrow, meant that the rapidly growing audience were soon stilled into attentive silence.

And so to the main attraction. Appearing at first with what looked like a toy acoustic guitar, Conor J O’Brien is the epitome of chic-geek, engagingly awkward and even a little coy, his talent, however, is clear from the first few notes – transforming him into a confident and cool operator. What was a good and highly accomplished debut album is brought vibrantly and heartbreakingly to life on stage. From Twenty Seven Strangers to Becoming A Jackal and a mesmerising Ship Of Promises he possesses that rare quality of being to hold an entire audience to attention with little more than his voice and a few sparsely plucked notes.

Joined by his band for the main part of the set the sound swelled for album staples such as a thrilling Home and closed with the overwhelmingly beautiful and achingly poignant Cecilia & Her Selfhood, a short encore later we left with expectations more than met.  Mr O’Brien is a songwriter of great talent and rare presence.

And lastly a special mention to Jon Mackay, who took the photographs thanks to a chance introduction on the night from Stu, and who as you can see knows how to handle a lens properly – unlike us! Huge thanks to him for the pictures and more of his excellent work can be seen on his website here.

Visit Villagers MySpace here. Visit Cate Le Bon’s MySpace here.

Buy the Villagers from Amazon here. Buy Cate Le Bon from Amazon here.

Download The Villagers – Becoming A Jackal mp3 (from Becoming A Jackal)

Download Cate Le Bon – Shoeing The Bones mp3 (from Me Oh My)

The Open House Festival takes place in Belfast from September 6th to the 12th. To mark the event, the organisers are giving away a free 14 track digital mix that includes the likes of Modest Mouse, The Felice Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show.

A couple of our favourites from the mix are below, and to find out more about the event and download the full mix for free, just click here.

Download Matthew & The Atlas – Within The Rose mp3

Download The Villagers – On A Sunlit Stage mp3