Posts Tagged ‘Wooden Wand & The World War IV’

Welcome to numbers 120 through to 101 of our favourite tunes of the past ten years…

120 Black Mountain – Let Spirits Ride (2010)

Who cares if the riff is nicked from another song, or if it sounds like 1972. I don’t when it as good as this. Pure riffola magic.

 

119 Faith Healer – No Car (2015)

 

Kicking up a meaty riff from the outset and telling the tale of an abusive ex-lover, the impact of No Car is unstoppable – a powerhouse of a tune

 

118 Car Seat Headrest – (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)(2016)

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. The closest thing to a modern day Leonard Cohen that we have heard and simply can’t praise him more highly than that. Sheer genius.

 

117 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand (2016)

 

Starts like the Butthole Surfers and then gets better. Pure bristling, raw, visceral, fuck-you rock’n’roll.

 

116 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter (2016)

 

Irrepressibly hazy psych rock where lurking amidst a jovial, almost childish rhythm is something nightmarish revealed through harsh, distorted guitar riffs.

 

115 Soft Black – Time gets Away And Has Its Way With You (2009)

 

Ah, that gentle rhythm and those sweet harmonies. Simply gorgeous meandering, psych inflected indie rock.

 

114 The Tallest Man On Earth – Leading Me Now (2o12)

Fast paced, catchy and, dare we say, light-hearted, finger picked folk with a unique melody and those wonderful scratchy vocals.

 

113 Creepoid – Grave Blanket (2011)

 

Rattling psych-rock, all creeping reverb laden malevolence.

 

112 Wooden Wand & The World War IV – I Hate The Nightlife (2013)

 

Bleak psych-country with Crazy Horse era guitars soundtracking the grimy fuzz of a regular, always hungover, road trip.

 

111 Lord Huron – Time To Run (2012)

An epic Western of a tune: a story song with a foot-tapping rhythm that mimics the flight of yer man and a great mid point when the bells of doom literally ring for our outlaw friend on the run.

 

110 This Is The Kit – Silver John (2015)

 

Spine tingling, mysterious and poetically reflecting on nothing less than the impending end of the world.

 

109 Nathaniel Rateliff – Brakeman (2010)

Folk lullaby dripping with regret and despair.

 

108 Grass House – A Cradle A Short Breath (2011)

In a conscious effort to avoid being type-cast in a dark or brooding vein, the song hints at the lighter side of the London group’s repertoire. Even so, it is still menacing enough to send most other indie bands screaming to their mummies.

 

107 Royal Sea – This Summer (2012)

 

Opens with a spectacularly catchy drum beat before the vocals come in like a rush of sugar coated adrenalin, plaintively announcing: “We crashed everybody’s parties / we drank cheap wine and whiskey / We partied up on the rooftops / I’m glad it was just you and me”. This should have been the woozy, feel good hit of the summer of 2012.

 

106 Delta Spirit – Trashcan (2008)

Clicking percussion gives way to a frantic rhythm and battle-cry vocals – a marvel of infectious folk rock.

 

105 John Grant – I Wanna Go To Marz (2010)

Grant’s effortlessly rich, expansive baritone, couched in a typically heartbreaking, lush melody courtesy of Midlake’s familar 1970s soft-rock style.

 

104 Alt J – Left Hand Free (2014)

Twangy indie rock with a shuffling beat, a quirky chorus and some bluesy undertones.

 

103 Moonlandingz – Vessels (2017)

 

A perfect blend of sleazy glam rock riffs and twisted lyrics – as delightfully grubby as it gets.

 

102 Sonny + The Sandwitches – Through The Fog And The Haze (2010)

 

Inspired by a near-drowning, Through The Fog And The Haze is perfectly observed, elegant folk filled with briny, aquatic imagery.

 

101 The Cave Singers – Gifts And The Raft (2011)

Pete Quirk’s rustic rasp set to some classic backwoods acoustic charm.

 

Check out tracks 200-181, 180-161, 160-141, and 141-120.

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Here is the second instalment of our favourite albums of 2013, counting down from 30 to 11.

30 Nick Cave – Push The Sky Away

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29 Caitlin Rose – The Stand-In

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28 Coke Weed – Back To Soft

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27 Georgia’s Horse – Weather Codes

Georgia's Horse Release Weather Codes

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26 Alela Diane – About Farewell

MM Shorts 333: Alela Diane's New Album

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25 Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

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24 Quiet American – Wild Bill Jones

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23 The National – Trouble Will Find Me

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22 Torres – Torres

MM Shorts 289: Torres

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21 Bill Callahan – Dream River

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20 Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt

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19 Wooden Wand & The World War IV – Wooden Wand & The World War IV

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18 Various Artists – Divided & United The Songs Of The Civil War

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17 Blitzen Trapper – VII

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16 Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle

New Album From Laura Marling

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15 Mark Mulcahy – Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You

More From Mark Mulcahy

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14 Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin

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13 Cass McCombs – Big Wheel And Others

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12 Low – The Invisible Way

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11 Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere

New Album From Terry Malts

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See numbers 50 – 31 here.

Chris T Popper's Best 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. Next up is Mr Chris T Popper.

20. Coathangers – Adderall

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19. GRMLN – Summer Days
Download GRMLN – Summer Days mp3

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18. Willie Nile – American Ride

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17. Mickey Gloss – Are You Happy

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16. Orwells – Who Needs You

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15. Chelsea Light Moving – Lip

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14. Wooden Wand & World War IV – I Hate The Nightlife

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13. Vandaveer – Omie Wise

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12. Coma Cinema – Virgin Veins

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11. Quiet American – Wild Bill Jones

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10. Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – Gammy Leg
I underestimated this offering from Australia’s finest when I first listened to it. Essentially a tale of the immense bad luck befalling the protagonist and his ‘gammy leg’ it’s easy to dismiss. That would be a mistake. The wonderful deadpan, matter of fact delivery is laced with some brilliant throwaway lines and the black humour never wavers for a second.

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9. Water Liars – Fake Heat
I kind of loved this song despite trying not to if you know what I mean? In the end I gave in gracefully (which wasn’t difficult, there’s a fair bit of imploring in this one) as the heart should always overrule the brain when it comes to music. It does have an undeniable glory to it as well though which can’t help stirring even this most cynical of souls.

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8. Jesse Woods – Cold Blood
As traditional as the aching sadness of yet another year wasted Christmas always brings, there will undoubtedly be a latecomer to my top 10. Step forward Jesse Woods. I was listening to this song in the car when I first got the CD and when I finally heard to it on a ‘proper’ music system it blew me away. Woods has great timing to his delivery and an even better voice. It’s bloody magnificent.

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7. Foxygen – No Destruction
This was pretty much nailed on. With the opening line of I’m sending you this photograph of me in my new car I had already signed up on the Foxygen dotted line and was awaiting further instruction. A subversive laid back and slightly peculiar song. Kept me thinking all year, as I never knew where I really had it.

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6. T Hardy Morris – OK Corral
Sad, sad songs eh? Love ‘em myself and T. Hardy Morris delivers a tour de force with OK Corral. You can’t help it as you’re dragged in to the drowsy chorus and it’s tangible sense of sorrow. It’s also another song from this year with a great opening line. Swear me in, I’m good at making promises…

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5. Terry Malts – I Was Not There
As my previous top 10s bear out I do like a proper modern punk song. Terry Malts can do that. Heavy drums and a real hurry-up guitar combine to great effect. It’s an enjoyably unforgiving song.  And ‘I was not there’ are four words that have constantly come in useful throughout my own life.

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4. Burning Hell – Grown Ups
An instant hit. From the very start Grown Ups is a treat, with the most arresting opening lyric I’ve heard for some time. Guitar meanders along as the tale unfolds about nostalgia and the joy of hanging around graveyards being ‘little goth idiots’. I had a goth stage in my teens – trench coat, skinny black jeans, miserable outlook and an utterly appalling haircut. The quintessential goth you might say and a really great effort from me.

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3. Southerly – Desolation Low
Now I mean this in a good way, but I just love the damn ‘seriousness’ of this song. Serious without being shit that is. And for that Southerly must be congratulated and lauded. Instead we have a climatic build up and an epic finale that gave it a deserved top 3 status. It just picks me up and carries me away no matter how many times I hear it.

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2. Low – Plastic Cup
I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like this song after the very first listen. I think Low may have cracked it. There’s a dreamy kind of stillness to it and a perfect example of the genius of simplicity. It never tries too hard because it doesn’t need to.

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1. Phosphorescent – Song For Zula
In a recent interview Matthew Houck talked about Song For Zula and how he felt he had achieved something with the song that he thought was beyond his ability. An almost unconscious level of quality he hadn’t perceived was there. I know exactly what he means… apart from never having achieved anything to my ability or beyond it. But I can imagine, so I won’t let it hold me back. Just the best song I’ve heard in ages.

MM's Favourite Tracks Of 2013: 75 - 51

The countdown of our one hundred favourite tracks of 2013 continues…today we reach halfway as we bring you 75 down to 51.

75 GRMLN – Summer Days
Thrashy, catchy, singalong rock’n’roll with platform shoes and ridiculous flares.

Download GRMLN – Summer Days mp3

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74 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. (Mrs M)

 

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73 Courtney Barnett – History Eraser
Deadpan, conversational, charming, funny, literal and literate – a drunken night’s tale told with an upbeat lo-fi jangle and amiable vocal delivery.

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72 Pickwick – Lady Luck
Gorgeous cover of the Richard Swift tune, and featuring Sharon Van Etten.


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71 Holograms – A Blaze On The Hillside
Most thrilling riff of the year?

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70 Willie Nile – American Ride
The best roadtrip song we’ve heard in many a moon, impassioned and infectious.

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69 Cerny Brothers – Whiskey
Moonshine Americana straight from the back porch.

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68 Mickey Gloss – Are You Happy
Wry social commentary meets punk DIY and garage psychedelia in a distillation of antipodean sun and London melancholia.

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67 Nick Cave – 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. (Mrs M)

 

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66 Barbarossa – The Load
A sparse and delicate ballad, undercut by a distorted organ refrain, and constructed around remarkable and tender vocals.

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65 The Orwells – Who Needs Who
Roaring drums and aggressive, snapping vocals gave us the most thrilling garage punk single of the year.

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64 Fuzz – Sleigh Ride
Heaviest riff of the year?

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63 Cass McCombs – Big Wheel
Hypnotic, rumbling, country-dirt travelogue.

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62 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. (Mrs M)

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61 Chelsea Light Moving – Lip
Hardcore anthem of the year.

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60 The Cave Singers – Canopy
Sun-drenched, mellow indie folk opener from their Naomi album.

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59 Coma Cinema – Virgin Veins
Spare and haunting. Talking of quiet suffering, loneliness, ugliness and confusion, “The heart is a monument / to a childhood of abuse.

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58 Dune Rats – Stoner Pop
In a parallel world somewhere, this was the smash hit of the summer.

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57 Wooden Wand & The World War IV – I Hate The Nightlife
On Wooden Wand’s wrist is a tattoo: WWNYD – What Would Neil Young Do? Our guess? Buy this record. Epic, taut, tense, and full of the fiery guitar so beloved of NY.

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56 The Head & The Heart – Shake
The bass drum kicks this one into action, a little bit of clapping and then, hello, 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, but watch out for that prevailing wind. (Mrs M)

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55 Half Moon Run – Full Circle
A captivating blend of exquisite guitar lines and delicate folk melodies.

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54 Quiet American – Wild Bill Jones
Old time folk for modern times, Quiet American bring new light to the many faceted tale of all-American bad boy Wild Bill Jones.

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53 Gaz Coombes Presents – One Of These Days
Heartfelt, beautiful melancholia set to a piano and strings and a pulsing bass line.

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52 Blitzen Trapper – Feel The Chill
That old wreck of a shack buried in evergreen and murky darkness at the bend in the road up on Jackson Hill where we used to drink and never failed to give me a chill driving by in the old Impala for it’s implacable mystery.” That’s where Feel the Chill takes place.

 

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51 Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – Gammy Leg
I underestimated this offering from Australia’s finest when I first listened to it. Essentially a tale of the immense bad luck befalling the protagonist and his ‘gammy leg’ it’s easy to dismiss. That would be a mistake. The wonderful deadpan, matter of fact delivery is laced with some brilliant throwaway lines and the black humour never wavers for a second. (CP)

New Albums From Mathew Sawyer & Wooden Wand

Today is a proverbial red letter day in Mad Mackerel terms as it sees the official US release date for new albums from two of our favourite artists.

From our side of the pond we have Sleep Dreamt a Brother, the new album from musician and artist Mathew Sawyer, out on Fire Records. The majority of the album was written and recorded following the loss of three friends a few months apart in 2011, and completed two weeks before his son was born. While it retains much of his darkly surrealistic humour and, as usual, brilliantly presents wry observations as though from the wrong end of a lens, it is also a record that is clearer and more focused than previously and is (even) better for it.

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Wooden Wand & The World War IV

Representing the other side of the water, we have the release of Wooden Wand & The World War IV’s self-titled album that we reviewed in detail here. However, given today is the official release, it seemed churlish to pass up the opportunity to post another couple of brilliant tracks from one of our records of the year. You can order from the Three Lobed Recordings Bandcamp page here.

Two essential records from two brilliant, individual songwriters. You know what you should do…

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Wooden Wand & The World War IV

There are occasions when maintaining a music blog is completely incongruous with the irrationality of (selfish) human emotions.

By its very nature the blog exists to share music we like, champion new artists and releases in our own small way, and to lend our voice in support of those things that we feel are so much more interesting, stimulating and frankly worthwhile than the pre-packaged, often unthinking content of the mainstream.

And of course over time, every blog discovers and cherishes its own particular favourites. This is equally true for Mad Mackerel, and while we have a host of artists who qualify for this status, there is perhaps none more so than Wooden Wand.

His latest release, backed by the same troupe of musicians as for his two outstanding previous releases Briarwood and Blood Oaths for the New Blues, but now called The World War IV, is a self-titled album of seven songs (ranging in length from two minutes to almost nine). Yet inexplicably we have been afflicted by a curious desire to keep the record entirely to ourselves.

In truth, we have had the album for a few weeks, and over that time we have come to love it – love it almost too much to share. It has become something that, ridiculously, we feel we have some claim on, a stake in, and some ownership over. We can only liken it to Mrs M’s complete refusal to share her favourite album of the year with any of her friends lest that should dilute, and perhaps spoil, her own love for the record.

So in some ways, it is with some reluctance that we offer up this post, and take only small consolation from “doing the right thing”, because in our heart of hearts, we know you need to hear this record!

Mrs M often describes Wooden Wand as one of the few, true remaining free spirits in the world of rock’n’roll – someone who seems to follow his muse and his imagination without thought for commercial gain, scant regard for marketing and promotion, and little interest in optimum release timings. Genres and categories are superfluous and superficial (although very useful for those of us who write and cannot create).

And so it proves with this record, for in typical WW style, he has changed direction again giving us an album that this time evokes the epic, psychedelic space jams of the Grateful Dead, the ferocious guitars of classic Neil Young and Crazy Horse duels, and even the post punk hardcore of the 1980s.

Not a moment is wasted, from the taut, locked groove of the undeniably creepy opener Someday This Child Will Die to the closing McDonalds on the Moon, where, over eight minutes, sinewy, twisting guitars weave recurring patterns and play out behind a repeating, contemptuous comment on the slavering, all-consuming greed of today’s corporate behemoths. To paraphrase our own Mr Churchill, rarely has so much been said by so little.

Elsewhere we have the apocalyptic Our Father The Monster, the ominous and stunning Directions to Debbie Harry’s House and in I Hate The Nightlife, we think Mr Wand may well have committed one of his finest ever moments to vinyl.

(You should) order the album here.