Posts Tagged ‘Woodpigeon’

Easter weekend, and a bumper collection of ten songs for you to dip into that were released this week.

1. The National – Sunshine On My Back
2. Southern – Lone Driver
3. Cheatahs – Murasaki
4. Heartless Bastards – Gates Of Dawn
5. Woodpigeon – When You Look For Trouble, Trouble Comes
6. Radkey – Parade It
7. Allo Darlin’ – Half Heart Necklace
8. Virginia Wing – A Complex Outline
9. Speedy Ortiz – Puffer
10. Christopher Paul Stelling – Warm Enemy

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No Direction Home Festival: Free Mixtape.

As you read this I will probably still be speeding northwards through the torrential rain on the M1 heading for Sherwood Forest and the inaugural No Direction Home music festival. Having spent the last two years happily enjoying the fantastic End of the Road festival, my plans were scuppered for a hat-trick by a sneaky move in dates making it clash with our first overseas family holiday in years to the beaches of Spain.

Thankfully, the same folk are behind this one so despite the rotten weather forecast, hopes are high for another fantastic event and judging by the line-up, we should be in for a treat. Friday night will be headlined by The Low Anthem, Saturday by Andrew Bird and Sunday by Richard Hawley. In between times we will have the pleasure of sets from Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny, Other Lives, Moon Duo, Lanterns On The Lake, The Wave Pictures, Wet Nuns, Father John Misty, Mikal Cronin and Spectrals. Best of all though will be discovering those artists and bands that we’ve not come across before and who turn out to be jaw-droppingly good.

Here is a free mix just to give you a taste of what we’ll be enjoying over the weekend, or if you fancy snapping up one of the last few tickets you can get one here.

Look out for a full review next week.

Download Father John Misty – Nancy From Now On mp3 (from Fear Fun)

Download Mikal Cronin – Apathy mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

Download Mikal Cronin – Get Along mp3 (from Mikal Cronin)

Download Other Lives – For 12 mp3 (from Tamer Animals)

Download Spectrals – Chip A Tooth (Spoil A Smile) mp3 (from A Spectrals Extended Play EP)

Download Moon Duo – Mazes mp3 (from Mazes)

Download The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin mp3 (from O My God, Charlie Darwin)

Download The Low Anthem – This God Damn House mp3 (from What The Crow Brings)

Download David Thomas Broughton – Nature mp3 (from Outbreeding)

Download David Thomas Broughton – Walking Over You mp3 (from The Complete Guide To Insufficiency)

Download Lanterns On The Lake – You’re Almost There mp3 (from Gracious Tide, Take Me Home)

Download Slow Club – Beginners mp3 (from Paradise)

Download Django Django – Love’s Dart mp3 (from Storm / Love’s Dart 7″)

Download The Cornshed Sisters – Nowhere Man mp3 (from Mojo Presents – Yellow Submarine Resurfaces)

Download Peter Wolf Crier – Crutch & Cane mp3 (from Inter-Be)

Download Zulu Winter – Lets Move Back To Front mp3 (from Language)

Download Woodpigeon – I Live A Lot of Places mp3 (from Treasury Library Canada)

Download Wet Nuns – Heavens Below mp3 (from Heavens Below 7″)

Download Tiny Ruins – The Death Of A Russian mp3 (from Some Were Meant For Sea)

Download The Wave Pictures –Stay Here And Take Care Of The Chickens mp3 (from Long Black Cars)

Download Veronica Falls – Bad Feeling mp3 (from Veronica Falls)

Download Austra – Lose it mp3 (from Feel It Break)

Download Joe Gideon & The Shark – True Nature mp3 (from Harum Scarum)

Another country. Having returned from “The North” as people in “The South” are wont to refer to it as, I managed to get past border control at Birmingham, with my rounder sounding vowels and soft Southern ways. A misfit now in both parts!

There’s lots of things about heading home that make me feel rather wistful – and so much of it has no real relevance for anyone else in the Mackerel clan. Places you went to when you were too young to be going there anyway (don’t tell the parents!), loud and lairy fun fair rides that the sprats rather fancy (and you went to when you should have been at school), awesome fish and chips where you step outside to have the wind whip your breath away before the salt and vinegar has even had time to crystallise on your tongue. A big-hearted place where people are kinder to strangers, much more straight talking and generally a lot bloody funnier. The place where I grew up.

So now I’m back and a little bit of a fish out of water. The times they are a-changing…yet always a Northern lass at heart.

Mrs Mackerel

Download Woodpigeon – I Live A Lot of Places mp3 (well, just because I like it and it’s a darned good fit).

Incidentally, the photo is borrowed from a blog by Curly called the South Shields Daily Photo. I really hope he doesn’t mind – he’s got some great photos. Spread the word.

Welcome to our longest ever post, and a whole bucketful of great songs. Last weekend, Barry-Sean came with me to the End of the Road Festival and outside of the musical orgy that is SxSW, we agreed it is the best festival we’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. In fact he’s been writing about it ever since. Here’s what he has to say….

Having arrived early on Friday afternoon (yes, we missed secret guests Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell on Thursday night due to a prior 5-a-side football engagement), and after popping up tents we headed off to the Big Top for a gentle introduction of sunny, African-tinged, psych pop from the Ruby Suns before one of Mr M’s current favourites, Elliott Brood took the stage. What a great start to the weekend. With their casual, friendly banter and energetic riffs and vocals, the band drew a sizeable crowd and got them jumping. Hi-energy hoedown to get everyone in the festival mood.

Download Elliott Brood – Wolfgang mp3 (from Ambassador)

Being on the wrong side of forty, as Mr M headed off elsewhere, I decided to calm down a bit by staying at the Big Top for Woodpigeon, a group I heard for the first time recently (note to Mrs M here – be a bit more forthcoming with your musical discoveries please … Mr M tells me you’ve been a bit of a Woodpigeon fan for ages). Soothing melodies, tight musical arrangement and lyrics that cover a range of topics from love and reaching manhood to tales of the gods of nature in old Canada. This is contemporary folk and utterly excellent it is too. Lady Gaga fans probably won’t like it but we do … each to their own and we love Woodpigeon … so much so that I went back for second helpings when they stood in for Timber Timbre at the Garden Stage the following afternoon.

Download Woodpigeon – Empty-Hall-Sing-Along mp3 (from Die Stadt Muzikanten)

While this was going on MM was enjoying a thoroughly pleasant main stage set by Freelance Whales before heading over to catch the sultry, southern tones of singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield – already a fave of his, it was a performance that held the audience both captivated and spellbound. Meanwhile, I made a dash to the beautiful Garden Stage to see the truly wonderful Mountain Goats. These chaps aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but, like other favourites of mine The Hold Steady, they have a big enough following not to worry about that too much. Being slightly late, I couldn’t get anywhere near the front, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment. If you’ve not heard anything by them, start yourself off with these gems.

Download The Mountain Goats – Dance Music mp3 (from The Sunset Tree)

Download The Mountain Goats – Genesis 3:23 mp3 (from The Life Of The World To Come)

Download Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kiss Me Again mp3 (from With Blasphemy So Heartfelt)

Time then for a change of pace with Wolf Parade. And despite a poor sound (the one time it happened in 3 days), the rabid crowd and full-on 100% rock ‘n’ roll performance ensured everyone was happy, and with This Heart’s On Fire, we had an early contender for song of the weekend.

Download Wolf Parade – Ghost Pressure mp3 (from Expo ’86)

And then we had Modest Mouse. As you’d expect, a very large crowd had gathered at the Garden Stage for biggest name of the day and they did not disappoint them one little bit. The die-hard fans rocked and jumped while admirers like Mr M and I swayed a bit and bobbed our heads in appreciation … except perhaps to the sublime Float On, where I may have shuffled my feet and sung along a bit. A great show with which to round off events on the main stage.

But the music wasn’t over. We still had time to take in The New Pornographers who closed proceedings in the Big Top with a surprisingly frenetic and high energy set that left the crowd breathless and us ready for our tents.

We’ll skip the rainstorm of Friday night/Saturday morning that caused my feet to get a good soaking while I slept. I might write a Leonard Cohen style song about it one day called ‘Wet feet at the End of the Road’ … sounds more like Half Man Half Biscuit when you look at it written down.

Anyway, I digress from the start of possibly one the most beautiful days of my music-loving life. Saturday in this part of North Dorset dawned with grey skies and a grim, relentless drizzle but gave way to sunshine, cider and truly fantastic music.

Over to the Garden Stage again for Forest Fire. I’d not really paid much attention to this US four-piece before but I certainly will be from now on. Full of character and attitude, these guys are indie-rock through and through. The lead guitarist threatened to steal the visual show with a combination of double denim, eye make-up, lipstick and cool cravate and armband. Try and imagine a meeting of Bruce Springsteen, Freddie Mercury (mid-70’s) and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs and you’ll be somewhere close to the look … shouldn’t have worked but did.

Anyway, the guy can play, but rather than steal the show, complimented the others in the group perfectly. The geeky looking but slightly menacing lead singer, cool chick on bass and excellent drummer. I loved Fortune Teller with the brilliant lyric ‘gattling gun social skills’ but the real crowd pleaser came at the very end of the set as Forest Fire entered into a krautrock crowd-pleaser that became one of the many highlights of my festival. If anyone out there was at this gig and knows the name of that last song, please let me know. I want it!

Download Forest Fire – Fortune Teller mp3 (from Survival)

And then came Phosphorescent. The brilliant ‘Phossie’, loved by all at The Mad Mackerel, came to our attention when Mr M and younger brother Christypopper saw them at SxSW 2009. They have been in our hearts and playlists ever since. For this one, Mr M and I used our considerable frames to get to the very front row of the crowd and we spent the hour pretty much mesmerised by the haunting and haunted vocals of Matthew Houck backed up by a flawless performance by the band. This was a clever, crowd-pleasing set with a couple of songs from the sublime To Willie album, a stunning version of Wolves from the Pride album, and a few new ones from Here’s to Taking it Easy thrown in. Oh, and just for good measure, the lads were joined by their mates from Deer Tick who provided backing vocals on Los Angeles. The sun had come out and it felt like this day couldn’t get any better. How wrong can one person be?

Download Phosphorescent – Wolves mp3 (from Pride)

Download Phosphorescent – Reasons To Quit mp3 (from To Willie)

We didn’t bother moving from our front row spot at the Garden Stage. Why would we? Deer Tick were coming on and we love Deer Tick. They didn’t disappoint. A great set that varied from well paced jig-a-longs through to a truly beautiful rendition of Ashamed meant they had the crowd captivated and happy.

Download Deer Tick – Twenty Miles mp3 (from The Black Dirt Sessions)

So a break from the music for a few minutes while Mr M and I went to the Phosphorescent and Deer Tick signing sessions. And here happened the high point of my festival.

MM is queuing for his Deer Tick CD and Phossie are still hanging around, drinking their beer and smoking fags. Which is exactly what I was doing. Then drummer Chris Marine catches our eye and engages us in conversation. He gave a very candid view on playing at Bestival and a glowing character reference on David Gray (who Phossie have recently been supporting). He has never been a favourite of ours but if he’s okay with Phosphorescent, maybe we should try a bit harder to understand him (or lets not, MM). After failing miserably at a really cool handshake (sorry Chris, I was never as cool as you) we had a quick chat and photo shoot with lead-singer, Matthew Houck, in which we even discussed at which angle our cigarettes should be hanging from our lips. How cool are Phosphorescent?

Okay, a little self-indulgence on my part there…so back to the music.

And on to my eye-opener. MM has long been an admirer of Brakes. I have not … until I heard them at End of the Road. Their music doesn’t fit with the general laid back feeling of most other musicians at the festival but man it was good. It was better than good. I stood there mesmerised and energised by a group I didn’t even think I liked. It wasn’t quite an epiphany moment for me but it wasn’t far off. Playing live like the Ramones on speed, and featuring a four second long song as the set closer, I shall be listening to more of Brakes from now on.

Download Brakes – All Night Disco Party mp3 (from Give Blood)

However, I had to cut out on them to run across to the Local stage to see Caitlin Rose. I had heard rave reviews about her and wanted to hear the US songstress for myself. She had packed out the venue and I was forced to stand very near the back … it was worth it. If angels exist, they probably sing like Caitlin Rose. I saw four songs and found myself desperate to get hold of her album Own Side Now. One to keep a close eye on for the future.

And back over to the Big Top for a bit of Saturday night heavy rock with Black Mountain. Now I’ve never been into heavy rock and probably never will be. But I do like Old Fangs and thought I’d try and broaden my horizons with a bit of ear-splitting guitar and drums. I enjoyed it, Mr M loved it and judging by the reaction of the very large crowd who had gathered to see them Black Mountain were very much on form. Great stuff … as long as you like heavy rock.

Download Black Mountain – Old Fangs mp3 (from Wilderness Heart)

You’d think by this point Mr M and I would have been through with music, wouldn’t you? Oh no, not us. Grabbing another pint of cider from the Somerset Cider van, we scooted along to the Jarvis Cocker vs Richard Hawley DJ set for a bit of almost-dad-dancing.

Sunday. Our last day at The End of the Road. Where did the weekend go?

First to catch the ears as the sun shone down, were the gorgeous harmonies and traditional folk sound of The Smoke Fairies, who still managed to evoke a vague Wicker Man feeling to the proceedings.

Mr M had told me very good things about Kath Bloom and Woodpigeon had indicated that Ms Bloom had tried leading him astray, so I thought I’d give the veteran alt country singster a go. At the cosy Big Top stage, she charmed us all with lilting vocals, intimate chats and a great all-round performance. I’ve not followed Kath Bloom over the two or three decades she’s been performing but if this was anything to go by, she still got ‘it’.

Download Kath Bloom – Heart So Sadly mp3 (from Thin Thin Line)

Meanwhile MM was taking in the slightly experimental folktronica of Lanterns On The Lake and then finding himself completely absorbed by the raw, plaintive folk of Joe Pug. Reminiscent of Dylan, the lyrical wordplay of Hymn 35 and the brilliant, brooding despair of Not So Sure were two more standout tracks to add to the weekend’s collection.

Download Joe Pug – Not So Sure mp3 (from Messenger)

Onto the early evening and the Hawaiian inspired indie groove of Django Django brought the Big Top crowd up into one big head nodding, swaying mass. Like a less threatening Archie Bronson Outfit, the threesome melded krautrock rhythms with dance-friendly synths and big, big choruses to put (even bigger) smiles on the faces of the watching audience.

Download Django Django – Love’s Dart mp3 (from Storm / Love’s Dart 7″)

Then it was on to see the enigmatic, super-energetic, super-talented Felice Brothers. My (and MM’s) favourite performance of the entire festival. Before End of the Road, I was only really familiar with the beautiful ballad, Cooperstown, and I went to this performance expecting more of the same. What we got was the ultimate masterclass in ramshackle crowd pleasing..like the Waterboys on speed, or perhaps The Pogues on Red Bull and vodka?

For a bunch of brothers (which four of the guys really are) they’re pretty different. The lead singer, Ian, had the attitude (and even a slight look) of a young Roy Keane. Violinist, Farley, looked like an all-American college kid who could have easily played at the wildest hoe-down. Then, there’s the multi-talented, multi-instrumental James who got the large crowd singing along, stamping along and generally having a great old American time. In between, they introduced humour, irony and even a little self-effacement. What a great start to the evening.

Download The Felice Brothers – Run Chicken Run mp3 (from Yonder Is The Clock)

So, with the crowd literally jumping around and howling for more of the same, the Felice Brothers left us and as darkness descended across this little part of North Dorset, on came The Low Anthem. Energy levels dipped and as a hush descended across Larmer Gardens we waited like children eager for their bedtime story.

I’ve never seen The Low Anthem live and wasn’t prepared for the spellbinding performance. As each beautifully sung, tightly played song drifted across the gardens, the crowd were silent. Mr M reckons he couldn’t hear the pin he dropped … the rest of us were too transfixed too even notice he’d dropped it. If you like our sort of music, you’ll probably know To Ohio and Charlie Darwin but if you haven’t already heard it please listen to This God Damn House. It is a song of beautiful genius and could quite easily melt the coldest of hearts.

So was this a quiet set? Was it the musical equivalent of a mug of Horlicks? Don’t you believe it. The end of each song was met with rapturous appreciation and lead singer, Ben Knox Miller soaked up the adoration with unbridled happiness before finishing with a cover of the blues classic, Sally Where’d You Get Your Liquor From? Go and see The Low Anthem and if you can’t get to see them, buy Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, sit back with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and enjoy …

Download The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin mp3 (from O My God, Charlie Darwin)

Download The Low Anthem – This God Damn House mp3 (from What The Crow Brings)

It is now 9.30 on Sunday evening and the Garden Stage, which has been full to capacity for most of the day, is now fit to bursting with expectant ‘End of the Roaders’ awaiting the mighty Wilco. Guitars – lots and lots and lots of guitars – would send us on our way back up the road to Oxfordshire. And to songs like I Am Trying to Break Your Heart and Bull Black Nova we were slowly walking back to the car and heading home.

Download Wilco – Bull Black Nova mp3 (from Wilco (The Album))

A great festival, a superb weekend of music, laughs and the odd pint or six thrown in for good measure. Mr M and I will definitely be heading back to the End of the Road festival next year.

So should you.

MM faves, Woodpigeon recently joined Baeblemusic in their apartment to perform three beautiful acoustic tracks.

You can watch it by clicking here.

Buy Die Stadt Muzikanten from End of The Road here.

Download Woodpigeon – Empty-Hall-Sing-Along mp3 (from Die Stadt Muzikanten)

As usual, here is our round-up of some of the best songs we’ve posted during April plus a couple of new ones. Thirty great songs all ready to go on one cracking playlist and impress your family and friends.

Without further ado…

Shabby Rogue – My Life As A Secret Agent mp3 (High octane, paranoia induced rock ‘n’ roll riffage)

Kurt Vile – Invisibility Nonexistent mp3 (Ramshackle bluesy psychedelia)

Woodpigeon – Empty-Hall-Sing-Along mp3 (Folk foot-stomper from outstanding new album)

Red Clay River – Rattlesnake Mountain mp3 (Sparse, shadowy, southern Gothic folk)

Sparrow & The Workshop – Devil Song mp3 (Morricone inspired galloping, cowboy blues)

Band Of Horses – Compliments mp3 (First track from much anticipated new album – signs are good)

Local Natives – World News mp3 ((Yet another) catchy, harmony filled gem from the wonderful Gorilla Manor album)

The Ooks Of Hazzard – Kids mp3 (Cover of the year so far? MGMT given a ukulele led, rough country makeover)

Phosphorescent – Mermaid Parade mp3 (Classic Phosphorescent. Classic modern country)

Jason Ward – Bless You mp3 (Lyrically brilliant folk ditty reminiscent of Blitzen Trapper)

Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For mp3 (New Sub-Pop darlings show what the fuss is about)

Johnny Bertram & The Golden Bicycles – At The Wake mp3 (Perfect blend of Americana and indie rock)

The National – Afraid Of Everyone mp3 (Standout centrepiece from brilliant new album)

Peggy Sue – Watchman mp3 (Folk duo spit lyrical venom)

Chapel Club – O Maybe I mp3 (Top notch, classic British indie rock from much tipped newcomers)

Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – Forget It mp3 (Perfect backwoods porch Americana)

The War Crimes – Enamour Me And Roll mp3 (Sinister, unsettling and lyrically brilliant)

Meursault – Crank Resolutions mp3 (Scottish miserablist folksters deliver in spades)

Howling Owls – Family Tree mp3 (Another insistently compelling, down-tempo and black-hearted folk tale)

Grass House – A Cockroach mp3 (Unsettling excursion on a dark, sonically captivating journey)

Emily Reo – Witch Mtn mp3 (Experimental, ethereal, excellent)

Alessi’s Ark – Shovelling mp3 (Fragile and spooky folk)

Wind Up Birds – There Won’t Always Be An England mp3 (Particularly English tale of bigotry – topical enough!)

Tallest Man On Earth – Burden Of Tomorrow mp3 (Another gem from rasping folk troubadour. Dylan comparisons obligatory)

Unnatural Helpers – Sunshine / Pretty Girls mp3 (Snotty, brash homage to classic punk with added bonus of chorus of the month)

Morningbell – Hello Dali mp3 (Melodic, shimmering psych rock from Florida)

Colours – Desert Dessert mp3 (Three minutes of buzzsaw guitars and a shout along chorus. Awarded instant classic status)

Brother Dege – The Girl Who Wept Stones mp3 (Authentic stomping swamp blues. Like Seasick Steve’s nastier brother)

And lastly here are a couple of new ones

Memoryhouse – Gian Lorenzo Bernini mp3 (More gorgeous, chilled out, dream to immerse yourself in)

Delaney Davidson – Dirty Dozen mp3 (Classic voodoo rockabilly and filthy, x rated lyrics. What’s not to like?)

Mad Mackerel Recommends…Woodpigeon

Posted: April 18, 2010 in Music
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We were originally introduced to Woodpigeon by Mrs Mackerel and their excellent album Treasury Library Canada. Since then we’ve enjoyed the band’s beautifully constructed folk musings on regular occasions.

They are back with a new album (their third) Die Stadt Muzikanten and it is released tomorrow in the UK on End of the Road Records. It is chock full of gorgeous strings and harmonies, of sprawling vignettes and its fair share of folk stomp-a-thons. Not only that, but a wonderful chamber-pop collaboration with MM faves Eagleowl is another highlight on this exceptionally good album. Taster Empty-Hall-Sing-Along is typical of what you can expect.

Visit their MySpace here or their website here.

Order the album here.

Download Woodpigeon – Empty-Hall-Sing-Along mp3 (from Die Stadt Muzikanten)

See them live:

1st May: Leeds, Holy Trinity Church

2nd May: Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire

3rd May: Manchester, Deaf Institute

4th May: Brighton, Hanbury Club

6th May: London, Union Chapel