Posts Tagged ‘Wye Oak’

best of the weekYou know the score – a sweep up of some of the week’s best new releases, new tunes and new artists.

This week we have no less than eleven tracks for you including The Avett Brothers, Left Lane Cruiser, The Devil Makes Three, Deerhoof and plenty more.

Dive in…

  1. The Avett Brothers – Satan Pulls The Strings
  2. Band Of Horses – Barrel House
  3. Holly Miranda – Mary Won’t You Call My Name (live)  (Morphine cover)
  4. Wye Oak – Watching The Waiting
  5. The Parrots – Jane Gumb
  6. Left Lane Cruiser – The Pusher
  7. Freedom Fry – Shaky Ground
  8. Morgan Delt – I Don’t Wanna See What’s Happening Outside
  9. The Devil Makes Three – Drunken Hearted Man
  10. GØGGS – Needle Trade Off
  11. Deerhoof – Acceptance Speech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest single from Wye Oak’s spring release Shriek is Logic Of Color, a song the duo describe as both “the most straightforward pop song we’ve ever made” and “open-ended, like an unfinished thought“.

Have a listen.

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MM The Last Five Years - Chris T Popper

Believe it or not, Mad Mackerel has been around for more than five years now. During that time we’ve posted more than 4,000 times, and offered more than 5,000 songs for your listening pleasure. And more than three quarters of a million people have paid MM a visit during our lifetime on Google’s (godawful) blogspot and since April 2010 on WordPress.

We asked some of the regular MM contributors to give us their top twenty songs since MM first went live and we’re also going to give you one big mega-listing shortly, first up was Dr Roddy and now the ultra-punctual and fastidious Chris T Popper offers up his selections.

20) Strand of Oaks – Trap Door

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19) Avett Brothers – January Wedding

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18) Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer

Download Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer mp3

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17) Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl

Download Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl mp3

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16) Wye Oak – Civilian

Download Wye Oak – Civilian mp3

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15) The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight

Download The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight mp3

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14) Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Revenge Of The Extra From Zulu

Download Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts – Revenge of The Extra From Zulu mp3

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13) Wooden Wand – Uncle Bill

Download Wooden Wand – Uncle Bill mp3

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12) Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual

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11) Howling Owls – Snake Charmer (No Money In The Bank)

Dowload Howling Owls – Snake Charmer (No Money In The Bank) mp3

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10) Sonny + The Sandwitches – Through The Fog And Haze
Over the years I have never forgotten how much this song meant to me; if anything it gets stronger like an addiction (and considering this is a personality trait I’ve developed over the years I will happily succumb). I can be in the shower/waiting in a queue/at a meeting with senior management and I’ll randomly sing the first line. Sometimes that doesn’t work out so well when someone is talking flow charts and I’m singing ‘through the fog and the haze…’ at them. But it makes more sense than what their flapping mouths are coming out with. It’s just going to happen.

Download Sonny + The Sandwitches – Through The Fog And Haze mp3

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9) Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano
Not a single mackerel swam my way on this one. I was denounced as an absolute arse but I cared not. Hayman wrote this song after suffering a fractured skull; which opened up the idea to him of writing a song gentle enough to listen to with brain ache. There is nothing wrong with gentle in this age of incessant noisy shit. It is a beautiful soliloquy telling the story of a piano’s life (something I always wanted to hear) luckily I was able to understand – they didn’t. Their fault not mine.

Download Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano mp3

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8) Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Colour Television
Passed me by initially. Found it by simply playing my iTunes on shuffle one night a couple of years ago and was instantly hooked… and what a revelation. The insistent guitar is ravaged with a punk attitude I thought was long dead. By that I mean talent. Could have come from 1976 and share a gob full of spit with the best of that era, by that I mean the Clash and there is no greater praise I can bestow. Another story televised, another billion hypnotised. Quite.

Download Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Colour Television mp3

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7) Dennis Hopper Choppers – Good To Me
As soon as that horn blast announces its arrival I’m in. It builds with a rhythmic hypnotism that refuses to let go. Evoking the spaghetti western soundtracks of Ennio Morricone with an outstanding vocal from Ben Nicholl (I was lucky enough to catch this live and it didn’t disappoint) it’s never been off the ‘best of’ playlists since I heard it.

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6) The Cave Singers – I Don’t Mind
A timeless guitar riff that immediately sends my brain synapses in to electrical overdrive. Everything else becomes secondary to tapping my foot and grinning inanely. To be fair though, grinning inanely comes fairly naturally…

I went to see the Cave Singers live and they didn’t even perform this song (and it’s still in my top ten!). Now I know their back catalogue is good, but next time I’ll write the set list for fucks sake.

Download The Cave Singers – I Don’t Mind mp3 (from Welcome Joy)

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5) Lower Dens  – Brains
In the language of common parlance may I just say one thing? OMG. In fact I’ll go even further… OMFG! I swear down. Now I’ve totally alienated you I’ll continue… There is a subtlety to this work you have no idea about unless you have included it in your own top 5 (which you haven’t). Opens with a drumbeat that grips your lapels up like a rottweiler on heat.  And then… well, it just gets better of course. I suggest you go and listen to it and then come back to me and we’ll talk about it over a large gin & tonic and a ridiculously large bifta.

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4) Emil Friis – Sand In Your Eyes
Smashed in to my number one spot last year and who could stop it? I have no idea what it’s about and neither do I care. It’s just not important to me because I can put this song on at any time, in any mood (and by jingo I can be a moody bastard) and find myself singing the chorus loud and proud – without getting a single word right. But hey that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? The sheer momentum carries you along like a crazed right wing Chancellor at a witch’s funeral – enough to shed a tear for the right reasons.

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3) Phospherescent – Song For Zula
When Mr Mackerel asked us to put together our favourite songs of the last five years I was a little cautious of including any recent favourites. It’s difficult enough to pick 20 of the best at any time… but Song For Zula transcends the conundrum. The impact of the opening bars/violins/first line (referencing Johnny Cash no less) is timeless. I have a special place in my heart for Phossie and the Red Eyed Fly in Austin when I first saw them live (get me!) – opening with a Radiohead cover and then converting me to country music by channelling the great Willie Nelson. Met him (Phossie not Willie!) by the way. I want to be his best friend. He doesn’t.

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2) Howling Owls – A Wordsmith’s Reverie
You know when you read a book and think ‘shit I could never write that beautifully’ (I’m a frustrated author as well as human being) – Howling Owls does that musically. There is a self-aware yet peaceful desperation to this; and not a single word is wasted. The lament of ‘I will change everything about me for you – except for the fact I can never be what you want me to be’ is heartbreaking. It also makes you realise how shit this world is. Far more people know about Kim Kardashian than Howling Owls and Wooden Wand put together. Just think about that for a moment- done that? Good. Now try not to wail in utter sadness…

Download Howling Owls featuring Maximino – A Wordsmith’s Reverie mp3

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1) Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed
This is my favourite song of the last five years of Mad Mackerel. It’s actually hard to write anything that can really do it the justice it deserves… I love music so much that a work of this sheer magnitude can leave me running on empty, even when it comes to my typical hyperbole. So, deep breath… here goes. From the moment I heard it I knew it was special. And it’s never lost its impact or the way it moves me like no other song. I know people like me say ‘genius’ a lot (and that people say that people say ‘genius’ a lot when they shouldn’t). This is genius.

Download Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed mp3

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And my 3 favourite bands…

3) Jeff The Brotherhood
2) Wooden Wand
1) Phosphorescent

Needs a mention

Best Cover:
Download Port O’Brien – Halo mp3 (Beyonce Cover)

My favourite Live Act of 08-13
Phossie – Red Eyed Fly, Austin, Texas 2009
I suddenly and quite unexpectedly understood country music.

Mad Mackerel's Best Of July Mix.

You know the score. Some of our favourite downloads from the past month neatly parcelled up into one tasty mix and decorated with a few new tunes too. Nearly forty in all. Jump in!

Download Wye Oak – Spiral mp3 (from Adult Swim Singles Series)
A change of approach and tempo from experimental folkies

Download Unnatural Helpers – Hate Your Teachers mp3 (from Land Grab)
Raging. Ferocious. Punk

Download Wake Up Lucid – Feel It mp3 (from Feel It)
Combines sex-drenched vocals, high octane guitar, and a glorious lo-fi sludge that is garage rock at its purest and most dangerous

Download Keston Cobblers’ Club – For Words mp3 (from One, For Words)
Sweetly harmonious, banjo led folk song

Download White Wires – All Night Long mp3 (from WWIII)
Fun, infectious, and recalls some of the very best of the power-pop tunes of the late 70s

Download Deep Time – Homebody mp3 (from Deep Time)
Densely melodic slice of restlessly minimalist indie pop

Download Sun Sister – Sore Eyes mp3 (from Sun Sister Single)
Lo-fi dreampop with warm melodies, gorgeous reverbed vocals and rough jangly guitars

Download The Black Cadillacs – Choke mp3 (from Run)
Pure rock –  strong guitar melodies that are matched with catchy lyrics

Download Crooked Cowboy & The Freshwater Indians – Annalog And Her Hopeful Diaries mp3 (from Annalog And Her Hopeful Diaries EP)
Psychedelic whirlwind tinged with an unattainable nostalgia for a western era of dusty corrals and one-horse towns

Download Talk Normal – Bad Date mp3 (from Sunshine)
Hypnotically brilliant blend of punk and krautrock

Download People’s Temple – Looter’s Game mp3 (from Looter’s Game 7″)
Keeping a groovy, 60s psych vibe going

Download Wobbly Lamps – Alice The Goon mp3 (from Wobbly Lamps)
Takes an intro that sounds like it has been dragged kicking and screaming from a sweaty Detroit basement club in the 60s, attaches it to a thrumming, hypnotic riff, and then slams a sleazy proto-punk chorus over the top

The Lovely Sparrows – While Sailing
Gorgeous, pastoral folk

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Download The Felice Brothers – Lincoln Continental mp3 (from God Bless You Amigo)
Classic ramshackle Americana. Just about as good as it gets!

Download Aaron Embry – Moon Of The Daylit Sky mp3 (from Tiny Prayers)
Spare, captivating, and beautifully simple folk

Download Cate Le Bon – What Is Worse mp3 (from CYRK II)
Beautifully reminiscent of The Velvet Underground at their weary, foggy best – an uncomplicated and unadorned slice of late night melancholic pop

Download Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters – Ten Sleep, WY mp3 (from Lungs, Dirt & Dreams)
Fractured, unassailable beauty that begins with a sentiment any of us over a certain age can identify with, before it breaks out into a more expansive guitar showdown/meltdown

The Wilderness of Manitoba – The Ark
Beautiful slice of chamber-folk

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Download Grassfight – Nassau mp3 (from Icon EP 2)
With shades of Interpol in the hypnotic, propulsive percussion, echoes of Dinosaur Jr in the swirling guitar, and a classic indie deep, monotone vocal, the track successfully ticks all the necessary boxes for a post-punk extravaganza

Freedom Fry – Summer In The City (from Summer In The City single)
Infectious, sunshine indie-pop at its very best

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Download Two Gallants – My Love Won’t Wait mp3 (from The Bloom And The Blight)
Rollicking tune showcases the duo’s heavier side

Download Outer Minds – We Are All Stone mp3 (from Behind The Mirror)
Perfectly judged garage-psych voodoo rumble, with a reverential nod to the Doors

Download Lord Huron – Time To Run mp3 (from Lonesome Dreams)
Galloping, infectious dusty folk chime

Download Spook Houses – American mp3 (from Trying)
Lo-fi slacker indie rock loaded with the energy of the band’s rambunctious punk roots

Steakhouse – Spider Bite
Hear the sound of Johnny Cash’s electric guitar come floating in over the hypnotic, pulsing rhythm and be seduced by the strange blend of krautrock and C&W

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Download D.B. Rouse – Never Home Again mp3 (from The Good Land)
Another folky gem from travelling troubadour

Kalle Matson – The Shore (from Lives In Between EP)
Folk with an experimental edge that is equally at home dropping in a bit of punk distortion as it is with some funky basslines

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Download Delta Spirit – Tear It Up mp3 (from Delta Spirit)
Another brilliant uptempo cut from outstanding recent album

Download Denver – Reno mp3 (from Denver)
Perfect country twang from Blitzen Trapper led indie supergroup

Download The Mountain Goats – Cry For Judas mp3 (from Transcendental Youth)
New album cut from quirky indie-rock royalty

Download Chelsea Light Moving – Frank O’Hara Hit mp3
Trademark guitar squall and distortion from Thurston Moore’s new project

Download John Murry – Southern Sky mp3 (from The Graceless Age)
Emotive and soul-wrenching mix of Americana and electronica

Download The Wild Leaves – Sister mp3 (from Sister)
Evocative and poignant, the notes sweetly swirling around the room like dust mites in the sunlight, as though the story it tells could have been hummed on back porches for decades gone by

Last American Buffalo – That Woman (from Here She Comes)
Brilliant blues stomp and folk swagger

Download Woodpecker – Married To The Movies mp3 (from Thanks Anyway)
Indie folk and banjo ramble including occasional bloodcurdling zombie screams

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The Most Powerful Telescope In The Universe – Lectures On Quanta (from Lectures On Quanta)
A brilliant psych-pop nugget of mellotron led drone

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And to finish off, here is Pony Boy’s The Murder Ballad Of Carrie Lee, inspired by an actual teenage couple who gained notoriety during a cross-country crime spree in the late 1950s as well as a first taste of Hot Freak Nation. We have the beautifully crafted psych tinged rock of The Asteroid Shop and the melodically rich and compelling new track Fifty Fifty from The Luyas.

Download Pony Boy – The Murder Ballad Of Carrie Lee mp3 (from The Murder Ballad Of Carrie Lee single)

Download Hot Freak Nation – All The Right Things mp3 (from Lifetime To Lifetime)

Download The Luyas – Fifty Fifty mp3 (from Animator)

Download The Asteroid Shop – Alone mp3 (from Distant Luxury EP)

Friday Means Six Of The Best!

Here are another six tunes to try and cheer you up a little bit on another dank and dreary Friday in England…

First up is Hardly Art’s Unnatural Helpers and their raging first single, Hate Your Teachers, from upcoming album Land Grab. River City Tanlines keep the energy levels fizzing with their own garage-punk howl and shred of Stop My Heart taken from the forthcoming release Coast to Coast (out on 31st July).

We have Ranch Ghost who play a loose, raw brand of bluesy psych-rock and The Water comes from their most recent 7″, New News, while Wye Oak are the latest artist to be featured on the free Adult Swim singles series, their offering Spiral signals quite a change from last year’s excellent Civilian album. Next up, and changing pace somewhat, is the latest taste from Fire Records reissue of The Inner Flame: A Tribute to Rainer Ptacek. Released last week, this is the title track featuring Ptacek with Giant Sand.

Finally, And the Giraffe are a dream-pop band who have followed their recent debut EP Something For Someone (download here) with this beguiling, folkish cover of the Magic Man song Darling (Reprise). Check it out and as an extra bonus, compare with the original too.

Enjoy! Seven not six of the best really, but who cares. Happy Friday as Polly Pocket would say.

Download Unnatural Helpers – Hate Your Teachers mp3 (from Land Grab)

Download River City Tanlines – Stop My Heart mp3 (from Coast to Coast)

Download Ranch Ghost – The Water mp3 (from New News)

Download Wye Oak – Spiral mp3 (from Adult Swim Singles Series)

Download Giant Sand & Rainer – The Inner Flame mp3 (from The Inner Flame: A Tribute To Rainer Ptacek)

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Bonus Download Magic Man – Darling (Reprise) mp3 (from Real Life Color)

Mad Mackerel's Best Of The Month: March 2012. Here is our cherry picked selection of our favourite downloads from March for you, together with a few new tracks to create a perfect end-of-month mix. Enjoy.

Download Thee Exciters – Dinosaur Traffic mp3 (from Perpetual Happening)
Psychedelia meets proto-punk

Download The Lonesome Savages – All Outta Love mp3 (from All Outta Love 7″)
50s inflected rock’n’roll revamped and updated with elements of the current garage punk sound – oozes from the speakers in a way that is raw, primal and downright dangerous

Download Lera Lynn – Ring Of Fire mp3 (from Ring Of Fire EP)
Dark interpretation on an upbeat classic

Download Einar Lind – Brother Don’t Steal My Wife mp3 (from Introducing Einar Lind)
Perfect late-at-night soundtrack where you cannot sleep and settle in an armchair with a whiskey to wait out the darkness, while the house creaks and ticks amidst the silence around you

Roomrunner – Super Vague

Pulverising punk rock

Download The Stammer – Follow The Leader mp3 (from The Stammer EP)
A sinewy guitar lead and military percussion over which gloomy tones prevail, provides a two minute rush of monochrome tinged adrenalin

Download Justin Farren – Broken Shit mp3 (from Songs From Spare Rooms)
Comes across like a speed-fuelled Loudon Wainwright III duelling with Arol Guthrie

Download AU – Get Alive mp3 (from Both Lights)
Experimental indie-rock

Download Beast Make Bomb – It Snowed Last Night mp3 (from Skinny Legs)
Combines the distorted punk attitude of the late 1970s with some classic fuzzed out pop melodies to deliver a sweetly addictive tune

Download Violens – Der Microarc mp3 (from True)
Excellent slice of psych-pop

Download Mirel Wagner – The Road mp3 (from Mirel Wagner)
Another cheery tale of death, sparsely plucked and whispered, and coming across like a Strange Fruit for the modern day.

Download The Hussy – Stab Me mp3 (from Weed Seizure)
Like a flick-knife in a crowded flophouse, comes out of the darkness at you with a ferocity and a viciousness that is impossible to avoid and pointless to deflect

Download Dinosaur Feathers – Beatcha mp3 (from Whistle Tips)
Satisfyingly crunchy guitars with infectious groove and jangle

Download Josh & Mer – Mind Control mp3 (from Planet Music)
Unsettling and eerie electro-folk

Download Owsley BrothersHot Mess mp3 (from Cobalt)
Crackerjack of experimental blues and rock

Download Roadkill Ghost ChoirIn The Lion’s Mouth mp3 (from In The Lion’s Mouth)
Spacey, folk rock

Download Ancient Whales – Everyone mp3 (from Birthing EP)
Insistently catchy, full of memorable guitar riffs, splashes of woozy reverb and hits a sweet spot or two with the cool doubled up vocals

Download Nu Sensae – Gumbo mp3 (from Tea Swamp Park EP)
Scrappy, tribal punk

Download Burnt Ones – Meet The Golden One mp3 (from Meet The Golden One 7″)
High octane garage glam

Download Wye Oak – Pocahontas mp3 (from Daytrotter Session, Neil Young Cover)
Top notch cover of classic

Download Guy Capecelatro III – Switch mp3 (from North For The Winter)
Tale of a killer who meets a woman who proves to be his undoing – with added pedal steel and Hammond organ

Download Titus Andronicus – Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus (from split 7″ with Diarrhea Planet)
Typically raucous, literately sharp punk rock

Download Screaming Females – It All Means Nothing mp3 (from Ugly)
Suitably coruscating and pummeling cut from NJ punks

Download Orpheum Bell – Daddy’s Crying mp3 (from The Old Sister’s Home)
Intimate, waltzy vignette is another example of their elegant and organic sound

Download Chelle Rose – Browder Holler Boy mp3 (from Ghost of Browder Holler)
Ripe with mystery and passion, and sounds like it was plucked from the kudzu-scented air of her native Loudon County in East Tennessee

Download Johnny Bertram & The Bicycles – Miracle mp3 (from Neon City)
Steeped in indie-rock and Americana and filtered through a Deep South lens

Download Ty Segall & White Fence – I Am Not A Game mp3 (from Hair)
Twisty, insistent garage-psych with junkyard vocals

Download Tyburn Saints – Broken Bottles mp3 (from You And I In Heaven EP)
Dark and foreboding indie that feels almost cinematic in its purpose and delivery

Pontiak – Highest Echo

Vintage organic stoner rock

And to finish off we have a breezy new track of indie rock from Maps & Atlases new album, we have the frenetic bank robbing fantasy of Baby Baby’s Nothing To Lose and a welcome return from veteran catchy psych-rockers The Dandy Warhols. Finally, two tracks from Field Report’s much acclaimed and anticipated self-titled debut of fragile, heartfelt folk.

Download Maps & AtlasesFever mp3 (from Beware And Be Grateful)

Download The Dandy WarholsSad Vacation mp3 (from This Machine)

Download Field ReportFergus Falls mp3 (from Field Report)

Download Field ReportI Am Not Waiting Anymore mp3 (from Field Report)

Baby Baby – Nothing To Lose

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MM Shorts 123: Wye Oak At Daytrotter.

We’ve mentioned it a few times before, but if you’re not parting with $2 per month to access the daily Daytrotter sessions then more fool you.

More fool you because, for example, you’ll have missed out on recent sessions from Boxer Rebellion, Slow Club, Nathaniel Rateliff, Avi Buffalo and Heartless Bastards, and you’ll have missed the excellent Wye Oak session from yesterday, that included this cover of Neil Young’s classic Pocahontas

So, if you’ve not done it already, click here to sign up.

Download Wye Oak – Pocahontas mp3 (from Daytrotter Session, Neil Young Cover)

So, as the New Year approaches, here are our favourite albums of 2011 for your consideration. Feel free to dispute, argue, or otherwise put us right because, if nothing else, music is as about as subjective topic as it is possible to get. Some of these may not be the “best” albums of the year as far as the critics are concerned, but that matters not, as they were the ones we enjoyed listening to most – give them a try, you might feel the same.

50 Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me

Download Jessica Lea Mayfield – Our Hearts Are Wrong mp3 (from Tell Me)

49 Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread

Download Ty Segall – You Make The Sun Fry mp3 (from Goodbye Bread)

48 Wire – Red Barked Trees

Download Wire – Two Minutes mp3 (from Red Barked Trees)

New Album From Blessed Feathers.

47 Blessed Feathers – From the Mouths of the Middle Class

Download Blessed Feathers – Stinging Nettle, Honeysuckle mp3 (from From The Mouths Of The Middle Class)

Download Blessed Feathers – By Song Through The Americas mp3 (from From The Mouths Of The Middle Class)

46 The Men – Leave Home

Download The Men – Bataille mp3 (from Leave Home)

45 Lanterns On The Lake – Gracious Tide, Take Me Home

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

New Album From The Pack A.D.

44 The Pack A.D. – Unpersons

Download The Pack A.D. – Sirens mp3 (from Unpersons)

43 The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh

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42 Other Lives – Tamer Animals

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

41 Country Mice – Twister

Download Country Mice – Morning Son mp3 (from Twister)

Mad Mackerel Recommends...Siskiyou.

40 Siskiyou – Keep Away The Dead

Download Siskiyou – Twigs And Stones mp3 (from Keep Away The Dead)

39 The Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

Download The Smith Westerns – All Die Young mp3 (from Dye It Blonde)

38 Jolie Holland – Pint Of Blood

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37 Lydia Lunch & Big Sexy Noise – Trust The Witch

Download Lydia Lunch & The Big Sexy Noise – Where You Gonna Run mp3 (from Trust The Witch)

New Album From Lonesome Wyatt & The Holy Spooks.

36 Lonesome Wyatt & The Holy Spooks – Heartsick

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35 Wye Oak – Civilian

Download Wye Oak – Civilian mp3 (from Civilian)

34 Jeff The Brotherhood – We Are The Champions

Download Jeff The Brotherhood – Mellow Out mp3 (from We Are The Champions)

33 William Elliott Whitmore – Field Songs

Download William Elliott Whitmore – Bury Your Burdens In The Ground mp3 (from Field Songs)

32 Natural Child – 1971

Download Natural Child – Hard Workin Man mp3 (from 1971)

31 LONG – American Primitive

Download LONG – Shoot Your Dog mp3 (from American Primitive)

Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.Our final Top Ten selection comes courtesy of the lovely, and ever radiant, Mrs Mackerel. Over to you girl!

It’s been a great musical year. But such a plethora of riches always presents a problem – what’s a girl to choose? Fortunately some fine contributions in the preceding week means most bases are covered.

Live gigs, although few and far between this year, have been rich in quality, and particularly finger-picking good on the guitar front. A fine ensemble of gig friends too, thank you.

Without further ado, here’s my humble opinion. And remember kids this is just my opinion, you can try this at home too.

10. Hyde & the Beast – You Will be Lonely

Boom-shacker, boom-shacker. Bit of cowboy guitars. An up-tempo beat coupled with the “you’re dumped” message. Still if you’ve got to do it, do it with a smile on your face and a guitar in your hand, I say. Boom-shacker, boom-shacker.

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9. The National – Think You Can Wait

Nice bit of backing from the wonderful Sharon Van Etten, coupled with the mellifluous vocal of Matt Berninger. Trademark National: understated brilliance.

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8. Lanterns on the Lake – Ships in the Rain

Another great thing to come from Sunderland. Catch up please. Atmosphere, ethereal vocals, beautiful lyrics. Til we meet again, girls.

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7. Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Dog Scratched Ear

Widespread Mackerel popularity for this song amongst family and friends. Yep, we know a good guitar riff when we hear one: hard core. Looking for joy when there’s none to find? Plenty here.

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

6. Wye Oak – Civilian

A January contender for my top ten, so a stayer. A fantastic piece of drumming that builds and builds; to be played loud on speakers not headphones, she insists in a bossy tone that MM knows only too well… Breathy vocals adds atmosphere to the intensity.

Download Wye Oak – Civilian mp3 (from Civilian)

5. Wooden Wand – No Hayride

Directed to this by daughter sprat, and how right she is. The pared back simplicity of the guitar lends itself so well to the lyrics. Prolific output – does this man ever sleep?

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

4. The Cave Singers – Haystacks

How do I love the Cave Singers? Oh let me count the ways. Storming harmonica coupled with such an irresistible tempo, I challenge you not to be out of your seat and dancing. These boys got rhythm in bucket loads and talent to match. But they’re not yours, they’re mine. Glad we cleared that one up.

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3. Hurray for the Riff Raff – Too Much of a Good Thing

A great big old fashioned waltz of a song, throw in a sprinkling of mariachi pipes, a helping of accordion and the tender vocals of Alynda Lee Segarra. Lifetime top ten tune for me this one.

Download Hurray For The Riff Raff – Too Much Of A Good Thing mp3 (from Hurray For The Riff Raff)

2. Middle Brother – Portland

Shared a cigarette for breakfast? More than one I reckon. John McCauley of Deer Tick has a voice that was made for this song. One for the road, sung in chorus, gives me the warmest, fuzzy feeling all over. Stick me on a greyhound bus with Middle Brother playing to the open road and I reckon I’d be a happy girl. Just about the best darned cover (yes, I know but don’t care) I ever heard. Pure magic.

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1. Laura Marling – Night After Night

A photo finish for me amongst the top five. Yin and yang songs. This song is wuthering, if you get my gist but hey, that’s just me. There’s so much here from the opening guitar sequence that makes me think of a boat rowing out to sea, to the subtle finale with a flamenco flourish. Lyrical dexterity, passion, sadness, regret. The incomparable Laura Marling take a bow.

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Goddammit Janet: missed it first time round

Grinderman – Palaces of Montezuma

The theatre of this song is almost vintage Bowie. A great big banquet of lyrical genius and the funkiest rhythm to match. Bloody marvellous.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Janglin

From the happy-go-lucky intro to swinging, swaying finger-clicking goodness of the rest of the tune. Click your heels and away you go.

Download Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Janglin mp3 (from From Below)

And Okkervil River. Missed all together. MM and I are fools. I have told him this repeatedly while hitting him with a large branch. Joking. Sort of.

Download Okkervil River – For Real mp3 (from Black Sheep Boy)

School Run Anthems 2011

The Lovely Eggs – Don’t Look at Me (I Don’t Like It)

We sang and did the actions. The car bounced and shimmied its way to school. Nothing like a bit of 21st century punk to get you going in the morning.

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Roadside Graves – Jail

Don’t want to work today. Just want to lay in bed. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Download The Roadside Graves – Jail (Simplefolk UK Radio Live Session) mp3

Guilty pleasure

Adele – Someone Like You

Actually no guilt attached to this choice at all. Great voice. Great song, sniff.

Mad Mackerel's Best of 2011.Our sixth guest top ten comes courtesy of our very own Chris T Popper, a small but perfectly formed (and often irritating) younger sibling who has been stealing my records since he had invisible friends as a small child.

Chris T Popper’s Top 10

10. Little Barrie – Tip It Over

The Nottingham trio start off my top 10 with the fabulous Tip It Over. Heavy guitar providing a great riff coupled with a momentum that creeps up on you. There’s some storming guitar solos too that never get self indulgent, which is quite an achievement in itself. The album was produced by Edwyn Collins who’s very name could send an old flat mate of mine in to a frothing rage. Merely humming A Girl Like You in his company could send him puce coloured. Which is why I did it. A lot.

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9. Wye Oak – Civillian

Jenn Wasner’s eerie vocals are a revelation to me – she has a wonderful delivery and a quality I can’t quite put my finger on. That keeps me interested alone. The song’s pace is something to admire too, keeps you right on the edge until a second half that is nothing short of epic. Great fuzzy guitar reverb (Velvet by Big Pink was a former number one of mine so you can tell I like a bit of feedback…) and that pounding drum just beats you in to submission.

Download Wye Oak – Civilian mp3 (from Civilian)

8. Young The Giant – My Body

Chiming guitars with a sing along chorus… anthemic you could say.

These words would usually have me running for the hills. Not this time, no sir. In fact I metaphorically run with arms wide open towards Young The Giant ready to embrace them. Why? Because sometimes you need to give in, admit defeat and just sit back and enjoy. Is it Simple Minds and Matt Cardle’s bastard love child? If that’s the case then two wrongs did make a right.

Download Young The Giant – My Body mp3 (from Young The Giant)

7. Smith Westerns – All Die Young

Heard this one really late. but it still forced its way in to my affections. Unlike Young The Giant this ticks all my traditional boxes. Has a lazy blissed out vibe, like it’s been down a coffee shop in Amsterdam for a while before rocking up red eyed to eat all your biscuits. Also feels a bit 70s which frankly I like, happens to be my favourite decade for lots of things – Punk, The Wicker Man, the 3 day week… And it has a wonderful Hammond organesque start, which I always enjoy.

Download The Smith Westerns – All Die Young mp3 (from Dye It Blonde)

6. Natural Child – Hard Workin Man

The guitar riff alone is addictive, enough to make you realise how great it must be to be able to play it. I wish I could. I have a ukulele and a games console guitar in the cupboard so I’ll move on. The room can sometimes fill with a faint smell of bourbon and sweat when this gets played and always has me reaching for a beer. Not good when listened to in the car… I keep the cans in the back and it’s dangerous reaching over when negotiating oncoming traffic.

Download Natural Child – Hard Workin Man mp3 (from 1971)

5. Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual

The sheer originality of this song, in harness with the hypnotic beat that plods mercilessly in to your brain, has got me. I give in. It’s a bad ritual, but it calms me down. Another latecomer that gate crashed the top ten, this wonderfully dark offering always makes me stop what I’m doing (which to be fair isn’t usually a lot) and listen. There is always room for an air of menace in my top ten.

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4. Dennis Hopper Choppers – Good To Me

Mariachi horns, violins, trumpets galore – what is there not to like? A magnificent vocal from Ben Nicholl sends the whole piece off to soar in to that vast Americana sky (pretentious, moi?). An instant hit with me – and everyone I’ve ever played it to… which is quite a lot of people. In a parallel Earth somewhere this is the year’s biggest seller.

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3. Country Mice – Morning Son

There’s something strangely comforting about this song. I genuinely love country music… and when it’s done so perfectly I could listen to it on loop. Has a melancholic beauty which can send me a bit dewy eyed.

Which is exactly what I’m after quite frankly.

Download Country Mice – Morning Son mp3 (from Twister)

2. Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl

Lyrically this is a tour de force. I won’t repeat my favourites here because there’s too many. Although ‘dead as a rat’ and ‘smoked like a borrowed car’ might just get a mention. Toby Burke is also a writer so it comes as no surprise he’s so skilled with words. I just need to get hold of one of his books now because if there anything like this I’ve found my new favourite author.

Download Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl mp3 (from Mexico City)

1. Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano

Not only song of the year it’s my favourite song for… well ages. Sometimes something comes along that sounds pretty close to perfect. I am in absolute awe of Darren Hayman, it’s quite simply a work of genius. Lyrically it bobs along on the back of that piano playing in the background, Hayman delivering each line so perfectly. I guess it can be instinctive when a song gets to your heart – your absolute favourite place, and that’s The Ship’s Piano. From about the third listen I knew I had found something I will always love listening to. And considering how many times I’ve played it the last three months that’s quite a relief…

Download Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano mp3 (from The Ship’s Piano)

Bubbling Under – 5 that came so close…

Monument Valley – Dear John Letters

Danny Brown – Die Like A Rockstar

Roadside Graves – Double Feature

Violet May – What You Say

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Vacant Fever – Heavy Leather

Best Song Heard But Not This Year:

White Buffalo – Black & Blue

Song That Was In My Top 10 All Year Until I Realised It Was 2010:

Al Lover & Gus Cutty – Part Of The Game

Download Al Lover & Gus Cutty – Part Of The Game mp3 (from Part Of The Game / All Mine Single)

Best Cover:

Siskiyou – Revolution Blues

Guilty Pleasure: 

The Dirtbombs – Shari Vari

Download The Dirtbombs – Shari Vari mp3 (from Party Store)