Posts Tagged ‘Yak’

Longstanding MM faves the London-based trio Yak will release their new album Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness next month on Virgin EMI and Third Man Records. We’ve already given you a couple of standout tracks from the record and today, they are sharing another – the brilliant, widescreen new track This House Has No Living Room ft. J Spaceman.

During the latter stages of the album recording process, Yak frontman Oli Burslem withdrew to Jason Pierce’s (Spiritualized) home studio to piece the album together. It was during these few days that Pierce applied his vocals and slide guitar to the dazed finale, which sails out on Oli’s own field recording of birdsong.

Oli explains, “This is the last song we recorded at RAK and it’s definitely my favourite. It sums the whole record up. I guess it’s inspired by mortality and memories of loved ones past and present. It also features my good friend John Coxon on piano and harmonica without whom I doubt the band would be where we are today. If it’s the last piece of music I ever make I’ll be happy.”

Watch the video made with never-before-seen 8mm footage from the archive of elusive cult photographer and filmmaker John Kayser (courtesy of Jason Brinkerhoff).

 

YAk

It’s time for MM’s annual round up of our favourite songs of the year. Thanks as always go to all our regular contributors – Mrs Mackerel, Chris T Popper, the Italian Job, Polly Pocket and a very welcome return to the fold for Dr Roddy.

So without further ado, lets start the countdown.

100 Cabbage – Preach To The Converted

 

In a year that we lost the great Mark E Smith, Manc neighbours Cabbage stepped up to the plate and delivered an album of sneering, swaggering and violently nihilistic songs that were cut from the same cloth as the Fall. Preach to the Converted is a prime example, a snarling, surf-tinged punk stomper.

 

99 Yowl – Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living

 

Yowl capture the frustration of the 9-to-5 London grind like few others (also making Chris T Popper’s best of the year list in 2016). In frontman Gabriel Byrde, they have someone who can spin poetry on songs about alienation and exhaustion. Yowl are often viciously loud, but on Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living) it is tempered with a more fatalistic, loose feel that calls to mind Lou Reed as much as it does Parquet Courts.

 

98 Teenage Cavegirl – No Good/So Bad

 

Austin, Texas boy/girl duo Teenage Cavegirl offer exactly what their name says they should. The tribal drums and trash-pop guitar lines combine to create a deceptively simple slab of primal garage rock. Throw in some plaintive lyrics, an anthemic chorus and wrap it all up in under two minutes.

 

97 Black Delta Movement – Let The Rain Come

 

Inspired by the ghosts of the Sonics and MC5, influenced by the kaleidoscopic thrum of the Black Angels and Wooden Shjips, Let The Rain Come is a propulsive, mesmerising gem of powerful psych-rock that layers an industrial sheen over it’s pummelling hypnotic heart.

 

96 Cool Ghouls – CCR Bootleg

 

A boisterous, jerky slice of indie that rambles along with an unshakeable airy confidence and a knowing nod to the great band’s chooglin’ style.

 

95 Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

 

Channelling their inner Talking Heads, Wide Awake is a shout along anthem propelled on something akin to tropical percussion and a sparse, funky and naggingly insistent guitar refrain.

 

94 Yak – White Male Carnivore

 

A welcome return from the noisenik trio. White Male Carnivore is what, in the old days, we’d have called a rip-snorter. Crunchy, muscular and prone to an odd left turn (those weird backing vocals, the wry nod to American spirituals), the song careers along moving everything out of its path with sheer force of will.

 

93 Sunflowers – Sleepy Sun

 

A mutating slab of space rock – all slurred riffs and acid-bleached vocals. Just as likely to be a nightmare as a dream depending on your drug of choice…

 

92 Strange Cages – Hypothalmus Blues

 

Brighton’s Strange Cages are purveyors of a snotty, psych-surf rock ‘n’ roll sound in the vein of The Cramps or Ty Segall. The wonderfully titled Hypothalamus Blues combines elements of krautrock and post-punk with a paranoid, schizophrenic vocal.

 

91 Sleep Eaters – Ghost On Fire

 

Just over two minutes of cacophonous, fuzzed out, desert, cowboy garage-rock, that sounds like a feral cross between The Black Lips, The Stooges and the Screaming Blue Messiahs – imagine all three dropped into a sun-baked, spaghetti western playing to a whiskey bar full of gunslingers on speed.

 

90 Ron Gallo – Really Nice Guys

 

Taking aim squarely at the music industry and those bands who are “better people than musicians“, Ron Gallo’s blackly acerbic wit is filtered directly through the prism of 60s garage rock and fuzzy psychedelia.

 

89 Nest Egg – Denied Doctrine

 

A three-piece from Asheville, North Carolina who describe their head-heavy and kosmische psych-rock wig-outs as ‘mood music for nihilists’. Denied Doctrine is a mind scrambling swirl of malevolent, chugging guitars and hypnotic reverb.

 

88 Mothers – Pink

 

Pink grips like a vice and over seven taut, potent minutes of nervy, hypnotic, krautrock it builds layer upon layer of bewitching intensity that never lets up.

 

87 Lonely Parade – I’m So Tired

 

A mix of wiry post-punk and buzzsaw guitars – disaffected dissonance never sounded so good!

 

86 Crepes – Bicycle Man

 

Infectious indie-pop par excellence. A groovy bass-line and hooks sharp enough to burrow deep under the skin.

 

85 American Pets – Forgetting

 

Taking inspiration from the likes of The Velvet Underground, Wilco, Tom Petty, and Serge Gainsbourg, LA based indie band American Pets’ Forgetting is a quietly strummed mix of bleak suburban nostalgia and nightmare.

 

84 Wharves – High School Hero

 

The naggingly, groove infused High School Hero sounds like a weird mash up of glam-rock era Bowie, Devo, Nick Cave, The Clash’s Magnificent Seven and Tom Tom Club’s Wordy Rappinghood. Even more weirdly it works… brilliantly.

 

83 Lord Huron – Ancient Names (Part II)

 

Lord Huron are not particularly known for their garage rock credentials, but Ancient Names (Part II) bursts out the blocks with a heavy, distorted sense of urgency proclaiming “gone are the days of laughter and love“, and over the course of two short minutes conveys a darkness of heart and soul that is epitome of resigned despair and hopelessness.

 

82 Thurston Moore – Mx Liberty

 

A typically corrosive broadside at the “mockery of democracy” that currently prevails in the USA. Thurston Moore’s brings his trademark barbed guitar squall and brutal, bruising percussion to the table and wins the argument. Hands down.

 

81 Flasher – Skim Milk

 

Crisp, exhilarating guitar riffs matched to a melodic ease and with some enjoyably rowdy call and response vocals, Skim Milk is a gem of sharp, precise indie rock.

 

80 LICE – The Human Parasite

 

Lyrically obtuse, melodically caustic and revelling in ugly, uncomfortable home truths, LICE’s debut single was a scratchy, skronky, instant classic. “All humans carry, through their daily lives / A compulsion to torture and destroy / Be not afeared of your impulse to despise / Your neighbour just because they have an accent you dislike.

 

79 The Men – Maybe I’m Crazy

 

A wired, pulsating, synth-driven rocker complete with wonky sax at the end. Play loud.

 

78 Phosphorescent – Around The Horn

 

The centrepiece of latest album C’est La Vie, on Around the Horn Phosphorescent calls the shimmering motorik of the War on Drugs and then raises it with an eight minute mini masterpiece of swelling, throbbing country-psych.

 

77 Gong Gong Gong – Siren 追逐劇

 

Desert psych anyone? South-east Asian freakout? Chinese blues? All this and more is thrown into the melting pot and stirred to a magnificent, galloping frenzy.

 

76 Phobophobes – Where Is My Owner?

 

The low rumble of menacing, dirty sleaze – a fetid, swampy stomp set atop twinkling drums and sweet organ flourishes. Over it all is the sardonic refrain of “Where is my owner? I thought that I came with one”

 

  1. Fat Earthers -Letter Bomb
  2. Howe Gelb – A Thousand Kisses Deep (featuring M.Ward)
  3. The Chills – Bad Sugar
  4. Mount Hudson – Write A Book
  5. Yak -Fried
  6. Steve Gunn – Stonehurst Cowboy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Yak – Bellyache
  2. Du Blonde – Buddy
  3. Speedy Ortiz – DTMFA
  4. FIDLAR – Can’t You See
  5. Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe – Life After Youth
  6. SAVAK – Nature Erased
  7. Slaves – Magnolia
  8. Cloud Nothings – So Right So Clean
  9. Wasted Cathedral – Smoked, Out Somewhere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. YAK – White Male Carnivore
  2. Rays – Yesterday’s Faces
  3. Beachtape – Fix It Up
  4. Human People – Jenny
  5. Yowler – Angel
  6. Muncie Girls – Clinic
  7. Richard Thompson – My Rock, My Rope
  8. Rebecca Blasband – Love Is

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technical issues have meant we’ve been quieter than usual this week, but hopefully with all those resolved we can get back to normal service. It is a shame as we spent the weekend with middle sprat wallowing ankle, and sometimes knee, deep in swampy mud at Truck Festival.

Truck has been a bit of a Mackerel family institution for a few years now, a small(ish) friendly and well run festival with an eclectic musical line-up and tea and cakes served by the local WI. This year’s musical line-up was a bit bigger and more mainstream and it was clear that, on arrival, the atmosphere was quite different.

I’m told Truck has been bought out by a much larger, much more “business focused” company and it certainly felt that way. Gone were the days of sauntering up to the entrance, a friendly chat and in you go – now we had sniffer dogs, unsmiling ticket checkers and most unforgivable of all, a two hour plus queue to get in (others queued for twice as long). It set the tone for a weekend that could be viewed in two distinct parts – music that was brilliant and organisation that was not.

As the rains came, and came again, and again and again over the first two days the entire site including the camping fields turned into a horrific mud bath. Given the forecast was known for a few days (at least) I was anticipating some kind of contingency plan from the organisers especially as tents quite literally began to submerge in thick, syrupy mud. I expected wooden or metal walkways to be put down on the main paths, maybe open a second entrance to the main arena to spread the footfall a bit, and as we were on a farm, lots and lots of straw to go down to try and soak up the worst of the mud.

Literally nothing was done and a “who cares and fuck you” attitude prevailed. A few token and totally inadequate bales of straw at the entrance and that was it. Otherwise it was sink or slip or swim, and for lots of people that meant sink (and slip for pretty much everyone else).

It was such a shame as musically the festival was brilliant. Friday set us up with contagious indie pop from Big Moon and Hinds on the main stage, British Sea Power’s soaring, cinematic rock in the Market Tent (complete with giant dancing bears) and a fabulous set of infectious punk rock from Dream Wife (who were unrecognisable from the band we saw at the Great Escape a year or so ago). Headliners Slaves and Franz Ferdinand were both excellent in the driving rain that failed to dampen the spirits of the audience and created possibly the slippiest, sloppiest mosh pit ever.

Saturday was spent almost entirely in the Nest whilst the rain hammered down outside and vendors’ stands began to resemble a mud wrestling carnival. The visceral drive of Dead Pretties was an unexpected discovery whose set began brilliantly but tailed off a bit towards the end – almost as if the set would have worked better in reverse, before LIFE took the stage and created mayhem with a brilliant set of angry punk that somehow melded the Dead Kennedys, Sleaford Mods and the Fall into a perfect combination. Abattoir Blues’ crunchy, grungy rock maintained the tempo if not quite the intensity before the Crows racheted things up again with an excellent set of energetic post-punk. A brief excursion to somewhere near the main stage where Sundara Karma’s psych-inflected rock went down extremely well before a return to the dry of the Nest for a fabulous set from Yak complete with crowd surfing guitarists and a perfectly judged set of brutally infectious, needling guitars and pummelling percussion. Suitably impressed, middle sprat slogged off to watch the Wombats whilst I stayed for headliners, and once fictional band, Moonlandingz who were a revelation – fronted by the Fat White Family’s Lias Saoudi and backed by Sheffield experimental outfit Eccentronic Research Council together with Fat Whites’ Saul Adamczewski. Their spaced out, motorik rhythms and funky indie-disco melded perfectly with a nightmarish, sinister edge that created a cosmic wig-out of epic proportions. We slowly waded back to our damp tent to the strains of a Libertines greatest hits set.

Sunday saw us back in the Nest with middle sprat for the screaming guitars of Weirds’ industrially tinged grunge led by a frontman who could teach Paddington a thing or two about hard stares. On the main stage Cabbage showed just why they are causing such a stir as the next big indie thing, a brilliant set of sardonic, krautrock tinged indie and a fine line in insouciant showmanship being greeted rapturously by the big crowd. Back in the Nest our first experience of singer-songwriter Kevin Devine was a joy – much more in line with previous Truck discoveries, his was a wonderful collection of songs and a fabulous voice and made for a welcome change of pace – a little oasis of Americana amid the loud guitars and crashing drums. It was back to the guitars and drums for All Them Witches who were slightly one-paced and predictable compared with previous fare. Back outside to watch a surprisingly (for me) engaging and uptempo set from indie stalwarts Maximo Park (middle sprat’s set of the weekend), and then, joining the huge crowd, for the Vaccines – closing the Festival and pleasing the masses with a collection of mostly energising mainstream indie anthems. The contrast was great at times, one truly terrible new song that sounded like something Fleetwood Mac would have knocked out and rejected in five minutes juxtaposed with sing-alongs to Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra), Post Break-Up Sex and If You Wanna.

They left the stage early, fireworks went off and we exited en-masse through the claggy mire flanked by unsmiling security and a question mark about the future of the heart and soul of Truck…

Ten of the best songs we heard at Truck

10 Vaccines – Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
9 Dead Pretties – Social Experiment
8 Maximo Park – Apply Some Pressure
7 British Sea Power – Waving Flags
6 Dream Wife – FUU
5 Kevin Devine – Another Bag Of Bones
4 Yak – Hungry Heart
3 LIFE – Popular Music
2 Cabbage – Uber Capitalist Death Trade
1 The Moonlandingz – Black Hanz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ctp-top-20

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

20 Big Thief – Paul

 

19 Mind Spiders – Running

 

18 Hooded Fang – Dead Battery

 

17 Van William – Revolution

 

16 Staches – Total Commitment

 

15 Yowl – The Imminent Return

 

14 Ultimate Painting – Bills

 

13 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow

 

12 Flat Worms – Petulance

 

11 Jacuzzi Boys – Lucky Blade

 

10 Neighbors – Angel O

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

 

9 Parquet Courts – Dust

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

 

8 PJ Harvey – Guilty

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

 

7 Magic Potion – Milk

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

 

6 Terry – Don’t Say Sorry

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

 

5 The Wave Pictures – Pool Hall

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

 

4 Underworld – I Exhale

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

 

3 Little Barrie – I.5.C.A.

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

 

2 Terry Malts – Used To Be

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

 

1 Yak – Victorious (National Anthem)

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

 

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

mms-best-of-2016-header

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

Enjoy…

 

25 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife

 

24 Little Barrie – I.5.C.A.

 

23 She Drew The Gun – Since You Were Not Mine

 

22 Car Seat Headrest – Fill In The Blank

 

21 Communist Daughter – Balboa Bridge

 

20 Mitski – Your Best American Girl

 

19 Dr Dog – Bring My Baby Back

 

18 Yak – Victorious (National Anthem)

 

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

 

16 TRAAMS – A House On Fire

 

15 Terry – Don’t Say Sorry

 

14 The Wave Pictures – Pool Hall

 

13 Jamie T – Tinfoil Boy

 

12 Flat Worms – Red Hot Sand

 

11 Black Mountain – Florian Saucer Attack

 

10 The Mind Spiders – Running

 

9 Underworld – I Exhale

 

8 James Arthur’s Manhunt – Kill Zone

 

7 Terry Malts – Used To Be

 

6 Van William – Revolution

 

5 Damien Jurado – Exit 353

 

4 The Pixies – Um Chagga Lagga

 

3 Great American Canyon Band – Undertow

 

2 Ashley Shadow – Tired

 

1 Parquet Courts – Dust

 

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

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

Something akin to Led Zep crossed with Spacemen 3, watch London trio Yak’s first official video for Hungry Heart.

The video documents a recent psychedelic (road) trip to Wales which involved an impromptu midnight gig on a beach, interspersed with footage from some of the band’s  unpredictable recent live shows for which they are becoming well known.

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