Posts Tagged ‘Young Fathers’

So here we have it – the top of the pile! Our favourite songs of 2018.

25 Ought – Disgraced In America

 

Way back in January, Montreal based quartet Ought kicked off 2018 with the bright guitar sound and ultimately noisy percussion and spaced-out synths of Disgraced in America. It was a fine start.

 

24 Spiritualized – I’m Your Man

 

I’m Your Man was the brilliant lead single from Spiritualized’s new album And Nothing Hurt. It wraps layer upon layer of gloriously transcendent sound together to create something utterly mesmerising and cinematic, and with a towering guitar solo – where the waves of blissful noise are almost overwhelming.

 

23 Jon Spencer – Hornet

 

Jon Spencer can be relied upon to deliver a sleazy, bone-shaking excursion into the underbelly of classic blues and with Hornet he delivers in spades – growling, primitive and with a suitably buzzing guitar figure.

 

22 Fat Earthers – Letter Bomb

 

We love the Isle of Wight and now we love it even more because it is home to the insane noise of the Fat Earthers whose punked-up garage rock didn’t so much explode out of our speakers, as leave them gibbering in twisted shards of plastic and cable in the corner. There is always one song that gatecrashes our favourites at the end of the year and Letter Bomb is it.  I hope they’re from Ventnor!

 

21 Western Scene – Strange but True

 

A chugging, exhilarating earworm of a song that recalls something of the best of Lord Huron or Wilco, with its irresistible melody and immediate emotional energy.

 

20 American Pets – Bad Dream

 

Sublime, sweetly melodic indie rock. The kind so many bands try to do, and so many fail to achieve. It is impossible not to be carried away on the rise and fall of the harmonies and Bad Dream’s gentle swell of mildly psychedelic beauty.

 

19 Ron Gallo – Always Elsewhere

 

Ron Gallo seems to be one of those absurdly hyperactive songwriters, flitting from one genre to another as though on a never ending quest for musical nectar. That he does it so well seems equally absurd as he rolls out gem after gem in a prolific manner. Always Elsewhere is garage rock, psych-pop, new wave, glam and 70s NY punk. It is jerky, obsessive and compelling and held together by his anxious, exasperated vocals.

 

18 FEWS – Businessman

 

Just unstoppable, pulverising noisy psych built on the most pulsating riff imaginable.

 

17 The Twilight Sad – I/m Not Here (Missing Face)

 

After too long an absence Twilight Sad returned with I/m Not Here (Missing Face) which was a driving, motorik anthem, with wailing guitars and swirling synths circling around frontman James Graham’s repeated declarations of “I don’t want to be around you anymore.” Graham describes the track’s lyrical basis as being “about my ongoing battle with not liking myself, trying to be a good person but constantly feeling like I’m failing myself and everyone I care about.

 

16 Young Fathers – In My View

 

As much spoken as sung, In My View is a fractured, down-tempo track set atop skittering percussion and synths.

 

15 Superorganism – Everybody Wants To Be Famous

 

Like a mutated cross between Uptown Top Ranking and some long-forgotten video game, Everybody Wants To Be Famous manages to take its wonderfully kaleidoscopic groove to a whole new level of infectious electro-pop flourescence.

 

14 Dr. Dog – Listening In

 

On their brilliantly assured new album Critical Equation, Dr. Dog barely put a single foot wrong, and an absolute standout for us was Listening In. Another exceptional example of their warm, psych-infused Americana, carried along on metronomic percussion and a typically plaintive and questioning vocal.

 

13 Phosphorescent – Christmas Down Under

 

The introspective smoulder and slow burn of Christmas Down Under is a pedal-steel led tale of surreal Americana. One for the sunset and the open road…

 

12 Katie Toupin – Danger

 

After a long stint with Houndmouth, Katie Toupin’s first foray into solo territory resulted in the bluesy rock of her debut EP Moroccan Ballroom. The raw, haunting beauty of Danger mixes heartbreak with a smattering of grit and her always stunning vocals to create something very special indeed.

 

11 Fontaines DC – Chequeless Reckless

 

Our third and final entry from Fontaines DC – back in February we said we were pretty sure Chequeless Reckless would end up in our best of the year lists and so it proves. Channelling past masters like the Modern Lovers, The Fall and Iggy Pop, as well as contemporaries like Idles and Shame, Chequeless Reckless is built on a driving, hypnotic, kraut-rock infused cyclical riff, and some scalpel sharp lyrics.

A sellout is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money,
An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of the thinking
A phony is someone who demands respect for the principles they affect
A dilettante is someone who can’t tell the difference between fashion and style

 

10 Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Billy The Kid And Geronimo

 

In the rich vein of classic country like Pancho and Lefty, the fantastical Billy The Kid and Geronimo – about an imagined meeting between the two 19th century outlaws whose lives became the stuff of legend in the American West has Gilmore, who is part Native American, voicing the thoughts Alvin wrote for Geronimo, the Chiricahua Apache chief who was one of the last Native American leaders to abandon his resistance against white colonisation of the American Southwest.

 

9 Decemberists – Severed

 

Channelling their inner New Order and 80’s electronic new wave, the Decemberists delivered another left-turn in their long career with I’ll Be Your Girl. Chief among them was Severed, all fuzzy synths, rolling bass and an unrelenting guitar riff. The juxtaposition of shiny, shimmering melody and bleak lyrics was just the icing on the cake.

 

8 Cold Soda – Anna May

 

Cold Soda is a Cave Singers side project, and Anna May is brilliant, brooding Americana, built on a sinewy rhythmic groove and Pete Quirk’s ominous rasp.

 

7 Silverbacks – Dunkirk

 

Brilliantly delivering their own louche take on NYC-indebted rock, Dublin art-punks Silverbacks’ single Dunkirk is underpinned by an insistent, nagging bassline and creepy crawly guitar lines, it provides the ideal vehicle for frontman Daniel O’Kelly’s stream of consciousness ramblings about martial strife, the perfect sandcastle and spotting a con artist when he sees one. The track lurches forth, pressure building from the undulating backbeat and layers of skronking guitars accenting Daniel’s increasingly frazzled yelps before finally collapsing into a sugar sweet coda.

 

6 Rod Picott – Coal

 

Coal is a tough track. A hard-driving, unflinching snapshot of an industry’s decline. It is a world of darkness, small enclosed spaces, rusted machines and steel tied boots. It is simple, unadorned folk storytelling at its spartan best.

 

5 Quiet Hollers – Addicted

 

Addicted is a powerful rumination on opiate addiction – Quiet Hollers frontman Shadwick Wilde has struggled with addiction since adolescence. Although he didn’t intend for it to be a “drug song” necessarily, its inception came at a time when his family was struggling with the loss of his mother’s brother, who died of a fentanyl overdose so he felt it was important to acknowledge how deeply vulnerable we all are to these things, and how serious that problem really is. The track is a perfect mix of alt-country shot through with grungy guitars and a resigned honesty shared through fittingly world weary vocals.

 

4 Dan Mangan – Peaks And Valleys

 

Dan Mangan is a restless troubadour, from the earnest straight up folk of Postcards & Daydreaming to the darkly experimental Club Meds, he has always been both an explorer and an observer. Peaks and Valleys comes from new record More or Less and is a up-tempo, easy going reflection on the simple things in life and the wisdom and understanding that comes with getting older. Sometimes the most obvious things can be the most revealing and so it is with this lovely reminder that optimism is not a bad weapon to have in these turbulent times.

 

3 Drenge – Bonfire Of The City Boys

 

It started with a bang” the opening line from Bonfire of the City Boys could almost be a prediction as a stuttering, repetitive bassline starts up and Eoin Loveless’ spoken word vocals cut in over the top before a crushing guitar riff takes centre stage. Heavier than they’ve ever been, with a sound more akin to Future of the Left, Bonfire of the City Boys is four minutes of joyously ferocious hardcore.

 

2 Decemberists – Cutting Stone

 

Like one of their classic ornate folk fantasies turned dark, appropriately enough Cutting Stone is cut through with a synth accompaniment that brilliantly contrasts a brittle, futuristic feel to Colin Melloy’s literate and verbose tale of wayward children and dying brides.

 

1 Oh Sees – Nail House Needle Boys

 

Nail House Needle Boys – a deliriously scorched excursion around the outer limits of prog-rock and glam, sucking in great gulps of Can, Deep Purple and King Crimson and exhaling them as little more than smoke and ash, drifting down on to the still twitching corpse of psychedelic rock.

 

Check out the rest of our countdown: 100-76 here, 75-51 here and 50-26 here.

The second instalment of our favourite tracks of 2018. Enjoy…

75 Holly Miranda – Golden Spiral

 

This wonky, horn-led track taken from her excellent Mutual Horse album, dips its toes into the swirling whirlpools of off-kilter indie pop with a buoyant rhythmic pulse and nods to glam rock and funk.

 

74 Ezra Furman – Suck The Blood From My Wound

 

Suck The Blood From My Wound is a choppy, hook filled indie rocker that dials up the intensity and paranoia from the outset (check the horror film opening sample) to create a visceral, desperate dash from government pursuers. Throughout the narrator’s pain and defiance remain constants, “Angel, don’t fight it – to them, you know we’ll always be freaks.”

 

73 Fontaines DC – Boys In The Better Land

 

Fontaines DC are our favourite discovery of 2018. Boys In The Better Land, the b-side to the excellent Chequeless Reckless, is a resolutely retro nod to classic Irish rock’n’roll – a concise, gritty and utterly irresistible slice of indie-punk that conjures up images of the Stooges jamming with the Fall.

 

72 Flat Worms – Melt The Arms

 

Furious, buzzing, magnificent, garage-punk that will put hairs on your chest and then melt them off again – all in just over two minutes.

 

71 First Aid Kit – It’s A Shame

 

There isn’t much that sounds better than the gorgeous harmonies created by Swedish sisters First Aid KitIt’s A Shame is a perfect case in point. Simply lovely.

 

70 Deaf Wish – FFS

 

FFS erupts out of the speakers like a runaway train and over the next 130 seconds or so simply picks up the pace even further – unstoppable. A fizzing, furious, outburst of potent punk rock.

 

69 Eric Church – The Snake

 

Built on a sinewy, swampy acoustic riff, The Snake is classic country protest. America’s two polarised parties are portrayed as two serpents greedily preying on the electorate. Church’s wonderful spoken drawl vocals add just the right tinge of bleak menace and give extra depth to the bitter lyrics, “Rattlesnake said to the copperhead / Ain’t no way they win / ‘Cause the mice are sheep / And the shepherd’s asleep / And the copperhead said “amen

 

68 Drahla – Twelve Divisions Of The Day

 

A naggingly insistent earworm of a tune, blending the band’s wiry art-rock with krautrock inspired experimentalism, all underpinned by singer/guitarist Luciel Brown’s captivating spoken drawl.

 

67 Dr. Dog – Buzzing In The Light

 

Dr. Dog have long been the purveyors of perfectly judged psych-tinged Americana that draws on elements of pastoral folk, soul and jazz. Buzzing In The Light is wonderfully mellow and laid back, hazily meandering to a dreamy conclusion on the back of a slow drumbeat and keyboards.

 

66 Big Joanie – Fall Asleep

 

A fabulous amalgamation of Ronettes style bubble-gum pop and Sleater-Kinney wig-out. The high speed Fall Asleep is an instantly hummable, toe-tapping frolic through the highs and lows of dreams and nightmares.

 

65 Queen Zee – Victim Age

 

Queer-core punks Queen Zee’s energetic, politically charged call to arms – anarchic and borne of a deep frustration with the status quo. Another to play loud!

 

64 Dunes – Mountain

 

Mined from the same sonic territory that hosts the Black Angels, Warlocks and Wooden Shjips, Mountain is thick with reverb, fuzz and deliciously dark undertones.

 

63 Slaves – Bugs

 

Bugs is a classic Slaves staccato stomper. Anthemic call and response vocals and thumping percussion deliver a savage verdict on our collective politicians’ utter failure to do anything but look after their own porcine interests whilst the country slides down the drain with barely a whimper. “Two arms, two legs, two faces, That’s what they got” Exactly.

 

62 Freschard & Stanley Brinks – Going To The Bar

 

Stanley Brinks is one of indie music’s true one-offs. Amongst many other things he has recorded more than 100 albums, been part of the New York Antifolk scene, and played a lot with The Wave Pictures. On this wonderful collaboration with Freschard, the pair deliver a wistfully off-kilter and woozy gem of a tale that takes in drinking alone, the bedridden Fred (with the big round head) and broken hearts. A rueful and poignant tune for the dead of night.

 

61 Goat Girl – The Man

 

A stand-out from Goat Girl’s self-titled debut, The Man is perfectly observed garage-punk that comes wrapped in delightfully sleazy guitar and a rattling sing-a-long chorus. Seedy never sounded so alluring.

 

60 Goat – Let It Burn

 

Let It Burn was written specifically for the climatic scene in the short movie Killing Gävle, a film about the famous Gävle Goat in Sweden – every year local custodians try to protect a giant straw goat (built for the town every Christmas) being burnt down by mischievous pagans. It all sounds very Wicker Man (no doubt our very own folk horror aficionado Chris T Popper would approve) and to which the epic nature of the song – six minutes of Goat’s unstoppable hypnotic fuzzy groove – does complete justice.

 

59 Dunes – (Just Because You’re Not Being Followed Doesn’t Mean You’re Not) Paranoid

 

Another from the Aussie psych-rockers. Spacier, woozier, but just as hypnotic.

 

58 Cash Savage & The Last Drinks – Pack Animals

 

Pack Animals is a the grubby, cheeky nephew of a union between classic early 70s pub-rock and punk. Underneath it’s cheery, pumping exterior and chugging refrain is a searing indictment of the inherent arrogance of gig-goers giving the girls in the band some “helpful” advice, almost always prefaced with the opening “The gig was great, but…

 

57 Amen Dunes – Miki Dora

 

A song about the iconic 60s surfer and lifelong criminal, Miki Dora is a haunting pop gem that evokes the shimmering, untouchable horizon with its gorgeous blurry vocals and shifting, restless tones, like waves endlessly rolling up the shore.

 

56 Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Bike Lane

 

Kick off your jackboots, it’s time to unwind”. Unsurprisingly there have been many political songs this year and Lord knows from Trump to the insanity of Brexit there has been plenty of material to work with. But none have quite the impact of Bike Lane, a song dealing with the death of Freddie Grey, a victim of police brutality in Baltimore. It is unflinching and straightforward and set to a classic chugging riff. “The cops, the cops that killed Freddie, Sweet, young Freddie Gray, Got behind him with their truncheons, And choked the life right out of him“.

 

55 Young Fathers – Toy

 

Confidently and gleefully leaping between genres with nary a backwards glance, Toy effortlessly bridges a gap between rap and full on sing-a-long indie anthem.

 

54 Eels – The Deconstruction

 

A laid-back wander through some classic rock territory. Echoes of Pink Floyd and Massive Attack burble and hum behind Mark Oliver Everett’s understated vocal, “The deconstruction has begun. Time for me to fall apart.” Sometimes funky, sometimes elaborate and always unpredictable, The Deconstruction is the sound of a revised world view and a weary philosophical acceptance of the nebulous state of things.

 

53 The Callas with Lee Ranaldo – Acid Books

 

A post-punk burner brimming with frenzied energy. Opening with a swirl of droning ambiance and the rhetorical question, “Do you sleep at night?”, the track quickly launches headlong into a fever of activity. With the anxious pulse of a hard-driving bassline to lead the way, and punctuated by terse outbursts of hypnotic, scuzzed-up guitar lines.

 

52 Slaves – Cut And Run

 

Everything about Cut And Run is ridiculous. The spoof workout video, the high pitched guitars and the “You’re looking unwell” mantra, yet it still all combines to create another infectiously catchy, sledgehammer punk song.

 

51 Idles – Love Song

 

Idles somehow manage to pair howling, horror-flick guitars and thumping percussion with fierce, redemptive lyrics on the complexities of relationships and love.

 

Check out tracks 100 – 76 from yesterday here.

50 Hiccup – Teasin’

 

49 Nervous Dater – Bad Spanish

 

48 Sun Abduction – Acid Pyramid

 

47 Roadhouses – Drinkin’

 

46 Dream Police – Revenge

 

45 BAIT – Push The Elephant

 

44 Meat Wave – The Incessant

 

43 Young Fathers – Only God Knows

 

42 Ty Segall – Big Man

 

41 The Sugarmen – Our Gallows

 

40 The War On Drugs – Holding On

 

39 Sleaford Mods – Drayton Manored

 

38 DZ Deathrays – Shred For Summer

 

37 Pontiak – Tomorrow Is Forgetting

 

36 Protomartyr – My Children

 

35 Black Mekon – Janey Was A Klepto

 

34 together PANGEA – Money On It

 

33 Gay Blades – Hurricane Boys

 

32 Pissed Jeans – The Bar Is Low

 

31 Screaming Females – Glass House

 

30 The Divine Comedy – To The Rescue

 

29 Idles – Mother

 

28 Deer Tick – Sea Of Clouds

 

27 The Black Angels – I’d Kill For Her

 

26 The Queens Of The Stone Age – The Way You Used To Be

 

 

Best of 2017: 75 – 51

Best of 2017: 100 – 76