M&T Best Songs of 2017

We've compiled a playlist of the 75 best songs from the year that was and highlighted our top 10 below. Make sure to subscribe Read More

M&T Best Albums of 2017

The moment you've all been waiting for...our favorite albums of 2017. We've compiled a list of the 40 best albums of the year and highlighted a Read More

January 2018 Spotify Playlist of the Month

Welcome to 2018. Hopefully we never hear the words 'bomb cyclone' ever again after this far-from-temperate January day here in NYC. To keep you Read More

M&T Best Songs of 2016

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Maimed & Tamed Best Songs of 2016

Let’s cut to the chase, 2016 was a pretty shitty year. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t have plenty to celebrate though and one silver lining was all of the incredible music that was released in 2016. Here we’ve compiled a playlist of the 100 best songs from the year that was and highlighted our top 20 below. Make sure to subscribe to the full 100-track Spotify playlist and then peruse our top 20 below.

Full Spotify Playlist

20. Grammar- “Americana”

19. Joan As Police Woman- “Broke Me In Two”

18. Vita and the Woolf- “Qiet”

17. Big Thief- “Real Love”

16. Car Seat Headrest- “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales”

15. Florist- “The Birds Outside Sang”

14. Ray LaMontagne- “Part One – Hey, No Pressure”

13. Radiohead- “Burn The Witch”

12. Baba Sonya- “Human-Made Machines”

11. A Tribe Called Quest- “We The People…”

10. Blood Orange- “Best to You”

Equal parts dance-pop and Emily Dickinson, the lushest, catchiest song of the year is complemented by acutely painful lyrics of romantic insecurity.


9. The Low Anthem- “am i the dream or am i the dreamer”

The five-year wait between albums from these Providence folk rockers was well worth it. eyeland was quite the sonic departure from 2011’s Smart Flesh and that was highlighted by the expansive textures and layers of “am i the dream or am i the dreamer” which I’d be more than happy to argue is their best song to date.


8. Local Natives- “Past Lives”

Local Natives came back on the scene in a big way in 2016 and “Past Lives” is just one example of why this band is poised to make stellar records for a long, long time.


7. Leagues- “Slow and Steady”

Once this one catches on expect it to be featured in about 100 breakup scenes in television and movies.


6. ANOHNI- “Drone Bomb Me”

ANONHI has always had a gift for drama, and she has outdone herself with “Drone Bomb Me.” Told from the vantage point of a suicidal Afghani girl whose family has died in a drone strike, “Drone Bomb Me” is devastating yet too beautiful to turn away from – the best “car crash” you’ll ever listen to.


5. Carl Broemel- “4th of July”

We all know and love Carl from My Morning Jacket, but his second solo effort gave him the opportunity to showcase his lyrical ideas and expand on the killer guitar chops he’s been known to show off with MMJ. With “4th of July” Carl creates an epic journey that would be worthy of the upper echelon of MMJ’s catalogue had he lent it to the band.


4. The Avalanches- “Because I’m Me”

When you don’t release an album for 16 years there’s sure to be lots of hype and I think it’s safe to say that The Avalanches lived up to that hype. It’s tough to pick just one standout track from Wildflower, but “Because I’m Me” is the perfect album opener and sets the bar ridiculously high for the group’s glorious comeback.


3. Mitski- “Your Best American Girl”

Through both whispers and screams, Mitski shares her all-too-relatable ache to be “American enough” via the most epic crescendo of the year.


2. Band of Horses- “Dull Times/The Moon”

Speaking of album openers, “Dull Times/The Moon” is another example of a band opening with a big statement. The 7-minute track includes two very distinct movements that play perfectly into each other. Nearly 15 years on and the band is still making bold choices that further cement their place as one of our best Americana bands in the 21st century.


1. Kanye West- “Ultralight Beam”

Kanye, Kanye, Kanye. You beautiful, crazy bastard. They say there’s a very thin line between genius and insanity and Mr. West has been toeing that line for years now. It seems The Life of Pablo might have been the project that pushed him firmly over that line, but before he started all of his paranoid rants he gave us the best track of 2016. Between the preaching child sample, Kirk Franklin, that choir, and Chance’s masterful verse, Kanye made good on his promise to deliver the perfect gospel track for TLOP. The production on the track is some next level stuff (as evidenced by this super interesting article and mini-doc on Vox) and if you don’t feel something otherworldly in your bones when that choir kicks in then you better check your pulse. Finally, if Kanye’s never the same on stage again let’s try to remember him like he was during this unreal performance of “Ultralight Beam” on SNL.


M&T Best EPs of 2016

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Maimed & Tamed Best EPs of 2016

With 2016 in the rearview, what better way to kick off our reflection on the year that was than with a look at our favorite EPs from the last 12 months. We’ve said in the past that some may argue EPs should be lumped in with albums, but we like to do things the logical way here at M&T so we’ll be comparing apples to apples and keeping the oranges separate. Check out the list below and subscribe to a playlist of one track from each EP here.

10. Yoke Lore- Far Shore

9. Eryn Allen Kane- Aviary: Act II

8. Good Looking Friends- You Won’t Die

7. The Rare Occasions- Futureproof

6. Lemaitre- Afterglow

5. Wolf Parade- EP4

4. Ron Gallo- RG3

3. Baba Sonya- The “People Things Work Out For” Sessions

2. Lewis Del Mar- EP

1. The Wild Reeds- Best Wishes

December Spotify Playlist of the Month

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Maimed & Tamed Spotify Playlist of the Month December 2015

Here come the holiday pigs and along with them come 45 brand new tracks for your listening pleasure. Our final playlist of 2016 features fresh jams from The xx, Childish Gambino, Jim James, Amy León, Vita and the Woolf, and many more.

Check out the full 45-track playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month.

November Spotify Playlist of the Month

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November 2016 Spotify Playlist Of the Month

November means foliage, turkey, football, and of course fresh jams. Take a listen to this month’s playlist featuring brand new tracks from Jim James, Hiss Golden Messenger, Chargaux, Crying, The Ballroom Thieves, Lady Lamb, Wild Pink, and 37 others (to be exact).

Check out the full 45-track playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month.

October Spotify Playlist of the Month

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Maimed & Tamed Spotify Playlist of the Month October 2016

Nothing says fall like fresh produce and some fresh tunes amiright? Take a listen to this month’s playlist featuring brand new jams from M&T favorites like Local Natives, Leagues, Jim James and the Ballroom Thieves, along with newcomers like S U R V I V E, WRENN, and plenty of other bands that aren’t written in all caps.

Check out the full 60-track playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month.

September Spotify Playlist of the Month

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September 2016 Spotify Playlist of the Month

Is summer over already? Not too fast, we’ve still got some warm weather jams to play you out with the end credits of summertime including new tunes from The Rare Occasions, Bon Iver, Tall Heights, LVL UP and more.

Check out the full 50-track playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month.

August Spotify Playlist of the Month

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M&T Spotify Playlist of the Month August 2016

Somehow it’s already August, but with hot weather comes hot jams, and we’ll certainly take that as a consolation prize. This month our playlist features new songs from 30 artists including M&T favorites like WilcoLocal Natives, Júniús Meyvant, and Tall Heights as well as newcomers like Amy León, Pool Cosby, Gizmo Varillas, and more.

Check out the full playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month.

Newport Folk Festival 2016 Recap

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Newport Folk Festival 2016 Recap

Another beautiful Folk Festival weekend at Fort Adams State Park has come and gone, and though we’re sad it’s over, we can still relish all of the incredible performances we were able to see over the course of three days. Check out the highlights below while we start dreaming about next year’s lineup.

Friday July 22

Basia Bulat at Quad Stage

An impressive Newport debut from Basia Bulat included a 101 year old harp that she bought from ebay, rocking a cape on-stage à la (her producer and our hero) Jim James, and a genuine excitement and reverence for being part of the festival. Something tells me this won’t be the last time we see Ms. Bulat at the Fort.


The Staves at Fort Stage

The Staves’ impeccable recordings set a high bar, and their live performance clears it handily. Armed with a drummer, synths and vocoders, The Staves dispelled false notions of “folksiness” by nailing highly complex new releases like “Outlaw.” The similarly intricate, yet-to-be-released “Tired as Fuck” was a crowd favorite, though perhaps not for the parents in the crowd – sorry, kidz!


Matthew Logan Vasquez at Quad Stage

It’s no secret that Vasquez, much like his Middle Brother cohorts, gushes with love for this festival and that was certainly on display during his Friday set inside the Fort. Vasquez performed a selection of songs from his debut solo record, Delta Spirit’s catalog and a handful of covers, and was joined at different points throughout the set by Parkington Sisters and Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson. We knew to expect a rollicking family affair from Vasquez, but what made this set extra special was that Vasquez was able to put his stellar guitar playing skills front and center.


Violent Femmes at Fort Stage

As longtime fans of Violent Femmes we really couldn’t have asked for much more from this set. The classic xylophone line on “Gone Daddy Gone”, the tongue-in-cheek perfection of “American Music”, most definitely the largest saxophone I have ever seen in my life (that thing had to be at least 10 feet tall), and of course “Blister In The Sun”. Video via YouTube user cstoltze


Ray LaMontagne at Fort Stage

Or should we say Ray LaMorning Jacket? The “Jacket Boys”, as Ray called them, were just as much of an attraction for this set as Ray was himself. With a set comprised mostly of tunes from his last two records, LaMontagne was all business and barely spoke between songs, but let his music do the talking instead. An incredible live vocal performance from LaMontagne and ripping solos from the “Jacket Boys” throughout made this set one of the highlights of the weekend.


Flight of the Conchords

Though some of the comedy duo’s songs may have pushed the envelope for Newport’s family vibe (see”Too Many Dicks (On The Dance Floor)” and “Business Time”), the majority of the crowd still got their fair share of hearty laughs from the performance. Fans of their HBO show were certainly pleased with song selections like “Bowie In Space” and “Prince of Parties,” but their new tracks and between-songs-banter probably got even more laughs.


Saturday July 23

Rayland Baxter at Fort Stage

A perfect way to start Day 2, Rayland has certainly come into his own performing with a full band, and that was prominently on display early Saturday morning. Extended jam sessions on songs like “All In My Head” and set closer “End to Come” were highlights, but what was most impressive was the dynamic setlist and his ability to keep the whole crowd captivated throughout.


The Texas Gentlemen and Friends at Quad Stage

Led by Beau Bedford, the Texan collective brought some of the more country-leaning folk music to this year’s lineup. Each band member was a stellar player and performer in their own right, but the moment everyone will be talking about was when the “and Friends” portion of the billing turned into Kris Kristofferson and Margo Price performing “Me and Bobby McGee.” One of those hallmark Newport moments that hardly happen anywhere else. Video via YouTube user cstoltze


Father John Misty at Quad Stage

I think Caroline put it perfectly when she called Josh Tillman a “trollbadour,” as his solo acoustic set was filled with jabs at fellow festival performers like Brittany Howard and Graham Nash. The former may have been warranted (see this cringeworthy Chipotle ad with Howard and, it pains me to say it, Jim James), but picking on a sweet old man like Graham Nash is another story. All trolling aside Tillman certainly kept the crowd engaged with his one man show of music, social commentary, and comedy. The only thing that was missing was an on-stage boxing match between him and Ryan Adams to settle their 1989 pseud0-fued.


Sunday July 24

River Whyless at Quad Stage

The Asheville quartet kicked off the festival’s final day with a bang and I wouldn’t be surprised if it earns them an invite back to the Fort next year. They created epic soundscapes on songs like “Pigeon Feathers” and “Widows Walk” from their 2012 debut LP, and also got the crowd moving with their new single “All Day All Night.” To close out their impressive set they brought out Kam Franklin from The Suffers to perform a cover of Billy Brag & Wilco’s version of Woody Guthrie’s “Airline to Heaven,” bringing everyone to their feet.


Glen Hansard at Fort Stage

When the Irishman opened his set with The Swell Season classic “Falling Slowly” we knew we were in for quite the treat. Hansard’s passion is so raw and you can feel the emotion in his voice with every word he sings so that made songs like The Swell Season’s “When Your Minds Made Up” and Woody Guthrie’s “Vigilante Man” all the more powerful. Not to mention guest appearances by Elvis Costello, Jocie Adams, and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes throughout the set. In true Newport fashion Hansard closed out his set by inviting a fellow Irishman up from the crowd to sing a verse of Brendan Behan’s classic Irish drinking tune “The Auld Triangle,” along with Costello, Adams, and Fowlkes. See full video below including said random Irish dude in the plaid shirt and fast forward to 2:20 to see his featured verse. Video via Anthony Mulcahy aka THE DUDE IN THE VIDEO.


Middle Brother at Fort Stage

Vasquez, Goldsmith, and McCauley made their triumphant return to the Fort on the five year anniversary of their debut and certainly did not disappoint. Playing their entire self-titled album and joined by guests like Kam Franklin, Shovels & Rope, and Jonny Fritz, their main stage set was certainly a highlight for all of the festival faithful in attendance. “Million Dollar Bill” served to be the perfect ending to a joyous set with each of the three frontmen taking a verse and leaving us hoping for another reunion in the near future.


Elvis Costello at Fort Stage

Elvis seemed to pick up where Patti Smith left off: critiquing the establishment, yet through beauty, not hate (best evidenced by new ballad, “American Mirror”). Costello took NFF Producer Jay Sweet’s decree of “love each other” to heart in more ways than one, as he invited about half of Sunday’s performers on stage with him. Flanked by Larkin Poe, the Preservation Jazz Hall Band, Dawes, Villagers, and more, Costello provided us with the cathartic gang’s-all-here singalong we needed to close out the weekend.


Green River Festival 2016 Recap

Posted on by Mark Schafer in Concert Review | Leave a comment
Photo by Mark Schafer

Photo by Mark Schafer

The 2016 edition of the Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA was a triumphant weekend for the festival, this being its 30th anniversary. Having grown from what one festival organizer described as a “half-assed balloon festival” in the 1980s, Green River is now firmly established as one of the top music festivals in New England (and one of the highlights of my summer).

The weather for the weekend looked threatening, and while heading west from Boston to the Pioneer Valley, it seemed like a big part of the weekend might be washed out by thunderstorms. Thankfully, the lightning held off and despite quite a bit of rain throughout the weekend, everything went ahead as scheduled except for the hot air balloon rides, which were the main casualty of the weather.
On Friday, the rains held off for an evening of world music and nostalgic jams from NRBQ and Peter Wolf, while Sunday felt more like a one-day jam band festival featuring the Wheels of Soul Tour lineup Tedeschi Trucks Band, Los Lobos, and the North Mississippi All Stars. For me though, Saturday was very much the centerpiece of the whole weekend.
Starting with a short set from Lula Wiles on the main stage and ending with a blowout of a set by Dawes, every set I saw the entire day was remarkable. Ranging from local favorites like And The Kids, established favorites such as Shakey Graves and up-and-comers like The Suffers, there were more highlights than I could possibly cover in this article. Suffice it to say that a group of people just old enough to be cynical about music festivals with a baby in tow still had a fantastic time despite some dreary weather.
Here are a few of my favorite sets from the weekend:

Oh Pep!

Booked on the third stage, overlapping with The Suffers and The Felice Brothers, and performing during a downpour, Oh Pep! didn’t have the most advantageous spot of the weekend. Despite the challenging circumstances, there was a small but rapt crowd gathered for the duration of their set. They weren’t on my radar going in, but I was super glad to make their set and I put their new album Stadium Cake in my rotation as soon as I got back from the festival. A four-piece anchored by original members Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs, they play poppy indie rock with a bit of folk influence thrown in (Emmerichs plays fiddle and mandolin). I currently can’t get the “I know what I want and it’s not what I need” chorus from their song “Doctor Doctor” out of my head, but I’m not sure I want to.

Shovels & Rope

Shovels & Rope came on just after Oh Pep! during the rainiest part of the day. The covered main stage seemed to provide little shelter for the husband-and-wife duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, who were singing at the top of their lungs with water flying out of their wet hair. The driving rain changed from a nuisance to a positive, only adding to the intensity of an already intense set. While I’ve been a fan of Shovels & Rope for a long time now, this set really cemented my respect for them as performers and they have jumped up several spots on my list of favorite bands.

Birds of Chicago

Coming off 12 hours in the rain on Saturday, it was a bit challenging to gather the energy for another day with rain in the forecast. But with a sunny start to the day and a short, packed schedule it was pretty easy to get excited once we arrived back on the grounds on Sunday. I caught Birds of Chicago on the second stage early in the afternoon, and they seemed to hold off the rain through sheer joy and revived everyone out of their soggy stupor with their gospel-inspired sound. Clarinet, hand claps and foot stomps accented singer Allison Russel’s soulful vocals, keeping me glued to the second stage despite competition from the North Mississippi All Stars.

July Spotify Playlist of the Month

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Maimed & Tamed Spotify Playlist of the Month July 2016

It’s hot as hell in New York City today, so what better way to take you into the weekend than with a fresh batch of hot new jams straight out of the oven. This month our playlist features new songs from 35 artists including Wye Oak, Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel, The Low Anthem, Flume and even a little treat for all of you Game of Thrones fans out there (that finale though).

Check out the full playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month.