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Pickled Priest Mixtape: 26 More of Our Favorite Songs from Q3 2023 (Bonus Tracks Edition)!

Surprise! That's right, we ain't done yet my beloved congregation! Here are some strays we didn't want to get away from us that are more than worthy of their own highlight reel. We're not going to do a full write-up on all of these, but that doesn't mean we don't love them somethin' fierce. Sasha fucking fierce!


01 "Bad Idea Right?" | Olivia Rodrigo

Why We Like It

This Pickled Priest exclusive discovery is our gift to you. We saw her languishing in obscurity and felt sorry for her, so we're gonna give her a little push with what little influence we have. We hope she finds some commercial success soon because she's got tons of talent and writes catchy pop songs that have more substance than most of the dreck pumping into the earbuds of teenagers everywhere. And at such a young age, too. She probably doesn't even have her driver's license yet.

02 "Summer of Luv" | Portugal. The Man ft. Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Why We Like It

Not the best Portugal. The Man record this year, but they still have given us some super catchy singles, which to be honest, is all I never needed from them in the first place. They've routinely overachieved in the past so this time they've just achieved. Fine with me.

03 "Conditional Love" | Caroline Smith

Why We Like It

It has been ten years since Minneapolis's own Caroline Smith released Half About Being a Woman, one of our favorite albums of 2013. We rate it as one of the best unknown albums of the last decade—commercially undervalued and criminally underpromoted. She put out an EP as Your Smith in 2018, but it didn't have the same magic. "Conditional Love" is a one-off single and it's a good start in hopes of a full return to glory. Will an album follow?

04 "Didn't Have to Try" | Hurry

Why We Like It

There are countless jangly power-pop bands that have an approach similar to Philadephia's Hurry, but for me the sound will never ever get old. Their new record, Don't Look Back, is full of sweet melodies, rich harmonies, chiming guitars, and even some tasteful horns here and there. If you are remotely into power-pop inquire within.

05 "First Sight" | The Prize

Why We Like It

Speaking of power-pop, here's another cherry release from UK punk label Drunken Sailor (who logged two songs on Part Two of our Q3 2023 mixtapes) and they clearly couldn't pass on this 70's-sounding pop gem from Melbourne rockers, the Prize. With a repetitive "tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight" refrain in the chorus, it's almost a Spinal Tap-esque parody of power-pop on the surface, until you realize they're totally invested in what they're laying down. Put it on and pretend you're an extra in a coming of age movie released fifty years ago.

06 "Meet the Star" | Guided By Voices

Why We Like It

As close as we'll ever get to indie-rock's version of Tenacious D's The Pick of Destiny?

Meet the star, his plectrum strums

A universal web

07 "Sissy Said" | The Watson Twins

Why We Like It

Alt-country vets Chandra and Leigh Watson, most famous for backing Jenny Lewis on her debut album Rabbit Fur Coat way back in 2006, have been around a while now. Always worth listening to, they graced us with Holler this year, a slight but highly entertaining 35-minute affair that contains this little raver that'll turn any roadhouse into Romper Room for three whirlwind minutes. Trust me, Sissy knows what she's talkin' about.

08 "It Don't Fade" | Mya Byrne

Why We Like It

Trans woman Mya Byrne amusingly titled her new album Rhinestone Tomboy in homage to Glen Campbell's Rhinestone Cowboy to make a point. Country music is for everyone and the door should be open to anyone. Like Campbell, Byrne isn't traditional country all the time. She can do it, but she can also rock out. It's not surprising the record is produced by Aaron Lee Tasjan, an artist with a similar approach. He clearly gets her and now it's your turn to open up your mind and ears and do the same.

09 "When You Leave" | Sparks

Why We Like It

I think we'd all be in a better state of mind if all of us had to listen to one Sparks song a day. All I know is that every time a Sparks song comes on in a mix, it makes me happy. "When You Leave" has been my go-to choice from this year's The Girl is Crying in Her Latte because it's built on the clever concept that everybody is impatiently waiting for you to leave the party so the fun can start. Here are my top five favorite things that will happen "when you leave"...

05 "[They'll be] acting out scenes from King Lear..."

04 "They'll be breaking out the Courvoisier..."

03 "There'll be God knows what other liquids..."

02 "They'll be breaking out the making out..."

01 "They'll be breaking out the good music..."

But you'll have the last laugh when you linger extra long just to annoy them. Only in a Sparks song, my friends, so bless them both.

10 "Tight Rope" | Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

Why We Like It

A good band to cover Leon Russell for the recent A Song for Leon tribute record dedicated to the late legendary songwriter and performer. Their version of "Tight Rope" has just the right level of swagger and groove to do the man justice. From the same compilation, also try Orville Peck's "This Masquerade," "Crystal Closet Queen" by Pixies, and "Out in the Woods" by Durand Jones & the Indications.

11 "Diamond Wave" | Ron Sexsmith

Why We Like It

I don't know if something can be more endearing and charming (and delusional if you're a pessimist like me) than the animated video accompanying the release of Ron Sexsmith's song "Diamond Wave" from his 16th (!!) album, The Vivian Line. Suffice it to say, if you know anyone who has recently got, or is getting engaged to be married soon, this song and its delightful video are absolutely compulsory. And for the rest of us wily, stone-hearted veterans, if this doesn't melt your heart a little, you're either too far gone or approaching/immersed in divorce proceedings currently.

12 "Milk for Flowers" | H. Hawkline

13 "Angel Numbers" | Hamish Hawk

Why We Like Them

Here come the Hawks! Two "double-H" songwriters from across the pond combined here for economy, the first Welsh, the second Scottish, both making a brand of sophisticated contemporary pop that could restore your faith that intricate songcraft is not dead. H. Hawkline (Huw Evans) has said about his new Cate Le Bon-produced album, Milk for Flowers, that "Every day [is] an audition. At least I choose the soundtrack." Words to live by. The title track proves to be more than an audition; if I'm in charge he gets a starring role. And while I'm choosing title tracks, let's do the same for Hamish Hawk's new album, Angel Numbers, which has perhaps been best described (not by me) as "Morrissey without the xenophobia." I also hear the rainy-day pop of fellow Scots Del Amitri at times in these songs. So there you have it—two perfect choices for a melancholy fall afternoon playlist.


14 "Tazidert" | Bombino

Why We Like It

One of our favorite guitarists on the planet is the absolutely gigantic-handed Nigerian known as Bombino (Omara Moctar) and he's back with another astonishing set of songs on his new album, Sahel (his fifth straight one-word album title). There's a risk that his albums might start blending into one large whole for some, but if you've been following his career, don't skip this one. If you're new to him, no better place to start.

15 "Sunset Cliffs" | Daniel Villarreal

Why We Like It

The Pickled Priest loves drums. It's often our entry point to any new jazz release. We've just gotta have something driven by a backbeat in most cases. That's why we love Daniel Villarreal, a drummer front and center where he belongs. "Sunset Cliffs" is from his new album coming soon. It's called Lados B, and if it's better than his last record, Panamá 77, I'm going to wet my pants. Out in October 2023.

16 "Acute Truth" | Speakers Corner Quartet

Why We Like It

London's Hyde Park has a place known as Speakers' Corner, where people can speak or debate publicly about pretty much any subject. A club a few miles from there has a Speakers Corner night for spoken-word artists of all kinds. This Quartet is the so-called "house" band. They've released a really cool record this year, Further Out Than the Edge, and in line with their reason for existing, it's full of guests, which makes their album a mixtape in itself. Here's one song that embodies their sound, but you won't get the full scope unless you hear the whole marvelous, eclectic thing in one sitting like you're at a table by the stage.

17 "Dealey Plaza Blues" | Mortal Prophets

Why We Like It

Why did it take almost 60 years to the day for someone to write a JFK assassination blues song? Well, it's here and it's haunting, kind of a mutant blues at that with some sonic bells and whistles added for creepy ambiance. Thank creator John Beckmann for this wild creation that reminds a bit of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in mid-freakout mode. So you know to prepare yourself for just about anything then, as this track is no patsy.

18 "Light Me Up" | Illiterate Light

Why We Like It

Let's shelve the debate over whether or not light needs to be literate at all and focus on this band from Harrisonburg, Virginia, whose sound is so much bigger than a duo should be able to generate on their own. This is alternative classic rock, a new genre perhaps, and "Light Me Up" is from their new album, Sunburned. If this ain't promise for the future, I don't know what is.

19 "Choir" | Baroness

Why We Like It

You can tell all you need to know about Baroness from the web sites who have reviewed their new record, Stone. First, Pitchfork gave it a 6.2 rating, which is a good sign. Pitchfork is useless in assessing metal so a dismissal is shorthand for it rocks. The others tell the real story: Kerrang!, Metal Injection, Sleeping Shaman, Toilet Ov Hell (sic), Metal Storm, Ghost Cult, and, of course Forbes, the ultimate metal rag!! All love the record. It's the kind of hard rock I love: great vocals, great production, chugging riffs, intelligent lyrics. Secret weapon: Gina Gleason on vox and gtr. "Choir" gets the nod from several epics because it convincingly rattles off these lyrics at the 2:53 mark: "Behold the spoiling carcass that swings before you now / Who's bound in rags and rubber bands, and strung up to your boughs." That's vivid.

20 "Härvest" | Poison Ruïn

Why We Like It

Being critical of umlaut usage by rock bands is a futile endeavor, but c'mon guys, what the living fuck? This Philly-based, black-plague-inspired punk band overcomes more than one band can be expected to on their great new album Härvest, including lyrics imported via time machine from the dark ages...

You sowed the seed despite the salt Some glutton's greed, you played your part Your home and hearth You play your part until we give the signal

I'm down with all of it if it sounds this convincing. Hand me an oversized turkey leg, some women's panty hose, and a scythe...let's do this right.

21 "Crisis" | Home Front

Why We Like It

Already in line to be the best band ever from Edmonton (not much comp), Home Front actually sound like they could be from Manchester circa the mid- to late-80s. It's a little derivative, yes, but it's good derivative. Some of these songs sound like they could hold up on a compilation of lost tracks from the same era. Pretty impressive stuff. "Crisis" is a particular fave, with an edgy post-punk vibe and a ringing echo that makes it sound positively radiant.

22 "Numb" | Tombstones in Their Eyes

Why We Like It

Not the most upbeat song on this mix, but it is a world class drug song. Sole lyrics are "I'm numb from all the drugs / I wanna numb myself from all the fuckin' pain." But it's pretty majestic wall of sound, I must say, directly out of the Spacemen 3 Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To school of rock. If this doesn't work for you, substitute Charlotte Cornfield's "Gentle Like the Drugs." But like it or not, you get a drug song in this spot.

23 "Little Dogs" | Mudhoney

Why We Like It

In which Mark Arm, the grunge pioneer who wrote "Generation Genocide," expresses his love for this little dog...

I take delight in the joy they get from sniffing on a log In these times of trouble I love a little dog

24 "When You Say" | Facs

Why We Like It

Gotta save a place for one of my local Chicago bands, especially when they sound like they're trying to re-fire the control panel at Chernobyl here. It's not responding though, just cycling through protocol over and over. We're big fans of songs that sound like they were recorded in abandoned factories or desolate landscapes. Somehow Facs makes even those somber settings sound amazing.

25 "Hourglass" | Civic

Why We Like It

After releasing the great Taken By Force earlier this year, Australian band Civic return with a killer one-off single and prove once and again that some of the best real rock and roll is being made Down Under. Check out the main guitar riff, which sounds like a punk "Day Tripper" to me.

26 "Be On Your Way" | Daughter

Why We Like It

We leave Q3 2023 behind forever with a benediction of sorts from Elena Tonra, the lead singer of London's Daughter, a missive from one wandering heart to another. I can't image it's ever promising when a girl tells you, "I'll meet you on another planet if the plans change." Don't wait for me, in other words. But this is a gorgeous vocal and a haunting song, one that has stuck with me since I first discovered it.

Bonus Outro: "Funk Not Fight" | Bootsy Collins

Why We Like It

Because any time you spend with Bootsy is good time and living your life on the 1 is always the best option. Oh yeah, baby!


OK, that's all the songs. I'm fresh out. I mean it this time!


The Priest


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