Saturday, 7 April 2012

dirty dozen: martin john henry & the permanent skelfs

last month, martin john henry (yknow, him aff derosa an' that) popped round my gaff with his permanent skelfs in order to review april's singles for the skinny...

With some of the most generous Dirty Dozen scores dished out in recent memory, it takes a lot to displease Martin John Henry and the Permanent Skelfs...

The OK Social Club – The Shape of Things to Come (Platform Records, 2 Apr)
Paul Mellon: This is like a Scottish Razorlight or something.
Raindeer: It’s very energetic…
Martin: …and young, and I don’t feel either. Er, but it’s quite nice, really poppy.
The Skinny: Marks out of ten?
Paul: Well I doubt that’ll be the best, or the worst.
Martin: I hate it when people review me and here I am… Maybe we should wait till we’re four or five in before we start giving scores?

Fran├žois and the Atlas Mountains – City Kiss (Domino, 16 Apr)
Raindeer: I saw them play last year and thought they were excellent, but this sounds really different, really polished. I still like it though.
James Woodside: It reminds me of… what’s that fat band?
Paul: The Magic Numbers? That’s the second time this week someone’s mentioned ‘that fat band’ to me. The only reason I know who you mean is because someone said I look like a thinner version of the singer…
Martin: I really like this – it’s a bit on the twee side, but still interesting.

Tom Williams & the Boat – Teenage Blood (Moshi Moshi/Wire Boat Recordings, 9 Apr)
The Skinny: This one was recorded in a working brewery…
Paul: Well that wins it points already. This almost sounds like latter-day Oasis.
James: It’s got some nice wee bits, like that violin part.
Martin: Right, let’s start rating these then.
Paul: I think Fran├žois and the Atlas Mountains is definitely the best so far – 8.
Martin: In which case, this one is, what – 6?
James: Well in that case the first must be a 5.
Martin: Agreed.

Django Django – Storm (Because, 23 Apr)
Raindeer: My ears have pricked up right away with this one…
Paul: It’s the most immediately interesting song so far. The album’s really good as well actually. You can tell his brother was in the Beta Band, but not in a bad way. I really like them.
Martin: It’s the first song tonight to sound both instrumentally and vocally inventive.
Raindeer: This is the first I’ve heard them, but it definitely makes me want to listen to more.
Martin: I like how it starts that big build, then just goes back to a minimal riff. 8 as well – I wouldn’t go as far as a 9 yet…

Rufus Wainwright – Out of the Game (Polydor, 16 Apr)
Raindeer: He hasn’t started singing but I like it already, because I already love his voice. He reminds me of Billy Joel.
Martin: His sense of melody is just amazing. He does that thing where everything is very traditional, but he still manages to put his own imprint on it, which is the hardest thing to do.
Raindeer: I love this. I feel like I’ve known it forever…
Martin: I’m really enjoying it. Let’s give that a 7.
James: He sounds like a big Elton fan. I could listen to that with all sorts of people, you know? Not just you guys, but like my auntie or whatever. It’s inoffensive.

Pulled Apart By Horses – Wolf Hand (Transgressive, 23 Apr)
Paul: I saw these guys in King Tut’s recently and they were great.
James: I’m not sure about this – it’s like it’s either too heavy or not heavy enough…
Martin: If I saw them live I think I’d like it more - this sounds compressed, like it’s playing on an FM radio. I’m going to struggle with scoring that.
Paul: Well I really like them, so what happens here?
Martin: Since it’s my band, I’m going to say 5.
Paul: You’re the boss. I still really like them. I’ve played gigs with them before.
James: Oh well in that case we really like them, especially the production.

Lightships – Sweetness in Her Spark (Geographic, 26 Apr)
Martin: It’s quite Teenage Fanclubby isn’t it?
Paul: That’s because it’s Gerry from the Fanclub, it’s his solo thing. It’s not doing anything new…
Martin: …but then they never have.
Paul: Aye, you know what you’re getting, but they’re so great at it. I think this is really pretty. It does just sound like Teenage Fanclub though.
Raindeer: It’s nice – how about 7?

Ane Brun ft. Jose Gonzalez – Worship (Balloon Ranger Records, 2 Apr)
Raindeer: This is great. I have to keep reminding myself that these are singles though – this feels more like an album track.
Martin: I kind of don’t care about Jose Gonzalez’s part – I mean, it’s a nice male vocal, but her voice just has so much personality. This is really lush sounding.
Raindeer: I like the way it builds without you realising. It catches you off guard. If you start to zone out, there’s another sound to keep you interested.
Martin, warming to the reviewer role: Another 8? We could keep scoring stuff all night…
Paul: Get a few beers in, and we’ll score every record you’ve got in the whole house.

Taffy – So Long (Club AC30, 21 Apr)
Paul: This sounds very 90s, sort of Britpop. They’re from Tokyo? That’s surprising – they sound like, what’s that band called…
Martin: Kenickie? No, wait, this is Japanese Echobelly!
Paul: I’ll have that: the Japanese Echobelly. A bit Weezery as well.
Martin: It’s retro music from another culture, which makes it hard to critique. It’s more like a tribute act than something that draws from the past and uses it in its own way, so 4.

Marina and the Diamonds – Primadonna (679/Atlantic, 16 Apr)
Martin: I think this is… [pause] total guff. Turn it off, we’ve heard enough. I’ll give it a 3, but only because my wife quite likes her.

Spiritualized – Hey Jane (Double Six/Spaceman Recordings, 16 Apr)
Paul: I’m going to see Spiritualized tomorrow… This is quite lo-fi, which is unusual for them. It’s almost more towards what he did with Spaceman 3, a bit more garagey sounding.
Martin: I like the ‘don’t-give-a-shit’ vocals. This isn’t really what I was expecting.
Paul: That cacophony at the end is good; he gives good cacophony. Definitely 7.
Raindeer: Hmmm, I’d go with 6.
Paul: Nah, I’m sticking to my guns with this one. [Reindeer continues to hum the guitar part as we load the final promo] Listen, you’re still singing the riff! Come on, it’s the only one you’re going to go away remembering.
James: Isn’t that just because it only just finished?
Paul: Aye, but it’s still catchy – I haven’t heard anyone sing any of the others…

Single of the month: King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Third Swan (Domino, 21 Apr)
Martin: This is lovely - he has the most beautiful singing voice.
James: Seeing him play acoustic in a church hall was one of the best things I’ve ever seen.
Paul: His lyrics are great too. It always sounds really effortless – it’s very traditional, in some respects, but there’s a kind of spacey sound to it as well.
Martin: 9 – definitely single of the month.

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