Friday, December 16, 2011

The Musical Advent Calendar - Door Number Sixteen

When he starts talking about "queercore electro punks" you know Skillers is back in his element. Unlike Wayne Rooney in the MENSA test SP has entered him for.

Ali Mason

Dark Dark Dark – Wild Go (Supply & Demand)

When Nona Marie Invie is singing, all is right with the world. Or at least, all is wrong with the world, but it makes perfect sense. Because for the majority of Wild Go, Dark Dark Dark do exactly what their name suggests: they give you beautiful, doleful chamber pop (a term which, I’m pretty sure, I heard them claim to have invented) to wallow in. At its best, like 'Something For Myself', 'Robert' or 'Bright Bright Bright', which isn’t on the album but is on a five-track EP which is included with this release, it’s heart-stoppingly good. If you can just skip past the one misguided track on which Invie hands over lead vocal duties, you’re in for half an hour of exquisite sorrow.

Guy Atkinson

Dave Hause - Resolutions (Paper + Plastick)

With only two albums under their belt The Loved Ones have already proven they deserve a place at the top table of punk rock, and diminutive frontman Dave Hause proves he can more than cut it as a solo performer with this collection of stirring semi-acoustic anthems.

Ian Parker

Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness (Wichita)

Kind of like yesterday's entry, Yuck, Los Campesinos! demands its place in my top 10 on sheer number of times I've listened to it - not bad going for an album released in November. But damn, this stuff is addictive. On their latest album the band seem to have dispensed with the previously customary stylistic change and gone for consistency - and who can complain when the songs are this catchy and well-executed?

By Your Hand - Los Campesinos! from Los Campesinos! on Vimeo.

Matt Collins

This Is The Kit - Where It Lives (Dreamboat)

Homespun folk of the very highest order, Paris-dwelling This is the Kit feature the haunting vocals of Kate Stables over a sparse, ever shifting bedrock of battered acoustic guitars, charity shop banjos and childhood electric guitars. Excellent songwriting, incredibly atmospheric.

John Skilbeck

Hunx & His Punx - Too Young To Be In Love (Hardly Art)

It shouldn’t spoil the treat, more make you aware of it, to point out the influence of those wonderful Ronettes on my number nine pick. After years of fronting queercore electro punks Gravy Train!!!!, Seth Bogart indulged his inner girl-group diva in a chorus line on 'Too Young To Be In Love'. Bogart’s nasal vocals – sometimes spoken, mostly sung - are sugar-treated by his Hunkettes to create textures which would have Phil Spector swooning from behind his prison walls of sound.

Andy Welch

Yuck – Yuck (Mercury)

Formed from the ashes of Cajun Dance Party, Yuck sounding how they do was a surprise to most when they released their debut in February. Owing more than a nod to Dinosaur Jr, Buffalo Tom and Sonic Youth, there’s nothing new about the sound here, but that’s not really the point. Melody, it seems, is the real driving force behind this debut. For a record so fuzzy sounding, powered by beds of heavily distorted guitars, Yuck is impossibly pretty in places, and whether you think it’s derivative or not, it’s impossible to deny the quality of the songs.

Steve Pill

Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972 (Kranky)

An album called Ravedeath, 1972might sound like some lost proto-punk record but nothing could be further from the truth. Recorded live on a pump organ in an Icelandic church, Hecker then built on this with layers of static, feedback and Eno-esque electronic noise. The results are slower than Wayne Rooney taking a MENSA test and twice as scary.

Pranam Mavahalli

The Horrors – Skying (XL)

It was The Horrors’ previous record, Primary Colours, that first got me excited about them. So the change in direction­ ­marked by this - dark-krautrock-synth-grunge replaced by baggy psychedelia – has left me slightly cold. But Skying still has its highs, with 'Moving Further Away' and 'Still Life' in particular matching the majestic sweep of Primary Colours’ 'Sea Within a Sea'.

Rory Dollard

Tom Waits - Bad As Me (Anti)

When Tom Waits called his 2006 compilation Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards he summed up his unique appeal in a way fans and journalists had been striving to articulate for years. There’s a handful of ‘bawler’ style ballads here, one or two of the indescribable ‘bastards’ but it’s the brawlers that define Bad As Me. Backed by Marc Ribot and Keith Richards on guitar, Waits delivers some big, brash, hoary old rockers with more piss and vinegar than the combined output of every UK indie band this year.
*PS even if you don’t like the music, please spare a minute for the classic Waits promo link.

Dom Farrell

Josh T Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen (Mute)

It took me a good while to get along with Josh T Pearson. I mean really, come on, is anyone really that miserable? Have a word with yourself, fella. However, a few months ago I had an epiphany. The combination of doing about my 20th job application in 18 months and having David Cameron’s Tory conference speech on in the background as the record played created the combined feeling of anger, despair, loathing and anguish that poor old Mr Pearson seems to be getting at. Each song has more layers than a hefty onion. The closer it gets to the core, the more likely it is to make your eyes water.


  1. Does turning Dom on to Josh T. Pearson now rank as this government's greatest achievement? Is it likely to form part of their next election campaign?

  2. You're on a roll, Ian. For the second day running, you're responsible for my 'fave rave' on the blog. And this time it wasn't by default. Treat yourself to a few beers tonight sir, you deserve it.

  3. I'll have to watch Cameron in full flow too, because I'm also finding the JTP album a challenge. Easy to admire, certainly, but it's hard to love and want to go back to. No doubt it'll click eventually.
    Meanwhile, am I the only person whose favourite Horrors album by a long way is Strange House?