Moody, dark, dirty, gritty, but somehow cosy too
Alan Smith Gets Mucky With Some Singles

Feeder - Idaho
You already know whether you like Feeder or not, and this single isn't going to change anybody's mind. They get a lot of stick, unfairly I feel, for continuing to put out music that doesn't change the world. Not all music has to. They are consistent in their output, making catchy bouncy light-indie-rock songs that their fans love. Is that really such a bad thing? NME, for example, reviewed this single by saying "it really is time these feckless wankers fucked off for good, innit?", a review showing unrivalled levels of depth, incisiveness and journalistic prowess. I've no idea why Feeder get such hate; their days of heavy radio play are behind them so there is no reason to listen to them if you really don't want to. This single then: it's from their eighth (eighth!!) studio album Generation Freakshow, which was received, well, rather quietly by the mainstream media. It's no Buck Rogers, but it has a memorable chorus and upbeat "riffy" sound that reminds me most of their Echo Park album. B-side Stay If You Want To is in a similar style, pleasantly not a dreary acoustic number. They are touring in November if you want to party like it's 2001.

Skinny Lister - Colours / Rollin' Over
Skinny Lister were (officially) the "hardest working band of 2011". I'm not sure who awards this; I'm pretty sure it's not BAFTA or even The BRIT Awards, but apparently it is something to do with performing more festivals than any other band, Ed Sheeran included. Where that leaves them in 2012 is a mystery. They are signed to Rob da Bank's Sunday Best label, so credibility is guaranteed. They are a British folk band. And no, this doesn't mean they sound like Mumford & Sons. Colours is a gently inoffensive, unexciting gentle female voiced gentle song, and it is easy to picture them singing this gently at 2.30pm in a gentle festival field somewhere. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't see them at Green Man recently. Rollin' Over is much better, in my opinion, in that it's actually got some life and more of a melody. I'm no expert on folk music, so any comparison from me is inevitably going to wrong, but listen to this if you are a fan of traditionally English folk with a mixture of instruments from accordions to banjos and violins. Honestly though, I'll never listen to this again, too twee for me and the music is just Rollin' Over me. Gently.

Matt Finucane - Hard Science

Matt Finucane has made a delight here. Moody, dark, dirty, gritty, but somehow cosy too. Like Mark Lanegan if he had become a preacher and laid off the booze and fags. The b-side Cast Off Yr Mask is equally good, slightly more gruff and freewheeling with more room for guitar solos, unlike the single which is more er…. single-like in that it pays more attention to lyrical repetition than to creativity. It's always great to hear an artist doing things their way, producing a unique sound that is surely infinitely better than what you would get were he "produced" with more money thrown at the project. The album is called Glow In The Dark and on the basic of these songs is well worth checking out. I'm also intrigued to discover if his absorbing sound translates as well in a live performance as I think it will.

Dub Pistols - Alive / Mucky Weekend
Built around a repetitive (and irritating) chorus of "because you are alive and you will survive" this rather bouncy dance number doesn't really go anywhere, but I guess it isn't meant to. Other than some excessive but nice enough use of horns throughout what exactly does this have going for it? Not a lot in my opinion. The melody reminds me a lot of Superstylin' by Groove Armada. In fact, everything about this song reminds me of Superstylin', just not quite as good. B-side Mucky Weekend is better, although that obviously isn't saying much. It is better because it is built around some actual lyrics (courtesy of Rodney P). There still isn't much beyond a beat behind it, but I can at least see the appeal of the song.

The Proclaimers - Whatever You've Got
Is this come kind of joke? Oh, it's from the album Like Comedy so I guess it is. This is shit, it's a bit like Whatever You Want by Status Quo, it is nauseating and begins to grate before the first minute is up.

Mercifully there is no b-side.

By Alan Smith