I had never heard of Skinny Lister. And that’s kind of a surprise because their music fits right in with the group folk rock of bands like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers–they could be huge!. Back in 2013, they were a newish band and Bob Boilen explains where he first heard them.
I was coming back to my hotel during SXSW 2013 in hopes of grabbing a short nap when I saw Lorna Thomas winning the hearts of a gathering crowd with her flirtatious, cheer-me-up style of singing and dancing. Then my eyes and ears found a punkish band with accordion, upright bass, guitars, and vocals from Dan Heptinstall. I couldn’t leave, I never napped, and I fell head over clicking heels for their reels and jigs and whatever else they tossed our way.
When it was done, I shook their hands, gave them high-fives and hugs, and handed them my card. Months later, they showed up at my desk early in the day bearing lots of beer, some mysterious alcohol in an even-more-mysterious jug, and an assortment of instruments. After watching this Tiny Desk Concert, when you’re ready for more and you can’t find Skinny Lister playing your local pub, you can check out its debut album, Forge & Flagon — it’ll tide you over until the band makes it back to your town.
As the set opens, Lorna Thomas has a giant flagon of that mysterious liquid. She explains, that it is a flagon and that she learned the proper technique of drinking it over the shoulder. Which she demonstrates to us. Although she can’t “play” it. But that’s where their album title The Forge & Flagon comes from. They play three songs which really showcases their range.
“Trawlerman” is a rollicking fun song with lots of bawdy singing. It’s a party atmosphere with a really fun rowdy chorus of “haul away haul away.” After the song, Lorna drinks from a bottle of beer (which is almost empty). remember this is like 10AM.
“Colours” drops the tempo down a bit. It is a mellow but pretty song. It’s a song about the sun coming out–something that doesn’t happen very often [in England] but when it does we have to cherish it and then write songs about it. The accordion player (it’s actually a melodeon) switches to a mandolin. The song builds to a fun conclusion with the mandolin shouting “here we go!” as the end takes off on a chorus of “flash before us.”
“Rollin’ Over” continues that wild rollicking vibe. I love that it starts with raucous guitar playing and then a cool melodeon riff to start out, This is a fast peppy song with an infectious chorus.
I fins it interesting that the guys are dressed kind of town—sleeveless shirts and sleeveless denim jackets (the bassist is covered in tattoos) and yet Lorna is in a very pretty dress. As the concert ends, she takes a swig from the jug straight on and says “that’s the other way to do it.”
I was trying to figure out just who was in this band. But there were personnel changes aright around this show. The only people I’m pretty sure of are
- Dan Heptinstall – lead vocals, guitar, and stomp box (July 2009–present)
- Max Thomas – melodeon, mandolin and vocals (July 2009–present)
- Lorna Thomas – vocals (July 2009–present)
- Then I’m sorta sure:
- Sam “Mule” Brace – guitar, concertina, vocals
- Michael Camino – double bass and vocals
Then, according to the Wikipedia site in the fall after this show they added a drummer, but honestly I’m not sure they need it, as their guitar playing is already percussive (what with that stomp box and all)
[READ: April 17, 2016] The Oopsatorium
I love Shaun Tan. His works are funny and often absurd. And his drawing style is consistently fantastic,
When I saw this book at work, I was immediately struck by the great name. And when I saw that underneath the title it said Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, I assumed that this was going to be a hilarious collection of failed inventions.
And it is, sort of.
Tan has created a book which melds truth and fiction. The Powerhouse Museum is real. The inventions in the book are actually in the museum, (there are photos of a dozen or so cool contraptions). However, Mintox, a strikingly original but spectacularly unsuccessful inventor and author of the never published Eat, Pray, Invent, is fictional. (more…)