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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Unexpected duo delivered unexpected jolt of Christmas cheer

 

 

When you think about Christmas, New Orleans doesn’t spring to mind. After hearing today’s track it might start to. Malcolm John Rebennack AKA Dr. John AKA the Night Tripper is a New Orleans legend. His debut album the Gris-Gris was a psychedelic, Cajun blues masterpiece. It showcased not only his song writing prowess, but how he could re-imagine tracks by others.

 

 

It’s this re-imaging that comes into play on today’s track. In 1990 Dr. John teamed up with Leon Redbone (a dream collaboration) and covered Frosty the Snowman. What is utter genius about this track is that they keep the original charm, but add a healthy dollop of Cajun fun! In part it sounds like a joke from Scrooged, but ultimately it’s brilliant!

 

 

So on the night, before the night, before the night before Christmas why not crank this up and think of the Bayou, but covered in tinsel and baubles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More Alt-12-Days-of-Christmas fun. On the elevenenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven clips of Piper

 

 

 

 

Ten Lordz of Brooklyn

 

 

 

 

nine ravers raving

 

 

 

 

Eight Owls a drunking

 

 

http://hungoverowls.tumblr.com

 

 

Seven swinging couples

 

 

 

 

Six rappers guesting

 

 

 

 

FIVE COLD BEERS!

 

 

5 Cold Beers

5 Cold Beers

 

 

Four Cool Birds

 

 

 

 

Three boozy Friends

 

 

Two songs by Love

 

 

 

 

And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family

 

 

 

youtube sensation covers classic, and makes it his own

 

 

As more and more music venues are closing across the country, more and more musicians are making the switch to youtube to get their songs and covers out there. One of the best of this new breed of virtual troubadours is ortoPilot. Hailing from Manchester, ortoPilot has been uploading covers, and original compositions to youtube for 8 years. On top of that he has released 15 albums, which are available on Spotify.

 

 

His most recent video is a cover of Radiohead’s Karma Police. Instead of it being a guitar cover, this one is a piano cover. What he has effectively done is recreate the emotion and power of the original, but strip it back to its bare minimum, voice and piano. Through using these basic elements the song takes on a new feel. Another reason why the song has an emotional feeling is that it was recorded for a close friend of this cousins’ who’d died. All of these factors add to a beautiful performance to a powerful song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More Alt-12-Days-of-Christmas fun. On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten Lordz of Brooklyn

 

 

 

 

nine ravers raving

 

 

 

 

Eight Owls a drunking

 

 

http://hungoverowls.tumblr.com

 

 

Seven swinging couples

 

 

 

 

Six rappers guesting

 

 

 

 

FIVE COLD BEERS!

 

 

5 Cold Beers

5 Cold Beers

 

 

Four Cool Birds

 

 

 

 

Three boozy Friends

 

 

Two songs by Love

 

 

 

 

And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family

 

 

 

 

Original Christmas tracks ever rang so true

 

 

Since I have been with my wife we have never spent Christmas together. That’s five Christmas’ apart. This year will be no different. On Christmas Eve we will say our goodbyes for a week or so and decamp to our respective parent’s homes. We’re (slightly) ok with this, as it’s the way it’s always been, but it’s not much fun.

 

 

At last there is a Christmas song about it. What Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems have done is captured the feeling perfectly. Well done Rodgers et al, you might have released my favourite Christmas song this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More Alt-12-Days-of-Christmas fun. On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine ravers raving

 

 

 

 

Eight Owls a drunking

 

 

http://hungoverowls.tumblr.com

 

 

Seven swinging couples

 

 

 

 

Six rappers guesting

 

 

 

 

FIVE COLD BEERS!

 

 

5 Cold Beers

5 Cold Beers

 

 

Four Cool Birds

 

 

 

 

Three boozy Friends

 

 

Two songs by Love

 

 

 

 

And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family

 

 

 

 

 

Indie troubadour records traditional Christmas album for charity

 

 

There isn’t really much to say about this one, other than its possible the best version of traditional Christmas songs I’ve heard all year. David Thomas Broughton has again proved why he is one of the best musicians on the scene at the moment. He has taken a classic Christmas song, yet somehow made if feel contemporary, without losing any of its traditional charm.

 

 

The EP was recorded in his house and thanks to this lack of technical equipment David Thomas Broughton had to get creative with how he was going to tackle each track. His voice has been layered and the pitch has been changed, to add texture and tone.

 

 

The Holy and the Ivy is the stand out track. This might be because it’s the one I know the best, but there is something about the production and voice that makes to a compelling listen. If you only buy one Christmas album/EP this year, you could do a lot worse than getting Wintertime Songs 2014.

 

 

 

 

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More Alt-12-Days-of-Christmas fun. On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight Owls a drunking

 

 

http://hungoverowls.tumblr.com

 

 

Seven swinging couples

 

 

 

 

Six rappers guesting

 

 

 

 

FIVE COLD BEERS!

 

5 Cold Beers

5 Cold Beers

 

 

Four Cool Birds

 

 

 

 

Three boozy Friends

 

 

Two songs by Love

 

 

 

And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family

 

 

 

A nice slice of Pop-Step for a Thursday lunchtime.

 

 

Some track need lengthy explanations by hack journalists, like me. Some songs don’t. Luckily this is the latter. While this track skirts pop, there is enough filth and bass going on to keep it credible.

 

 

 

 

Over the years pop music has corrupted and debased many a noble genre of music, it’s involvement with dubstep/heavy bass electronic music is the most worrying. Deep down we all know that dubstep ever really existed as a genre, it was a term coined by lazy journalists to explain something that a handful of producers were doing about 10 years ago. As we are aware, the weight of this exposure meant that the scene became bloated and eventually imploded on itself. Sadly now it is a bit of a dirty word, like Jungle in the late 1990’s, which is a shame as some of the tracks still sound great and fill me with the same excitement as when they first came out.

 

 

In the world of Pop-Step this is a great track. While the lyrics aren’t ground breaking, the interplay with the music is inspired. They sway and intertwine until the filth switch is pressed and then BAM it’s a total banger. Although it is a filth off, it still retains a pop sensibility that keeps the bass from melting your eardrums. While I totally understand that this isn’t a new song, and I’ve probably missed the boat, it’s still a great way to spend a Thursday afternoon. Listening to this. On repeat. While working.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Alt-12-Days-of-Christmas fun. On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven swinging couples

 

 

 

 

Six rappers guesting

 

 

 

 

FIVE COLD BEERS!

 

 

Beers

Beers

Four Cool Birds

 

 

 

 

Three boozy Friends

 

 

Two songs by Love

 

 

 

 

And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family

 

 

Four tracks in seventeen minutes, don’t mind if I do

 

 

Some tracks start with a whimper, other fade in slowly, and some start with an explosion of feedback. King TV’s Don’t Wanna Go Home, is with the latter. After a rousing drum intro the most Britpop riff kicks in. This is the most Britpop thing that’s ever happened, well this side of 1997. If Echobelly and the Longpigs formed a super group it might sound a bit like this. The narrative is simple, you go to a gig, stuff happens, you don’t want to go home.

 

 

Despite the sound, don’t be fooled, this isn’t Britpop by numbers, nor is it a pastiche. What King TV has done effortlessly is take a tired formula and slightly changed a few things, and breathed new life into it. Each track on the Play on Forever EP is filled with this playfulness. Unlike the original slew of Britpop bands, there is no sarcasm or cynicism in the lyrics. This is just big fun music.

 

 

On the December 22nd, King TV at playing at the Brixton Windmill. This looks set to be one of the best gigs during the Christmas period. If you are in the area, go on down for a proper Christmas knees up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Alt-12-Days-of-Christmas fun. On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Six rappers guesting

 

 

 

 

FIVE COLD BEERS!

 

 

Beers

5 COLD BEERS

 

 

Four Cool Birds

 

 

 

 

Three boozy Friends

 

 

Two songs by Love

 

 

 

 

And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lo-Fi Acoustic Ambient introverted folk is the order of the day

 

 

As the monolith that is Christmas spreads it’s shadow over our lives more and more, the thought of food comas gets closer and last minute panic buying starts to seem like a good idea, we need to step back from the brink, stop and reassess. During these moments of contemplation, a soothing soundtrack is needed. This is where MXLX comes in.

 

 

In two years Matt Loveridge has released over 20 albums/EP’s. These are spilt over different aliases Klad Hest, Fairhorns, Gnar Hest, Knife Liibrary, Speed the Plough, Matt Williams and MXLX, as well as being a member of BEAK>. Not bad going. His latest album, Go Away, released through the excellent French label Valeur d’usage Records, is a lo-fi ambient acoustic affair (Loveridge calls the music Autistic Blues).

 

 

This is a fair description as the music is abstract and sketch like in places. Some tracks are nothing more than beautiful chord progressions, with misty drone like synth/keyboard in the background. In Loveridge’s own words “Combination of misery and poverty and having nothing else to do brought this record on”, this is an apt description, but there is beauty to it too.

 

 

I Am Not a Functional Human Being opens with a simple riff, layered with rhythmic strumming. As the track progresses the strumming gets faster, lyrics kick in and finger picking is introduced. All this add to the tension and the feeling of alienation grows. This being said, the music isn’t depressing, it’s upbeat in places. The Hate (Continues) seems simple enough. It’s just guitar and some humming. The complexity of the playing and the rich sound envelopes you, and draws you into its world.

 

 

MXLX is a similar artist to Jackamo Brown and Lupen Crook. They are not content in sugar coat everything like their pap-chart peers. They show you a mirror to the world where everything isn’t rosy, but it’s not all doom and gloom either. They populate their tracks with the ‘other side’ of society. The loners, drifters, people who are depressed/have mental illness, and show that there is beauty in them too. At this time of year, this is an album you can’t afford to miss out on.

 

 

8/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me FIVE COLD BEERS!

 

 

Four Cool Birds

 

 

 

 

Three boozy Friends

 

 

Two songs by Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlikely collaboration delivers an early Christmas present

 

 

This year has been the year of bass. Despite what the pap chart tells you, Kevin Martin is ALL about the bass. He doesn’t just use it in a conventional way, oh no, Martin uses it to add texture and tone. On this year’s Angels & Devils album he displayed this deftly.

 

 

Martin isn’t one to rest on his laurels, four months after its release, and two after his last EP, he’s back to end the year on an even greater high, with possibly the collaboration of the year. On Boa/Cold Martin has teamed up with Dylan Carlson, AKA Earth. Over the last two decades Carlson has produced Drone, Ambient Metal, Noise and Doom Metal of the highest quality. The two had originally hooked up so Carlson could appear on Angels & Devils, but due to the quality of their work, they decided to expand the idea to a standalone releases, and we’re all the better for it!

 

 

Boa/Cold is 12 minutes of guttural bass and distorted beats, combined with beautiful guitar work and exquisite feedback. Boa opens with claustrophobic misty noise, while a guitar pierces through it. Carlson’s playing is repetitive and precise. This is Drone at its best! Then Martin joins in and throws down a slab of beat, that not only compliments the guitar work, but gives it something to interact with. Cold starts very ambient, and continues in the vein for most of the song. Its effectiveness comes from its simplicity. Carlson, us his MO states, only plays a few notes/riffs, while Martin builds the tension and drama around it.

 

 

Boa/Cold rounds off a very successful year for both Martin and Carlson. Both released albums this year to critical acclaim. Let’s hope this isn’t the last we hear from these two together, as musicians of this quality and vision should release a long player!

 

 

 

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Day four of an alternative 12 Days of Christmas

 

 

On the Fourth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Four Cool Birds

 

 

 

 

Three boozy Friends

 

 

Two songs by Love

 

 

 

 

And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family

 

 

 

 

 

The Queen of Country’s Christmas album ticks all the boxes

 

 

When you think Christmas, Country music might not feature, but think again. There is wealth of quality Christmas song, and Holiday themed albums out there. One of the better ones is Dolly Parton’s Home for Christmas. This wasn’t Parton’s first foray into Christmas music. In 1984 she released the amazing Once Upon a Christmas with Kenny Rogers. This was chocked full of festive favourites. Six years later Parton released a solo Christmas album Home for Christmas.

 

 

The song selection was similar. A few hymns, a few holiday favourites, but there weren’t any originals though. Overall this doesn’t matter, as tracks selected where all gold. The stand out track is We Three Kings. The power of this track is Parton keeps it simple and never deviates from its original arrangement. Opening with melancholy mandolin and dulcimer, Parton delivers a classic performance. As the track builds and sways, Parton’s country twang gets stronger.

 

 

This is a classic Christmas album. While it isn’t the best (more on that later in the month) its not far off. Don’t take my word for it though, why not play it while decorating your tree today, or at your Christmas cocktail party.

 

 

 

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Part three of an alternative 12 Days of Christmas

 

 

On the Third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Three boozy Friends

 

 

Two songs by Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family

 

 

 

 

Christmas themed EP that delivered not just Christmas cheer

 

 

Covering tracks is never an easy thing. You either stick close to the original source and get criticised for playing it safe, or you veer so far away from the original that you can get accused of blasphemy. John Whiles pitches himself somewhere in the middle. There is enough of a baritone croon going on to keep the purists happy, but the inflection separates it from the original. There is a slightly sardonic and sarcastic inflection that gives an old song new meaning. It’s the perfect way to get this EP going.

 

 

Another Disappointing Christmas however is the main event. Opening with a simple piano/organ riff, with Whiles’ voice layered to sound like a choir, however at halfway through the vocals start to merge and glitch and the tracks takes an unexpected turn. A massive beat kicks in and you have something that could never be called a Christmas song. Imagine Aphex Twin remixing Radiohead.

 

 

Winter is Blue is another cover, this time by reclusive folk artist Vashti Bunyan. Bunyan’s tracks have a distinctive feel, due to her voice and the guitar playing. Whiles does a great job making it his own, but never leaving the charm of the original. Last up is another original Ring Out Wild Bells. This track is chocked full of longing, hope and festive cheer.

 

 

Overall this EP is possible the best collection of new, and old, Christmas songs I’ve heard in a long time. The original compositions sit effortlessly with the covers. This is Christmas music with a twist. Its reminds me of watching Tales of the Unexpected on Christmas Eve with my parents. Things look normal, but under the surface things everything is slightly skewed. John Whiles is defintly one to watch going into the new year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Now for the second installment of an alternative 12 Days of Christmas

 

On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me Two songs by Love
And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family