Christmas posts 2013 part 4


Today’s offering is a curio from the Cocteau Twins.

By 1993, after many years on 4AD the band had signed to Fontana, who at the time of this release had just released the band’s seventh album Four Calendar Cafe. The Snow EP comprises their covers of ‘Walking In A Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman.’

THe EP is long out of print, although you can pick up secondhand copies online; the songs also appear of the band’s singles and EPs collection Lullabies to Violaine

Christmas Posts 2013 part 3


Tonight’s offering comes from the fantastic Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Their version of the traditional French carol ‘Il est ne le divin enfant’ (which literally translates as ‘He is born the divine child’ (though I’m sure someone can offer a more poetic translation) was the b-side to the 1982 single ‘Melt!’ (and yes, the exclamation mark is definitely meant to be there). Read more about the carol over at Wiki.

You can find it on the Downside Up compilation, but if you’re unable to afford the entire boxset you can buy the mp3 from iTunes and the like.

This TV performance is French and features Robert Smith, who was the band’s guitarist intermittently between 1979 and 1984, in addition to leading The Cure and collaborating with the Banshees’ bassist Steve Severin for The Glove project. They all look rather non-plussed, but the beauty of the track is here nonetheless.

Christmas Posts 2013 part 2


It’s funny how you can end up being selective with stuff over time. And it’s probably just as well that we go for quality over quantity when it comes to remembering music from certain years. It’s much easier to remember 1994 as being the year of Suede’s Dog Man Star, and the arrival of drum’n’bass, trip-hop and brit-pop rather than that bloody ‘Love Is All Around’ by Wet Wet Wet. 1977 is now remembered (including by people like me who were only a matter of months old) for punk and disco, rather than Wings having the year’s biggest hit with ‘Mull Of Kintyre.’

And what of 1988? The second summer of love. Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. Nirvana making their debut with ‘Love Buzz.’ So what was the biggest selling single of the year? Umm, ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ by Cliff Richard.

A few years back Idlewild did their own take on this -again, not commercially released, and did it much better.*

Idlewild ‘Mistletoe and Wine.’ mp3

*If you want to hear a decent Cliff Richard song from the last forty years, may I suggest ‘Devil Woman.’ My own father is a minister and he hated ‘The Millennium Prayer’ with a passion.

Christmas posts 2013 part 1

Last Christmas

Yup, it’s four weeks until Christmas Day, so I am starting my annual Christmas posts now.

First up, ‘Last Christmas.’

‘Last Christmas’ was first a hit for Wham! in 1984, and nearly thirty years since it original release, it still holds the record for being the best-selling single not to go to No.1 in the UK. This was due to Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ which was the best-selling single in the UK from 1984 until 1997 when it became Elton John’s ‘Candle In The Wind 1997.’ Though the indie kids may have been clasping The Smiths to their collective bosom, in the pop charts 1984 was the year of Wham! and Frankie Goes To Hollywood (who’d been championed by John Peel anyway).

Whatever mistakes George Michael may have made over the last ten years, I was eight when this record came out, and Wham! and his solo career were definitely part of the soundtrack to my pre-teen years. So, no, I make absolutely no apologies for featuring this.

There have been numerous cover versions over the year, this rather lovely one is by ILikeTrains, which as far as I can tell never received a commercial release.

ILikeTrains-‘Last Christmas.’ mp3

Amongst the many cover versions available, the song has been covered by the Manic Street Preachers, All About Eve, and Jimmy Eat World amongst many others. These versions are available commercially, so if you like them, go and buy them.

Getting ready for 2014 part 7

East India Youth

…or Introducing East India Youth.

East India Youth is the work of London based ‘sound gardener/song architect’ (so it says on his soundcloud page) William Doyle.

Now signed to Stolen Recordings, his previous release was the Hostel EP, which rightly picked up a number of plaudits. This is the sound of a very talented young man at work, music to lose and to find yourself in. To describe this merely as electronic pop is to be almost dismissive.

These are the two videos for doing the rounds which give you an excellent taste of what Mr. Doyle is up to.

His debut album, Total Strife Forever, will be released on January 13, and the tracklisting is as follows:

1. Glitter Recession
2. Total Strife Forever I
3. Dripping Down
4. Hinterland
5. Heaven, How Long
6. Total Strife Forever II
7. Looking for Someone
8. Midnight Koto
9. Total Strife Forever III
10. Song for a Granular Piano
11. Total Strife Forever IV

Before then, he’s out on tour, firstly supporting Factory Floor…

Dec 3 Heaven, London

Dec 4 Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

Dec 5 Kazimier, Liverpool

Dec 6 Stereo, Glasgow

Dec 7 Gorilla, Manchester

…before going out on his own headline tour:

Jan 29 Cathedral, Sheffield

Jan 30 Gullivers, Manchester

Jan 31 King Tuts, Glasgow

Feb 1 Riddance, Liverpool

Feb 4 Louisiana, Bristol

Feb 6 Lexington, London

Feb 7 Green Door Store, Brighton


A prelude to Christmas posts

fucked up Christmas

I will be doing Christmas posts this year, as a precursor to this, here are Fucked Up and friends covering Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

According to Wikipedia,’In 2009, Toronto punk rock band Fucked Up released a version of the song, featuring vocals from GZA, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü, Tegan and Sara, Yo La Tengo, Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, comedian David Cross, Andrew W.K. and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio. The recording was financed using some of Fucked Up’s 2009 Polaris Music Prize award. The money received from purchasing the track from iTunes was split between three Canadian charity groups, Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, DTES Power of Women Group, and Sisters in Spirit, all fighting to give voices to the murdered and missing aboriginal women who are being ignored by the police and governments.’

This free download is courtesy of epitonic (i.e. it’s legal).

Fucked Up -‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ mp3

(and yes, I have bought an mp3 of this. If you like it, go and buy it!

Getting ready for 2014 part 6

Hello again.


First of all (just in case you wondered) I didn’t go away, but the admin system on the blog started playing up, but it’s fixed now.

It’s been a long time coming, but February 2014 will see the return of Dan Willson AKA Withered Hand and his long-awaited sophomore album New Gods.

More details over at God Is In The TV (which is where I found out about it from, so give them the credit!) but this is the first track to do the rounds, entitled ‘Black Tambourine.’

There’s lots of wonderful guests, giving it an awesome scots indie pedigree. And you can pre-order it over at iTunes (and yes, I have already!) before it comes out on Monday…

Presenting…Greek Street Band

Greek street

Greek Street Band is Edinburgh’s very own Alan Mackenzie.

He’s just released his rather fine debut single ‘Harbour This Love’ which showcases his distinctive voice and seems remarkably self-assured for a debut single. And it’s incredibly moor-ish.

Stream it below, then check out the details on how to buy it.

Getting ready for 2014 part 5


2013 isn’t over yet (am trying to ready my end of year lists, to say nothing of my tips for 2014) and, of course, getting ready for the new music that 2014 will bring.

Even before Warpaint and Mogwai’s new albums are released on January 20, January 6 will see the sixth solo LP from Stephen Malkmus, credited to Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. Its title is Wigout At Jagbags. As has been pointed out on quite a few sites already, this is more albums than he made with Pavement (Wrestling…was a compilation).

This is the first track to do the rounds, entitled ‘Lariat.’ It’s a lyric video – except the song’s lyrics are translated into French. Presumably for Mr. Malkmus’ amusement, one assumes…

The tracklisting is as follows:

1. Planetary Motion
2. The Janitor Revealed
3. Lariat
4. Houston Hades
5. Shibboleth
6. J Smoov
7. Rumble At The Rainbo
8. Chartjunk
9. Independence Street
10. Scattegories
11. Cinnamon & Lesbians
12. Surreal Teenagers

Getting ready for 2014 part 4

Marissa Nadler

Boston-based singer Marissa Nadler (above) has announced that she will release her sixth album entitled July on February 11.

Before I’d heard a note, I was more than a little intrigued. Firstly, it’s coming out on Bella Union (which is always a mark of quality what with it being ruin by Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde of the Cocteau Twins). Secondly, it’s produced by Randall Dunn, who’s worked with Southern Lord acts like Sunn O))), Wolves In The Throne Room and Earth.

And the first track to do the rounds ‘Dead City Emily’ is, quite simply beautiful.

Stream it here:

The tracklisting for July is as follows:

1. Drive
2. 1923
3. Firecrackers
4. We Are Coming Back
5. Dead City Emily
6. Was It A Dream
7. I’ve Got Your Name
8. Desire
9. Anyone Else
10. Holiday In
11. Nothing In My Heart