Category Archives: holiday

If You Listen To Something This Week…Make it Festive

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If there is one thing it easy to love, it’s the festive season. I’ve been listening to Christmas songs since November, the kind that fill you with a want for snow, to be curled up by a roaring fire eating a mince pie, jingling some bells or wearing a Christmas jumper. Scottish artists seem to move towards the more gloomy and contemptuous at this time of year, it’s oddly more acceptable to be honest about how you hate someone/thing if it has a festive tinkle. Cue a round of up new discoveries, old classics and a playlist for your listening pleasure…

Olive Grove Records – Christmas Sampler

The Scottish label’s charity EP, which features the hymnal ‘As a Child I Awoke’ from Jo Mango, a loveable cover of the Muppets ‘One More Sleep Til Christmas’ courtesy of Randolph’s Leap and the first original festive songs from the The Son(s) – you’ll see what I mean about contemptuous – ‘Christmas Song’ and State Broadcasters‘ ‘Wounded Waxing.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Dawn McCarthy – Christmas Eve Will Kill You

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s (aka Will Oldham’s) first Christmas song with long time collaborator Dawn McCarthy, despite it’s troubling title it’s filled with nostalgia and sentiment. It’s also the first Everly Brothers cover from the duo, who are releasing a whole set entitled What the Brothers Sang next year.

Which also reminds me…this song of theirs ‘Dreams’ might not technically be a Christmas number but it’s a classic.

William Bell – Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday 

A timeless and highly underplayed track from soul legend William Bell, this is one of the best Christmas songs you’ll ever listen to.

The Killers – Feel it in My Bones 

The latest of their annual Christmas singles it sounds similar to what you may have heard before…I like it anyway. Featuring Las Vegas based singer Ryan Pardey as Bad Santa the video is an absolute eighties throwback, cue dry ice and a weird Santa cackle…

MogwaiChristmas Song

This came out a long while ago, but I only just heard it. Like most of Mogwai’s material it’s an extraordinarily beautiful instrumental which you can sink right in to.

Check out NPR Music’s Jingle Jams for much more, below you’ll find a playlist featuring most of the above plus some old and out and out favourites. Embed it, share it, play it at a party – Merry Christmas!

I’m playing…Amsterdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam!

So the title of this might be misleading, the post is actually about a trip I just took to Spain – not eating gouda, drinking Heineken or riding a bicycle over canals. It’s why I’ve been a little quite as a blogger, led by some of my best pals I instead spent hours and hours sitting by the pool, playing poker, playing snooker and opening our outdoor Mexican themed bar post siesta (true story).

We did need one thing constantly in the background – great music.  Conjure images of sunshine, driving through Spanish mountainsides and proper laughs – here goes a musical journey…

Here is a picture of Amsterdam, March 2012

Peter Bjorn and John, Amsterdam

I’m not really sure how, but Swedes Peter Bjorn and John completely passed me by. I’d kind of heard their name thrown around but never frequently enough to make me want to look them up, I now believe I’ve been missing out big style.

Amsterdam is a track from the trio’s 2006 album, it’s so summery and catchy I can’t quite believe they didn’t release it as a single (ah the magic of an internet search). It’s also the kind of song that you learn all the words to the first time you listen to it. Cue whistling and head bopping…

Ghostface Killah – Kilo

‘I don’t think Jo will really like Ghostface’ was the consensus when I pulled out this CD. True, I’m not known for my love of gangsta rap. But this is a tune.

Calexico & Iron & Wine – History of Lovers

Calexico are just the perfect band for sunshine countries. The Tucson based collective are masters of a kind of cherished storytelling, Spanish influenced melodies and retro rhythms making up their lovely material. We listened to ‘Carried to the Dust’ and this track, which I discovered was a collaboration with the mighty fine Iron and Wine. 

Deerhunter – Nothing Ever Happened

Some of the best guitar you’ll ever hear. This one’s a keeper.

The Shins – Those to Come

Ever had a moment when you realise everyone around you is singing along to something you never knew they liked with total nostalgia? Yes lovers of indie it’s The Shins and more specifically their album Chutes Too Narrow. This is my all time favourite track from the band, the stunning simple delivery and vivid lyrics lending it a surprising poignancy…

French Wives – Younger

I have listened to this song almost to the point of no return, it’s a proper hit in my book. From the Glasgow band’s debut album ‘Dream of the Inbetween’ it’s jubilant and brilliant if you haven’t heard it listen to it, if you have listen again.