Tag Archives: bonnie prince billy

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!

Records to Remind You…

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It’s December! And I hands down love this month, it’s even now virtually snowing as I’m typing on wordpress. A post on Christmas songs is coming soon,  if you’re keen to get in the mood my top songs on 2011 on tumblr,  including Withered Hand, Olympic Swimmers and Slow Club.

In the meantime screeds of  top album lists have been flying around so I’ve been taking stock of some exceptional releases which I almost missed this year. Found through the labels and blogs I follow, or by happy coincidence, here are some things to treasure.

Records to Remind you…

About the Importance of Discovery

Willis Earl BealAcousmatic Sorcery

Hailing from Chicago Willis Earl Beal materialised in the music world after he flyered the city with illustrations of himself, listing his likeable character traits and song singing ability, in the hope of finding friends and/or a girlfriend. FOUND magazine uncovered his enigmatic story and a 17 track album lying completed. Now titled Acousmatic Sorcery it was released on Hot Charity earlier this year. A powerful display of talent, Beal’s unusually pitched voice combines with minimal and delicate backing to create a straightforwardly beautiful collection: simple, heartfelt, significant songs.

A screen test for ‘Wavering Lines’

‘Monotony’

‘Evening’s Kiss’

Of Simple Things

Bonnie Prince Billy – Now Here’s My Plan EP 

Will Oldham’s Bonnie Prince Billy material has long since fused the best of musical things: an Americana premise, themes of love and lovers, heartache and betrayal and a deep, gruff vocal.

Released back in August ‘Now Here’s My Plan’ is a collection of six artfully rearranged tracks, which see Oldham and his cohorts demonstrate a rare ability to cocoon the listener in honest, fervent music.  Shifting from the freewheeling country of ‘I Don’t Belong to Anyone’ to the heartfelt notes of ‘Beast For Thee’ and yearning ‘After I Make Love to You’ it’s charged, weighty music which does something rare: transports you somewhere completely different. For me that place is a dimly lit Texan bar, where there’s the type of band you want to slow dance to, the odd brawl and plenty of whisky drinking.

Going through his old songbook I found his first single, released under Palace Music, a crackly folkish tune Ohio River Boat Song…

About Happiness

School of Seven BellsPut Your Sad Down EP

This newly released five track EP from the New York dream pop band School of Seven Bells almost slipped right past me. It does however do exactly what you’d expect from the title, all swooshing, hazy melodies, ethereal vocal, synths and plucked beats.

Listen and be happy!