Our last Singles Club of 2008 finds Peter Guy picking his top Christmas tune as Andy Paton and Laura Davis mull over ace picks from Sigur Ros, Cat Power and Pacific, while local chums Metro Manilla Aide, Bells For Rene and Killaflaw join in the fun.
Pete’s Christmas Single pick:
Frightened Rabbit: It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop
Sigur Ros: Nit Spilum Enalaus – Single of the Week
More uplifting melancholy-beauty from Icelandic’s ethereal post rock musical superpower that is Sigur Ros. This track is uplifting, rich in texture and one to either close your eyes and contemplate or put your hands in the air and let go.
Melodic, original and pretty much universal.
Wiley ft Daniel Merriwater: Cash in My Pocket
A wonderful clash of funk, big beat, soul and hip hop. I love the intro – really nice drive and it links in to Wiley‘s opening rap. This track offers the sort of uniqueness that only Dizzee Rascal has offered in the Britrish hip-hop scene. Nice backing with a dirty Hammond organ splatters and a great bassline. Not to sure on the lyrics, “All I want is money in my pocket“…
Bells For Rene: Cross Words, Silent Disco EP.
Local boys Bells for Rene provide us with indie disco with powerful riffs, the odd synth arpeggio and plink, some nice 808 claps, a very strong lead vocal and some nice harmonies. Radio One’s Huw Stevens likes these boys and you can see why. Catchy, and I would say the smallprint on the CD sums them up nicely – “somewhere between Arctic Monkeys and the Klaxons“. I’d also throw in some Joy Division-esq guitar licks to boot. Floor-filler potential!
Cat Power: Dark End of the Street, Fortunate Son
Truly beautiful female vocal nicely complemented on a minimal, yet effective, selection of instruments from piano to various guitars to strings and some effective percussion. The vocal strangely reminds me of Ray Lamontagne. Something for everyone in here to sit back, relax and unwind.
Pacific: A Tree, Do It!
Blissful electro pop vs Supertramp. Almost sounds like a Christmas hits CD vs Justice. Extremely orginal and comparisons with Beach Boys harmonies are fair.
An authentic blend of musical styles far and wide to create and original mix of calypso-style drums at a reggae pace. It’s got a really natural feel and delicately haunts. Cool, authentic, and possibly pioneering.
Minimal atmospheric electro house of the Daft Punk down a fairground variety. Although Brooklyn-based Mike Stroud and Evan Mast‘s creation does offer something different in terms of dance music and some of the production techniques they use are impressive. Good but not brilliant.
Metronomy: A Thing For Me
Soaked in analogue synth heaven, this is definitely one for pop electro fans. Clearly Kraftwerk influenced. I’m no fan of the male falscetto vocals on the chorus but I like the verse vocal and the melodies. Love the Sinden remix on the single – a lot heavier and more danceable.
Metro Manilla Aide: Holy Genocide
Local heavy metal heroes Metro Manilla Aide give us a kick up the arse. The first track gives you a false sense of security sounding mello but spooky. As the track goes on it gets heavier and heavier which is nice. The lead singer probably should be sectioned and these lads give a brilliant performance live. Head banging metal with some interesting twists and turns.
Jenny Lewis: Godspeed
Beautiful song lyrically and musically and it is easy to see why she has drawn the attention from heavyweights such as Elvis Costello, who she has performed with also. The main piano melody draws heavily from Imagine and this track is universal in it’s appeal.
The Wombats: Is This Christmas
Somebody give The Wombats a pint of mulled wine and a scoop of figgy pudding – they’re more bah humbug than Scrooge at the annual atheists conference. But despite being the sort of person who makes her Christmas cards in September, I still really enjoyed this song. The perfect antidote to all the X-Factor nonsense.
Solange: Newcastle Disco
Poor Solange, it can’t be easy being Beyonce‘s little sister. Makes you wonder why she didn’t go for a whole other career like accountancy or deep sea diving rather than be constantly compared to her more successful big sis. This song is upbeat with a vague Motown feel. It would be a good soundtrack for getting ready for a girls’ night out and it would probably get me on the dancefloor in a club. But it wouldn’t be the one I was still humming in the taxi queue.
The Streets: Heaven for the Weather
If you’d been holidaying on Mars for the last few years (why not – has to be sunnier than here) then you’d probably find this a refreshingly wry look on modern life with a nice rhythm and catchy melody. Unfortunately we Earthlings have heard it all before.
Neil Halstead: Paint a Face
If this CD was available on prescription there would be fewer cases of road rage, work related stress and grotto elves losing it as Jingle Bell rock comes on the loudspeaker for the 150th rotation. It’s gentle without being boring and improves the more you listen to it.
Portishead: Magic Doors
Banshee wailing over what sounds like an orchestra tuning up. Where’s the Nurofen?
Alessi’s Ark: The Horse
If you can get past the fact that she is only 18 and that she wrote one of the songs on her new album for her GCSE music coursework, then this is a pretty tune that’s worth giving a listen.
Adele: Make You Feel My Love
I’m a huge Dylan fan so I was expecting to hate this cover version but Adele doesn’t over play it with OTT Whitney Houston warbles or rapping interludes. Perfect for a romantic meal or for chilling out after work.
With overtones of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, this could have been written in the 1990s. Not tired though for all that.