LISTEN WITH MONGER CHRISTMAS ROUND UP
Aside from the annual awards announcements on LWM, the other end of year tradition is to round up the efforts for the Christmas number one that Simon Cowell hasn’t had anything to do with. So, without further festive ado, let’s get on with it, shall we?
Keston Cobblers Club – Let It Snow
Everyone’s favourite Kentish collective kick off our festive proceedings this year with a jaunty little version of the classic ‘Let it Snow’ which doesn’t deviate too far from the original path but then why would you? What makes this particularly lovely is the vocal interplay between the male and female vocals as the rhythm bounces along like ironic Hawaiian beach dwellers laughing at the idea of snow.
Listen Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq4k5laYcVw
Everyone’s favourite Welsh bubblegum punks Helen Love couldn’t let the festive season pass you by without having their say on proceedings. ‘Glitter Star’ is their Christmas effort which has more than a hint of the Ramones meets Glam rock about it whilst sampling Oasis, Blur and Billy Idol among others through this riotous romp. Not to mention the wonderfully low budget but high fun video which is the best thing you could have on any screen this Christmas. Apart from Scrooged.
Watch the Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUwIsNsfyyc&feature=youtu.be
Whyte Horses – Next Year Will Be Mine
The mighty Whyte Horses are back with not one but two Chrimbo tracks, you lucky ducks. ‘Next Year Will Be Mine’ makes liberal use of sleigh bells and church bells but with a real Motown production quality and the kind of pure melody that you don’t get any more. Vashti Bunyan ‘Coldest Night of the Year’ is the stronger track, for me, and has a Marc Almond vibe as the band conjure images of deserted town streets made beautiful by a think layer of crisp white snow illuminated under the orange glow of street lights. Phil Spector with British songwriting just about sums this one up and makes this my choice for festive release of the year.
Listen Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZJQx-H3kCo
The Darkness – Don’t Let the Bells End (Live at Hammersmith Apollo)
Bit of a cheat this one but I do think this is a massively underrated Christmas song and it is getting an official rerelease so we might as well enjoy it again. ‘Don’t Let the Bells End’ is full of all the rock’n’roll pomp and performance that we’ve come to love from the Darkness but it’s threaded with pathos and the kind of regret that’s so prevalent at this time of year. I think it’s one of the better Christmas songs and it has a great guitar solo which is not something you get enough of these days. Oh, and the crowd sing-a-long makes it well worth having a live version.
My Name Is Ian – Christmas Time Again
|My Name Is Ian - Christmas Time Again|
The funkiest and most punk Christmas song of this year’s gaggle and probably the funniest. The 8-bit computer melody is matched with a Blockheads-esque rhythm section and the Jamie T inspired vocals of My Name Is Ian, riling against the traditions of Christmas and his poor Gran who is no longer with us but gets the brunt of some of the anger. Apart from the non-radio friendly lyrics in the chorus, I feel like Steve Lamacq would eat this up with a mince pie and sherry.
Fawns of Love – December
Probably the least festive of the round up but it’s called ‘December’ and it sounds like a lost New Order track so I’m including it – deal with it. Fawns of Love are ex members of Funeral Club and they make a wonderful dream-pop sound between the two of them so if you’re not a lover of Christmassy songs then this one might just do you a favour.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/fawnsoflove/
Listen Here: https://fawnsoflove.bandcamp.com/track/december-2
Taking the John Lewis route to feeling Christmassy, Gabrielle Aplin and Hannah Grace have created ‘December’ around some sombre piano notes and luscious, flurrying strings. This is the song to listen to as you get the train back to the family homestead with images of open fires and smells of your mum’s mince pies filling your head, pushing out all the stresses and strains of the year. Aplin and Grace’s voice dovetail beautifully to soothe the soul and ease the mind – mulled wine for the ears, if you will. Gorgeous stuff.
Gabrielle Aplin –
Hannah Grace –
Gabrielle – This Christmas
A recent feature of Christmas releases has been the soul infused festive treat and Gabrielle is taking her turn this year. ‘This Christmas’ is a big scale production with lush horns, church bells, backing singers and, most importantly, Gabrielle’s distinctive vocal ringing out through the frosty night air on Christmas Eve, calling you home to sing by the fire and just generally have a chilled time Gabrielle and her band. Imagine that, if you will.
Boy Bjorn – All I Want For Christmas Is You (Communion Records)
If you’re after an 80s inspired lo-fi synth tribute to the classic ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ then Boy Bjorn has got your back. Throbbing synth chords, a few lazily scattered guitar notes and a processed beat combine to create the downtempo and chilled version without any of the Mariah Carey histrionics which works for me. If you like Eels then this will float your festive boat for sure.
The Raptors – It’s Christmas (Have a Rock’n’Roll Time)
Glasgow band the Raptors have been drinking from the Christmas spirits bottle marked ‘Ramones’ and it all comes out in their new single ‘It’s Christmas (Have a Rock’n’Roll Time)’. Dirty guitars, gang vocals, pounding drums and repetitive lyrics bouncing on a low slung bass line all make for the kind of messy Christmas build up you see on the streets of Britain you see between 19th December and Christmas. A beautiful shambles covered in tinsel, smeared make up and glitter.