Christmas singles and downloads - December 2010
Message to Corey Taylor of Slipknot: nobody likes a Scrooge in a death mask. ‘You know where to stick those jingle bells’ is not a fitting festive sentiment for your debut solo single, ‘X-M@$’ (Roadrunner) ●●.
Still, it's preferable to the yuletide slurry from US MOR crooners ●Train, who inexplicably re-cast Santa as an impotent, leaden-footed Lilt Man, and chug through ‘Shake Up Christmas’ (Columbia) ● like the world needed lo-cal, tropical sleigh-rock. ‘Tis the season of giving, but this is a gift too far.
Hurts’ ‘All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day’ (RCA) ●● is equally doleful: a chiming, Noël-esque ballad-by-numbers. (Its only upside is that it prompted The List to dig out an excellent Xmas track from a superior synth deuce: Erasure’s 1988 seasonal aria, ‘She Won’t Be Home’ still sounds gorgeous.)
Equally nostalgic and lovely is the offering from Glasgow’s Americana sweethearts, The Porch Song Anthology: the shimmering, banjo-clad, frosted alt-country of ‘Christmas is Cold’ (self-release) ●●●● is a must for any festive playlist. Edinburgh's Dean Owens, meanwhile, brings us classic songcraft in the Davie Scott vein – ‘Snowglobe’ (self-release) ●●● is melodic, gentle and generous: he's donating its proceeds to MIND.
If traditional songs are more your cup of eggnog, then check out scuzz-lords Wooden Shjips, whose intoxicated take on ‘Oh Tannenbaum’ (Sick Thirst / Forte) ●●● is released on luxurious red and green vinyl, and comes with a locked groove to boot. There's a further submission of frankincense and psyche from motorik drone-botherers Moon Duo, who follow in the footsteps of Terry Wogan and Aled Jones by interpreting urban Yule standard ‘Silver Bells’ (Holy Mountain) ●●●.
But it's the feast of Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen which joyously clinches Joint Single of the Fortnight (yes, we’re having two this issue – it’s the season of goodwill, is it not?). Our virtuosic trio’s philharmonic rendition of ‘What a Wonderful World’ (Domino) ●●●●● is a wide-eyed, real-time classic. Its glory is shared with 'Snow' (self-release, miaouxmiaoux.com) ●●●●● – a wintry, melancholic reverie from Glasgow electro melodist Miaoux Miaoux (above). Download it free, pour some glühwein and hey presto: Merry Christmas!