TOP CHRISTMAS SONGS 2008
Yeah, so I'm like a little bit late with this. But let's pretend I've been using this time for reflection. Anyways, onwards and upwards.
The Hives & Cyndi Lauper - A Christmas Duel [YouTube]
There are two points of incredulity before hearing this track - firstly, The Hives made a Christmas single?! Then, with who?! But this is some seriously good stuff. A 21st century 'Fairytale Of New York'? Almost. A bit too naughty perhaps. A Christmas classic in the making.
Napoleon IIIrd - Deck The Halls [DOWNLOAD]
Mesmering folktronica and choral ranting make this a slightly unconventional Christmas cover. More than slightly ace though and demonstrates unmatched Christmas passion.
Bearsuit - What, You've Never Seen Snow Before? [DOWNLOAD]
Nice title by a band who churn out Christmas tracks. This one's up there with their best. Starting off all sheepish and serene, it changes gears into a brass-laden joyfest. Shame it wasn't so upbeat the whole way through really.
a.P.A.t.T - Winterflakes [DOWNLOAD]
Why don't more people know about this band? Seriously, they are mental. That is experi-mental prog-jazz. Awful word play. Nonetheless, this bouncy Christmas jamboree will confuse and amuse you.
Eugene McGuinness - Scented Soap [DOWNLOAD]
Kudos to Mr McGuinness for belting out not one, but five Christmas tracks this year. Admittedly, I think he had some of these in reserve and most of them are succinct covers. But they're still enjoyably over the top. 'Scented Soap' is some bonafide new Eugene material though.
There have been a few other decent Christmas offerings produced in 2008. The Joy Formidable, The Deertracks, Banjo Or Freakout all produced more than passable Christmas tracks. There's probably even more gems on the [Filthy Little Angels Christmas compilation] but I was too lazy to check. Also, I have to thank [Maps Magazine] for their advent calendar.
TOP LIVE PERFORMANCES
So I actually (and rather surprisingly) saw quite a few bands this year. Although must of them were at Field Day and the ace new festival Offset.
Johnny Foreigner @ Offset
With the sun out and me slightly sloshed, Johnny Foreigner ran through the hits. I had a sodding great time and I don't even think I have to explain why. Which is a testament to the success and acclaim JoFo have received in the last year or so.
Ice, Sea, Dead People @ Offset
Witty banter and crunching guitars aplenty from the Fugazi lovers. More points for talking to me on the way home from the festival. Also, recommended the following act to go see, which I duly did.
Die! Die! Die! @ Offset
Utterly insane. Mic stands in faces, lead singers in crowds, my jaw on the floor. Nuff said.
Les Savy Fav @ Field Day
A much needed and entertaining lift on a dreary August day from the legendary rockers. The good use of umbrellas mid-set was particularly worth noting.
Sunset Cinema Club @ Notting Hill Arts Club
Sure, they were just the opening act but the fact they impressed me more than their following acts (Johnny Foreigner, Good Books and Cats In Paris), indicates just how much I enjoyed their performance.
I did see some other fine performances by some good bands. Slow Club @ Offset was definately a good un, and changed some of my preconceptions. Frightened Rabbit @ Madame JoJo's was good but the band themselves noted their tiredness, having just flown into London. Gossamer Albatross @ UCL Union really impressed me but I felt slightly cheated by the lack of cellist. Finally, the recent Fight Like Apes @ Camden Barfly was somewhat of a fun, sweaty mess. I'm looking forward to 2009's offerings!