I’ve been waiting on this one with bated breath ever since Christmas Underground favorite Virgin of the Birds hipped me to its existence. Scotland’s OK Pal Records is taking a stab at their first holiday compilation with Now Prancer!, compiling their roster of Scottish artists alongside far-flung friends, with 50% of the proceeds going to charity. The quality of this compilation is quite impressive, as I thoroughly enjoyed it twice now. However, I am not one to go track-for-track on any record, largely because of time constraints and partially out of the sheer terror of the blank page. Thus, I’ll pull out a few here to chat about. You listen to the rest!
Brightonian singer/songwriter music+magic gives us the funny, clever and poignant “Christmas Number One,” who travels through time and space to ponder Jesus through LSD, an agnostic substitute teacher, a retail park nativity scene, and ancient pagans. I think about that kind of stuff a lot too – how unnecessary actual Jesus might be to our living a good life, as all these things are going on within us that help us live a good live and have a deeper connection with the universe. Love that this song made me ponder this again…
Hailey Beavis‘ “Snow” has me returning to another thought I often have – how great it would be for these huge artists to not cover the same old same old, and cover some of the incredible songs I try to write about here. Not every song is a good fit, and I get that, but there are so many that would work incredibly well on a contemporary Christmas record, and this beauty by Hailey Beavis is most certainly one. Put this on a Dolly Parton Christmas record and let Hailey pay rent for a year. Sound good, universe?
I remember my fellow record store clerks listening to Baltimore’s Viking Moses‘ Crosses allllll the time back when I worked at a shop in Roanoke, VA. I’ve been a fan for years, and Brendon does a wonderful job covering Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains.” This is one of those old songs I haven’t gotten sick of yet… perhaps because it is so short & sweet!
San Francisco’s Virgin of the Birds is always going to deliver you some wordy goodness, and “Christmas for the Confessor” most certainly satisfies. However, it is those MIDI flourishes that have captured my attention. Somehow these electronic tones play against type and create this warm musical cocoon. Just beautiful.
Of course, there are seven more tracks on here, but as promised earlier, I aim to disappoint! So I’m giving you work – go listen to this comp and you may find yourself captivated by the beautiful traditional folk of Hildegard Von Cubase’s “Coventry Carol,” the beautiful spoken word of Arum Sood & Hank Tree’s “Song for Baby T,” or the snowy drones of Hardsparrow’s “Voice of an Angle,” which is “about geometry and spiders and hearing voices in the snow.” So get in there and see what’s up!
Bottom Line: The Scots (and friends) have finally shown up in force this season, delivering a great lineup and a very solid compilation!