Kenmare, Ireland’s Laurie Shaw has packaged an absolutely lovely little Christmas EP with two Christmas songs, a Springsteen cover, and another song that might be appropriate for another date-specific mix, “Graduation Day.” We are going to briefly chat about the two proper Christmas songs, which are both stellar. “Snow Day” is a stroll of a song, which will feature on Laurie’s upcoming LP, The Great Southern. It is equal parts beautiful and ragged, similar in feel and style to my beloved Wave Pictures. “Christmas in Kenamre” is a gorgeous portrait of Christmas in a small town. Babysitters, conversations, memories, family, Christmas tv, and frozen lips kissing… the little details are truly wonderful.
Bottom Line: In a year where I embraced more pop sounds than I usually do, Laurie Shaw’s slow, emotional and beautiful songs bring me back home.
Everyone needs a layup here and there, and this faithful cover of Sufjan Stevens’ modern classic “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!” affords me that luxury. Yes, the Irish folk band Geese’s approach is much more of a parallel line rather than a perpendicular explosion, but there are some subtleties that I very much enjoyed. Their keyboard atmospherics give the song an etherial feel, while the original trades in the warmth of an occasional piano. Their notes also tend to linger longer than the original, a shimmer to Sufjan’s soft crackle. These changes in approach haven’t changed the heart of the song – it still very feels like the song we all love, just a bit grander in scope.
Bottom Line: Another excellent cover of a great song. I swear I’m not getting lazy – just catching up on some deserving songs! Also, who the heck are Geese? I can ONLY find them on Soundcloud so far…
This No Monster Club track popped up right as I was running out of gas, which is a warning for those folks releasing Christmas tracks… hit that sweet spot (Nov. 25-Dec. 5) when actual people (!) are visiting our blogs, and the bloggers aren’t completely exhausted. Enough inside baseball – lets talk trax. No Monster Club added a new Christmas track to their catalogue in 2017 with this cover of a Dustin the Turkey/Bagatelle song, “Christmas in Dublin.” Yes, you read that correctly, Dustin the Turkey. To the Google I go, once again. Dustin is a turkey puppet character from a RTE TV show, who as well inexplicably represented Ireland in the 2008 Eurovision contest. America has the Kardashians… we all have our own weird baggage I suppose. “Christmas in Dublin” is a cover of a parody song by Dustin, the original being “Summer in Dublin” by Bagatelle. One might expect a parody song to be funny, but this one is actually quite sweet, with only a few slightly bitter moments. I found it oddly lovely, perhaps you will too. Should I be embarrassed? Maybe a little, but I’m an underground Christmas music blogger; I’m already a little embarrassing on my own, so I’m cool with it.
Bottom Line: Lets all enjoy this parody song originated by a turkey puppet. And no, I’m not bullshitting you. Where I to bullshit you, it would have been a good idea to wait a week to post this.
Well hot damn. This was too good to keep me from writing. Bray, Ireland’s Wyvern Lingo, a trio of singer/instrumentalists has just dropped an indie R&B jam “Snow II,” that is totally worth your attention. Their voices are beautiful, as are the minimal electronic beats and flourishes of color that support them. However, if that groove is not your bag, how about an acoustic version, with no percussion, mainly guitars and keyboards to provide the bassline? (Stubby found this one back in the day, of course) Then their 2014 version, “Snow” is your jam. Either way you slice it, this is a pretty beautiful song, and I think you might dig it too.
Bottom Line: Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Both taste great!
Sitting outside on a winter night, trying to forget a lover… this is where we find the narrator in Rosie Carney‘s “Winter.” The imagery is gorgeous, the simple guitar-picked melody is lovely and Rosie’s voice is truly genuine. She has the ability to put you there with her – her voice is not singing a song, but living it. This track was recently featured on NPR, and thankfully alerted me to the beauty that is Rosie Carney’s work. An Irish singer-songwriter, she is also an advocate for mental illness, having written quite openly about her battles with depression, sexual assault and eating disorders on her blog. Rosie is a story of survival – beautiful, wonderful survival. So, in this time when we give thanks, think of those who could use even more support, and lend an ear, lend a hand, and give some love.
Bottom Line: While not a Christmas song, this song certainly has a place on your winter/Christmas-themed mixes, as it is truly beautiful. Listen to all her songs… they are all spectacular.
Dublin’s No Monster Club treated us to a great new original (anti)Christmas song in 2016, “Start the Carvery” (kindly pointed out by Lie in the Sound), but did you know that they have a whole Christmas compilation EP that they released back in 2011? The hilarious titling of Sleigh Decibels Volume One certainly helps set up expectations, as the lyrics are clever and biting throughout. The lo-fi fun runs through the entire release, which compiles songs from comps by net label Rack N Ruin Records in the Netherlands, as well as Belfast’s CF Records. Each song has its own charm, but my favorite is the short and dirty “A No Monster Club Christmas,” which has an infectious chorus that I have found myself humming walking down the street on more than one occasion.
Bottom Line: No Monster Club’s lo-fi Christmas tunes stylistically compliment their clever lyrical point-of-view on this fantastic compilation EP.
Somehow, this Dublin noise-pop band Thumper snuck by me last year… I have no clue how, but they did. Despite my best efforts scouring Bandcamp and Soundcloud, this solid, scuzzy cover of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” remained hidden in a corner of the net that I just couldn’t see. Thankfully, here we are, and Thumper have cooked up this nice slice of Phil Spector Christmas pie, using their own dirty pan. They add a sense of urgency to the song that you very, very rarely hear. Check out their other stuff… they have this huge, dirty sound that is f*ing great.
I’m sure you’re going to see this track pop up a few more places, as it already has on Stubby’s Free List earlier this morning – so why not here too? Dublin’s Sleep Thieves have created a great, moody, synth Christmas song with their new track, “November Christmas.” The song’s verses trudge along with a deep synth bass, a flutter of melody and a beat you could set your watch to. So, when the tone lifts and the chorus swings in, it pushes you up just enough to pop your head above the water. It really is a great chorus, and worth the wait. Certainly a nice change of pace from the jingle bells that infiltrate most of the season. I would be fawning all over this track if it was just a tad bit more upbeat like their wonderful track “City of Hearts.”
Bottom Line: A dark electro Christmas song and done dark electro well. OH… and free. 3.8/5
Dublin’s Blades Club‘s “What You Get Me (For Christmas)” is one of the best rocking out Christmas tunes I’ve heard this year. Originally released on Youtube back in 2012, you can now get a remastered, high-res FLAC download on Bandcamp! Blades Club has channeled the best parts of the Strokes, blended it with surf vibes and great lyrics to create an absolutely wonderful Christmas song. So, I would recommend a quick listen, then fork over a euro and support Blades Club!
Bottom Line: Simply said, fun rocking out Christmas tune. 4.8/5