Les Bicyclettes De Belsize “Christmas Card 1983” (2016)

Self Released
Buy: BandcampStream

Charlie Darling of Les Bicyclettes De Belsize is what one might call a purveyor of fine indiepop Christmas tunes. He is so adept at it, that I imagine him running a small shop, selling Christmas songs a la carte to his walk-in traffic. His current seasonal project is an Advent calendar, to which he is releasing a song a day on Soundcloud. Did he write 24 new songs?? No, not exactly, but he has 10 and he did re-record his excellent older Christmas releases! So new versions! You may recognize #2, which was featured on Christmas Underground last year. Charlie tipped me off to today’s release, as it was going to be a new one. “Christmas Card 1983” is a wonderful piece of Christmas indiepop, and I love it simply for its dreamy atmosphere groove, and the brass colors are fantastic. However, what left me sitting here listing to this song a few times in a row was personal realization I stumbled into. I often have to fight the urge to throw a bunch of downers on my mix, as I tend to find darker music more complicated and fulfilling. I especially worried about this year, as I am not in the best state when thinking about the future of my country, nor the world. But I don’t think I have to worry about my mix… I am sitting here medicating with glimmering nostalgia, rather than drowning melancholy or anger. “Christmas Card 1983” most certainly scratches that itch, with mixtape Christmas presents, buying records at HMV, and old movies. I can’t wait to hear the rest of Charlie’s project, even if there is a downer in the bunch. I think I can take it, thanks to “Christmas Card 1983.”

Bottom Line: Pure indiepop Christmas wonderfulness. As always with indiepop, it may not be your taste… but those who like it, will very likely love “Christmas Card 1983.”


Les Bicyclettes de Belsize "The Advent Calendar"

Les Bicyclettes de Belsize – The Advent Calendar (Countdown to Christmas) (2014)

Self Released
Buy: Bandcamp

London’s Les Bicyclettes de Belsize have released a curious little single, where they take two different approaches to the same song. The first version, “The Advent Calendar (Countdown to Christmas),” has a more upbeat feel, and the sound is fuller than the more sparsely arranged “The Advent Calendar (by candlelight).” The track itself is quite lovely – and I really like the bits of A Christmas Carol that they intersperse into the song. While some of the production bells and whistles are missing from “by candlelight,” it also remains quite nice – Your choice of which track to include would certainly be based on the tone you wish to set.

Bottom Line: An excellent indiepop Christmas original, in two flavors! 4.4/5


Tramgirl Christmas

Tramgirl with Les Bicyclettes de Belsize “An Eighties Christmas Song” (2014)

Self Released
Buy: Stream

So, Fireflies retweeted this intriguing link. The artist is Tramgirl, (aka Edine), who is part of the Hong Kong indiepop duo The Marshmallow Kisses. The Tramgirl project “creates bedroom karaoke pop with worldwide musicians,” and in this instance, the song is with Charlie Darling of Les Bicyclettes de Belsize (who also has a seasonal release this year… more to come on that). Its a classic indiepop Christmas song – sugary sweet music with a dash of longing. If this is a vibe you like, then this is is certainly a highlight of the holiday-indiepop genre.

“count the days and the hours and the minutes till sleep time
climb the stairs say your prayers every boy and girl goodnight
don’t be scared show no fear when you turn off the light now
when you wake no escape from your dreams I’ll be there
I will be there”

Bottom Line: A fine example of indiepop Christmas done well. No download though! 3.9/5