Shame “Baldur’s Gate” (2021)

Shame "Baldur's Gate"

Dead Oceans
Buy:
Apple Music | Amazon MP3 | Amazon.uk MP3 | Amazon.de MP3 | Amazon.fr MP3

London post-punk band Shame has a solid history of excellent Christmas tunes, a legacy that they really jumped right into alongside their debut record. I covered their excellent version of “Feliz Navidad” back in 2018, and would still love to hear the holiday flexi for “Tinsel Gate,” sent with early preorders of their last record, Drunk Tank Pink. This year’s selection, “Baldur’s Gate,” isn’t a celebration of Christmas, but more a snapshot of a holiday past from frontman Charlie Steen… I’ll let him describe:

‘It’s another Christmas classic. It’s about a period of time in which I’d regularly be trekking up to the streets of Edinburgh to see an ex-partner. These are some of the thoughts I’d have when I’d be leaving Waverley station, en route back to London in the winter nights.’

The deeper the song goes, the more I’m into the groove they have created. Certainly not your standard holiday release… which is what this blog is kinda about. Enjoy!

Bottom Line: Shame is a killer band during all twelve months of the year, and “Baldur’s Gate” only reinforces this.

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Thyla “Christmas Wrapping” (2017)

Thyla "Christmas Wrapping" (2017)

Self Released
Buy: 7Digital (FLAC/MP3) (Gone?)

HOT TAKE: Brighton’s Thyla just dropped (IMHO) a better version of the modern classic “Christmas Wrapping” than the… dare I say, the Waitresses? The song, while still quite faithful to the original, has subtle changes to the groove that pay off beautifully. Walking by a shop playing this version, you might not bat an eye, simply assuming that it is the Waitresses’ original. However, sit down with a pair of headphones, and the variations on phrasing, emphasis and orchestration are just damn refreshing. I’ve even had the pleasure of revisiting this song over the past few days, and it wears even better on multiple listens. Well, well done Thyla.

Bottom Line: Thyla delivers a faithful, yet superior version of the Waitresses’ classic post-punk Christmas single.

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Gloss “Gifts Received” (2015)

Gloss - Gifts Received

Self Released
Buy: Bandcamp

Minneapolis’ Gloss have made the best Joy Division/New Order Christmas song of the year all time! From the baseline, to the vocals, to the lyrics, Gloss have hit the nail on the head when it comes to writing a dark, pulsing, disturbing Christmas song. Sonically, this song is most certainly a departure from the Captured Tracks-esque indie rock of their Front Porch debut, which I loved. Team this track up with the MONEY track, and you are looking at a very gloomy, awesome, Christmas mix.

Bottom Line: Jingle bells, deep synth lines and clashing guitars… Merry Christmas!

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