Aquatic Slime “Milestones (Another Year)” (2013)

Aquatic Slime

Self-Released
Buy: Bandcamp

For a band who is not a band… this is one hell of a song. Hailing form Essex, Aquatic Slime’s only real internet presence is a Soundcloud account, which houses all their tunes for free download. The only place for additional information is Drowned in Sound, where they are a community member of the boards. Thus, in an oddly similar style to Faye and the Scrooges, Aquatic Slime is another yet-to-be-proper band that has snuck a great Christmas tune under the music radar; “Milestones” has 64 plays at the time of this publish, and likely 10 of those were mine. So give this electro-pop a spin, and feel free to let them know if you like it. Wonderful female vocals, excellent lyrics, and a certainly a different Christmas jam than you’re used to.

Note: I contacted the “band” to find out more: “We aim to make a Christmas track every year (past tracks include A Rave in a Manger, God Rest ye Badass Gentlemen, Ding Dong Merrily, I’m High…), but this was the first where we had a bit more originality. It was very fun to make too!” 

Awesome – so be on the lookout for this year’s track!

Bottom Line: Perhaps the best not-a-band out there. 4.8/5

LISTEN

Wild Nothing “One Christmas Catalogue” (2013)

Wild Nothing - One Christmas Catalogue

Self-Released
Buy: Stream

Well thank you so much Bob and the Christmas Chaos Radio Show! I have been buying Wild Nothing records ever since his first Summer Holiday 7″ , and boy am I happy to find this pop into my life. Wild Nothing takes this fantastic Captain Sensible song and really makes it their own. Their Empty Estate-era synth-heavy production definitely works for this tune. Certainly one that I would love to get ahold of someday… how about it Wild Nothing?? Add a download link of a WAV file? Yes… I ask for the moon.

Bottom Line: Wild Nothing needs to cover more Christmas tunes. 5/5

LISTEN

The Christmas Club “Child’s Christmas In Wales” (2013)

Christmas Club 2013

Self-Released
Buy: Free!

The Christmas Club is back for another year! Sneaking up on me in my Soundcloud feed, The Christmas Club’s most recent release for 2013 (they have already done an… interesting… version of Fairytale of New York) is a cover of Dylan Thomas & John Cale’s “Child’s Christmas in Whales.” The result is an excellent version of a wonderful song. While I may still be partial to the Superchunk version, The Christmas Club have found that grittiness that this song needs to really seal the deal. I’ll be looking forward to whatever else they have instore for us this holiday season. They will likely be setting up a donation for City Harvest again, so if you like it and download it, be sure to check back to see how you can help.

Bottom Line: A well-produced, excellent cover of a wonderful song. 4/4

LISTEN

Jens Lekman “I Don’t Know What to Do With This Information” (2011)

Jens Lekman

Self-Released
Buy: Stream

Its been a whopping week or so since I’ve written about Jens Lekman. What can I say, he’s top-5 all-time for me. However, this may be my last post about Jens for a good while, in that I don’t know of any other Jens’ Christmas tunes. Please feel free to correct me, and subsequently, make me forever in your debt.

“I Don’t Know What to Do With This Information” has only been performed live so far, with a very high quality version coming from a Maida Vale Session back in 2011. Such a sad song, not in the sentimental way that “Christmas Shoes” (BARF) is, but with a realism that brings it a little close to home, even if you haven’t specifically lived through something like that. Its called empathy and Jens brings it out well.

Bottom Line: So, so very sad. I can’t bring it over 4 because I just can’t listen to such a sad song over and over again. 3.9/5

LISTEN

Faye and The Scrooges “Fancy Postman” (2012) and “Terrible Presents” (2011)

Faye and the Scrooges

Self-Released
Buy: Stream

Two excellent little songs from the rather mysterious Faye and The Scrooges have come across my Soundcloud searches of late. Before I inquired, very little could be found about them. Google searches led to nothing. I thought, perhaps, there was an odd Aluna George connection, since that is the only band they followed. They had 2 songs up, and by all measures, were quite obscure with two very modest play counts (as of now, 80/768). I took a moment and asked them who they heck they were, and learned that this is the product of a group of friends who get together and write/record a Christmas song with just enough time to give them to friends at the pub on Christmas eve. Judging by the production value, this group of friends knows their way around a recording – they sound great. Both songs are silly, but not too silly as to be annoying. They are simply quite clever, and extremely enjoyable. Jump on this bandwagon and add to their 4 followers, and while you’re at it, follow Pluto Rise on Facebook and Soundcloud – because two of the members of this trio have started a band, and its bound to be pretty damn good.

Bottom Line: Faye and The Scrooges have my vote. They are one year away from writing an indie classic. Perhaps set up a Bandcamp to allow FLAC downloads? 4/5