I should perhaps just save my energy and rename this article ‘Adele’. She may well utterly stomp all over anybody else making any sort of recorded noise for the next 18 months or so, but I’m not giving up that easily. It’s Christmarse for Christ’s sake (literally).
For those who love a dose of Christmas misery, check out ‘Borrowers’ from Mahalia, hailing from the Midlands and wailing from the rafters this month: a simple yet beguiling piano ballad, full of spoken-word Kate Nash-eries and overflowing with soul. Or for rather more drama, Brit Chløë Black’s ‘Wild at Heart’ owes at least 50% of its style and mood to Lana Del Doom, but with more heavily electronic arrangements. Slightly worrying lyric “Wednesday Addams fuck you with my heels on” pretty much sums this one up.
As December matches on, expect Adele and an X Factor/charity/other very depressing single to dominate, but there is a crack of light: Kylie Minogue. With Dannii Minogue. No no, don’t click away, this is honestly good. ‘100 Degrees’ follows the mission statement Disco Christmas: imagine Light Years with baubles. Let’s be honest, how long has it been since a fun Christmas song had any success? The Eighties? It sounds like it should be a car crash, but it’s a blast (it’s also mainly Kylie with just a smidge of Dannii which helps) so just lighten up and give it a listen. Merry bloody Christmas.
‘Tis the season to pretend you don’t love Christmas, and one irony not lost on this author was the yuletide release of a record which peddles anti-consumerist messages. The artist in question? Pope Francis, no less. Fittingly, the title of the Pontiff’s new album Wake Up echoes the lyrics of those other great disrupters of December capitalism, Rage Against the Machine – who were downloaded en masse to trump Simon Cowell’s mob a few years back.
Those who worship at the feet of an alternative divine being: rejoice, for Tom Jones’s new single drops this month. Take My Love (I Want To Give It) marks The Tiger’s half-century of mauling the charts – and it’s a fearsome bluesy prowler. From one Welsh alumnus of the James Bond discography to another, Shirley Bassey presents us an improbable Chrimbo collaboration with a highly probable title. The Christmas Song sees the Dame team up vocal trio Blake for an elegant jazzy ballad that actually needn’t have lent itself to trite seasonal messages to succeed.
If it’s miracles you’re after, look no further than the proverbial bright star that is Foxes’ new song Amazing; out on the 4th. “Do what you want,” counsels the refrain of Louisa Rose Allen’s no-frills anthem. And in the spirit of cold-weather indulgence, there’s no reason why this summery anthem shouldn’t be precisely what you want.
On such a hot site as Culture Or Trash, need we bang on about the frivolities of Christmas?! We’re too edgy for that, or so this writer thought, before reading his colleagues’ words which practically pounce on the season of goodwill like it’s the next Daft Punk album. No worries about this third of a page though – no ‘alternative’ artists talk about Christmas and that’s for sure.
Instead, December’s alternative picks are a trough of wayward sounds, from the basement, like always. First up, FUNKTIONSLUST Again, off the EP Window, a lyrically dark, persistent slice of mood pop, with vocals like Grimes and a slow electronic, bubbling ascent. CLUB KURU ‘Layla EP’ follows a similar trail. Its focus is a big, distorted vocal line and whining synths. It captures its own epic sense of melodrama.
Swerving and accelerating, CRSH’s Hit & Run is a buoyant, euphoric piece of liquid drum and bass that’d sound great through the new family speaker set on the 25th. Mica & Kardanski‘s Trouble is fusion hip hip/dance with a piano groove to take round the block with the windows down. SKYES – Chances is a bohemian, small town version of the electro-pop CHVRCHES make, with subtle, breathier vocal and a video to die for. We’ll close this out with Chet Faker’s new tune W/ Marcus Marr. Defs no chances needed to be taken on that. Merry Christmas you beautiful lot. X