Saturday, 31 December 2011

Album Of The Year 2011

And now the end is near, and so I face my final curtain, My friends i'll say it's album of the year, I'll state my case of which i'm (sort of) certain

Number 1

So there you have it my album of the year is the brilliant effort from Other Lives in there second album Tamer Animals. Why is it album of the year I hear you cry? Well because it's new, it's different, it's exciting. From the moment they wandered onto a stage at End Of The Road I knew i'd like this band, they just had it! They had beards, and all sorts of instruments and a girl shaking antlers with bells on like a tambourine! They blew me away in that little tend and I rushed out after the festival and picked up Tamer Animals. It's just wonderful, it's an aural delight, the sort of album that just creates a mood and an atmosphere and sucks you into it. Shades of Midlake, Local Natives and Fleet Foxes but ultimately a sound all their own and one I personally adore!

It was a tough call with so many great albums this year but we have a winner, see you in 12 months time for yet another epic battle. Can't wait to hear what the likes of The Shins, Field Music and everyone else has in store for us

The Best 20(of)11, From 10 to 2

I've always found it odd when people put up a list of the best albums in mid-November seems a bit unfair to anyone who's daft enough to release an album in December and try and battle the twin behemoths of Michael Buble and the X-Factor for chart supremacy (good on all those plucky indie triers!) That said I must admit that the 31st of December is really pushing it for an end of year list but heck I made it before big Ben chimes and the proverbial decending glitter ball marks the end of all things 2011, so here is the the next installment in Sam's Best 20 albums of 2011 which will take us all the way up to number 2, before later today I reveal the album of the year...oh gosh it's exciting isn't it?!?!

Number 10
British Sea Power - Valhalla Dancehall
Number 9
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Number 8
Bonnie Prince Billy- Wolfroy Goes To Town

Number 7
Beirut - The Rip Tide
Number 6
Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know

Number 5
Tom Waits- Bad As Me
Number 4
Josh.T.Pearson - Last Of The Country Gentlemen
Number 3
Metronomy - The English Riviera
Number 2
Wild Beasts - Smother

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas from T.R.T.P

Seasons Grettings everybody!

Here's a little gift from us to you as a way of thanking you all very much for your support throughout this year and looking forward to an even better 2012.

This track is taken from the recording sessions we did at Hall Place with the wonderful producer that is Richard Formby that made up our new album Twin Beds (Out February 13th on Oddbox Records!)

This track didn't make the final track-listing through no fault of it's own and it didn't deserve to be confined to the dustbin, as we think a b-sides and rarities compilation is unlikely to rear it's head in the near future we thought we'd save you the wait.

So here's wishing you all Merry Christmas and we'll hopefully see you all in the new year!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Advent Day 24: The Christmas Times They Are a'Changin

Quoth the Guardian Review of Bob Dylan's opinion dividing Christmas album

"Sceptics should go to YouTube and watch the Must Be Santa video clip. This rollicking song, featuring a rattled-out list of US presidents, is set to a high-kicking shuffle rhythm, decorated by Hidalgo's exuberant Tex-Mex accordion, and delivered by Dylan as a sort of punk-Dickensian Father Christmas from amid the incipient mayhem of a slightly out-of-hand Christmas Eve party. More fun than Renaldo and Clara, for sure"

So come on sceptics gather yes, good maybe

Friday, 23 December 2011

Advent Day 23: How To Steal Christmas

So looking around the world (well Twitter anyway) it seems like today is the day that the natural cynics around us are getting a little tired of all this forced jollity, that maybe it's been one novelty Christmas cover too many, one too many ho-ho-ho's and one too many turkey themed sandwich.

So here's something decidedly unfestive that the wonderful Twilight Sad have put out as something of an antidote to all that, so here it is in all it miserable glory The Twilight Sad covering INXS's Never Tear Us Apart, you can pick up a copy of this track over at their website now

Bah-Humbug to one and all...

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Advent Day 22: Speaks For Itself

For todays I really have nothing to add, just sit back and enjoy as Santa Dances to Breakbot's Baby i'm really is quite something.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Advent Day 21: Fa La La La

It had to happen eventually, a child of the 80s put in charge of a Christmas countdown of any sorts would eventually end up with The Muppets, from Gonzo to the grumpy old men who didn't love the Muppets?

And when they combined with Dickens to make a Muppets Christmas Carol it'd take a heart of stone to say no, this clip is a personal favourite clip from the film as it involves puppets rhyming! what more could anyone want?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Advent Day 20: The Christmas Brothers

Recently I went to the Independent Records Market at Old Spittalfields market that was designed to raise funds for those affected by the PIAS fire, a very noble cause that I would feel much better about if I hadn't come back empty handed bar a load of free samplers and an Aiden Moffat bottle opener (every little helps as they say)

However on those samplers from Loose Records I finally got around to discovering The Felice Brothers, one of the many bands in the world i'd always assumed I liked but never actually got around to listening too, and it turns out I was right. So if anyone's stuck for Christmas Presents for me (i'm sure you're all getting me one right?!) then Loose Records and The Felice Brothers is a great place to start...and who says my inner cheap skate wasn't helping anyone!

Here's a rather lovely number festive they've done entitled simply The Christmas Song...enjoy then buy a record from one of the many wonderful independent labels we're lucky to have around

Monday, 19 December 2011

Advent Day 19: This Is Christmas (2011 style)

For a lot of this advent calendar I've been living in the past. Too many classics from years gone by and not enough modern stuff dragging us kicking and screaming into Christmas 2011.

So hear's a hot new cut from a couple of hip young cats (yes people still speak like this right? I'm still cool right? Do people still say cool?) by the name of Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler (ok so one youngish cat and one cat who used to be hip and young but's maybe been around the block a bit since then, but I still think Tim's cool!)

It's taken from their Christmas album "This Is Christmas" which is out now and is a proper festive affair in the Phil Spector mold which frankly oozes Christmas classics in the making.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Advent Day 18: It's A Wonderful Life

Greatest Christmas film? Plenty of contenders but only one winner in my eyes. Yes Home Alone pretty much destroys the field in best Christmas Comedy (yes Elf fans it's a good film but it doesn't involve half as much genius slapstick) but life can't be fun and games and baddy beatings all the time. So let's go further let's hit up the drama vault.

And what do we see as the shining pinnacle of the genre?Why "It's A Wonderful Life" of course. When the film starts with a man attempting suicide on Christmas Eve you know this isn't your average festive family favourite. What it is is an incredible tale of how a man touched the lives of those around him and how ultimately even in death he always put others first. Now it doesn't get much better than that does it?

Here I've decided to give you a couple of videos, the excellently old school Hollywood trailed and also a track entitled it's a wonderful life by the sadly missed Sparklehorse

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Advent Day 17: Christmas With The Boss

Who's in charge of Christmas? Who's job is it to make sure everything runs on time? Who's the boss you might say?

Well i'm reliably informed that Santa Claus is coming to town shortly, but until then are we all just happy to let Bruce be in charge? Good so it's agreed

RIP Clarence Clemons on the HO HO HO's

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Advent Day 16: A Boyfriend For Christmas

Sadly iconic British Film Director Ken Russel, who died last month, has seen his last Christmas, but he has left plenty of cinematic gifts to us all.Whilst Russell's 'Ein Kitten Fur Hitler' in which a Jewish son delivers a gift-wrapped cat to the Fuhrer in a bid to temper his despotism, is a Christmas film of sorts, I've instead opted for The Boy Friend (1971). Russel's surreal take on the Sandy Wilson musical.

Advent Day 15: Mid-December Present

So a bit of a variety to the advent format, as today is as close as you can get to the middle of December we've decided to let you open one of your presents early (don't ever say we aren't good to you, though perhaps don't tell your mother she'll come round our house and tell us off for encouraging you to scream till you get that new bike a week early rather than the magical Christmas morning scene she'd envisaged!)

So what's your present you ask? Why it's a free brand new previously unreleased track by us for your downloading pleasure. It's a demo of a track called Dear Whiskey that we recorded when trying out tracks for our second album Twin Beds downstairs at Hall Place Studios. We never actually got round to doing a full studio version of it but we liked the song enough to not want it to go to waste.

So here you go, it's our Jonny's version of an old fashioned drinking song! We hope you enjoy it, and if you do tell your friends...

P.S. Don't worry we have saved your main present till Christmas, we're not terrible people after all...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Best 20(of)11, From 20 to 11

So every year, being the super cool guy I am, I (Sam) compile a list of my favourite albums of the year and feel compelled to tell the world about it. I'm sure you're not necessarily interested but I thought i'd stick it here just so I have a record when I come to look back on this list in years to come.

So here we go with the first part of my albums of the year from numbers 20 to 11.

A short disclaimer to begin these are purely the opinions of me they do not reflect the opinions of the rest of the band and are based entirely on albums I have heard, I can't possibly comment on any other records which I have not heard (though I imagine Wilco, Slow Club and Los Campesinos are all pretty good)

Number 20
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical

Number 19
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
Helplessness Blues

Number 18
The Vaccines- What Did You Expect From The Vaccines
What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

Number 17
Radiohead - The King Of Limbs
The King of Limbs
Number 16
My Morning Jacket - Circuital

Number 15
Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
Ashes & Fire

Number 14
Wye Oak - Civilian

Number 13
The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
The Big Roar

Number 12
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Bon Iver
Number 11
Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!
Build A Rocket Boys!

In traditional style i'll continue this run down giving greater detail on the album as we go, leading up to a grand reveal of just what I believe to be the best record of the year...exciting eh?

Advent Day 14: My Christmas Jacket

Christmas is a well known time for getting "the blues" with the freezing weather, rubbish television and general culture void kicking it it's easy to see why a man might wanna howl!

However the return of the jolly present bringing fatman is surely not bad news? The way Yim Yames is belting this out he certainly doesn't sound happy to see St Nick!

What he lacks in Christmas cheer he more than makes up for in a wonderful rendition of the Leiber/Stoller penned track made famous by none other than Elvis Presley...Thankya Very Much

My Morning Jacket may be the hardest working band in Christmas song having recently put out a christmas collection that's available on itunes now

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Advent Day 13: Ring A Ding Ding

Is this good? Awful? I'm really not sure...I know a few things about it though, it's incredibly camp, quite tongue in cheek and a lot of fun

As a way to introduce your solo career it's very different, and when you're stepping away from a band as successful and "cool" as The Strokes it's pretty risky to come out with something with such a high novelty value.

Brave, interesting and different...and more than anything incredibly festive. So in the end good on you Jules...

Monday, 12 December 2011

Advent Day 12: The Gift That Keeps Giving

This is just brilliant, simply by calling his Christmas EP "Atheist Xmas EP" Gruff has caused a whole heap of people to not only decry Mr.Rhys himself a miserable git who can't understand Christmas, but to rant whole heatedly about atheists in general.

The youtube comments alone make this a worthy inclusion...personal favourites were someone telling Gruff to slash his wrists because atheists offer nothing to the world, and backing it up by claiming that Atheism killed 200,000,000 people

Gruff sure knows how to get a reaction!

What he's actually produced is a stunningly sad tale that should be equally moving to Atheists and Theists alike, can't we all just get along?

Gruff's EP is available from his website now

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Advent Day 11: Christmas Is All About The Cash

There's nothing quite like The Johnny Cash show on tv now, it had pretty much every great musician of the time on it over the years. The like of Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis all appeared with The Man In Black over the years.

The Christmas specials are particularly homely, and I personally like to believe that this is actually just Johnny Cash inviting his friends round for some food and a sing song. I've been looking through quite a few of them and the 1970 show featuring the Everly Brother, Roy Orbison seems a pretty good place to start.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Advent Day 10: Silent Fright

(Baby) It's cold outside...and who has the voice that sounds like they've been out in the cold smoking and shivering for multiple years straight? Why it's Tom Waits!

Tom's previously tackled Christmas in his classic track "Christmas Card From A Hooker" in Minneapolis" but that's not exactly full of the festive cheer. This however is a whole different kettle of fish, it's got horns, a choir and everything...and it's just wonderful.

So everyone sleep in heavenly peace as Tom lulls you off to some very weird dreams indeed!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Advent Day 9: Ziggy Stardust and The Christmas From Mars

Ever wondered what would happen if Mr White Christmas met The Thin White Duke, well it turns out something wonderful, magical and only once in a lifetime. The incredible lack of chemistry between these two titans of song isn't the kind of thing that you can throw together, sometimes two stars align and this just happens!

What am I talking about? A truely classic Christmas tv moment where Bowie meet Bing, it really is quite something!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

8th: The Boy From The Arab Strap

I learnt an interesting fact about Christmas trees today, the worlds most expensive Christmas tree is in Abu Dhabi, I assume this is just a large part of Abu Dhabi's plan to make every answer to the questions "where's the worlds most expensive..." be Abu Dhabi.

The relevance of this well Abu Dhabi is in the United Arab Emirates and Aidan Moffat was in Arab Strap (oh yes people it's that tenuous!)

For those to young to know about Arab Strap they were a wonderful Scottish band composed of Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton too people who've gone to find some success going solo and are frankly legends of the Indie Christmas effort. From Malcolm's effort to become Christmas number one with the festive smash-hit "We're All Gonna Die" to Aidan's numerous efforts to extend his rich brogue to various Christmas EP's.

The Latest effort from Aidan Moffat entitled "Oh! What a Not So Silent Night Before Christmas" is available from his bandcamp HERE and features a cover of Last Christmas as well as his take on the classic The Night Before Christmas (sample lyric: "two fat to move i let him just lie there hoping to fuck that he wouldn't just die there, what a surprise for the kids that would be a drunken dead Santa under the tree")

This video is a previous effort from the Aidan Moffat & The Best Ofs project entitled "Plastic Mistletoe" a tale with his usual mix of unglamorous descriptions of booze, snogging and longing.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

7th: Carols From (the) King

So I set out thinking i'd avoid all cliched Christmas moments, find something truly original everyday and blow your minds...I was wrong!

Sometimes you just have to sit back and appreciate something wonderful for what it is, when it comes to Christmas songs occasionally the tried, tested and tremendous is the way to go.

How many great novels address Christmas time and bring up the name Nat King Cole? Well at least one I read for starters. He for me is the voice of Christmas, the wonderful, crackly, ancient recordings with sweeping strings are just so warming and soothing, what more could you want at this time of year?

Just a plain and simple classic

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

6th: Snow Club

Many moons ago we played a gig at the Hi-Fi club with a wonderful duo by the name of Slow Club, they've gone on to great things since becoming part of the Moshi Moshi club and releasing a couple of albums to massed critical claim and a decent amount of commercial success to boot.

In the midst of that they found time to release a frankly wonderful Christmas EP called "Christmas Thanks For Nothing" this sense of bah humbug is perfectly apt for the early part of December before the Christmas cheer hits those of us who aren't quite happy to be seeing the tree's go up at the start of October!

For me the stand out track on this ep was the excellent Christmas TV, a beautiful plea for a lover to fail to get away for Christmas and be forced back to your place to entwine in front of the best festive offerings from Auntie Beeb.

Monday, 5 December 2011

5th: Well as it's Snowing...

A blanket of the white stuff is apparently hitting the country as I type (not that you'd know it in London where it's just blinking freezing and lacking in precipitation of any kind) not often we actually get Snow in December is it?

So time for the ultimate version of arguably the ultimate christmas song from (imho) without a doubt the single greatest Christmas film ever made. Try and listen to it without picturing a young Macaulay Culkin heading off to the shops to stock up on supplies having been deserted in in hour of festive need.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

4th: God Rest Ye...

One of the more well known alternative Christmas albums of recent years was Bright Eyes 2002 "A Christmas Album" featuring an array of special guests doing takes on "The Classics", one of the better known takes is Conor singing "Blue Christmas" which numerous bloggers have referenced for its infamous misery inducing properties.

A personal favourite from the album is this though, again with Conor on vocal duties this an altogether more lively affair and features the wonderfully unlikely out of character occurrence that is Bright Eyes wishing us tidings of comfort and joy

Saturday, 3 December 2011

3rd: What A Wonderful World

I've been researching this people (challenging a natural scrooge like myself to find 25 festive things that they enjoy was always going to be optimistic off the top of my head) I was absolutely convinced somewhere i'd seen Nick Cave singing a Christmas song.

Research through up 3 songs with the word Christmas in for starters but I can't seem to find any audio files to back this up.

However on my youtube adventure, I stumbled across this gem, which whilst not entirely festive in content is definitely seasonal enough to bring a smile to anyone's face.

A collaboration between Nick Cave & Shane MacGowan (The Pogues) on one of my favourite crooner hits What A Wonderful World that's every bit as boozy, slurry and brilliant as you'd imagine that would be....enjoy

Thursday, 1 December 2011

2nd: The Great White Silence

So yes technically you might argue The Great White Silence isn't in anyway festive, but you know i'm going out on a bit of an artistic whim here. There's a lot of snow ok and everyone likes snow at Christmas yes? So we're agreed it can be part of the seasonal run down, excellent glad we cleared that up!

So here's a video about how one person went about scoring the ancient footage that makes up the absolutely wonderful film The Great White Silence that the BFI recently remastered and we really do recommend you pick up a copy, it'll change your life (perfect Christmas gift i'd say more evidence it should appear in this run down!) in fact why not get one from the BFI Filmstore

Anyway here's a trailer, it's just stunning