Nelson Can – ‘On Christmas Night’
One of Alcopop! Records’ new signings for 2017, Nelson Can shower you with festive joy in this Christmas song which combines Los Camp-style hooks with a Lorde-esque layered build-up. The band sing about polar bears, impatient children and a promise that ‘soon the darkness will be long gone’ before – like all the best Christmas songs – a touch of wistful sadness shines through: ‘Light a candle for the ones we love and propose a toast. Raise your glass and nod in the memory of everyone we lost. After this outpouring of emotion, there’s some joyful whistling. It’s a song that focuses on Christmas as both a time to celebrate but also reminisce on the happiest of memories.
Anna Burch – ‘Tea-Soaked Letter’
Currently based in Detroit, Anna Burch is a new signing to Heavenly who is all set to release her debut album early next year. We heard elements of Courtney Barnett in the wickedly witty and occasionally bleak lyrics and Real Estate or Graham Coxon’s solo material in the exemplary guitar work of ‘Tea-Soaked Letter’. The painfully honest song has a rolling narrative and lots of direct lyrics as Anna constantly reminds her subject ‘You’re all I wanted’ while also offering observations on the way she has acted in the past: ‘I forgot to fake the way that I was feeling, I guess that it’s too late now that all my cards are showing’; ‘I feel so alone when everyone in town is overblown so I made a scene. I can’t think of things more embarrassing’.
Living Body – ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’
This cover of Mariah Carey’s classic rounds off a hell of a year for Living Body: they’ve toured across the UK and the States and made appearances at a number of festivals including ArcTanGent. Starting off with a more traditional and anthemic indie sound, this take on Mariah’s song bursts into a joyfully deconstructed math-rock song with Alice Rowan’s syrupy sweet vocals a fine contrast to the smashed drums (and Mariah’s warbling). Despite the way Living Body have pressed the reset button and reworked the song, it still maintains its melodic nature and you’ll end up with that warm festive glow. All profits of the 7” will be donated to the Crisis Intervention & Suicide
Prevention Center of BC in Vancouver (home to the band’s North American label, Kingfisher Bluez) so place your order today
Common Holly – ‘Nothing’
‘If I got you in a room, if I got you to hold still, it would probably be too soon to hold you there against your will…’ The opening lines of Common Holly’s ‘Nothing’ will not fail to leave a mark on you. There’s a Tom Waits-esque darkness running throughout but the DIY feel evokes the sweeter side of The Moldy Peaches. There’s also a fine line in self-depreciation on show: ‘I’ve given you your space and it’s left me here in ruins’. When Common Holly (or Brigitte Naggar to her friends and family) starts to play the piano and sings in a powerful falsetto about how she’s done with reaching out, and how ‘I hope that for your sake the world is done punishing you’, you’ll agree that she is anything but common.
Black Foxxes – ‘Sæla’
Along with The Xcerts, Black Foxxes’ second record is the album we’re most excited about in 2018. ‘Sæla’ (a term that can be roughly translated as happiness) opens with some slacker guitars and finds Mark Holley at his impassioned best as he sings about finding independence: ‘God, I need to move out soon, it’s why I feel so young’. He then recalls his hopes and and explains that dreaming of being on an island with a loved one is the reason ‘why I feel so young again’. More direct than the first album, there’s still some sadness and emotion on display when Mark sings ‘I started to feel fake… it burns like sulphur over a feedback-driven ending.