December 21, 2013 by Robb Powell
So the 25th is nearly upon us, the trees are out and the houses are lit up as if to guide passengers flying home for Christmas astray. So with my humbuggery Santa hat on I will ask one thing. Do you know who makes more money at this time of year than the electricity companies who supply so such decorated houses? Record labels!
No, it’s not through the ever increasing pool of talent that flows past its brim each coming year but with the repeated monotony of glories past.
So let’s add a Dickensian theme…
Let’s say Scrooge worked for a distribution company. Not allowing grace for new talent he lives off of others music around the time of year. He lives with the hits he made and exploited years ago. A fresh face comes to him offering new talent for this Christmas period. Ol’ Bobby is right behind the new act and he urges Scrooge to take the new sound so the profits made on the new signing will help poor old Timmy.
Scrooge declines whilst lighting a cigar. End Scene.
Visit 1: ghost of Christmas Hits past: the visit begins as it was at the start, fresh faced from younger days Scrooge is out there seeking acts and loving every second. Meeting people and having a very merry time indeed. Acts begin to come out with new songs of cheer and goodwill to all. Scrooge gets his cut from his services and embraces the life ahead.
Visit 2: ghost of Christmas Hits present: Scrooge is taken to see people still buying the songs, some as they were and others covered by new artists. The variation is still enough for him to play it safe and not risk losses on any new artists. People aren’t necessarily dancing in wonderment to what they are hearing but they’re singing along anyway.
Visit 3: ghost of Christmas Hits future: Timmy’s hung himself via the tinsel from the tree. He had managed to overcome all struggles and illnesses to be a bright and charming young man but the constant yearly barrage of repeats allowed depression to overwhelm him, as it did for over half the population in London that year. It was a quiet, solemn Christmas that year and through the mournful streets little could be heard. Except a low buzzing whisper of Cliff Richard through a broken radio.
Scrooge wakes the next day and signs more acts as he realised the fatalities of that vision would affect his future gross income. Ok, so maybe that was a bit dark but what I’m trying to say is (to anyone with any influence) why on earth are no new Christmas songs being aired? Nothing brought me more joy in the Christmas period than when I heard Corey Taylor’s Xmas release a few years ago. It was funny, catchy and most of all, it was new! Almost like a present that I got to open/hear before the day itself and because it was NEW I paid more attention and loved every last beat!
And you can’t say the new stuff isn’t out there because I know for a fact that the radiant Rebecca Madden has one as well as myself. So there’s just two for a start. And we’re less than an eighth of a percent of the musical population. So with a new year ahead let’s hope to find some new jingles for our families to get merry to next Christmas.
A huge thanks to James Kirby for another absolutely brilliant article. I asked for something from him because I’d got a few original Christmas songs to share in a post and reading the above really hit the nail on the head with the way things currently are. Here are 10 of those songs just for starters…
1. CHRISTMAS LIST by THE SCHOLARS
This band never cease to astound me with their superb output! They are probably one of the most featured bands on this blog (and my podcasts when I recorded them more regularly although there are a few others who appear about as often). Christmas List was written and produced by Adrian and Chris because like me, Jim and countless other music fans out there, we are so sick to the back teeth of hearing the same old tired rubbish year in year out.
As can be expected from The Scholars, it is a somewhat moody song but you know what, it has something those tired old rhymes don’t – it is actually bloody good! And original. It is a free download so go grab it and add it to your new indie Christmas song compilation. Share it with EVERYONE too please. Following a request for songs for a Christmas Special from one of the hosts of a show on Northampton’s local community radio station Inspiration FM I forwarded the link to the free download so it should get a play on her pre-recorded Christmas special next week.
2. NUTHIN’ ELESE TO GIVE (MERRY CHRISTMAS) by JAMES KIRBY
3. MELT AWAY by REBECCA MADDEN
4. CHRISTMAS BISCUITS by MARK GEARY & GLEN HANSARD
Mark Geary was phenomenal as the first main artist I saw at my first ever Sofa Sessions gig last month. Together with Glen Hansard they have released Christmas Biscuits wholly in aid of the charity St Vincent de Paul. It is a cracking song and with ALL proceeds going to the charity let’s hear those clicks now please folks. Just 99p (GBP). Click >>here<< to do just that.
5. IT FEELS LIKE CHRISTMAS (NOW) by LAYERS featuring RICHIE SEXWOLF
6. CHRISTMAS BELLS/JINGLE BELLS by BELLOWHEAD
The Telegraph hail them as ‘one of the most exciting live bands in Britain’ and even having not seen them live myself I would have to agree with this. Such is the reputation that goes before this gigantic folk juggernaut.
This double A side Christmas single follows the three successful singles released from their top 20 album Broadside (released October 2012 and winner of the Best Album BBC Radio 2 Folk Award). As a huge Game of Thrones geek, I love the fact the song is based on the mummers play (see the common phrase, ‘a mummer’s farce’ from the A Song OF Ice And Fire book series) called ‘Christmas: his Pageant Play, or Mysterie of St George‘. This was published as far back as 1842 and written by a Mr H Slight. Its clear traditional roots, linking up Father Christmas with the tale of St George and the Dragon make it a perfect match for Bellowhead who work wonders in this genre.
7. CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE by MARY GAUTHIER
8. SNOW (DON’T TELL THE TRUTH THIS CHRISTMAS) by TELLISON
9. SNOWFALL (FEAT. HEART OF A DOG) by PORT ISLA
10. THE 25TH DECEMEBER by NED THE KIDS DYLAN
COME HITHER, THERE’S MORE…
Soundcloud is one of many ways I find new music these days. To be honest I am bombarded with it from every direction of the interweb but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Although naturally I cannot help missing a fair bit with the sheer volume. I try and go back to see what has passed me by but as you are well aware from my constant complaining, there are not enough free hours in the day to get through it all.
Anyway, rambling pretty again aren’t I? Rambling and moaning. Let’s cut the story to the music and here’s a wee collection of wonderful Christmas stuff I’ve found via Soundcloud very recently:
Then there are those covers which are reworked so wonderfully like Sean Taylor‘s real beautiful and bluesy version of Silent Night just for one example:
SILENT NIGHT by SEAN TAYLOR
A FREE CHRISTMAS EP FROM BEN GRANT
I don’t hide how I’m not really one for Christmas songs to be honest. However, this lot and more have really altered my whole perception. Really loving this trio from Ben Grant too, particularly and probably most surprisingly to myself, O Come All ye Faithful. It makes me want to dance! Great stuff.
LAST CHRISTMAS by SOUND HUB RECORDS
This track features (in order of appearance)
I Set The Sea on Fire
Jasper in the Company of Others
James Warner Prophecies
Three Minute Heist
These Mortal Cities
Last year Sound Hub worked their magic on Do They Know It’s Christmas raising over £1000 for Help The Homeless. Well done guys. The download of this year’s Last Christmas is initially FREE but there is a suggestion to donate at least £1. Just a wee little £1 and ALL proceeds will be going to British Heart Foundation.
IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER by TREVOR MOSS & HANNAH-LOU
LET IT SNOW by GEORGE EZRA
Well that’s a nice bumper collection to keep you sorted until the big day is over, right? Let’s finish by sharing something that had me in stitches when I came across it earlier in the week…Merry Christmas to you all….all that remains for me to say is: