Monthly Archives: December 2011

In which I suck at deadlines…

I wish I could say that I’d planned this, that I was still closed for Christmas, but I wasn’t. I was just still celebrating.

I have listened to Cancer Bats. I just haven’t reviewed them yet.

I have also just been gotten into Awkward Zombie comics by the lovely ladyfriend, and that hasn’t helped. I have books, I have TV, and there is alcohol aplenty – all thanks to the solstice season. So I will tell you what I think of this modern metal album before the year is out. Until then I hope you can forgive me.

What I've been wasting my time on. This and MAUS.

Christmas Closures

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Oh. Maybe not, then…

On The Last Day of Solstice…

A blogger gave to me!

To fully enjoy the Solstice season, you have to get a long run up to it. So, to get you into the Solstice spirit in the last few weeks before Ground Zero, allow me to share with you some awesome festive albums. Every night until Christmas Eve, I will be recommending a Christmassy themed album for your pleasure. Well, not all of them will be Christmassy, but all of them will be awesome; and filling your days with awesome music will be enough.

***

The last day of this wonderful little charade, and I feel this has gone swimmingly so far. The only problem is that since its inception, I’ve actually thought of/found new albums that are worthy of a mention. But they can wait ’til next year, I guess. For now, what I want is for you to close your eyes, relax, and think back to the end of October. You remember the ghouls and ghosts that harangued you? The werewolves that mauled you? The zombies that flailed pointlessly at you? Now, what are they all up to this festive season?

Why, Jack Skellington is marshalling them, to bring you another holiday treat!

God, that came out sounding cheesy...

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is my favourite christmas movie ever, and that is in no small part due to the awesome soundtrack, as composed by Danny Elfman. “What’s This?” “Jack’s Obsession” and “Jack’s Lament” are all such great songs. And for some reason, despite being based around skeletons and boogeymen and creepy chorals and scare chords, the album captures something of christmas better than nearly anything else I could think of.

So, sit down a while; put the album on

If you haven’t, well it’s time you begun.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little series, and I hope that you are having a Merry Solsticetime. Saturnalia, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever. Have fun, and raise a glass or two for me and for anyone else you know. Cheers!

There's nothing in it. Click it anyway.

On The Eleventh Day of Solstice…

A blogger gave to me!

To fully enjoy the Solstice season, you have to get a long run up to it. So, to get you into the Solstice spirit in the last few weeks before Ground Zero, allow me to share with you some awesome festive albums. Every night until Christmas Eve, I will be recommending a Christmassy themed album for your pleasure. Well, not all of them will be Christmassy, but all of them will be awesome; and filling your days with awesome music will be enough.

A couple of questions for you. Do you like Christmas Carols? And do you like HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos? If your answered yes to both of those questions, you’ll love this. If you said no, or “what’s that?” to either of them, then you’re almost guaranteed to be pretty confused at this next suggestion – “A Very Scary Solstice”, and the predictably-titled follow up album “An Even Scarier Solstice”.

The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society regales us with festive tunes, true. But those old lyrics about praising Jesus sound stuffy when compared to those celebrating a much more awesome, believable, interesting and non-euclidean deity.

I do love these albums. They’re very funny, very scary, and if you only, ONLY, want christmassy tunes, then tune out the words – the carols are expertly sung, and very festive otherwise. Except “Death to the World”. That’s just creepy.

As you can see, this turn for the creepy is here to stay.

I thought it would be fun.

The Hang of Music: Echoes and echoes and echoes…

I would never usually try to review an album, listening to it on my laptop without a proper sound system. But I’m under the hammer, and these cans are Fenders, baby!

Also not helpful is my dad blasting Elbow, Broken Family Band and Show of Hands in the front. But I’ve got it tuned out with urban blues. Because really, that’s the best description I can find for The Coral.

Ladies and Gentlemen, “Roots & Echoes”.

Read the rest of this entry

On The Tenth Day of Solstice…

A blogger gave to me!

To fully enjoy the Solstice season, you have to get a long run up to it. So, to get you into the Solstice spirit in the last few weeks before Ground Zero, allow me to share with you some awesome festive albums. Every night until Christmas Eve, I will be recommending a Christmassy themed album for your pleasure. Well, not all of them will be Christmassy, but all of them will be awesome; and filling your days with awesome music will be enough.

***

HAPPY SOLSTICE!

Yes, today is the actual solstice! Any farmers out there, you’re through the worst of it. Those of you who have to wake up early in the morning, more sunlight for you! Anyone scientists using the parallax method to track the position of the stars, get back to work! Now is your busiest time of year!

To celebrate, ring the solstice bells!

Jethro Tull, probably most famous for their shout-out on “Friends”*, have an awesome album, and on this album they actually have a song devoted to the solstice. Considering the insistent terminology I’ve been using, this is a must.

Celebrate getting closer to the sun once more!

* Which can’t even be found on youtube. Damn! You can find anything on youtube, except apparently Jethro Tull jokes.

On The Ninth Day of Solstice…

A blogger gave to me!

To fully enjoy the Solstice season, you have to get a long run up to it. So, to get you into the Solstice spirit in the last few weeks before Ground Zero, allow me to share with you some awesome festive albums. Every night until Christmas Eve, I will be recommending a Christmassy themed album for your pleasure. Well, not all of them will be Christmassy, but all of them will be awesome; and filling your days with awesome music will be enough.

***

Taking a turn for the creepy again, at least in terms of christmas songs, the next album that I recommend to you is “Witness”, by the folk band* Show of Hands.

This is a great album, and I would recommend it on it’s own merits. But it also has the one of the most subtly creepy Christmas songs I’ve ever heard.** “Innocent’s Song/Gwythian” is… special.

* Are you guys tired of folk yet? No? Good.

** If you’re thinking they haven’t been creepy enough yet, the next few albums are going to become a lot less subtle.

On The Eighth Day of Solstice…

A blogger gave to me!

To fully enjoy the Solstice season, you have to get a long run up to it. So, to get you into the Solstice spirit in the last few weeks before Ground Zero, allow me to share with you some awesome festive albums. Every night until Christmas Eve, I will be recommending a Christmassy themed album for your pleasure. Well, not all of them will be Christmassy, but all of them will be awesome; and filling your days with awesome music will be enough.

***

Now that we’ve swam as deeply as we can in the murky pools of metal, lets ease ourselves out with some more Rock and/or Roll. So, time for Led Zeppelin then.

Now really, I could fit this in like Queen – good music, everyone loves them, etc. But that’s not why it’s here. If you haven’t noticed, so far I’ve been trying to establish a motif. A motif of leafy pagan winters and of the otherworldly eeriness therein. And if anyone is in the know about pagan goddesses, it’s all about the Lady who Knows.

Oh, and on Christmas day, we should all air guitar along to the intro to Black Dog. We just *should*.

On The Seventh Day of Solstice…

A blogger gave to me!

To fully enjoy the Solstice season, you have to get a long run up to it. So, to get you into the Solstice spirit in the last few weeks before Ground Zero, allow me to share with you some awesome festive albums. Every night until Christmas Eve, I will be recommending a Christmassy themed album for your pleasure. Well, not all of them will be Christmassy, but all of them will be awesome; and filling your days with awesome music will be enough.

***

Ah, my personal favourite way to celebrate the Christmas, New Year, Solstice period: comedy metal.

Psychostick are, I must say, absolutely hilarious. I have not a bad word to say about them. They exhibit a staple of good comedy music – i.e. the music is good. This would be good metal on it’s own, but the hilariously out of place lyrics, such as “you’re an ORANGE! FULL OF VITAMIN C!” and “This is not a song, it’s a sandwich! Why would you think otherwise?” are, for me, the icing on a bloody cake of metal and guitars.

Likewise, “The Flesh Eating Rollerskate Holiday Joyride” is no less an epic album of epicness. Even if you don’t usually like metal, it’s worth a listen, even if it’s just for the gratuitous threats of bodily violence in their own unique version of “Jingle Bells”. Seriously.

“Ring-a-ling hear them ring, jolly and brutal
escape from this very merry medley is futile!”

On The Sixth Day of Solstice…

A blogger gave to me!

To fully enjoy the Solstice season, you have to get a long run up to it. So, to get you into the Solstice spirit in the last few weeks before Ground Zero, allow me to share with you some awesome festive albums. Every night until Christmas Eve, I will be recommending a Christmassy themed album for your pleasure. Well, not all of them will be Christmassy, but all of them will be awesome; and filling your days with awesome music will be enough.

***

Time for the album that has my FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS SONG EVER. You may notice that a lot of these albums are just (good) albums with a cool Christmas/Solstice themed song on them. And yes, that is, in part, true. Tomorrow’s album will be different, but today is very much an example of that.

That’s because today’s album, The Pogues’ “If I Should Fall From Grace of God”, has “Fairytale of New York” on it, and if I had to listen to a Christmas song, on repeat, all year round, this would be it.

I’m not going to elaborate on why it’s my favourite festive song, beyond it’s the only one I know that contains the words “scumbag” and “faggot”. I hasten to add, as well, that I love the rest of the album – “Thousands are Sailing” nearly makes me cry, whereas Galway Races nearly makes me dance – but that one song makes up for 50 years of cheap, kitsch, happy-clappy “what presents shall I get this year?” Christmas music being piped into supermarkets all over the world.

Well, not quite. But almost.