Coda’s Ultimate Christmas Playlist

So we’re feeling rather Christmassy here at Coda so I thought I’d put together a little playlist to also get you in the mood for the festive season! It’s a mixture of Christmas classics along with some alternative options that you may not have heard. It may be Christmas but we’re always on the look out for new music. 😉 Enjoy!

Find the playlist on spotify here.

Track listing:

1. Santa Baby – Michael Buble 

Mr Christmas himself, I think we can all agree that it isn’t Christmas until we hear this beautiful man’s sultry voice.

2. White Christmas – Bing Crosby

3. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

 4. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses 

Probably the most underrated Christmas song of all time and it’s one of my favourites. Sarcastic and witty, yet still festive.

5. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams

6. Christmas TV – Slow Club

Such a pretty little song and can be enjoyed all year round. Slow Club’s Christmas EP is definitely worth a listen.

7. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Dean Martin 

8. Last Christmas – Wham

9. Christmas Time – The Darkness

10. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – The Polyphonic Spree

So the John Lennon version wasn’t on spotify, but never fear as the Polyphonic Spree’s cover is just as good and with a few interesting subtle differences to the original.

11. It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop – Frightened Rabbit

12. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid

13. I Wish It Was Christmas Today – Julian Casablancas

So this song sounds like it was written in about twenty minutes, it’s definitely not Julian’s finest work but it’s a nice little Christmas tune.

14. Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues

15. My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year) – Regina Spektor

16. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes

So not a Christmas song as such, but I personally don’t start feeling truly Christmassy until I’ve listened to this at least 20 times.

17. Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade

18. The Christmas Song – The Raveonettes 

19. The Christmas Waltz – She & Him 

Zoey Deschanel’s musical side project ‘She & Him’ have released a Christmas album with some nice little songs on it. Zoey’s voice is cutesy and quaint, which is perfect for this time of year.

20. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Dean Martin 

21. Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea

22. Christmas at the Zoo – The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips have always been a bit odd, but I really like this little number about setting animals free on Christmas eve. Cute!

23. Stay Another Day – East 17

So again, it’s not strictly a Christmas song, but everyone knows it’s not Christmas until you switch to a music channel and see the East 17 boys covered in fake snow.

24. Step Into Christmas – Elton John

25. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard

Other good Christmas songs that Spotify didn’t want you to hear:

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FOREIGN FEATURE – iceland

Where is it possible to find truly
 original music? Folk music used to be the signature of nations – each style, story and allegory meaningful to a homeland. Today, it’s hard to find an equivalent in a world of recycled beats and processed lyricism. Iceland – with its underwhelming population of nearly half of London – seems to have an answer.  Scandinavian music has always been an epicentre of the abstract and the stylized, and the mysticism of its lonely landscapes has been reflected in folk music and culture spanning all generations. Artists like Bjork have found success in the mainstream music industry, proving that the international taste for European tunes hasn’t died down. In modern times, however, foreign musicians struggle to break out of the strange hold that the need for English music and English words has forced upon them. Iceland is a perfect Babylon for the untouched – musicians have a beautiful language native language to work with, and it’s sad to see the need for foreign music decrease. Arguably, Sigur Ros has provided the most publicity for Iceland, remaining staunch in its style and refusing to sweep its cultural learning’s under the carpet.

Sigur Ros – The obvious one – where would emotional advertisements be without Hoppipolla? Sigur Ros paints a portrait of Icelandic life with grace and class, from the frantic Gobbledigook to the inward looking Saeglopur.  Jonsi provides the angelic, higher pitched vocals (Jonsi proves his range with his solo project) which gives Sigur ros their memorable signature. The Icelandic language is easily explorable with this band – it’s refreshing to hear something that sounds entirely different to western basic languages like English. Sigur Ros even created their own language – “Hopelandic” – in an effort to create more mystery surrounding the ultimate meaning of the tracks.  Always fascinating, always daydream worthy.

Jonsi – Those looking for something with a little more substance or want to explore the Icelandic language in music further will find Jonsi’s solo project more engaging. He moves far away from the post-rock, airy style of Sigur Ros and finds originality in his frantic tempo, tinkering noises and fairy-folk that reflects the positive nature of his work.  It’s incredibly difficult to not smile at his songs – like Sigur Ros, they paint the landscape of Iceland
 built like a fairytale under cold but homely skies. Also his piano-centric tracks are beautiful pieces of work, not to be ignored in the lieu of his more vibrant singles.

MĂșm – Experimental, post-rock influences and floating vocals influence this band – the combination of glitching and folksy instruments provides a bittersweet (but always delightful to the ears), mellow sound.  Mum is truly only venturable for those who have a taste for the bizarre, adventurous and escapist side of music. Post-rock is a difficult genre to find a taste for, but Mums song Sing-Along provides a nice change from the avant garde they have produced before.

Seabear – If you want to just dip your toes into Icelandic styles, Seabear provides a quiet respite from the cultural nature of Sigur Ros. Seabear still retains the key styles that makes Icelandic music so endearing to the soul. They never overstates themselves – they simply let the music do the talking
 Occasionally reminiscent of early Elliot Smith work, Seabear is for the quintessential folk lover and easy to enjoy.

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Bombay Bicycle Club – Live Review

After seeing Bombay Bicycle Club twice before, both over the summer, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I counted down to the 11th October, where I would be seeing them at the O2 Academy Oxford.

The first time I saw them was their headlining set at Underage Festival, on the 5th of August. Despite only having a 45 minute set, I was particularly impressed with how they played the songs that I did know. The songs from their new album, none of which they had released except ‘Shuffle’, slightly bored me. Perhaps this was because they had such a different pace to I Had The Blues…, or maybe it’s because I like being able to sing along to every word when I see acts live. When around 1/3 of the songs they played were off an unreleased album, that I had no way of hearing before the evening, I wasn’t too impressed. Still, I went away with high hopes for seeing them at Reading Festival later that month.

I don’t think I can particularly judge their performance at Reading Festival, as I spent most of it isolated from most of my friends searching through the crowd for people we knew. And you know what crowds are like when they think you’re trying to push forward; they will not budge. Again, about 1/3 of their songs were new, and their third album was still yet to be released. Well, at least when I listened to their new album I already recognised quite a few of their songs.

11th October arrived. As we arrived in the venue (The O2 Academy Oxford – which to be honest, isn’t one of my favourites, but at least it keeps some intimacy) we heard the first of the support acts, who I don’t remember the name of and wouldn’t recommend listening to. I was severely disappointed actually, seeing as on the northern dates of their tour, BBC were supported by Dog Is Dead, a fantastic new band I had seen live once before and fallen in love with immediately. I figured that this support act must be on the same level as them, right? Wrong. We stayed sat down. The second support act were slightly more enjoyable, but perhaps that was just because we decided to secure a good spot in the crowd and were therefore forced to pay them more attention. Well, some attention. We were distracted by the 14 year old girls dancing near us like they were in an under 18’s club. I’ll say no more. 

Finally, Bombay Bicycle Club came on stage, and frankly, I was blown away. They oozed charisma like never before, and the crowd were brilliant. They opened with Shuffle, played a lot of A Different Kind Of Fix (which I enjoyed a lot more now since I had actually given the album a listen when hearing the songs live), a few songs from Flaws, and many songs from the eternally brilliant I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose. There’s nothing like standing in a crowd where everyone knows every word to every song. Most people even sang along to the guitar riffs. Brilliant. You could tell that the band enjoyed themselves, which I hadn’t seen at their festival performances, adding even more energy to the crowd. We were even treated to Open House, from one of their earliest EP’s, which really was a joy to hear live for any long term BBC fan, and is probably a song they won’t play live again outside of this tour.

(Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos that night, but here’s Bombay Bicycle Club in 2008. Check Jack’s hair.)

The encore was the perfect way to end their performance. After ‘ending’ on The Giantess (merged with the instrumental of Emergency Contraceptive Blues), the band left the stage to many cheers of an encore. A tense few minutes followed, where I was convinced they would continue with an encore but it seemed less likely by the second. Finally, Jack appeared, alone at the piano, where he performed a beautiful rendition of Still. But no, they didn’t just end it on that – the whole band joined for the final song, which happens to be my favourite Bombay Bicycle Club song of all time, What If. It was excellent, they were excellent, and the entire evening was… excellent.

I would strongly recommend seeing Bombay Bicycle Club live, but definitely on tour rather than at a festival. This way, not only do you get to hear around 10 more songs, the crowd are generally better and the whole performance is much more intimate. After seeing them in Oxford, I couldn’t resist buying tickets for their April tour, and I think you do too!

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WU LYF – GO TELL FIRE TO THE MOUNTAIN REVIEW

The highly anticipated debut from the reclusive Manchurians, giving the new wave of Manchester scene a twist from the egos and personalities of the eighties and nineties comes with a very strong wave of hype behind the band. Yet maybe they are the same as the rest – they barely played outside of Manchester before the release, with the world having only just discovered their names shows you that they are all about the music, and frankly the mystery adds to the bands celestial sounds and tongues-like vocals. Can hiding ones faces and singing with your back to the stage in an attempt the remove the individual from the collective brilliance of their music, in actuality be the same swagger and confidence of Curtis and Hook, Morrissey and Marr, Brown and Squire, Gallagher and Gallagher and the rest? Even with their “disregard” for Manchester’s legacy.

WU LYF or World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation has unleashed a new level of primal romanticism on the musical world.  The clean instrumentals, particularly the resonation of the high guitar sections give the music its other worldly beauty. In the case of the organ on L Y F the album wouldn’t be out of place if played in a church, so long as they removed the “Lucifer” from their name. Throughout the album these instrumentals give the listener a chance to feel exhilaration beyond the self in an expanse of sound showing the seemingly celestial origins of the music. This can be best appreciated on Such A Sad Puppy Dog and Dirt, both of which are full of resonance that cuts through the soul. Not that they are the exceptional compared to the album as a whole.

Combining the strongly contrasting primal otherworldly elation of the vocals and indecipherable lyrics with the clean perfect underlying instrumentals works in harmony and gives WU LYF a very strong defined sound. One which they don’t stray from on Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, but they have no reason to have too diverse a sound when that sound is so perfectly pulled off throughout the album. Although it has been said that Ellery Roberts’ voice is off putting, being so indecipherable and so far from the norm – which takes away from the bands beautiful playing. The accessibility and vibrancy of the instrumentation balances the composition out to a pint where the vocals are in no way unlistenable.

Clearly, WU LYF’s doubters have missed the beauty of the “tongues” like ambiguity of the vocals giving them a mystique as though of a higher spirituality, which WU LYF have enabled us to glimpse. Having lyrics which are less clearly universally understood or themed (other than We Bros about brotherhood) may give the listener more from a song emotively than one which has been clearly defined to mean it certain thing – in other works the listener can derive whatever they want from its ambiguity. With 14 Crowns For Me And Your Friends song which builds into a crescendo for four minutes the lyrics themselves do not take you in, but by the sound of the voice itself and the ecstatic jangle of the guitar. Not differing from the most downbeat sing in the record, Such A Sad Puppy Dog.

There is a slight problem with two of the songs to the end of the record, Concrete Gold and Heavy Pop, but because they were both brilliant – at least the singles released before they had been rerecorded for the album that is. The album versions are still particularly good; it’s just comparatively it’s a bit disappointing to hear a lesser version on the final product.  The original version of Heavy Pop is an exceptionally powerful song, the best WU LYF have released and it is a real shame if it is not listened too – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yW73ENT3w0.

The energy WU LYF are unable to contain, a ferocity that must be screamed at the world is an ever present spirit within the album. A soaring expanse of a song, Spitting Blood demonstrates their energy, along with a similarly themed video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDTEhWO2wyo. The same has to be said of Heavy Pop and actually nearly every song come to think of it.  However, WU LYF aren’t ever going to be universally liked, by then the best bands never are, they are doing things differently. WU LYFs passion and want for change – or at less looking at things with a different perspective defines them musically, so it is of little important if people don’t get the music because there is never going to be a time where everyone agrees with a change.

The sense of the new wave, an alternative way of thinking or perceiving that is so clear and ingrained in WU LYF’s music is what makes greatness especially when it is misunderstood. For example the use of Lucifer in their band name – not to show their support of satanism but a presentation of an alternative view which the established good, may deem bad – when maybe it isn’t bad, merely an alternative to the conventional positions held by authority. As done by the original Manchester revolutionaries – Joy Division. WU LYF really do have some depth to the concept of their music, it shall be very interesting to see how they develop.

They are simply a mesmerising listen, full of soaring celestial expanses of sound combined with the exhilarating screaming savagery of the human voice – quite possibly revelatory in nature. A beautiful work to say the least. The birth of “heavy pop” (as they like to call their new genre) has come.

Best Tracks:

  1. Heavy Pop
  2. Such A Sad Puppy Dog
  3. 14 Crowns For Me And My Friends
  4. L Y F
  5. Dirt

Oscar B. Wilson

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THE STONE ROSES: RECURRECTED

The Stone Roses have officially reformed – this cannot be missed even if you think that a legacy should be left alone – it probably should to keep the myth alive for those of us how are under the age of forty. But they have given pretty good reasons to reunite; money problems?, the current state of music today “boring, bland and corporate with nobody saying anything”, and that they are one of the greatest bands of all time – with their debut album widely considered the greatest album of all time.

After years of speculation the moment that has been equally dreaded and wished for at the same time has finally come. The original lineup of Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni announced today (18/10/2011) that they are to play two homecoming gigs at Heaton Park, Manchester on the 29th and 30th of June 2012 before beginning a world tour.

Tickets released at 9:30am on October 21st (THIS FRIDAY) for the first two shows. See The Stone Roses website for more information:

http://www.thestoneroses.org/

The second greatest band of all time, must show that this is not a legacy killer but an epic encapsulation of the magic that is oh so clear on there recordings and must have been even more so back in Manchester during 1989. Everyone has to agree of their brilliance, it’s just whether or not they still have it because it would be disastrous personally, let alone for the group if it did not work out. But they were so great the first time around, who says that they will not be great again, besides they have got a year to rehearse.

A Year in which our anticipation and therefore expectations will be building and building – can they match them, or even top them altogether. There is nothing for it but to wait. Leaving you with a few of their own words: This is the one, I’ve waited for.

Best Five Tracks From The Masterpiece – The Stone Roses (1989):

  1. This Is The One
  2. I Am The Resurrection
  3. Waterfall
  4. I Wanna Be Adored
  5. Shoot Me Down
Other Noteworthy Tracks:
  1. Fool’s Gold – Single and Turns Into Stone (1989)
  2. Love Spreads – Second Coming (1994)
  3. Elephant Stone – Single and Turns Into Stone(1990)
  4. So Young – Single and Garage Flower (1985)
  5. Made Of Stone – The Stone Roses (1989)
Oscar B. Wilson

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Why I Don’t Want The Stone Roses to Reform

Not for the first time this year, and certainly not for the first time since they split, The Stone Roses are allegedly set to reform. Yesterday, The Sun (yes, not the first time that this newspaper have declared a ‘reunion’) announced that The Roses are set to reform, having set up ‘for a series of comeback gigs.’ You may think that this is just mere rumour, and there has been a lot of this in the past, but none have had as much apparent credibility as this one. A high-up music PR has announced a press conference in London to make a ‘very important announcement,’ with a another source stating that ‘It has been a tough few months getting everything sorted out, but the outcome has all the lads smiling again’ [The Sun]. In case you were wondering, this press announcement is set for Tuesday.

But, there is more. Former drummer Alan ‘Reni’ Wren, who has been virtually silent since he left the group in 1995 has contacted the NME with a short message: ‘Not before 9T will I wear the hat 4 the Roses again.’

It is very unusual for a former member not to quash rumours about alleged upcoming reunions outright fairly quickly. This message is not particularly clear, and does not immediately dispel the rumours, depending on which way you look at it. What does ‘9T’ mean? Could it refer to the age of ninety, suggesting Reni will never drum with the group again, or could it be a reference to ‘9am Tuesday?’ Who knows. It is certainly not the usual scorn expressed by John Squire or Ian Brown in these circumstances.

Whatever this all means, I am very uneasy about a serious prospect of the Roses reforming. There is a part of me that would give anything to see one of the finest bands that the world has ever seen perform in real life on stage. But the other part of me, the sensible side, is a little bit more subdued.

Firstly, the band, in the fifteen or so years since they split, have attracted many new fans, gained massive status, and the legend that has come to surround them is beaten by few. This means that a reunion would be placing tremendous pressure on the band’s collective shoulders, plus the fact that they have literally only one chance at a comeback show. If they mess it up, the mystique and phenomenon surrounding them could be damaged, possibly irrecoverably.

Secondly, the thing that no fan wants their disbanded band to do: reconvene for money, and money only. A series of return shows for the band would definitely pay significantly for each member, but for a group that was always more of a gang than a musical party, the original lad’s troop, a reformation just for money would be absolutely heartbreaking.

John Squire has said in the past that a reunion for money would be ‘tragic.’ This, coupled with all the other things that members ‘would rather do’ (I will compile a list one day) than reform the Roses, puts anyone with common sense in the mindset that it would be impossible for them to be onstage with each other again. However, back in April, John and Ian apparently made up at the wake of Mani’s Mother’s funeral, but any hastily suggested possibilities of a regroup were quickly crushed from all sides. That being said, if friendships were rekindled, things could have been set in motion. Mani has maintained that it is just John and Ian that need to sort themselves out, he’s always been up for it.

A reunion will probably destroy the Roses legend of being an amazing band that died a death, that lives on through fans and the music. I would rather it stayed that way, continuing to attract drama, speculation, interest, memorial and the hype of legend, than for them to become ‘just another reformed band.’

It would still be more incredible than words can say to hear the introduction to ‘I Wanna be Adored’ pouring out over a crowd again.

Edit: I think that Mattie Bennett, of ‘Straw,’ sums up my view and feelings perfectly: ‘No. As much as I love The Stone Roses, this will be bad. Nostalgic bullshit. Leave that to Suede and Pulp. Not life changing bands. Their legacy will be destroyed’ [From the NME].

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Velociraptor! – Kasabian

Following the 2009 success of West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Kasabian released their fourth studio album in September this year. It was always going to be difficult for them to produce a good follow up to WRPLA, but they definitely succeeded and produced an album which was a step up.

The album is packed of catchy melodies, memorable guitar riffs and are likely to be massive hits; and if the rumors of them headlining Reading/ Leeds Festival next year turn out to be true, they will be fantastically received by the crowd. The song Switchblade Smiles was the first song to be released by the group, providing a hint of what the new album was going to be like; and Days are Forgotten was the first available single to come from the new album, even making an appearance in the UK top 40 which is such a rarity for rock/ indie artists these days.

Velociraptor! works well as an album because of how the songs flow into one another, and also function independently. This makes the album a good starting point for new fans, and also an album that can be listened to in its entirety. There album is a reminder of the Brit-pop era, with similarities being found between Blur, Oasis, and Pulp. There is definitely the guitar influence from these bands, but with added strings and  orchestral melodies clearly heard in Acid Turkish Bath: mirroring the moves of Blur and the Verve.

Songs worth a listen to from the album include (not in any order):

1. Velociraptor!

2. Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To

3. Days are Forgotten:

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