Friday, December 12, 2014

Ah, hell. Christmas - Part II.

Halfway to Christmas means another crop of Christmas songs. Next on the list, and perhaps the best of the 2014 holiday season, is Marika Hackman's "O' Come, O' Come, Emmanuel," which is actually part of this Christmas compilation, whose profits will benefit breast cancer awareness organization CoppaFeel! The English singer's version of the traditional hymn is stunning, and perhaps the thing that best highlights Hackman's voice to date.

The Christmas offering will cap off approximately two years' worth of build up to Hackman's debut full-length record, We Slept at Last, due Feb. 16 on Dirty Hit. My only gripe with Hackman is nothing to do with her and everything to do with the press release surrounding her upcoming record. From said announcement:

Marika Hackman is an artist who is more likely to quote proto-feminist ghost stories such as the Yellow Wallpaper than align with audience expectations of a woman prepared to “sing a few nice songs with a pretty voice and then forget about it”.

Clearly she’s made of more substance than her contemporaries.

A captivating vocalist and incredibly attractive individual who is more interested in challenging perceptions of what songwriting can or should be in modern times, to bring us a greater sense of truth and understanding of current issues, from the forms of the past.

As her label, is it necessary to point out that she's attractive? Particularly after mentioning that she's got substance and isn't just a pretty girl with a pretty voice? Maybe this sort of press is meant to hark back to her modeling career with Burberry, but it's tiring to alternate between only seeing attractive musicians and hearing it pointed out how surprisingly talented an attractive musician is in spite of being attractive.

Moving on.

These aren't directly applicable to Christmas, but on the topic of fall/winter holidays, Neil Pennycook of Edinburgh's Meursault has been releasing new demos throughout December, under the name Supermoon, and he's calling the whole package a Month of Black Fridays. Made apparent by his hashtag choices on Soundcloud: #Terror, #Sad, Band. There will be an official Supermoon album out on Song, by Toad in 2015. As Toad understands it, anyway.

Finally, a proper-ass Christmas track. Here's upright bassist/singer Kate Davis covering "Blue Christmas" alongside Postmodern Jukebox, who have a wide range of videos featuring vintage-style covers of modern pop songs. You may know them from their version of "All About That Bass," or their cover of "Royals," featuring Puddles, the Sad Clown with the Golden Voice.

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