The festive season is upon us, officially. Everywhere we look there’s sequined everything; leggings, dresses, jackets, jumpsuits. Christmas jumpers are more elaborately engineered, you’re a Scrooge unless the Rudolph on your tummy lights up the pub. Ah, the pub during the Christmas season. You spend October wistfully imagining the cosy surroundings of your favourite old man pub that defines the spirit(s) of the heart warming festivities. Then, December comes around and things become a bit real. The first of winter flu takes up residence in your head, a present list the length of the Spire forms, family members rekindle feuds, and the icing on the Christmas pudding is when you remember the uncomfortable closeness forced upon you when you try have a friendly drink after work because every night (or so it seems) of the week there is a gathering of either work parties or college classmates venturing through the twelve pubs of Christmas mayhem.
It can be a very stressful and tiresome period, but at the same time you wouldn’t want to be without any of those momentarily hellish things. Well, with the exception of Christmas shopping, or the stress it brings. I tend to leave my shopping quite late, typically having to find time on Christmas Eve to do a last minute dash of, “Yeah, sure… That’s grand.” I had really good intentions to be organised this year, however. I bought a present about two weeks ago for someone and was so unbelievably smug with my accomplishment until the person bought himself the exact item two days later. I went from Santa Claus to The Grinch in the flash of Rudolph’s nose on a festive jumper. The same almost happened with the back up present idea I had, luckily he got to it first. Basically, I learned that you’re safer leaving gift shopping until the last minute because people tend to stop buying for themselves during Christmas week, unless you’re me.
The one steadfast positive about the month of December is the ability to play certain Christmas songs in public and not feel guilty. Then again, no one should feel shame listening to ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham on a hot July afternoon.
Grandaddy – ‘A Lost Machine’ (30th Century Records)
Grandaddy will release a song that is so impeccably composed and unique that you can play it over and over and not grow tired. My relationship with Grandaddy was stunted because my introduction to their music, about eight years ago, was ‘Hewletts Daughter’, everything about that song is perfect and it remains one of my favourite songs of all time. However, I got trapped on the pedestal upon which I had ‘Hewletts Daughter’, and I got stuck on that song. Everything else just didn’t quite ignite that same immediate feeling I had experienced before. Then I watched the video for their new single ‘A Lost Machine’, amending a troubling offering from last month, ‘Way We Won’t.’ The longing piano at the start serves as a reminder of the Californian band’s ability to render their audience immediately with a very simple yet meaningful song. After a brief reunion tour which they completed this year, Grandaddy announced that they will release their forthcoming album Last Place through Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records label in March of 2017. It will certainly be one that their cult following will be looking forward to, particularly if ‘A Lost Machine’ is anything to go by.
Cian Nugent – ‘Lost Your Way’ (Woodsist Records)
Cian Nugent is one of the most musically gifted beacons of the Emerald Isle. Nugent combines his influences from the 1960s and 1970s rock-folk era into his music with ease. His articulation of words and musicianship reflects the authentic passion inherent to the musician. Outside of his Cian Nugent and the Cosmos outfit, he released Night Fiction which was met with exceptional reviews of the album from both domestic and international publications. The video for his current single ‘Lost Your Way’ is the perfect visual realisation of his music, fleeting moments captured beautifully and in their most natural state.
Drugdealer feat. Weyes Blood – ‘The End of Comedy’ (Domino)
The End of Comedy is an amazing album that features the incredible Weyes Blood on two songs. The video for the title track features Mac Demarco on guitar playing with Michael Collins, aka Drugdealer. It’s an easy and unenjoyable video to watch, the perfect viewing for lazy afternoons or adventurous evenings.
Preoccupations – ‘Memory’ (Jagjaguwar)
Formerly known as Viet Cong, Preoccupations are no strangers to rousing controversy and conversation with their music through visual mediums. The band released their self-titled album in September, a collection of atmospheric post-punk songs ranging from minute long compositions to epic eleven minute meandering arrangements in the form of ‘Memory.’ When a band release a single at this extended length the videos needs to be able to hold the viewer’s attention. Watching ice swirl around a water glass, the highly flammable effects of Elnette hairspray, a man set himself on fire and the post-death sequence in a forest tends to keep you at the edge of your seat.
Beyonce – ‘All Night’
Beyoncé unveiled the latest episode in her filmic Lemonade album with the video for ‘All Night’, which looks at redemption in romance. Once Beyoncé delivers an address to her fans imparting wisdom such as “Nothing real can be threatened”, we are treated into a glimpse into Bey and Jay’s home videos of their wedding and family time with their daughter Blue. There are vignettes of various couples, including momma Knowles, sharing sweet embraces. It is humble decadence at its finest.
Notable Mention(s)… Sorry, what’s happening here?
Justice – ‘Fire’
Once again my love of YouTube comments led to an inclusion as a notable mention. “This is the longest car commercial from the 1980s ever.” Fantastic. The other element of the video for Justice’s current single from their newly released album Woman, ‘Fire’, is Susan Sarandon doing a d.a.n.c.e. poolside and then taking a spin with the French duo. Holy Moly.
The xx – ‘On Hold’ (Young Turks Recordings)
When did The xx become Hollywood? It’s very weird to see the once shy Mercury award winning band transform into a pristinely polished threesome acting in a scripted music video. Is this really the return that everyone has waited for?