12/8/11

31 Years Ago Today


I was a huge fan of The Beatles when I was a teenager and Lennon was my favorite. I once asked my father what it was like to be alive when John Lennon was alive. A friend reminded of this conversation a year ago on Facebook. A year ago it was the 30th anniversary of Lennon's passing so there's was a lot of attention around it.

Once when I was in 10th grade in Aarhus, Denmark I sang "Across The Universe" in front of the whole school at a Christmas event. 16 years old or something. That was special.

Around the same time I asked my grandfather what he thought about The Beatles. He was already in his forties when The Beatles became a worldwide phenomenon. He didn't have any strong opinions on their music but he thought it was rather silly that they got medals from the Queen of England. I kind of agree with that.

Lennon returned his medal to Buckingham Palace in 1969 saying "I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. With love, John Lennon of Bag." (from here).

The above version of "Across The Universe" is from the No One's Gonna Change Our World charity compilation. It features some nice sitar drones. The Phil Spector produced version from Let It Be is lusher and more orchestrated. Some people don't like it. I like it:

12/1/11

Christmas Music

It's a weird combo: christmas and music. Christmas music. It could be good, and it most definitely has been at times. Every now and then. But boy, does the Christmas season produce much crap of the musical variety! Being at home in the Faroe Islands during Christmas with the radio on? It's the worst. All these horrible songs/recordings come on.

But then there are the good ones, and since today is Dec. 1st this post is dedicated to a selection of Christmas songs that I actually enjoy. Check them out today and/or over the coming weeks. Might be a good way to get in spirit!

Classic christmas:

Sung vocal, spoken word, arrangement: everything here is defined by brilliant delivery. Jim Reeves was amazing. I have a couple of his albums on vinyl and there's such a coziness to them. His music has one thing in common with Billie Holiday's music: you want to live in it!

Wall of Sound Christmas:

Phil Spector - Mr Wall of Sound himself - produced a Christmas album back in '63. It features a collection of mostly secular Christmas songs sung by a selection of usual Spector suspects; The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans. Here's Spector and co.'s take on "Frosty the Snowman".

Swag christmas:

It's Frank.

Highly unlikely but ends up taking your breath away Christmas:

When Bob announced his christmas album in 2009 I was among the skeptics but when I heard the result I became a believer!

Moving Christmas:

Judging from the comments he gets on YouTube Sufjan seems to have more or less saved christmas music for a lot of people. His 5 EP christmas box set is quite incredible. His take is a fresh, heartfelt and pristine one. The EPs feature originals as well as interpretations of traditional christmas songs and hymns. This one is an old hymn and it is nothing less than stunning.

Original Christmas:


Sufjan's box set has done much to redefine christmas music so let's give it another spin. This is one of Sufjan's originals.

Shoegaze Christmas #1:

A hazy beautiful version by Low.

Shoegaze Christmas #2:

Californian shoegaze pop rockers Starflyer 59 - one of my favorite bands - covering a Christmas classic.

Dream Pop Christmas:

Scottish dream pop legends Cocteau Twins covering "Frosty The Snowman" on their two-song christmas EP Snow (1993).

Psychedelic Drone Christmas:

California resident psychedelic drone rockers Wooden Shjips with their take on "O Tannenbaum". It's a lot of fun!

Goofy Christmas:

And now that we're on our way into semy-goofy territory we might as well go all in! Twisted Sister with "O Come All Ye Faithful" (also covered by Bob above btw). I love the fact that the backing track is so similar to "We're Not Gonna Take It" :)

Wishing you a great December and, when the time comes, a Merry Christmas!