Another batch of holiday tunes, with moods ranging from cheery to eerie. It’s all electric fantastic!
- Norwegian duo Röyksopp has made an amazing electronic edit of “Le Cantique de Noel”, which you can download here. I’ve decided that the idea of a full-on festive album from them can be quite exciting.
- NYC electropop duo The Golden Filter has covered Psychic TV’s “White Nights” through their dreamy, off-kilter, um, filter. It’s surprisingly good. Get it here.
Apparently, there has been an avalanche of new holiday music this year. This post is my attempt to round up all the free nice tunes, but there’s so much I have to split it up in 2 parts. Hopefully, these music selections might soundtrack your holiday break well, or least, make it more bearable.
I’ve been quite a fan of ceo, ie Eric Berglund, a man with a seeming aversion to Google searchability and capitals. Like his previous band The Tough Alliance, ceo is a continued exploration of sun-drenched balearic synth-pop mixed with that distinctive Scandinavian melodic sensibility. I always thought that his amazing single “Come With Me” could have easily been passed off as an A*Teens single! (Yes, I just said that).
For his new single “Illuminata”, he has recorded a stunning cover of Beyoncé’s “Halo” as the b-side. He put his stamp all over it and transformed the track into a 5-minute blissful jam, with the catchiness intact. It is seriously one of the most creative interpretations I’ve heard this year. It’s not the first time he pulled this trick either. The Tough Alliance’s cover of Lucky Twice’s bubblegum pop tune “Lucky” a couple years ago was also excellent.
While Icelandic singer/songwriter Ólöf Arnalds is not new to the folk scene, her second album, “Innundir skinni”, was the first to feature tracks in English. And on new single “Surrender”, she enlisted no one else but the Björk to provide her wondrous trademark yelps as background vocals. Ólöf has a clear, luring voice that demands attention, and her ukulele arrangement makes the acoustic track all the more eerily beautiful. The video, shot in Iceland’s National Park, is as deceptively simple as it is arresting. It managed to be strangely sensual and creepy at the same time. Quality cold-weather music, from ladies who certainly know it!*
*They’re from Iceland. It’s very cold there, see.
Had I not known better, I would have sworn Mackintosh Braun is a Scandinavian new act. The duo actually hails from Portland, but they’ve definitely got that particular sound down. Mackintosh Braun is signed to Chop Shop Records, whose owner is the tastemaker Alexandra Patsavas, so so far, they’ve earned pretty good exposure on shows like Grey’s Anatomy & Gossip Girl. They might be taking cues from Röyksopp, but there is still plenty of space for lush, dreamy, downtempo electronic chill-pop. “Could It Be”, from their new album “Where We Are”, certainly belongs to that lovely specialty. Try it on for an evening walk. Stream and/or download it below.
Gospel Music is the new project of Black Kids bassist Owen Holmes, and of course, the name couldn’t be more misleading. Gospel Music, in fact, makes lo-fi indie pop. The first release, a self-explanatory 5-track EP, “Duettes”, was just released this week. I’ve been anticipating this ever since I saw the fun Super 8 road-trip video for “Automobile” 2 months ago. The lovely Traceyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura shared vocal duties on the track, and her oh-so-weary vocals actually worked well with Owen’s deep voice. “Automobile” is a charming, catchy ditty with a great singalong chorus in the same vein as “Young Folks”. “Automobile, take us away/ To another year, another month, another day…”. I suddenly felt the urge for a getaway. Now I’m not sure if I would want to listen to an album by him alone, but if Traceyanne officially joined as a duo, I’m sold. Get the track and watch the sunny video below.