Well, the 25th of December has whizzed by for another year, and so it's time once again for me to dig an eager hand into my Christmas stocking and sort through the musical goodies that Santa was kind enough to bring me this year.
Here are the CDs that I was given as presents this Christmas:
Put Your Back N 2 It by Perfume Genius
I heard Sarah listening to Perfume Genius a little while back, and their languid, unhurried sound appealed to me in a way that languid, unhurried sounds rarely do. I suspect that this will be a good album for bedtime - it's in the same kind of vein as Pride, the languid and unhurried but exceptionally beautiful third album from Phosphorescent (definitely check that one out if you haven't already).
Giant by Herman Dune
Here's one that's been on my wishlist since time immemorial. I love I Wish That I Could See You Soon, and while I do have some vague memories of the other songs on this album (Bristol stands out in my mind as a highlight, although I've no memory of how it goes), I am looking forward to giving Giant my full, undivided attention.
Diversions, Vol. 2 by The Unthanks with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band
This one joined the wishlist after I heard The King of Rome and Fareweel Regality on 6Music. Speaking as a former baritone, I don't understand why brass bands aren't used more often in popular music - cornets and horns have always affected me more than violins and flutes - and Diversions, Vol. 2 is an outstanding demonstration of just what a tightly-drilled bunchs of brassies can do. Trimdon Grange Explosion is particularly heartbreaking (granted, this is mainly due to the subject matter, but the arrangement certainly helps), and I must admit, I'd forgotten just how beautiful Fareweel Regality was.
Evil Urges by My Morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket are one of those bands that I profess to love in spite of owning just a small sliver of their catalogue. Until Christmas Day, Z was the only MMJ album in my catalogue; now, that tremendous record has a partner in Evil Urges. I already know that Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 2 is a barnstorming skyscraper of a climax, and I can only hope that the other tracks give that track the warm-up it deserves.
The Very Best of Max Boyce by Max Boyce
Unlike the records listed above, I didn't ask for this one; I didn't even know who Max Boyce was until about 96 hours ago. My father - for he was the benefactor who bought me this double-disc set - explained that his present formed part of my ongoing musical education, and that it wouldn't do for me to have grown up in Wales with no knowledge of Max Boyce and his work.
For the uninitiated, Max Boyce is an entertainer from Neath Port Talbot. He likes rugby, and this is made very clear in his songs, many of which have already sailed right over my head like so many try conversions (I am not remotely into rugby; I even had to Google 'try conversions' just now to make sure that I was using the right word).
Still, there are parts that I do understand, and those are great. From The Scottish Trip (a very funny account of a road trip to Glasgow) to Duw It's Hard (MB's heartbreaking account of a pit closure), there's plenty of evidence that my dad may have been onto a winner here, and I haven't even listened to the second disc yet.
Want to see what I got LAST Christmas? Click here.