Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Elfin Bow and Gary Lloyd – Who Knows Where The Time Goes (7")

LOVE this record! Late contender for single of the year!

Never a label to do things by the book, Fruits de Mer Records release this 7” single on the final day of the year. Quite fitting given the record's title track and the fact that the year has (for me anyway) flown by. I've written about Elfin Bow before. Her delightful debut album was self-released in 2017 and is well worth tracking down. Blessed with a beautiful voice and great songwriting skills, it turns out she's also a fine interpreter of other people's songs. For this version of Sandy Denny's 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' she's collaborated with composer and producer Gary Lloyd and is backed by the Scottish Session Orchestra, an amazing ensemble of hand-picked principals from Scotland's top orchestras.

It makes my list as one of the finest 7” singles released this year. A sublime reading of a classic song. No surprises, no bells and whistles, simply a beautiful song, sympathetically performed and with a vocal and arrangement that gets right to the song's emotional core. The B-side is awesome too, a re-working of 'The Wisdom', a track from her eponymous debut album made all the more sumptuous by Gary Lloyd's orchestral arrangement. This single marks Elfin Bow's debut as a FdM artist though on it's strength I'm hoping there will be more records to come. Well done and thanks to all concerned.

Click here for Elfin Bow.
Click here for Fruits de Mer Records.

Various – It's Briiiiiixmaaaaaas!

Celebrate Christmas with the Brixton Hill All-Stars. Superb alternative Christmas anthems to warm and amuse you. And all for a great cause!

Let me start with a traditional seasonal clich̩ - there are not many shopping days or sleeps left until the big day. Cue rolling of eyes and shaking of heads out there in cynical cyberspace. Another line that gets trotted out by seemingly everyone at this time of year is how fed up people are with hearing the same old Christmas records over and over again. You know the ones РSlade, Wizard, The Pogues, Band Aid, Shakin' Stevens, John and Yoko, Mariah Carey et al. It begins around the beginning of October and last to the end of the year. You can't walk into a shop or turn on the radio without hearing at least one of them within five minutes. I should stress at this point that I'm not one that shares this view. Personally I love hearing them and retain a special fondness for Paul McCartney & Wings' 'Wonderful Christmastime' which brings back happy memories of simpler times.

But as much as I love the classics the thrill of hearing new Christmas songs is equally if not more appealing. Recent years I've enjoyed Christmas records by great artists such as, Sufjan Stevens, She and Him, and of course Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings. This year my award for the best Christmas music goes to a beautifully haphazard bunch of misfits and renegades centred around Brixton Hill Studios/Brixton Hillbilly Records in South London. The label/collective has just released a various artist mini-album featuring six brand new Christmas songs, each with their own unique modern perspective on what we call the most special time of the year.

The music is reason enough to buy this CD/download but by doing so you'll also be supporting a great cause. All proceeds will go to Brixton's Soup Kitchen who have been doing amazing work helping the areas's homeless since 2003. So what are you waiting for? Head over to the links below to discover six superb new Christmas tunes to make your alternative Yuletide party a happening event. Artists include HD faves Hot Sauce Pony, Alessi's Ark, Ham Legion, Bad Parents, Scud FM, and Black Fendrix Jersk Midi. Full track-listing and more info via the links below.

Click here to buy It's Briiiiiixmaaaaaas!

Black Fendrix Jersk Midi – Ice Cream
Alessi's Ark – Winter's Grace
Ham Legion – We'd Better Start Dinner
Bad Parents – Christmas Present
Scud FM – Christmas Crime
Hot Sauce Pony – Christmas In Prison

Click here for Brixton Hill Studios' website.
Click here for Brixton Hill Studios on Twitter.
Click here for Brixton Hill Studios on Facebook.