Christmas was invented because we desperately need a reason to party in the Northern hemisphere at this time of year. It’s dank, grey and dark by 4pm and as the shortest day approaches, the holiday season is a welcome oasis for winter gloom. The Kool Kitchen brings sonic stuffing for your stockings to get you in the mood for eggnog and Yuletide ya-ya’s.
The ghost of Christmas jingles past dredge up more dross than delights, basically a lot of Xmas tunes suck. An exception to the rule is the Galaxie 500 cover of Yoko Ono’s “Listen the Snow is Falling”. Originally released in 1971 as the B-side to “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” the song has a certain charm, Yoko’s wispy and faltering vocals gliding over sweet and simple music. Galaxie 500 decided to take that idea, refine the singing and put a fine, dreamy glaze on it, doubling the length of the track with a space rock interlude. For me, this is Christmas bliss and almost wipes away the trauma inflicted by Paul McCartney’s dire “Wonderful Christmastime”.
I have a short attention span for seasonal stuff, so let’s move onto music from distant lands. There’s a huge and interesting indie scene in Indonesia that barely makes a dent on the British consciousness, a sonic crime that needs rectifying. In case you were wondering what the kids are listening to in Yogyakarta, here is some fabulous lo-fi, surf- pop from Talking Coasty.
A haunting electro song that will take your breath away is Billie Eilish’s shimmering “Ocean Eyes”. UK-based producer Astronmyy put a glossy polish on his mix, adding spacey atmosphere and off-kilter glitch, soaked in beats. Remarkably, Billie is only thirteen-years-old, yet creates sophisticated bewitching lyrics alongside a masterfully celestial sound. It’s a lush fusion that begs to be put on repeat.
My gig of the week is James Stevenson and The West London Allstars on Thursday, December 17th, at The Water Rats, 328 Grays Inn Road, WC1. With support from The Rebels and Spizzology featuring Luca Comencini, it’s £8 on the door and £7 advance. Mr Stevenson is a bit of legend, playing in Chelsea, Generation X, The Alarm, Gene Loves Jezebel, and The Cult, whilst also working with the likes of Glen Matlock, Scott Walker and Tricky. To whet your appetite for this kicking night, I have a podcast of James on the Kool Kitchen discussing his rock ‘n’ roll adventures.
I’m pleased to be DJing at the NambuccaStart of Christmas Party, on Friday, December 11th at 596 Holloway Road, N7. Tis £5 entry, including one free shot to get the party started. The line-up is packed with oodles of bands; on offer will be The Symphony, The Underrunners, cutting edge noise from Blindness with Debbie Smith (from Curve and Echobelly), Arms and eighties-style hard rockers, Adam and The Asbos. Bombastic Yuletide goodness awaits.
On Saturday December 12th, Carl Barat from The Libertines is taking a break from his busy touring schedule to spin a set in the back room at The Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, SE 14. It’s £12 admission. I’m thrilled to be DJing in the front of the pub on the same night, which is free entry. I take the decks from 9:30pm, concocting my moonshine of dancey new-wave classics, eighties electro and indie rock till 3am. It’s also the grand opening of the new rooftop bar at the venue, with live bands to check out.