Today’s track of the day comes from awesome London artist Charley Stone. Out today for Bandcamp Friday, ‘Merry Christmas Actually’ is a brilliant indiepop riposte to problematic festive film `Love Actually. We asked Charley to tell us more …
This song came about when I was having a songwriting day back in January – I was playing the 20Song game with Laura Bailey Kidd (Penfriend / She Makes War) i.e. we each set aside the day to write with the aim of coming up with 20 songs. In practice I never manage more than five, and this was the fifth one that came out on that occasion. There’s something about spending a day writing, by the end you’re tired and stuff just comes out of nowhere. So I was playing the guitar, and just idly started singing “Merry Christmas”, and before I knew it these words had spilled out all about the guy in Love Actually who is infatuated with his best friend’s wife and turns up on her doorstep at Christmas, professing his love and expecting it to be their little secret. It’s like, he genuinely thinks he’s being very romantic and chivalrous or something, to just put it out there, “without hope”.
The song is sung from his point of view, but with an awareness that he’s basically idealised her to the point of denying her any agency. He thinks he’s Dante Gabriel Rossetti or something (who I quote in the middle of the song, yes, well, that’s just the kind of person I am). Oh woe is me, I’m lost in your beauty, it is all terribly tragic and pure – no ssssh be quiet I don’t even want to think about how this affects you. That’s what always annoyed me about the film – we’re expected to believe that Keira Knightley’s character just smiles at him indulgently and then goes quietly back inside? That she wouldn’t have paced around the kitchen in a rage telling her husband “your so-called friend has just planted an emotional bomb on our doorstep and I can’t even”? Etc.
Anyway I didn’t actually finish the words for the second chorus until a month or so ago when I realised Christmas was actually coming and I should probably record it. And I knew I wanted a bit of a Phil Spector / Magnetic Fields sound for it, so I sent a demo to my colleague from the Salad band, Donald Ross Skinner, as I know he’s brilliant at that kind of thing. He recorded some drums for me, then I did a few tracks each of guitar and vocals at home, and then Donald added bass and loads of different keyboard parts and mixed it and made it sound practically perfect in every way.
Today’s track of the day comes from LA-via-Texas brand new band Cowboy Destroy: ‘Bang Your Friends’ is out today. Garage rock with whiff of surf punk – this is a strong debut and we can’t wait to hear what forthcoming album ‘Demolition’ has in store for us.
Today’s track of the day comes from Perth post-punk quartet New Talk: ‘Amytis’ is out today. Gothic vocals over lush guitarscapes provide a powerful platform for the song’s themes of mistreatment of both First Nations peoples of Australia and also the migrants. The song’s title refers to “he legend of Amytis who, being sated by her husband King Nebuchadnezzar II, had the Hanging Gardens of Babylon built for her to remind her of her homeland”.
The single is taken from forthcoming LP ‘Time & Memory’, slated for release on Friday 12th February 2021.
Today’s video of the day is a sparklingly indiepop collaboration between Norway’s Emilie Østebø and Lokoy from Stavanger punks Sløtface.
“It’s nothing too complicated; it deals with the relationship between two people, the dynamic between them. Often I feel like songs are a parody of yourself. The chorus of ‘a mistake’ is sort of a parody of the self-indulgent things you imagine saying to a person you’ve just had a fight with. I wrote the melody of the post-chorus on guitar, but Lasse had the idea to sing it instead. The childish and sarcastic tone of that melody when sung perfectly communicates the petulance of the lyrics.”
Today’s track of the day comes from Newcastle-upon-Tyne trio Cat Ryan: ‘Mary Shelley Song’ is out today. A catchy, summery little number continuing the British indie tradition of absolute nonsense lyrics …
“It’s a very unique song and, despite the title, it’s only the first verse that’s about Mary Shelley. Lyrically it’s quite random, having been inspired by a variety of memories stemming from my time at college studying for my A-Levels. Essentially, I showed my friends a new song I’d been working on and one of them came up with the first three lines on the spot. It was funny because it doesn’t fully make sense, but that’s sort of the theme of the song: it kind of makes sense to us, but other people will probably wonder how the lyrics were created and what they’re supposed to be about.”
Our track of the day is some rousing rocknroll from LA’s MAWD, aka Madeleine Mathews. ‘Hot Shit’ is an angry anthem about seeing people clearly for the first time and the weird power trips that come with some people on social media.
Written in a fit of anger, empathy, and self-realization, the idea of “Hot Shit” was first sparked when a rock n’ roll band Mathews admired, was being reckless during quarantine, flicking cigarettes out their car while posting about partying (maskless) with their friends on social media – acting rather “tone deaf” in a world where hundreds of thousands of people were dying from the virus. Similarly, this band and popular social media icons, friends, and family were either silent or revealed their racist tendencies during the Black Lives Matter movement as well as leading up to the 2020 election.