December 2012 & January 2013 Purchases

The cold winter months are fairly slim pickings for new releases, so it’s been a fairly quiet couple of months on the new purchases front…

Various Artists – Cool Christmas
I remember playing this album a lot one of the Christmases I worked in Our Price and I always think I ought to buy it and then not get around to it! A couple of tracks aside this is as much more offbeat collection of Christmas songs so it makes a nice change from the endless Slade…

Cerys Matthews – Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Cerys picks a selection of traditional Christmas songs and delivers then with such enthusiasm and folksy aplomb that you can’t help but be charmed by it.

Kirsty MacColl – Electric Landlady
December is the anniversary of Kirsty’s untimely death – so it is always a good time to remind yourself just how great and under appreciated an artist she was. Electric Landlady is an album I never got around to buying at the time so I was very pleased to see the deluxe reissue available on emusic. Don’t be fooled by the title track (which I wasn’t keen on at the time but I’ve grown to love), this is no bandwagon jumping – the songs and her voice are as strong as ever.

Kirsty MacColl – Kite
This was one of the first CDs I bought – mainly on the strength of Freeworld (which still sounds fresh and, sadly, relevant today) – and it finds her a the top of her game. The flakiness of men is still a favourite topic, but there is also strong sense of social commentary running through it. The bonus tracks on the reissue are a collection of alternative versions, b sides and remixes that are a nice addition.

Martin Rossiter – The Defenestration of St Martin
A very low key return from the Gene frontman.

Rachel Zeffira – The Deserters
Another discovery via Lauren Laverne’s 6 Music show. Multi-instrumentalist Zeffira has produced a wonderful collection of songs with a startling array of textures. Vocally I’m reminded of Julee Cruise, which is no bad thing… One of my albums of 2012.

Saint Etienne – More Words and Music by…
The US deluxe edition of Saint Etienne’s brilliant comeback album is in many ways better than the UK version (which came with a second disc of hit n miss remixes). More Words, which the band made available in limited quantities on their website when they returned from their US tour, has a nice set of B-sides and covers and is in its own way just as good as the main release.

Dutch Uncles – Out of Touch In The Wild
Dutch Uncles were one of my finds of last year – loved their Electric Counterpoint sampling debut and the follow up is just as good. This psychedelic art-rock reminds me of Talking Heads which can only be a good thing.

New Order – Lost Sirens
I have a complicated relationship with New Order. They are probably my favourite band but they haven’t made an album I’ve really enjoyed since Republic. As such I wasn’t expecting much of this collection of tracks that didn’t make the cut for the messy and uneven Waiting For The Sirens’ Call but it’s actually a pretty good mini album. It’s a shame that there is so much bad blood between the current members and Peter Hook, this shows there was still life in them before they imploded…

The Timelords – Doctorin’ The TARDIS
Hated this at the time, but I’m reconciled with it now and it is a perfect example of how The Rules worked. Not sure The Rules work any more in this age of manufactured, pre-packaged, X-Factor wannabes but I’d like to think they do…

Del & Xavier – Tickle
Even in mixtape form Del Marquis manages to produce something with more of the quirky Scissor Sisters personality than Magic Hour. Great stuff – I look forward to the album!