Coachella day one: Kanye and Seal offer unlikely cameos in California sandstorm

4 days ago

Savages bring visceral performance and LCD Soundsystem complete their comeback on a day of guest appearances and anthemic covers

Guest appearances, rising cover-ups and gusty winds were the order of the day for Friday at Coachella where Kanye West and Seal made their way through the sandstorm to provide unlikely cameos.

Seal appeared on stage with LAs R& B curio Gallant to perform Seals made Crazy, and he assisted Gallant with his track Weight in Gold. While that went down well in the Mojave tent, A$ AP Rockys set, which was delayed and nearly canceled because of the high winds and sand blowing around, watched Kanye make a puzzling cameo. At the end of an impressive set by A$ AP Rocky, in which he operated through recent hittings such as Pretty Flacko Jodye and L$ D with the help of a barbershop quartet, Kanye appeared to play The Life of Pablo track Father Stretch My Hands Pt 1. But his vocals were barely audible and the crowd was instead treated to what amounted to a bizarre mime show.

Earlier in the working day on the main stage, Years& Years won over the crowd with their brand of dance-pop featuring defined closer King, while Foalss transformation from skittish indie outliers to full-blown stadium rockers seemed complete with a set that probably belonged further up the bill.

The Last Shadow Puppets set in the Mojave stood out for the theatrics of Alex Turner, who wore a mustard suit and ran about the stage weave in between the groups string section while flailing a tambourine in the air. In between switching from thanking the crowd for its generosity, then imploring them for more applause and informing them what key anthems were written in, the pair presented the songwriting craft that theyve sharpened on their new album Everything Youve Come to Expect. Charm, however, seems to be a quality that they still lack.

Sufjan Stevenss set was part technicolor sensory overload and proportion singer-songwriter masterclass, with dancers and neon decoration that brought a touch of the psychedelic to the desert. With ways including I Want To Be Well and Impossible Soul, “its one” of the days standout performances.

On the other side of the spectrum were Savages, who eschewed subtlety for a visceral and lapel-grabbing situated, with lead singer Jehnny Beth putting paid to the idea that the epoch of the frontperson is over. Walls of noise, feedback and roaring guitars provided the backing for Beth, who switched between performing in the crowd and creating slam poetry on Shut Up. Pummelling and unapologetically bruising, the bands live offering is much more than style and overly serious posturing.

Jack U certainly wasnt serious. While M83 allayed the crowd with their Imax electro pop, Jack Us set was loaded with more drops than a paratrooper regiment, as he remixed and re-jigged anything imaginable( the Imperial March, anyone ?), turning it all into one repetitive EDM showcase that was torturous or joyous, depending on your stance toward endless wobbly basslines.

LCD Soundsystems headline set assured them complete their comeback, picking up where they left off in 2011. Under a giant disco ball, they operated through Us v Them, Daft Punk Is Playing at My home, You Wanted a Hit, Tribulations and a brilliant version of Yeah, which descended into an acid home workout. The effectivenes of ways such as Someone Great was definitely still there, but it was the bands encompas of David Bowies Heroes and segue into Guns N Roses November Rain that defined their situate.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Steve Reich: the composer with his thumb on the heartbeat

5 days ago

Reich indicated the world the hypnotic pleasures of repeat as his music took in religion, politics and New York city life and aged 80, hes still moving forward

For 30 years I walked around Manhattan with earplugs in my ears. Steve Reich, whose music seems to represent the pulsing energy of the metropolis, doesnt enjoy being there that much. Whenever I went out I had to kind of gird myself, you know, he says. I basically dont like New York.

If the city had feelings, it would find that particularly hard to take right now. It is in the midst of feting Reich, who has just turned 80. Hes composer in mansion at Carnegie Hall, which is hurling a birthday concert for him on 1 November. His work is being performed at the Guggenheim, the Juilliard School and NYU. Hes even in the process of moving back to his roots from the leafy upstate suburbium of Pound Ridge, where we satisfy, to the Lower East Side. I entail, I owe a great deal to New York, he says, and all my best friends are there and I am a New Yorker. But theres a part of me that doesnt like noise, doesnt like a million people, doesnt like concrete.

Fans may have misread City Life, a 1995 work that riffs on slamming taxi doors, horns and sirens, then. That was written in resentment, before we left. It was like, I cant stand these car alarms, so Im going to put them in the piece and do what I want to with them. I know how to take care of you. Im just going to devour you in my music and make something that I genuinely want to hear.

In Pound Ridge birdsong is the only noise likely to disturb him. The Frank Lloyd Wright-esque house that Reich shares with his wife, video artist Beryl Korot, sits on a beautiful wooded slope, and warm October sunlight fills the room in which we talk. It might be a wonderful place to compose, but its too isolated. Snow trapped him here one evening when he was supposed to be at a performance of his work in Manhattan. And Korots gallery is on the Lower East Side. So, despite his mistrusts, hes returning to the city in which he made his name half a century ago.

In 1965 Steve Reich arrived back in New York after a spell at Mills College, California, where hed been studying composition. He had begun to experimentation with tape loops-the-loops, playing back snippets of human speech at different rates, letting them phase in and out of sync. Syllables sputter and stretch, zooming from one ear to the other, slowly reforming before deforming again. Its Gonna Rain samples a Pentecostal preacher in Union Square, San Francisco, declaiming the story of the Flood. Come Out, induced once he was home again, uses the voice of one of the Harlem Six, black humen beaten up by police, explaining how hed had to split the skin on a bruise and let the blood come out in order to prove hed been injured. Made to raise money to pay for the Sixs legal squad, the piece was included in a Columbia records compilation of new music a couple of years later. It was singled out in reviews and Reich find himself and his phasing technique in the spotlight.

Not everyone was happy, though. Infantile! Reich hollers, mimicking outrage. Infantile. A critic use that word.

Why? When Reich was a student, serialism, a genre that purposely avoided harmony, melody and rhythm, was the only game in town. Luciano Berio, one of his educators at Mills College, was a resulting exponent, but its inventor was the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. It is difficult, highly intellectual music that constructs sense as a stage in the development of the art, but has limited appeal. There have been periods in music called Mannerist, Reich explains. So at the end of Renaissance polyphony, it gets so convoluted, its brilliant but its always going to be off in a corner because its so recherche and so refined. And this always portends some move towards a drastic simplification, a back to basics. Like: hey lets only have a voice singing! Therell has become a story, therell be people acting it out Opera!

And so it was in the middle of the 20 th century. The skill particularly with Boulez and Stockhausen and the innovation is tremendously admirable, enormously well done, and has its place in music history , no question about it. But, it attracted a minuscule audience. And if it werent for the fact that Stockhausen appeared on the covering of Sgt Pepper, it wouldve been ever smaller.

I felt in my gut: I became a composer because I love Bach, because I love Stravinsky, because I love bebop, because I love John Coltrane. Now, I just cant I dont want to spend my life doing this.

Reich did go back to basics and uproar ensued. A 1973 performance of Four Organs, a hypnotically beautiful work in which harmonic chords are played again and again, changing and overlapping, for 15 minutes, became famous for all the wrong reasons. According to Michael Tilson Thomas , now director of the San Francisco Symphony, there were at least three attempts to stop the performance by shouting it down. One woman strolled down the aisle and repeatedly banged her head on the front of the stage cry, Stop, stop, I confess.

With the exception of a few European composers still, as Reich puts it, working in the graveyard, serialism has now largely disappeared. I think we won hands down, he says, referring to the generation of musicians who violated away with him: Terry Riley, Arvo Prt, Philip Glass. But it is a restoration not a revolution. Swallow it: restoration. Of what? Harmony, rhythm and melody.

Its because of this that the pop, EDM and contemporary classical worlds are as close as they now are, he argues. More and more of the young highly skilled conservatory graduates like to hang out with DJs. He mentions Nico Muhly and the Nationals Bryce Dessner, two of the composers who will feature in his Three Generations program at Carnegie Hall in April 2017.

Reichs son, Ezra, is also a pop aficionado, and has helped him appreciate artists like Prince and Giorgio Moroder. At the time, he says: I didnt pay any attention to Donna Summer or any of that, I knew disco existed but I didnt listen to it at all. He laughs and says that his favourite Summer track wasnt the famous one( I Feel Love ). It was and here he bursts into ballad She works hard for her money ba da da da da da DA! … I really liked that a lot.

Pulse, which will be performed for the first time at the Carnegie Hall concert( its European premiere is at the Barbican in London on 5 November) was partly inspired Daft Punks collaboration with Moroder. Anchoring the winds, strings and piano is an electric guitar, which pumps out a repetition bassline in homage to the 70 s synth genius.

Also on the bill at both concerts are his partnerships with Korot, Three Tales. These video pieces, with accompanying ratings by Reich, were designed to mark the turn of the millennium. They dramatise symbolic moments in the history of the 20 th century: the explosion of the Hindenburg, the detonation of the hydrogen bomb at Bikini atoll and the cloning of Dolly the Sheep. As such and like Come Out theyre rare examples of political involvement by Reich.

I am not an activist, never have been, he explains, playing down the resonance between Come Out and the Black Lives Matter movement. I entail I have faiths and if offered the opportunity, I will help out. But, he says in the long run, subject matter doesnt mean crap. Let me give you an example. One of the greatest artists of the last millennium is Pablo Picasso. And one of Picassos greatest masterpieces is Guernica Its extremely topical, its exceedingly passionate, its extremely political. As a work of art, its a towering masterpiece. As an effective political tool, its an absolute waste of time. Pablo, get out of here, youre an moronic.

His point is that, after Guernica, bombing civilians became more common , not less. So people ask me, should composers write political music? I say theres one obligation composers have. And that is to write the very best music they perhaps can. If politics helps musicians get fired up to make good work then its done its task, he reckons.

Religion too. Reich rediscovered Judaism in his 30 s the baseball cap hes ever seen without is actually his version of a yarmulke and it has inspired some of his best-known runs, including Tehillim and the Daniel Variations. On the wall behind him is a bookshelf stacked with weighty Jewish tomes. Theyre basically all centred around Torah, he explains, the first five volumes of Moses in the Christian Bible and in the Hebrew scriptures as well. Theyre read every year in a cycle. You start at the beginning of Genesis, and were now approaching the end of that cycle as we speak.

Theres a very famous commentary in the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which we are presently in its called Teshuvah, by Maimonides. Teshuvah means returning, returning in a very broad sense of the word, returning to who you are, to who you really are.

Some of Reichs contemporaries, including Glass, Riley and La Monte Young, were immediately inspired by Buddhism, with its own narrations of rebirth. Is Jewish spirituality the key to his instrumental pieces, as abstract as they sometimes seem? Here i am, after all, repeating, cycling, returning, on every page. The provide answers to your question is: who knows. God knows, I dont. I wouldnt say, Oh no, what are you talking about? Youre talking about something real.

The cyclical is only interesting when its not a cycle but when its a spiral, he continues. If it runs around and around in a circle, youre genuinely a rat in a trap, and merely playing a loop-the-loop is a bear. But if you return above that phase, or in a different posture, you have returned as a different person, you have returned as a different composer, and you have returned to a different musical accomplishment.

I think it was Charles Olson, a poet you may have heard of, who said: People dont change. They only stand more revealed. And that seems about right for this reluctant New Yorker, finally attaining his route home again.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Haim: the soft-rock sisters on working hard to sound effortless

One week ago

They have had to endure condescension from men and learn to pee at their urinals but the graft is paying off for the Californian trio. We take it so seriously, they say

Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, the Californian sisters who form perhaps the most adored trio in music right now, make it easy to assume these three minds operate as one. While listening to questions, they are three symmetrical and genetically simpatico faces, attention trained patiently. While answering those questions, theyre a ragged, energising symphony of sentence-finishing, speaking in chorus, and lapsing into song. Theres a distinct, eerie charm to their melded consciousness.

As a band, that charm fires up songs that sound, as one friend put it, as though Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie had killed off all the dudes in Fleetwood Mac and were now cheerily making records about pretending to miss them. Haim (which is their surname, pronounced high-im and, aptly enough, Hebrew for life) write the kind of pop-rock that feels like an orange ice-lolly on the first hot day of the year. Crushing on them their hooks, their personalities, their literal and manifest sisterhood seems like the requisite way to experience them.

They also drum and shred and sing so well that 25-year-old Alana, the youngest, has developed a loathing for the word actually: as she explains, there have been just too many guys backstage whove told them, post-show, that they actually play their many instruments really well. I mean, even to this day, she says, voice thick with exasperation, people are, like: Who writes your songs?

We meet at the very un-rock star hour of 9am, a week before the release of their second album, Something to Tell You. Alana, in jeans and a loose-fitting, well-worn Los Angeles Raiders T-shirt, is like a kid before Christmas: Seven days, guys! Seven days. Seven days! Aggghh! The setting is an immaculate hotel suite in a fancy new hotel on Manhattans Lower East Side. Hastily, they explain that the room isnt theirs. If we were staying here, says Alana, taking the wide, elbows-to-knees repose wed call manspreading if she were a guy, there would be clothes And 31-year-old Este, their bassist, finishes the sentence: everywhere. It would be pure chaos.

Este Haims bass face, as spotted by a reader during our Glastonbury coverage.

Blond, six feet tall and with a face like a sardonic Botticelli, Este once earned her generations approbation for tweeting that she wanted to chisel Andrew Garfields dick with my labia. Her bass faces the uninhibited gurnings of a musician feeling it with all her heart and soul are immortalised in online slideshows. Shes a bawdy foil to 28-year-old frontwoman Danielle, whom she and Alana forever the little sister seem to protectively bookend. On stage, Danielle is hard-edged with a rock star lan redolent of Chrissie Hynde and PJ Harvey. Today, though, sheltering in an oversize oatmeal-coloured jumper, there is a faraway, slightly wonderstruck quality to her; softly-spoken and apologetic..

There can be a special kind of obnoxiousness to people who have had their every dream come true. Haim however, who have now opened for most of their favourite bands (Primal Scream, Vampire Weekend, Florence and the Machine), toured with Taylor Swift, been Grammy-nominated and earned love from Jay-Z, Katy Perry and hundreds of thousands of fans, are women for whom success seems to enhance their appeal. They are daughters who love their parents, and musicians who treat their immeasurable good fortune with a kind of dorky awe. Este, for example, still cant get her head around playing to enthusiastic crowds. Youre looking out like: Oh my God, you know the words to this song? Its so weird. I wrote these songs in my living room in the Valley with my mom making nachos for us! Do you know what I mean?

That living room she mentions has taken its place in pop lore. Its where they wrote 2013s Days Are Gone, a first album they spent almost six years finessing, and a record that debuted at No 1 in the UK album chart. Its also where they returned, after an epic touring schedule, to set about making their second. We just kind of chipped away every day, says Este, for two-and-a-half years. Danielle explains: Its not like every morning I just take a shower and Im like, Oh, I have this great idea for a song. We have to work at it. You have to show up every day. That bit-by-bit effort has yielded songs that sound as effortless and indelible as their first records, albeit more fussily produced this time round. They enlisted wunderkind Ariel Rechtshaid as well as former Vampire Weekend man Rostam Batmanglij and British indie-R&B writer-producer Dev Hynes to be in service to their sound.

Haim began as a family band under the guileless name of Rockinhaim, playing local gigs with their dad, Mordechai (Moti), a former professional footballer, and their mother, Donna, who met in New York. I feel like my parents lived a crazier, funner life than I did, says Alana. All they did was dance and play music. I was, like: This is the most beautiful love story Ive ever heard! You guys just met, and fell in love, and danced all the time? Este picks up the thread I wish I could get in a time machine and all three speak rapturously of the 70s New York of CBGB, Studio 54 and Maxs Kansas City. Back then youd actually have a dance partner to go clubbing with, says Este.

Forlorn but a little self-mocking, Danielle adds: Its hard to find a guy to dance with! I feel like I havent found my dance partner.

Theres a song right there, Este pronounces, with big-sisterly authority.

Record three, Alana suggests, I Havent Found My Dance Partner.

Casting Danielle a look, Este adds, in warning: Your dance card is gonna be pretty full, though, if you put that out there.

Click here to watch the video for Want You Back.

At Glastonbury this year they did just fine without partners; at various points, each sister abandoned her instrument to dance. Alana jumped off stage and bounced down to the crowd . Theyve danced in videos, too, first for If I Could Change Your Mind, whose choreography is a winning combination of kitschiness and sincerity. Their synchronised moves read like a living room homage to Destinys Child. Like them, Haim, who have been courted by high fashion, are not above a co-ordinated red-carpet look.

Their latest video is choreographed, too. For the pounding Want You Back they groove down a deserted Ventura Boulevard at dawn, the same San Fernando Valley street that Tom Petty crooned over in 1989s Free Fallin. Its not so easy to shut down an LA thoroughfare but, as Este says: The Valley gods were shining on us. They like to think there was someone in City Hall, who, as Alana puts it, went, Oh, the Haim girls? Yeah.

It wasnt always thus, of course. We know exactly how it feels to be booed, says Alana. We know exactly how it feels to get shit thrown at you. You have to go through that shit. Thats the thing: to me, that was fun as fuck that I get to tell those stories because we worked so hard for five years. It was so funny when we came up to the UK and it was like, Overnight sensation! Im like: Overnight sensation after five years! Theyve played venues, they say, where there were only mens toilets backstage: We had to figure out how to pee in a urinal, says Alana.

Were really good at it by the way, Este says dryly. I could literally show you, and she yanks a leg in the air. Honestly, were limber as fuck now.

A summer of touring lies ahead and, if we seem excited, says Danielle, with a direct, earnest look, its just because were truly just very excited to go back on tour. We dont take any of this very lightly. We spent the last two-and-a-half years working on these songs every day to make sure that were giving everyone the best thing that we can do. We take it so seriously. Their music yes, but themselves, thankfully, no.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

How A Meme Became A Currency And Paid For The Jamaican Bobsleigh Team

16 days ago

You all know bitcoin, presumably. That internet currency that was big a while back and now isnt as big but is still quite big thats really the only way to describe it. Its secure, untraceable and drugtraffickers100% love it.

Well theres another online currency thats been growing from strength to strength recently that you might not have heard about. Dogecoin

To tell you about this, were going to have to go into its history. And we mean right to the beginning.

So we all know Doge. The jovial, yet slightly confused, shiba inu that took the internet by storm a couple of years back But who is Doge?

In October 2010, someone posted a picture of a corgi onto reddit with the caption LMBO LOOK AT THIS F*****N DOGE. That was the conception on the word. From then, people all over the web were posting pictures of dogs and calling them DOGES.

Meanwhile, a Japanese school teacher had a blog where she shared pictures of her shiba inu, Kabosu, which, for the most part, everyone ignored.

Until July 2013, when Shiba Inus had taken over the doge scene and someone dug up that famous picture of Kabosu and used it for their meme. So Kabosu become the face of doge.

So thats enough history on a meme. Now to the currency.

In December that year, a member of a Bitcoin forum, named Dogecoin, introduced his new e-currency, based on the meme, as a satirical take on Bitcoin.

No one took it seriously, obviously. Its money based on a funny picture of a dog, afterall. That is until there was a crowdfunding opportunity that the whole community jumped on. The Jamaican bobsleigh team looked set to qualify for the 2014 Socchi Winter Olympics but they couldnt afford all of the other stuff.

They need $40,000 for equipment and travel. 27,000,000 dogecoins were raised over 2-3 days (over $30,000) so the team could go.

Its like Cool Runnings without the inspirational montages and witty tte–ttes.

They also raised $7000 in a few hours to send an Indian Shiva K.P. Keshavan to the same Olympics to compete in the luge as his country couldnt afford it anymore.

Doge coin used to be dependant on bitcoin as you used to needed to buy doge through converting it from bitcoin. Now you can use actual real money and everything!

Its now the fifth biggest online currency and its growth is absolutely huge.

From something that started 100% as a joke, it’s pretty cool that they’ve managed to make a difference like they have. I mean it makes me feel totally useless but whatever…

Read more:

Buddhism Fast Facts

24 days ago

( CNN) Here’s a look at Buddhism, the major religion of many countries in Asia.

Beliefs/ Practices:
Siddhartha Gautama( Buddha) grew up in a wealthy family. He decided to follow a route of self-denial, but did not find truth until he sat down under a tree , now known as the Bo tree. There he was “enlightened” and obtained the knowledge he had been looking for.

According to legend, Buddha sat under the Bo tree for 49 days and was seduced by demons. He discovered four noble truths and the Eightfold Path to Nirvana, or ultimate bliss.

Other Facts: Timeline:

10 Cloverfield Lane Will Have You Writhing The Whole Way Through

1 month, 11 days ago
Nowadays the film industry seems tospend so much period building up the hype that by the time a movie makes the big screen weve insured a teaser, three trailers, and pretty much know exactly whats going to happen including spoilers .

10 Cloverfield Lane is a freshening change from that somewhat saturating tradition. It wasnt until January, merely two months prior to the opening of the films release, that we were even made aware that it existed.

Its not really a sequel to the alien attack movie Cloverfield, but more like a distant, less showy relative, with both having spawned from JJ Abrams production company Bad Robot. Whereas Cloverfield showed us the Statue of Libertys head crashing into the street as a whole city disintegrated, 10 Cloverfield Lane barely leaves the underground bunker in which most of the film is set.

Being less showy doesnt mean its any less entertaining, though. The movie will have you either writhe or jumping out of your seat from before the opening credits are over, right up until the very end. It’s director Dan Trachtenberg’s first feature length cinema, but he pulls ofthis spiraling thriller as though he’s done it a thousand times before.

The film starts out with Michelle( Mary Elizabeth Winstead) dismissing bellows from her fianc as she drives in her car. After being run off the road she wakes up in an empty room where she soon gratifies her captor or saviour Howard( John Goodman) who tells her that the world outside is a nuclear desert, and that they must live underground for at the least a year to remain safe. We live Michelles dread with her, questioning the legitimacy of Howards claims and motivations as she slowly tries to decipher exactly what “the hells going on”. Is Howard right? Does leaving the bunker entail certain demise? Or is something more sinister happening?

The third character in the mix is the jovial Emmett( John Gallagher Jr ), a local worker who has known Howard for some time. Emmett provides the only glimpses of light relief from the incredibly weird and intense Howard.

John Goodman plays Howard brilliantly, his huge frame and sketchy stance combining well to intimidate the whole way through. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr are equally as good, and its the three of them that elevate this film from a tight script and well thought out idea to something that really get under your skin.

The less you know before ensure it, the more you will enjoy the film, so we wont be revealing any spoilers here. What we will say is that if your heart rate and stress levels don’t go up during the course of its movie then you really are made of stone.

10 Cloverfield Lane is out in cinemas this Friday .

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It’s Christmas! The best festive sungs, chosen by Slade, Neil Diamond, the Waitresses and more

1 month, 12 days ago

Slade, Loretta Lynn, Run-DMC and Mike Batt have given us some all-time Christmas classics. But whats the one Christmas song they couldnt get through the holidays without? They and other festive hitmakers dedicate us their picks

Wizzard I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day( 1973)

Chosen by Jim Lea of Slade, whose 1973 single Merry Xmas Everybody is the definitive Christmas made

I knew Merry Xmas Everybody was going to be massive, but I was mortified when I found out that everyone else was bringing Christmas songs out as well. I heard Eltons one, Step Into Christmas, but I supposed: No competitor. Then I hear Roy Wood and Wizzards and the competitor had arrived. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day is just a Phil Spector wall of sound, with everything on it, even a childrens choir. When I first heard it, it was so good that I recollect joking: I hope Roy gets run over by a bus. We found out wed run straight-out to No 1 when we were on the Lift Off With Ayshea TV show, hosted by Roys girlfriend, Ayshea Brough. Wizzard had gone in at No 4. Soon afterwards, we were at a party at[ Slade guitarist] Dave Hills neighbours and Roy was there. Eventually, he held out his hand and told: Set it there, the best man won. We were still shaking hands when I seemed up at him and told: Do you know what, Roy? I prefer your record.

Also chosen by Showaddywaddys Dave Bartram, who spent Christmas 1974 singing Hey Mr Christmas ~ ATAGEND

Making Christmas records was cool and fashionable in the 70 s, and theyre all still being played today. As soon as I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day comes on, you think: Its Christmas. It builds me feel like a kid its so uplifting, with that vibe of: This is totally over the top and were enjoying ourselves, which is just what Christmas should be. I know Woody and hes a really nice bloke, a lovable guy. We both called our daughters Holly, but his is Holly Wood. The sentiment of this song stimulates me laugh as well. I remember him telling to me, early in his career: You know, Dave, this songwriting lark is magic. I got home the other day and there was a cheque for 64 grand. That day was definitely Christmas.

Phil Spector A Christmas Gift for You( 1963)

Chosen by Neil Diamond, who released two best-selling volumes of The Christmas Album ~ ATAGEND in the 90 s, and whose Acoustic Christmas album is out now

A Christmas Gift for You has many of my favourite sungs, sung by some of my favourite singers of the time, such as Darlene Love, the Ronettes and the Crystals. They are all up-tempo songs, and I like that. My favourites are Sleigh Ride, Winter Wonderland, Marshmallow World and Frosty the Snowman. I didnt work with Phil, but I gratified him a couple of hours. It was as close to being next to a genius as I had ever been. His records were all great and original, and this one brings back memories. It was the early, first blush of innocent rocknroll music that I can remember and it was produced by the big kahuna producer of the time. Everybody knew about it in Tin Pan Alley, where the heart of the music business was beating and where I heard it first. It was a happy day for me. I had just got married and, although I hadnt yet had my own hits, I heard and interpreted this album as a fan and not as somebody inside the world of music. As a fighting songwriter, I fell in love with it. Now, it brings back all the memories of the hungry songwriter living off his dreaming, and what great records could and should sound like. My love for Christmas music began when we sang in high school. Because I am Jewish, I never was allowed to celebrate Christmas until I moved out and got married. Ive had Christmas trees ever since. To make a great Christmas record, you have to love the music, and feel the warmth and passion of the songs.

Elvis Presley Santa Claus Is Back in Town( 1957)

Chosen by Jona Lewie, who brought us the perennial Stop the Cavalry ~ ATAGEND

When this “re coming out” in 1957, the archetype for Christmas songs was Bing Crosbys White Christmas. But this is raw and wild, about women, sex and autoes. Elvis was just being natural, but it was seen as rebellious and probably voiced like an assault on the pop establishment. I would have heard it around 1960 and it bowled me over, because it was the real Elvis, like on the Sun Records cuts. It has great right-hand blues piano and a rough edge, with great humor. Elviss Santa arrives not with Rudolph the reindeer, but in a big black Cadillac, outraging white, churchgoing middle America. He comes down the chimney and says to the woman in the house: Turn off the sunlight. Because in 1957 they did it in the dark. Its almost been forgotten, but Elvis was truly dangerous.

Kurtis Blow Christmas Rappin( 1979)

Chosen by Darryl McDaniels( DMC) of Run-DMC, who celebrated Christmas in Hollis ~ ATAGEND

I heard this at Runs house when his older brother, Russell, was our manager as well as Kurtis Blows, so we heard all his songs before they came out. Kurt was the first to have a dope-ass hip-hop Christmas song. At the time, Christmas Rappin was confined to our then relatively small hip-hop world, but eventually became huge. This is so creative and clever, and so funky, that it transformed into a universal breakbeat that MCs would use at live performances. Plus the bassline is tremendous. This is actually one of Kurts greatest performances. His lyrics are unbelievable: A red-suited dude with a frilly attitude/ And a sleigh full of goodies for the person or persons on the block/ Got a long white beard, perhaps looks various kinds of weird/ If you ever see it, it will give you quite a shock. That flowing is def.

The Waitresses Christmas Wrapping( 1982)

Chosen by Midge Ure, co-writer of Band Aids Do They Know Its Christmas ?~ ATAGEND , the UKs biggest-selling Christmas record

Christmas Wrapping is one of those Christmas tunes that tells a story. The girl is on her own making a Christmas dinner and she forgets cranberries, so she goes to the all-night supermarket and bumps into some guy she has imagination for ages and hes looking for something. Its a lovely little narrative, but I love the madness of the tune itself. Its all over the place, but theres something genuinely joyous about it. While you might hear Slade or Wizzard 100 hours over Christmas, you might hear the Waitresses once, but it has become a slightly more selective Christmas standard. Its not a contrived Christmas song at all. Theres this mad, syncopated brass riff that virtually sounds as if its from another record, and a bass part that sounds if someones tied the bass players fingers together. The oddness constructs it great.

XTC( AKA the Three Wise Men) Thanks for Christmas( 1983)

Chosen by the Waitresses Chris Butler

Im a raging XTC fan, but I love Thanks for Christmas because its a new wave, punky group doing a Christmas song, yet its absolutely not a toss-off or a spoof. They were in their prime, playing and singing brilliantly, and the chord changes are sensational. Its so well-crafted. Our record, Christmas Wrapping, has get that New York snotty attitude, which gets its comeuppance in the end, but this is totally sincere from start to finish, which is very endearing. The Three Wise Men is a great pseudonym, and they even maintained the joke going, listing the writers credits employing the biblical names Kaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. It wasnt a reach, but it certainly warmed my heart and those of other XTC nerds around the world. If I had one Christmas wish, it would be for Andy Partridge to get the band back together.

The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl Fairytale of New York( 1988 )~ ATAGEND Chosen by Chris Rea, singer of Driving Home for Christmas ~ ATAGEND , the only Christmas hit about going to Middlesbrough

The song is based on an debate in a drunk tank, and I used to see all that when my dad had a coffee bar next to the unemployment exchange. I ran there, standing in a drip-dry white coat with a picture of a little Italian man and Mr REAlly Good written down the pocket. I was a sitting duck. I must have had my nose violated 10 periods. One Christmas, there was so much mayhem, “its like” Beirut. Im also half-Irish, so I like the tune. It gets to me, and Kirsty MacColl was just fantastic. Truly feisty. I gratified her loads of hours, bless her. I once did a Tv show in Hamburg with the Pogues and we were all on the same flight back, and when you did TV on weekends in Europe it was just one big party. Shane MacGowan was in duty-free. He hadnt been to bed and he had no money, so he asked me to give him the money for a bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream. I bought it for him and he downed it straight away, the whole lot. He said: Oh, I was ever so thirsty.

Elvis Presley If I Get Home On Christmas Day( 1972)

Chosen by Saint Etiennes Bob Stanley, whose 1993 Christmas single proclaimed, truthfully, I Was Born on Christmas Day ~ ATAGEND

Given that its my birthday, Im probably a bigger fan of Christmas songs than most, but Elvis is the king of them. I first heard this in Japan, in a coffee shop that had a mocked-up American radio station playing Christmas songs on a loop. I loved it straight away and searched it out when I got home. Its on his 1972 Christmas album, which normally get sniffy write up. Never trust the critics. It was written by Tony Macaulay, who had a hand in dozens of British reaches Build Me Up Buttercup, Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes but nothing as moving as this. In the song, Elvis is away from home, as he often would have been in 1972. I picture him driving back on a darknes, empty highway, trying not to fall asleep at the wheel. Hes hoping to make it back to the family home its a festive equivalent to Wichita Lineman in a way and youre rooting for him. The key word in the title is if, but I know hes going to do it, in time to kiss the kids goodnight before midnight.

Darlene Love Christmas( Baby Please Come Home)( 1963)

Chosen by Shakin Stevens, whose 1985 single Merry Christmas Everyone ~ ATAGEND was lately voted the nations third-favourite festive No 1

I first heard this on the radio in the mid-6 0s and, when I purchased A Christmas present for You by Phil Spector, this was the track I couldnt stop playing. It has got that big Wall of Sound that everyone expects from Spector but, for me, is all about Loves gospel roots and powerful delivery. She has sung with the best, and sung lead on a lot of hittings, uncredited. Shamefully, that meant she didnt get the infringes she deserved early on in her career, although lately she has started to be given the recognition she deserves. This didnt chart in the UK at the time, but you cant maintain a good record down, and it has become a radio favourite. She puts so much pure energy into this performance that I cannot think of a more uplifting Christmas song. I dare anyone to put it on and not either sing along, or move to it.

Greg Lake I Believe in Father Christmas( 1975)

Chosen by Mike Batt of the Wombles, who wished us a Wombling Merry Christmas ~ ATAGEND

This was kept off No 1 by Queens Bohemian Rhapsody, but theres no dishonor in that. I love this song because of the sheer good will and warmth that comes from it. Greg Lake and Pete Sinfield, who wrote it, claimed it was an objection to the commercialisation of Christmas, but still about the pleasure of the season and the innocence of believing. Its beautifully produced: the opening acoustic guitar run adds a really strong, incessant beat underneath the tune, and theres not a sleigh buzzer listen to this. The strongest hook is a quotation of Prokofievs Troika, which adds a certain majesty and happiness. Apparently, that was Keith Emersons idea. Keith, who was a member of Emerson Lake& Palmer alongside Greg, was a really nice bloke and a fine musician, but my strongest memory of him was at a celebrity race at Brands Hatch where he shunted me up the back, writing off my car.

Also chosen by Andy Pickles of Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, whose Spectacular Christmas Party ~ ATAGEND album is an office-party staple

I love the Slade and Wizzard singles, and when we did the Jive Bunny record we had the pleasure of working with Noddy Holder and Roy Wood, who knocked on the studio door with crazy purple hair and pink glass and aimed up getting leathered with us after the recording. It was one of those brilliant, memorable moments with a legend, while some Christmas records can repel you as much as describe you in. Greg Lakes sung is just beautifully written and has a wonderfully warm feeling of get relaxed for the revelries, rather than jumping around sticking tinsel up your nose. You can picture the log flame, the familys there. Theres likely a thick jumper involved. Mike Batt has chosen it as well? Thats because were both creatures: a Womble and a rabbit.

Bing Crosby White Christmas( 1942)

Chosen by Greg Lake, who believed in Father Christmas. Lake died on 7 December this year .

My father idolised Bing Crosby and tried to teach me all his songs, which was probably my introduction to singing. At Christmas, Crosbys interpretation of this evergreen classic reigned supreme. It doesnt make any mention of a religious persuasion merely to childhood recollections of the warmth, beauty and charm of the event itself. So when Pete Sinfield and I wrote I Believe in Father Christmas, it was about how Christmas had degenerated and was in danger of becoming yet another victim of crass, corporate fiscal exploitation. As much as I love everyone having a good time, its about more than 12 pints of lager and a crate of Baileys. Its more important to stimulate some spiritual, human contact, or visit person lonely. We never had any commercial or financial purposes but, of course , now everyone wants to know how it feels to receive all the lovely royalties, which are apparently delivered by wheelbarrow by Santa himself after a long day climbing down everybodys chimneys.

Also chosen by Elmo Shropshire of Elmo and Patsy, whose Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer ~ ATAGEND has the unique honour of being voted the USs best-loved and most-disliked Christmas song

In 1950, when I was 14 -years-old, I lived on a farm in Kentucky with my parents and older brother, Johnny. On Christmas eve, a snow blizzard dumped 5ft of snowfall. It was 27 degrees below zero and we needed food. Our family vehicle was frozen. The roads were covered with snow. I hitched my black-and-tan coonhound, Luke, to my sled and we went through heavy snowfall for miles to a store, which is now being the only route I could get there. When I returned, I went into the parlour where the Christmas tree was. It was so cold that even the dog was welcomed into the house. We assembled around the radio, and thats when I first heard White Christmas. It was a white Christmas, we were cosy and it was bright. It is a wonderful nostalgic period and every time I hear the anthem, I remember that evening and it brings back warm memories of my mothers who, unbeknownst to us, would lose their lives four short years later in a car accident. Id never have imagined that, 33 years later, I would sing a Christmas song that, for three years, was even more popular than Bing Crosbys classic. Im inclined to think it had little to do with my singing voice.

Stevie Wonder Someday at Christmas( 1967 )~ ATAGEND

Chosen by Alan Sparhawk of Low, whose 1999 EP, Christmas ~ ATAGEND , is a classic. Their latest festive single, Some Hearts( at Christmas Time ),~ ATAGEND is out now .

At some point, usually a day or two before Christmas, a sung will hit me like a snowball in the face. Often, its a familiar anthem heard anew somehow: I recollect realising the power and technical transcendence of O Holy Night, the childhood spookiness of Youre a Mean One, Mr Grinch, and the funky pure heart of James Brown in Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto. Last year, again without looking, Someday at Christmas observed me. From the first chiming, descending melody, you know what its about and, when Stevie comes in singing, you feel like you have been standing listening to him for ever. A trusted beautiful friend, pleading, hoping, calling out mankind and its childish propensities to war, while still lifting us to be as a little child in meekness and love. Hope like this is rare, precious and powerful. He is asking us to not dread, but to dream and work toward a better world, all to the tune of a tune that seems as timeless as love itself.

Elvis Presley The Christmas Album( 1957)

Chosen by Loretta Lynn. The legendary Coal Miners Daughter recorded her first Christmas album, Country Christmas, half a century ago. Her second, White Christmas Blue ~ ATAGEND , is out now .

My favourite Christmas song is White Christmas. What a great voice Bing Crosby had. The anthem also appears on Elviss Christmas Album, my favourite Christmas record, which also has household associations. When my twins were little, they would sing Blue Christmas in their best Elvis impersonation. What a wonderful memory. I love walking down memory lane, and Christmas music takes you there. In 1966, Country Christmas described how it was for myself and my family when I grew up in eastern Kentucky in the Appalachian mountains. Periods were hard. There was no such thing as a big Christmas for us eight children, but Daddy would always cut us a little Christmas tree out of the woods and myself and my brothers, Herman and Junior, would decorate it with popcorn and pinecones. We didnt get presents, but always had a good meal, and always told thanks for what we did have. This year, I wanted to record a new Christmas album for my grandbabies, and Im so glad I got to make another Christmas record 50 year later. Aint that something?

Rihanna A Child Is Born( 2010)

Chosen by Maizie Williams of Boney M, whose 1978 Christmas No 1 Marys Boy Child ~ ATAGEND is the 10 th best-selling British single of all time

I really enjoy Christmas and all the music that comes with it. My absolute favourites are The First Noel by Johnny Mathis, Louis Armstrongs version of White Christmas and Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt. When I was growing up, these ballads used to be played by my late mom, especially when she was in the kitchen and us children were running around, playing. As I dont visit Montserrat[ where Williams was born] much these days, these songs have a special place in my heart and listening to them constructs “i m feeling” at home. I really enjoy the memories they bring. Christmas in Montserrat was like everybody elses the family would get together, cook and dancing. The big difference was that it was beaming sunshine: there was never a snowflake in sight. However, the ballad that is closest to my heart is much more recent. I love the lyrics of A Child Is Born: Rihanna is singing about the birth of Jesus. I am very spiritual and have always felt close to God and his powers to make this world great. I feel connected to Rihanna, as she is also a girl from a small Caribbean island, just like me.

Kate McGarrigle( with Martha and Rufus Wainwright) In the Bleak Midwinter( 2009 )~ ATAGEND

Chosen by Martha Wainwright, who sang on The McGarrigle Christmas Hour( 2005) by Kate and Anna McGarrigle her mother and aunt respectively and performs in the annual Noel Nights reveals with her friend, Rufus

I like Christmas things that are a bit sad, and I respond most to the old English carols that have a lot to do with wintertime period. This one was brought to my attention, sadly, by my mother when we did the Royal Albert Hall Christmas show in 2009. She was in the last few weeks of her life, and was practising that sung over and over again. It may have been the drug or the cancer attaining her muddled, but my mother, my brother and myself sang it over and over. Ive was just thinking about this a lot the concept of the bleak midwinter, and her death, and come to realise that she likely never wanted it to end. Now, whenever Rufus and I do our Christmas indicates, its the top of our listing of anthems. Our Christmas is more about gospel music and requiems rather than pop, but I also love Bob Dylans crazy Christmas record Must Be Santa and can picture him there, truly getting into it, in his Christmas hat.

Mahalia Jackson Silent Night, Holy Night( 1962)

Chosen by Rufus Wainwright, whose Spotlight on Christmas ~ ATAGEND is a highlight of The McGarrigle Christmas Hour .

I love In the Bleak Midwinter, but Silent Night is the crown jewel of Christmas songs. Its the one that you hear or sing over and over again and it always has some kind of effect, even though you think youre sick of it. I feel as if I first heard it a thousand years ago when I was in the galaxy. My favourite is my version, of course, which I sing with my husband, so its personal. Otherwise its Mahalia Jacksons gospel version, which is so impressive and moving. Its a very simple song with simple chords, although a minor key sets a fly in the ointment. The message is unbelievably touching, because it must have to do with war: fighting and hollering and then find peace. After the year weve all had, it will voice especially emotional, and Ill be singing it at our Christmas show in Nashville.

David Myles Santa Never Brings Me a Banjo( 2014)

Chosen by Kate Rusby ~ ATAGEND , who has recorded three much-loved Christmas albums

David Myles is a Canadian guy who made an album called Its Christmas a couple of years ago. Person sent me a link to the YouTube animation of this song and I just altogether fell in love with it. My spouse and my papa are both banjo players, so it connected. Its quirky and funny, with a bluegrass twang, and tells the story of a young son, likely Myles, who never gets the requested banjo, every year. And I never knew the reason why. Every Christmas I see it in my dreams, and every Christmas morning I cry. In the sung, we never hear whether he finally get one, but in the animation theres one from Santa right at the very end, with a little note telling: Not too loud.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Troika from Lieutenant Kij( 2005)

Chosen by Cara Dillon, who has just released her Christmas album, Upon a Winters Night ~ ATAGEND

This Prokofiev piece sums up Christmas for me. Ive listened to it on tour, when Ive been flying home to Belfast, and now the children have got into it, and as soon as they hear it they know its Christmas. The tune has everything that sums up the mystery and magical of the festive season. Its very dramatic, and sounds like youre on a sleigh riding across the sky. The music builds up, brings you back up and then gets running again. Im not one for putting on Mariah Carey or all the different versions of Jingle Bells. When I recorded my Christmas album, in July, it was so hot that the band recorded in their pants, so we had this smash out to get us feeling festive.

Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters Mele Kalikimaka( 1950)

Chosen by Kacey Musgraves, who brings a Nashville twist to Yuletide with her new album , A Very Kacey Christmas ~ ATAGEND

I like anything that Bing Crosby does, and one of my favourites is his version of this Hawaiian Christmas song with the Andrews Sister. He was one of the first people to record the anthem, but lots of people have done it since and I feel as if its always been in the background of whatever Ive been doing. As has White Christmas. I have always been inspired by traditional Hawaiian pedal steel and lap steel, and the route it coincides with western swing, which is what I grew up singing. Theres a nice world where those two meet, especially in a Christmas way. The title means Merry Christmas in Hawaiian. Ive no notion how Bing Crosby ended up recording it. He was from Washington.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Marin Alsop appointed first female artistic director of top Vienna orchestra

1 month, 25 days ago

Exclusive: American conductor greeted new role at ORF but hopes being the first woman will shortly no longer be news

Hundreds Of Loved Up Irish Fans Serenade A Beautiful French Girl

2 months, 8 days ago
Have you ever seen person in public so beautiful that you’ve wanted to stop and sing to them until they eventually and inevitably get off with you? No, me neither- we don’t live in High School Musical … still, it’s fun to find hot people .

That’s what happened in Bordeaux when, after a 3-0 loss to Belgium, Ireland fans, still in high spirits, spotted a lovely blonde French girl and took it upon themselves to serenade her.

If ever you’ve wanted to see a video that compounds Irish stereotypes, this is it. Never have you heard so much slurred singing and the mumbled, incorrect terms of two ballads that are pretty easy to recollect … funny though.

One guy managed to sneak a cheeky kiss at the end; albeit one on the cheek but, you know … she’s hot so it all counts.

Odds on that he thought there’d be some sort of Richard Curtis style holiday romance after that, though … Seems like Ireland are pretty much out of the Euros so he requires something to cheer him up!

What do you think? Let us know in the comments !

Read more:

16 Hilarious Reasons That Kids Are Crying

2 months, 22 days ago
The reasons that children scream aren’t always logical, and no one knows that better than dadGreg Pembroke . After noticing that sure, his son cried when he was hurt, or angry, but that he also get upset when he was, tell, frustrated about not being allowed to drown in a pond, Greg started a blog, collecting from other parents the more hilarious reasons that kids wept 😛 TAGEND

You can check out some of our favourites here 😛 TAGEND 1. Bitterly disappointing ..

2. But he’s missing out on so much !

3. The worst .

4. I entail fair enough ..

5. No !

6. How could you ?!

7. Try and say no to that face !

8. So unfair !

9. The horror !

10. Terrible parenting right there …

11. But he seemed like such a nice fellow !

12. Still though ..

13. We’ve all been there ..

14. A travesty .

15. Horrifying .

16. I believe I’ve spotted it …

For more adorable reasons that kids are crying, head over to Bored Panda to consider the full collection, or Greg’s blog, Reasons My Son Is Crying .

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