December 2009

So that about wraps it all up for 2009. The lists are dwindling, the festivities are beginning and planning for the year ahead is well underway. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a pretty good year, musically and otherwise, and I’m sure as hell going to enjoy the next one, with new albums from plenty of artists I love (Vampire Weekend, Good Shoes, possibly Radiohead etc.) So this is it, charge your glasses, say goodbye to the decade and here’s to the next. Bye!

This Is Ivy League – Celebration (YSI)

Here’s the second chunk of tuneful wonderment, and if you want the whole list in one easy-to-download package of delight, here’s the whole damn heap.

Manic Street Preachers – Me and Stephen Hawking (YSI)

I’ve heard the whole album in different sittings, and it really should be on my list, but I never actually bought it in the end, so here’s my favourite song so far – the perfect connection of Richey Edwards’ incredible lyrics and James Dean Bradfield’s rockstar guitar tendencies. The Manics recaptured their greatest form here, I just hope they’ve got more of the much-missed Mr. Edwards’ notebooks hidden away somewhere.

Meursault – William Henry Miller Pt. 1 (YSI)

Meursault have firmly rooted themselves on my ‘favourite new bands’ list, with their debut album and latest EP releases each blowing me away for different reasons. This song has an oh-so-catchy handclap chorus and lyrics about a hermaphrodite politician who had strange burial requests. What more could you want?

Meursault – William Henry Miller Pt. 2 (YSI)

I just couldn’t decide ok? The second half of this story sees a far slower, wail-filled affair, bringing the whole mood done somewhat, but for an entirely good reason. By the way, the band have just released new, more electronic, versions of both of these songs as new singles – get ahold of them from Song By Toad, it’s bloody worth it.

Phoenix – Lisztomania (YSI)

What list this year would be complete without Phoenix? This and ‘1901’ are just incredible singles, sure to become classic pop hits, and whilst I like both, there’s something about ‘Lisztomania’ that oozes cool, seeming to explode with noise at points, and yet never losing its feeling of easy-going charm.

Radiohead – These Are My Twisted Words (YSI)

Ah, Radiohead. How they can make me like what’s essentially a five and a half minute sinister freak out (not my favourite style I have to say) is a marvel. There’s something so beautiful about the directions and left turns they take, letting it wash over you before switching up again, never quite allowing one idea to go on for too long. It felt perfectly at home in their live set too, bridging the gap between their more abstract songs and the hits.

The Second Hand Marching Band – We Walk In The Room (YSI)

Making beautifully constructed songs must be difficult if you have a shifting set of over 20 musicians, but this song proves it can be done. Adapting a Beirut sound into a far more expansive and ever-growing proposition, the mass chants sound like a rallying call for fey indie kids everywhere, and it doesn’t succumb to the crescendoed heights it seems to suggest it will at points, a nice exercise in restraint that shows how such a large band can make understated music.

Shift-Static – Father’s Footsteps Pt. 2 (YSI)

Shift-Static describe their genre as shoe-step, embracing the disparate influences of shoegaze’s wall of sound techniques and dubstep’s shuffling, occasionally mournful beats. It doesn’t get much clearer that this is a perfect description when you listen to this. All Kate Bush swirling vocals to begin with before suddenly mutating into some quietly throbbing, beat-laden beast, it’s bloody weird, and bloody brilliant.

Thom Yorke – All For The Best (YSI)

This cover of a Mark Mulcahy song takes the best of Thom Yorke’s solo work and marries it to louder sound, allowing guitars and real drums to seep in somewhere along the way, perfectly complementing the sad yet ultimately redemptive tone of the lyrics.

Tom Williams & The Boat – Bonkers (YSI)

Tom Williams may be adept at creating folk-pop tunes that I love, but this hoedown version of Dizzee Rascal’s horrible, horrible song made me love the band for a whole new reason – their sense of humour. This just sounds like friends making music because they love it, with no ulterior motive.

Two Door Cinema Club – Something Good Can It Work (YSI)

This song can cheer me up in mere moments. There’s something so bloody wonderful about listening to a band just say, ‘yeah, things can be good’ and back it up with the most upbeat music you’ve ever hear. At the time that I heard it, they were unsigned and still playing little gigs; now they’re signed to cooler-than-thou Kitsuné and I saw them play Glastonbury. They’re going to be big, they’re going to make a lot more amazing songs, but this will always be the one I cherish most, because it feels like a band just believing in themselves, even when they haven’t achieved anything just yet.

Vampire Weekend – Horchata (YSI)

I simply cannot wait for the second album from these guys, and by the sound of this track they might have some new tricks up their sleeve. This takes all the African influences they love so much, cranks them up higher than they’ve ever gone before and puts it all on an avant-garde dance track. Freakin’ awesome.

The Very Best – Warm Heart of Africa (feat. Ezra Koenig) (YSI)

Just after I talk about Ezra Koenig making an African-themed dance track, we have this, an… African dance track, featuring Ezra Koenig. It somehow sounds completely different though, using actual African samples as a base and building up from there. It’s an unadulterated slice of sunny pop, and a sure-fire dancefloor hit.

Withered Hand – Religious Songs (YSI)

Technically, it’s a song from 2008, but I’ve only heard this year’s Good News album version so I feel no shame in including it here. The lyrics are what makes this so brilliant, at times a twisted love song, at others a meditation on happiness and all the time wonderful. Lines like ‘How does he really expect to be happy/when he listens to death metal bands’ and ‘I knew you so long I ran out of cool things to say’ make me smile instinctively, and turn this into an instantly relatable song, totally human and never pretentious.

Having written this, I realise I’ve definitely missed some out, so if you want to tell me what you think I’ve omitted, comment me up!

What with the spirit of goodwill that’s being bandied around at the moment, I thought it only proper to recognise the achievements of those bands whose albums weren’t quite good enough (or didn’t exist enough) to be included on my end of year album list. So here we go, the unrecognised gems of this fair year of music.

What with the spirit of goodwill that’s being bandied around at the moment, I thought it only proper to recognise the achievements of those bands whose albums weren’t quite good enough (or didn’t exist enough) to be included on my end of year album list. So here we go, the unrecognised gems of this fair year of music. Oh and if you’re too lazy to download them all from below, and too impatient to wait for the next half tomorrow, here’s a big ol’ Zip file stuffed full of ’em.

Arcade Fire – Lenin (YSI)

I know this has been around for quite a while, but 2009 was the year that this song was finally released, and it’s my list, ok? A more sparse and upbeat affair than their usual offerings, Montreal’s finest have created a jaunty, guitar-driven imagining of everyone’s favourite Bolshevik’s childhood, chock-full of piano sweeps and not-quite singalong moments.

Band of Skulls – Death By Diamonds and Pearls (YSI)

I still haven’t got round to listening to this album, but if this song is anything to go by, it’ll sound like the White Stripes. A lot. I mean, everything about this song, from the vocals, guitar tone, crashing drums and even the skittering, twitching solo sounds like Jack and Meg. And in my head, that can never be a bad thing, it’s just badass from begininning to end.

Beirut – My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille (YSI)

Some didn’t take to it, but Zach Condon’s brief foray into laid back electonica made me a happy man. There’s something about the rising and falling of the underwater synths in this song, coupled with his idiosyncratic drawl that never fails to make me pleased, it sounds like a more chilled-out Hot Chip at times. If Zach ever decides to bring back his Realpeople alter-ego again, I for one will not be unhappy.

Beth Jeans Houghton – I Will Return, I Promise (YSI)

Another North-East entry, this time trying to wrestle the London-centric new-folk scene all the way up the A1. Ms. Houghton’s four track EP, Hot Toast Vol. 1 gave us an alternative to all those Southern softies (note: I am one) with a punchier folk lilt, with this opening track the standout.

Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta A Feeling (YSI)

Now, I understand this is a controversial choice for a blogger to make, but honestly, this is (to use the common vernacular) a CHOON. It always made me a little happier to be in a place playing crappy music, and when it was played in Newcastle’s coolest club (World Headquarters) by the coolest DJ (Tom), it vindicated my guilty pleasure. Plus, hearing Fergie sound like a fucking idiot when she shouts “Drank!” and “La chaim!” will never tire.

Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa (YSI)

To be honest, this is a favourite just because of how fucking insane it is. I hated it when I first heard it, but one more listen convinced me that polka + Dylan’s new voice = terrifying, hilarious, genius. It’s brightened up my whole Christmas.

Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill (De La Edit) (YSI)

It’s not as good as the original, but the sound of those synths and Pip’s Essex preaching accompanied by Posdnous’ classic flow was always going to be a good idea. “Thou shalt not think that having a blog makes you a journalist”. Oops.

The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing (YSI)

Time will tell if this band can get out of the one-trick-pony phase they seem to be in now, but their first single was my song of the summer. It’s an infectiously whistle-filled romp of post-punk surf pop that charmed many a blogger and even the discerning ears (read in sarcastic tone here) of Radio 1 for a time, albeit a long time after summer was over.

Esser – Headlock (YSI)

I really liked Esser’s album when it came away, but my interest waned after a few listens, it just seems to lack the real substance that a truly good album needs, but his singles were always winners, and ‘Headlock’ is no exception. Re-released to promote the album, it just jumps out at you, all mockney vocals and cheap-sounding synths and beats. It’s endlessly danceable and emininently catchy.

Good Shoes – The Way My Heartbeats (YSI)

The sample track from the Morden boys’ second album piqued my interest in them all over again, with a heavier, quicker sound, but retaining the jangling guitar tone and Rhys’ yelping vocals that I fell in love with. Brilliant.

Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks (YSI)

I’d never paid much heed to Grizzly Bear before this, the whole American indie sound is alien to my frosty British ears a lot of the time, but this the swooning vocals put over a sluggish stomping beat in this song just grabbed me, it sounds far more sinister than it should, and the video is bloody wonderful.

Little Comets – One Night In October (YSI)

This is an insanely cheery slice of debut single indie-pop from Newcastle’s favourite new bunch of smiling loons. Full of yelps and charmingly twee lines like ‘Just like Carlisle, she lies on the border‘, the band seem to specialise in gettingnunder your skin and getting you to twitch about, just like the song. They’re getting an increasing amount of love up north, and if they keep making songs like this I can certainly see that extending all over this fair green land and maybe beyond.

Local Natives – Camera Talk (YSI)

I haven’t got hold of their album yet, but Local Natives’ indie band version of Fleet Foxes’ harmonies along with an irrepressible quick-march tempo is just beautiful. The amount of instruments they get into this song without making it sound overstuffed is a masterclass in prudent songwriting.

Not a day after listing The Ecstatic as one of my favourite albums of the year, I find out Mos Def has had a new track, “24 Hour Karate School” premiered by none other than Kanye ‘Fishsticks’ West, and it truly is a good’un, on par with some of the best of the latest album. Built around an irrepressably dancable, laid back soul/funk sample, Mos Def lazily drawls about martial arts and even makes amusingly amateur attempts at b-movie kung fu punch sound effects to add to the beat. I really have to get hold of Black on Both Sides. Soon.

Mos Def – 24 Hour Karate School (YSI)

So here we are, the final list, my five favourite albums of 2009, I do hope you’ve enjoyed my selections, and maybe found some new stuff for your mp3 players to eat up. Speak to you all soon!

5. Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard – ‘Em Are I

When I first listened to this latest effort from New York’s premier anti-folk troubadour/comic book artist I expected what I’d heard before in my brief forays into the Lewis back catalogue; gentle, off-centre ditties about charmingly witty and strangely perverse subjects. In fact, I was kind of wrong. For a start, a lot of this album is a lot louder than I expected it to be, with opener ‘Slogans’ blasting the whole affair into life in a whirl of Libertines-ey razorwire riffs whilst I actually found a lot of the subject matter to be charming and witty, but mostly conventional in its approach. And maybe that was the best way to really introduce me to Jeffrey Lewis, expect the unexpected. The album takes lyrical left turns throughout, with love songs to Greyhound buses (‘Roll Bus Roll’) giving way to existential musings (‘If Life Exists?’) before discussing how whistling prevents hearing corpses talk about you (‘Whistle Past The Graveyard’) whilst musically we’re met with folk ditties, Cake-style freakouts (‘The Upside-Down Cross’) and indie-punk anthems (‘Broken Broken Broken Heart’). It’s Lewis himself who makes this album what it is then, infusing every track with his own irrepressible charm and verve, not to mention his distinctive nasal whine (certainly not a bad thing, by the way). There’s just so much to be told on this album, you just want to hear what he’s telling you throughout, and it’s a storytelling experience as much as anything else and that’s what makes it quite so special.

Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard – Roll Bus Roll (YSI)

4. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Not having been alive in 1983, nor having done any kind of extensive research into the music of that time, all the talk about how POBPAH (lovely acronym that that is) are simply rehashing the famous C83 tape flies right over my head. I’ll tell you what I hear on this album – some unfairly talented young people making shimmering, occasionally loud, twee indie music in an almost perfectly-realised way. It doesn’t matter that this has been done before, and it certainly doesn’t matter that the band have done their research into what they want to sound like before they made their album, what matters is that this is one of those albums where every song feels like an old friend after one listen. And it’s the second listen that counts, where you realise for the first time just how well made all of these songs are. ‘Young Adult Friction’ is a gloriously sparking love song, ‘A Teenager In Love’ is quietly glimmering pop masterpiece whilst ‘Everything With You’ is a punk-flecked headbanger for kids in NHS specs, complete with a wonderfully out of place stadium rock guitar solo. If I was a bit younger and a bit further back in my relationship, this would be the perfect soundtrack for falling in love to.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Everything With You (YSI)

3. Future of the Left – Travels With Myself and Another

Future of the Left are quite likely the most menacing band I’ve ever heard. Menacing because they’re not balls-out terrifying like a death metal band, menacing because you can never quite tell whether they’re joking, menacing because there’s always the suspicion that they’re even angrier than they let on, and it might just all tumble out of your speakers and throttle you without you realising. And I love them for it. There’s something in that commitment to releasing your anger through music, but in no immediately obvious way that makes me smile. It seems the intelligent way to do it. Packing barely twelve songs into just over half an hour, this is a tightly-wound ball of aggression, taking in ‘The Hope That House Built’s barely-contained war march, hellish (PUN) anthem ‘You Need Satan More Than He Needs You’ and the spring-loaded punk of ‘Stand By Your Manatee’ before winding down with the spectacularly odd spoken-word explosion of ‘Lapsed Catholics’. It all seems like the perfect follow-up to Curses – it has all the same vitriol, the same mish-mash of the heavier genres and the same sense of deranged playfulness of subject, but something is lying there behind it all, differentiating it, with a bigger grin, and a bigger sense of something truly dangerous behind that grin.

Future of the Left – Chin Music (YSI)

2. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

This was, as any regualar readers will know, my most anticipated album of the year. After three EPs that I couldn’t get enough of and after experiencing them live, I really couldn’t freaking wait for Sigh No More. I was not to be disappointed. Choosing some of their best songs from the original EPs and surrounding them with some excellent new additions to the catalogue was a very good call, appeasing the fans with new material whilst showing new ones what they’ve been missing. This is a group who seem assured of their positions within each song at all times, using each instrument to full effect, and bringing every track to life with incredible precision. We all know they’re masters of the uplifting buildup by now, with tracks like ‘Winter Winds’, ‘The Cave’ and ‘White Blank Page’ all exhibiting that particular talent, but there’s a wealth of different styles on show here, with quieter tracks like the brooding ‘I Gave You All’ being given just as much space to breathe as its more ostentatious neighbours. Marcus’ beautiful keening vocals are another source of wonder, moving from scratching solos to taking its place amongst the rest of the band as they harmonise like nobody else. Not only that, but ‘Dust Bowl Dance’ showed room for expansion, embracing electric instruments and making an almighty racket with them. It has to be remembered that this is a debut album too, they may have had more experience than many new bands do when they recorded it, but for a band to put together such a coherent, beautiful record on their first try is nothing short of amazing, and their new-found larger fanbase is just reward for the hard work they’ve put in so far.

Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page (YSI)

1. The xx – xx

To be honest, this was probably the easiest choice of them all, but I still ask myself one big question whenever I think about this album – where the hell did it come from? In today’s world of leaks, Myspace fame and PR overload, how did The xx seem such an unassuming prospect until they hit us with xx? It was a miracle of timing and possibly purposeful mystery that brought the band to everyone’s attention at the same time, creating a singular (mainly bloggy) fervour to write about them just before the album came out and they played the summer festivals. It’s not just the mystery of their appearance that makes them incredible though, I’m still bowled over by just how assured a debut this is, particularly from teenagers with basically no experience or exposure to the world they were entering. And yet The xx have made an album that should be and, I imagine, is looked at with incredulity to think getting a better sound means adding more to it. These are eleven tracks of quiet, gloomy romance that have been picked back to their bare bones, skeletal reminders of what they could have been, and how unnecessary it would have been to fill them out. Songs like ‘VCR’ get by with so little instrumentation they could almost seem incomplete, but occasional touches of bass or the barest hints of synth high hats push them into their own uniquely quiet territory.

Romy and Oliver’s vocals are the real centre piece though, their interplay, weaving in and out of each other, joining together and overlapping is a masterclass in how boy-girl vocals needn’t be a gimmick or oppositional; they can act in symbiosis, saying the same things in different ways. The instruments act in a similar way, with quietly picked guitar parts following bass throbs while gentle synths wind their way around both. In ‘Heart Skipped A Beat’, the sparse drum machine dance beats lead the way, allowing for other instruments to make their way into the mix, quietly creating an almost imperceptible crescendo that disappears as quickly as it formed. It’s the Jamie Smith’s well-studied exercise in silence-as-production-technique that accentuates these moments, makes them important to the listener, and elevates the vocals above the rest – and it’s the silence rather than anything else that characterises this album. It’s an odd idea, but silence has been the only true new sound this year – almost everything else on this list can be traced back to someone elses’ music, but the silence on xx is so singular it becomes its own feature, and that’s why this album is the most important, and, more usefully, the best of the year.

The xx – Heart Skipped A Beat (YSI)

Just as a round-up, here’s the full list:

1. The xx – xx
2. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
3. Future of the Left – Travels With Myself and Another
4. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
5. Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard – ‘Em Are I
6. The Horrors – Primary Colours
7. Mos Def – The Ecstatic
8. Telekinesis – Telekinesis!
9. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career
10. The Maccabees – Wall of Arms
11. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinsons – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
12. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
13. Hockey – Mind Chaos
14. Pull Toger Tail – PAWS.
15. Bombay Bicycle Club – I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose

Here’s the second of my three list posts chronicling the best of this year’s albums in my own humble opinion. Just to make it clear, many of these albums won’t have been reviewed by me at the time they were released, so if you’ve never seen me mention them before, it’s just that I’ve actually got off my arse and listened to these albums for the first time in the past few weeks. Here we go!

10. The Maccabees – Wall of Arms

I was really rather excited about this album when it came out. The first album had sounded like a bunch of excited tykes whooping and jerking about in the throes of romance, all froth and fun. I wanted more. Instead what I got was a band grown up, more expansive, more serious and more melancholy. And I loved it. From album sampler ‘No Kind Words’ onwards I was hooked on this new sound. The Maccabees made an album concerned with retrospect – Orlando sings “Those killer eyes don’t look the same as they used to do/Not like the eyes that I make at you” in ‘One Hand Holding’, looking back on the perfect loves of Colour Me In and seeing them as they’ve become. Their sound too sounds like an echo of what they once were, the same tone and style, but somehow lengthened into shadows of what they produced before, overlapping and slowing down. The Maccabees have made, for me, one of the truest “evolutions” of sound from one album to another, not only developing their style, reminding us not only what they are, but what they were.

The Maccabees – Can You Give It (YSI)

9. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career

Camera Obscura’s unique brand of heartbreak twee had passed me by for far too long before I got ahold of this gem of an album, but I won’t let it happen again. Opening with the infectiously joyous strains of ‘French Navy’ and washing over you wonderfully from there, this is an album that flows better than most. What’s most interesting though is how such gentle, smile-inducing music can hide the sadness that seems ever-present in Tracyanne Campbell’s lyrics. Even in the most excitable moments we’re met with “I wanted to control it/But love I couldn’t hold it” – the duality of it all is just perfectly pitched so you get a sense of both sides at all times.  It seems as though final track ‘Honey In The Sun’ points in a different direction though, all trumpet fanfares and quickstep drumbeats as Ms. Campbell says “I wish my heart was cold as the morning dew/But it’s as warm as saxophones and honey in the sun for you”. The real triumph here though is taking such old-fashioned styles and making them sound fresher than any new indie guitar band can manage nowadays – let’s see if that cheers them up.

Camera Obscura – Honey In The Sun (YSI)

8. Telekinesis – Telekinesis!

Michael Benjamin Lerner, with a little help from bandmates and Chris Walla (of Death Cab fame), has created one of the best rock records of the year out of practically nothing. He seems to have taken a few basic instruments, a love for Japan and some analog tape and, with very little effort, made eleven songs that recall the best of Weezer and that stable of American rock. The bastard. From the very beginning, this all sounds like a soundtrack for some fantastic road movie that has yet to exist, with all the required highs (‘Coast of Carolina’) and lows (‘Rust’) and a love interest thrown in for good measure (‘Awkward Kisser’). It’s ridiculously uplifting, not to mention spectacularly impressive.

Telekinesis – Foreign Room (YSI)

7. Mos Def – The Ecstatic

I don’t pretend to know a whole heap about hip-hop. When I enjoy it I can’t look into it as closely as I can with rock, folk or alternative, the whole culture of different producers on one album, guest vocalists and sampling just passes me by most of the time, so I can’t really expect you to listen to me try to muddle my way through tne technical aspects of this album It would be embarassing for us both. What I can talk about is why I’ve enjoyed this album as much as I have. To have a hip-hop album so full of multicultural influences and mercifully free of the ganster mentality that I can’t relate to (I couldn’t sound much more white/middle class could I?) is a genuinely new pleasure for me. From ‘Supermagic’s one-two punch of Middle-Eastern guitar riff and perfectly-delivered refrain to ‘Quiet Dog Bite Hard’s sparse structure and hypnotic rhythms, part of the pleasure is Def’s willingness to let the music work for itself some of the time – the focus doesn’t need to be on him. It’s a refreshing lack of the egocentricity which has become all too common recently, as well as a trust put in the music to carry a song, which in turn makes Mos Def’s own contributions more important and interesting, we want to hear him talk to us.

Mos Def – Supermagic (YSI)

6. The Horrors – Primary Colours

I have to admit, I was never a Horrors-hater. I quite enjoyed the whole gothic Vaudeville act they put on, ridiculous costumes and all. I never thought it was a particularly serious attempt to convince us that they were Victorian Undertakers making garage rock; rather that they enjoyed a sense of the absurd in their music. The audience that took to them however was unfortunate, a group who never saw the irony as anything more than a fashion to follow, which made the whole affair a little less entertaining. It seems that The Horrors themselves saw that, and their subsequent change surprised everyone from fans to the derisory of their critics. The far more measured pace and reliance on distortion as an instrument on Primary Colours remade The Horrors as enigmatic musicians rather than the exhibitionist actors they once were (hell, even the album cover is essentially a blurred, coloured version of the first Strange House‘s band shot cover). Melody overlaps with discordance throughout the album, making the opening of the upbeat ‘Three Decades’ far more spaced-out than it could have been, and obscuring the malevolence in ‘New Ice Age’ and there are far more songs now – ‘I Can’t Contol Myself’ is a laid-back, almost surf-rock ghost train, and ‘Do You Remember’ recalls some of Joy Division’s best moments, making the most important part of this album (and the most impressive) that these are songs you will remember as tunes, not performances.

The Horrors – I Can’t Control Myself (YSI)

Today, something wonderful happened. If you’re not from the UK, you might not be aware of The X Factor. It’s the British answer to American Idol or whatever Simon Cowell-produced shitstravaganza your country has embraced, but for the past four years, the winner of that year’s X Factor has scored the Christmas Number One, a previously much-coveted position in the UK. With this stranglehold on the position, any kind of competition has been completely nullified by Simon Cowell and the idiots who buy the crap he hands out every year.

Well, last year Mr. Jon Morter (now to be known as King of Everything) and his wife (Queen of Everything) decided to try and finish this in comic fashion by attempting to rickroll Christmas with ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. It didn’t work, but it got into the charts. This year, they tried again with Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ and, with a little help from a certain Mr. Peter Serafinowicz (i.e. genius comic responsible for Look Around You etc.), they created a genuinely interesting chart race for the first time in years with the help of Twitter, Facebook, and hundreds of thousands of people who don’t want their Christmas Number One to be decided for them. Today, we found out that ‘Killing In The Name’ had beaten this year’s X Factor winner, Joe McElderry, by 50,000 copies. Rage Against The Machine have promised to give all the profits to Shelter, the homeless charity, (which the King and Queen of Everything had already raised over £50,000 through the Facebook group) and play a free gig in the UK.

Now I’m not going to trot out some of the inane babbling that’s come out this evening; it’s not a victory over ‘The Man’, it won’t change history (but it will go down in it) and it certainly won’t destroy Simon Cowell or the idiots. What I will say is it’s FUCKING AWESOME.

Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name (YSI)

EDIT: After the comments below, and my own reading over of the post, I’d like to apologise for condemning people for their musical choices so effusively. I might personally disagree with the musical tastes of some, but it gives me no reason to be rude about them. This was written in the excitement of the news and I think I let that spill over just a tad too much. Merry Christmas all!

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