I didn't plan it this way, but there's a track from the band behind my #1 album of 2011, and another by an artist who's already set the benchmark pretty high for 2012. Sandwiched between, are three crackers! Hope you enjoy them all. You can, as ever, get your download by clicking on the artwork above (this month paying homage to one of my favourite and most iconic albums of all time). Before that though, here's the five artists involved and what they each had to say about their track...
1. Now Wakes The Sea - You Are The Cold (Redwings guitarist gone solo! This is the opening track off of next years 'Best of 2012' benchmark album that I mentioned above.)
"You Are the Cold is the opening track from the upcoming Now Wakes the Sea record, Fluoxetine Morning, due out at the beginning of 2012. The lyrics make reference to noise pollution and artificially induced sleep, and was written as I was flirting between consciousness and slumber. In terms of instrumentation, it's rather simplistic, but features a bitching synth solo. Bookended by two different versions of the same sound - a single, dry guitar pluck, and an analogue delay squeal - I think it gives a good representation of the record, mixing elements of drone and ambience with sparse and minimal folk." - Alan McCormack (Now Wakes The Sea)
2. Wiredrawn - Christmas Wish No. 3571 (A reworking of the ex-Won Mississippi singer's early solo festive demo. Wiredrawn's debut EP 'Loose Lips Sink Ships' is available here.)
"The track was written and recorded in the seemingly endless winter last year, when Scotland was at an almost constant stand-still. The news was full of stories of isolation and chaos as well as brilliant examples of the determination and resolve some people had shown when trying to battle through the elements to get to their loved ones. I fancied 'doing' a Christmas song without surrendering to whimsy too much - I might just have got away with it......" - Patrick Baird (Wiredrawn)
3. Reverieme - Mama, Won't You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning? (I must admit, I was disappointed with the second Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! album, but this absolutely stunning cover makes up for it and then some!)
"It may be a controversial choice (in a world where controversy is defined as ‘not really liking pandas that much’ or ‘preferring peanut M&M's’) but I really love Some Loud Thunder, the sophomore album from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. In fact (and we may be nearing the ‘I have never enjoyed a Ryan Reynolds movie’ level of controversy here), I don’t think I could fault it! When I first heard ‘Mama, Won’t You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?’, a song so lyrically ridiculous it could well have been co-written by Lou Reed and James Hetfield, I totally (and inexplicably) loved it. I’m hoping that this wee cover is either so good it sways the non-believers or so bad that it makes the original seem like a sweet aural haven (no giggling). Either way, you’ll have to listen to find out!" - Louise Connell
4. The Strangers Almanac - Where The River Meets The Sea (Good Gord this guy's good! He's got some a free album and EP on Bandcamp, but here's a brand spanking new song for you.)
"This is a new song that I've only played live a couple of times, and I recorded it with my friend Ross Middlemiss who plays in Pensioner. (If you're looking for someone to record your band, give him a shout, he's excellent). It was written about a friend of mine, and it's basically saying that if you come through troubles in your life and make it out alive, you should be proud of all you've achieved, no matter how meandering a path you took to get there. It may crop up on a future release, but for now it stands on its own!" - Gord Matheson (The Strangers Almanac)
5. Happy Particles - Cold Calling (If you followed the clues above, you'll know it's Happy Particles who have taken the top spot in my Albums of 2011. Here's a special non-album track and some info on how to get your hands on the amazing Under Sleeping Waves.)
"We are Happy Particles and our debut album 'Under Sleeping Waves' will be released on Christmas day. You can pre-order it here which will entitle you to two download tracks instantly and you also get a free video of us performing the full band version of 'Aerials' with the album. We had a few tracks which didn't make it onto the record for one reason or another and this is a very early version of 'Cold Calling' which was originally going to be on the album but we ended up forgetting about it, so it was never developed or recorded. We really like it though, so it will probably come out in a different form on a future e.p. or the next album." - Happy Particles
So that's your whack for the year! Hope you've enjoyed all the EPs, and rest assured, there'll be much more of the same next year. Until then, head on over to my bandcamp page now to get your download which comes with a hidden track courtesy of Lovers Turn To Monsters (and ties in with the artwork!) and a special, visual extra from a particularly happy bunch. Enjoy!