A hearty single from Los Campesinos!
I know there are some good examples, but I tend to be sceptical when indie bands attempt Christmas songs, so I was pleasantly surprised after hearing the new festive offering from Los Campesinos!.
The song "Kindle a Flame in Her Heart" begins with the requisite amount of chiming bells, before narrating a tender love story (without delving too far into the Christmas cheese territory) over an alt-rock stomp, aided by strings, horns and a rousing chorus. Rather lovely, without making you want to retch. The track comes as a free download on the Welsh eight-piece's blog at ind.pn/eJAah4 – and is pegged to a new quarterly fanzine the band has launched at loscampesinos.com/heatrash.
Get some more Lykke with Mike D
Beastie Boy Mike D has been flexing his remixing muscles lately. First up is a reworking of the Swedish singer Lykke Li's new single, "Get Some". The original version is a fairly epic electro-rock affair, but Mike D's take on it strips things way back, giving the song a sparse robotic dub feel. It comes as an add on to the deluxe iTunes single for "Get Some" (along with another mix by Beck), released last week, but the remix is also streaming on The Fader at ind.pn/gjSQIp.
Following in a similar vein, but with heavier bass and electro glitches, Mike D has also offered up a remix of "Camera" by Matt & Kim. It's featuring on their Soundcloud page at ind.pn/ eAvh2H.
A restrained dash of dreamy art-pop
One of the acts I voted for in this year's BBC Sound of 2011 poll was the young LA duo Puro Instinct. Alas, the pair – sisters Skylar and Piper – didn't make the list but they're worth keeping an eye on. Their debut LP, Headbangers in Ectasy, is released on Mexican Summer in February, and already there's a new single streaming on the indie label's website at ind.pn/ fCb2l7. The new song is called "Stilyagi" and it's a restrained dash of dreamy art-pop: a nice guitar line chimes over the top of a chugging rhythm, with hazy melodies and cooing vocals to follow. An intriguing flavour of what's to come from the fledgling band.
Seu Jorge goes beyond Bowie covers
The Brazilian singer Seu Jorge is perhaps still best known in these parts for his Portuguese covers of David Bowie for the soundtrack of the Wes Anderson film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. His latest album, released in September, continues the cover versions theme but spreads things beyond Bowie. Jorge teamed up with the film-maker Khalil Joseph to make a visual companion for the record. The nicely shot short film, which stars Jorge, is screening in two parts on the Nowness website at ind.pn/fpdRAq.