Various artists - It'll be Filthy this Christmas

Miss Fliss 23/12/2008

Rating: 2/5

If you’re after Christmas with attitude, look no further than the annual Filthy Little Angels label’s festive compilation. This free download (available from the Filthy Little Angels website ) is the indie-kid-on-the-lookout-for-new-talent’s choice. The label has been home to releases by GIITTV favourites The Vichy Government, along with notable names like The Long Blondes and The Violets.

There are some familiar names on 2008’s yuletide sing-in, including The Rocks, Eddie Argos, Captain Polaroid, The Black Tulips, and Idewild’s Rod Jones, as well as showcasing of the obscure and new.

Ploughing through the 24 MP3s, I was hopeful about finding at least a handful of tracks I could fall in love with, but, alas, I was not hit by hard-hitting snowballs of merry music-making.

The Rod Jones song passes me by in a mist of ignorable melancholy, and Captain Polaroid lilts in a lovely acoustic understated way but sans Christmas spirit. The Rocks‘ cover of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is as jolly as proceedings seem to get, with sleigh bells aplenty, and forcefully overly heartfelt and emotive vocal delivery.

I’d rather not have had to sit through a drunken buskers’ version of Mistletoe and Wine as delivered by the accidental indie star, Eddie Argos and his mate Keith. It’s so half-arsed that the tramps round my way could probably muster a more melodic and festively rousing version.

Christmas with the Bee Gees by Hyperbubble is a frankly disturbing bordering on rave (with rave whistles) instrumental with added Bee Gees style ‘whoos’ and moans. Then there’s the strange gothic sultry Black Tulips version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas which is dispiritingly slow-paced and lacking in ‘oomph’. All I want for Christmas is a Ting Ting by Billy Ruffian at least has some wry sense of fun and jumpy energy to it, but it’s a bit cheesy gameshow theme tune with added guitars music-wise.

The laziest and most lamentable effort comes from the lazy and lamentable Nathan Barley-esue Micropenis who seem to have whacked their composition of grinding guitars and gothic bleeps out on the spot in two flat minutes and simply childishly shout Micropenis Christmas! over and over and Listen to the Vichy Government! Listen to The Resistance! every so often as if they couldn’t be arsed to come up with proper lyrics. And, pray what dod they call this ditty? Happy Christmas, Stalin, how provocative. I'm convinced that this band were created as a joke. Thankfully, my computer is refusing to play the song to me more than once, it obviously has a mind of its own and knows how dire this band truly are.

There’s plenty of songs here, but that’s not necessarily a positive, as you really have to wade through to find the gems. About the only song that does not suck, is one by a band called Later who have stolen the shimmering bluster of Ride and lost ace post-rock gem of a band Chuzzlewit and made us a chiming shoegaze delight of a song. Shame it only lasts about 45 seconds before it sizzles out.

For variety and mania, this compilation gets the thumbs up, which is not necessarily to its musical merit. But for sense of Christmas fun and songwriting brilliance, I’m left a bit stumped and non-plussed in reaction. Perhaps Scrooge himself put together this compilation, because some erroneous and duff choices were certainly made. I’d like to see Hot Silk Pockets’ wry and glittering with fun Man with a Beard on here, for starters. Other people’s patience might have a bigger threshold than mine, and if so it’s worth a delve around these download tracks if you’re after some new indie Christmas songs, but I’m afraid I’m not sold on the thing.

It is free, and you’re supposed not to sneer at things that are free. But I’m afraid that still cannot detract from the fact that, all in all, this whole shebang combined is not a patch on the one Fierce Panda compilation Christmassy song I own, which is a brutally indie and painfully sadly pretty reworking of Wham!‘s Last Christmas by the lost genius of Pullover,, so I think I’ll just put that on repeat instead.

So, whilst this is not the musical equivalent of a lump of coal for Christmas, it’s hardly a Cadbury’s selection box of delights, either. Satsuma at the bottom of your stocking, anyone?