Florence’s Gift Guide #3: The Music Edition

Seasons greetings pop-pickers, have you got your 99p rolls of penguin paper at the ready? Already put the scissors down somewhere and not quite sure where you’ve put them? And that rubbish sellotape that you can‘t bite with your teeth and then it wraps around and argh? That’s right it’s Christmas shopping time and we’re about to give the gift of music. Now I may not be able to tell you how to wrap an mp3. However, I can tell you what to buy to wow and delight the tricky, picky, awkward members of your family.

For Little Sister
TOY: Toy
Exuding hipster cool, your little sister is the only person you know who can wear a bowler hat without looking like a try-hard. She drinks craft beer and is “like, so OVER the Weeknd”. Yes, that’s a popular artist, and we’re not sure where the E is either. Maybe your sister took it. Frankly, nothing would shock us. In order to avoid the wrinkled nose this year, buy her one of the hottest releases of 2012, from a hyped band who actually lived up to the fuss. Lovely scuzzy guitars, a dollop of Joy Division, a little bit of early Manics and whole host of other stuff thrown into a shoegazey swirl. It works. She’ll love it. She might even lend you her tie-dye leggings now.

For Dad
Dads always love listening to a good female singer, don’t they? Maybe that’s just mine. This album would honestly do for anybody who loves a bit of soulful, honest song writing. If you’re already familiar with the Canadian troubadour family of Wainwrights – also including Rufus, Loudon III and Martha’s late mother Kate McGarrigle – you won’t be surprised by how truly accomplished this record is. The songs are emotionally connected to the real, larger than life characters in her family to the point of being raw. They’d be uncomfortable to listen to if they weren’t so beautiful. Quite, quite lovely.

For Best Mate
Having already featured these guys once on Florence I’m happy to report that they smash it out of the park live too. This EP is just a taster of what’s to come from Alunageorge so get excited – slick urban beats, massive hooks and sultry, irresistible vocals that’ll take you to the moon and back. Definitely ones to dance the night away with your best bud, preferably wearing something with bat wing sleeves and some really stupid shoes. They’ll be pretty much omnipotent next year so get on it.

For Big Brother
Two mighty comebacks for two alternative genre behemoths, you couldn’t go wrong with either for the whichever member of your family likes to make the devil horns the most. Deftones were always the band who made nu-metal credible (really, these two words can co-exist, I‘ve heard it with my own ears) and their new album is fresh and crunchy and delicious. How they manage to sound modern but still like themselves after all these years in a genre that has otherwise dated horribly is a total mystery. As for Soundgarden, I never got them first time round – they sounded pompous compared to the cut and thrust of grunge peers Mudhoney and Nirvana – but this is just a ripping rock album. Massive riffs, no piddling about, nobody vanishing up their own bum. Lovely stuff.

For Mum
Ahhh who am I kidding, this is for me. Ridiculous everything-but-the-kitchen sink pop music, so well-executed it slips into your ears and zaps straight into your brain before you‘ve even realised it‘s happening. What’s not to love?

Tell me readers, what music will you be buying for your loved ones this Christmas? And what’s on your list for Santa?


PS Find Penny on her blog Bad Penny Says, or @TokaiPenny.

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17 thoughts on “Florence’s Gift Guide #3: The Music Edition

  1. Introduced my dad to Mumford & Sons last year, so I’ve bought him their new album this year. He loves a bit of “folk rock” and having gone to school with half of Fairport Convention, he feels like he’s a bit of an authority on the subject – clearly not as he’d never heard of M&S until Santa dropped their album in to his stocking last year! Also bought him Ed Sheeran’s album as he’s forever telling me that he sat next to him on the train one day, as he was on his way home from the record company meeting where he got signed. Again, he seems to think this makes him an authority on the subject, but asks me everytime he pops up on screen “is that the chap I met on the train?”…. “Erm, I’m not sure Papa Bear… i wasn’t there. Did he look like that? In which case, probably yes”. Bless!

    Bought my mum Paloma Faith and Caro Emerald albums for her stocking fillers… and in the process got an Annie Lennox hits one for £3… good times!

  2. Very intrigued by Toy! Will have to listen when I’m not in work 🙂 The Soundgarden CD is already in my husband’s stocking, he was raving about their appearance on Jools Holland recently. On a music related note, I just bought my parents tickets for the ‘David Bowie is…’ exhibition at the V&A next year. He is their all-time favourite musician so I’m hoping for squeals on Christmas Day!

    • It was their appearance on Jools Holland that made me sit up and listen to the album! I’m sure he won’t be disappointed. You have reminded I MUST get tickets to the David Bowie exhibition. What a thoughtful gift!


  3. Oooh Martha! Might have to sneak that one onto MY Christmas list 😉 It’s so funny seeing her in the video, because I’ve been listening to her for years without knowing what she looks like and I’d got it into my head that she was basically Maggie Gyllenhaal…!

    Other thoughts for Christmas music are Imagine Dragons for the lil’ brother – perfect hardcore workout music for that sports nut:

    The Travelling Wilburys (the original supergroup) is hardly a new release, but it’s my dad’s stocking now as he’s going through a bit of a George Harrison/ Dylan phase.

    Another request from me to the universe is Anais Mitchell’s new-ish album Young Man In America, which is insanely dark, twisty, beguiling and spookily good (I’ve been catching snatches!)

    Oh, and to get in the mood I’ve been listening to A Very She and Him Christmas from the lovely Zooey Deschanel. Nothing like a bit of a swing-cum-beach boys take on the American Christmas songbook, eh?


    • Anais Mitchell is such a good one, so gutted I missed her tour earlier this year. Also was very surprised to see Martha’s actual face….no idea what I thought she looked like before mind!


  4. On my list this year is the Girls Aloud best off, TEN, (don’t judge me,) and Grrrr by the Stones. Never was a fan but love the two new tracks and finding a new appreciation of their old music.

    I also never bought the Muse album that came out this year – must look into that.

    Pete bought M&S’s recently – brilliant album.

    Right now Micheal Buble’s Christmas album is in heavy rotation in our house. Again, don’t judge me. 😉

  5. That Martha Wrainwright song is bloody gorgeous. She and her brother do hauntingly beautiful melodies against barbed / raw lyrics so well. Just listening to the rest of the album on Spotify now – thanks Penny! I’ve already got a few people in mind who will love this. Cx

    P.S. Slightly worried that I’m crossing a line in the sand age wise – that or turning in to my mum and dad – I own the Ruby & Ed slippers featured yesterday (Mum’s gift) and now coveting this album…must be because I’m less than 2 weeks off becoming a parent myself 😉

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