Noiseyhttps://noisey.vice.com/en_ukRSS feed for https://noisey.vice.comenTue, 18 Dec 2018 11:09:17 +0000<![CDATA[We Asked Random People in the Street A Lot Of Weird Shit in 2018]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/a3mawb/we-asked-random-people-in-the-street-a-lot-of-weird-shit-in-2018Tue, 18 Dec 2018 11:09:17 +0000How nosy are you? I'm very nosy. If I was invisible, I would probably sneak into people's houses and watch how they spend their evenings. What are they eating? What are they scrolling through? What are their odd little 'before bed' routines? Because other people are fucking weird, aren't they? Some of them stay up all night chugging Monster Energy drinks and playing video games. Others slather themselves in moisturiser and watch back-to-back eps of How Clean is Your House? Others, IDK, smoke weed?

This year, maybe more than any other year, we tried to get into the minds and routines of others. What makes them tick? What are their personal stories? What do they think about some of life's most fundamental (and basic) questions. Mostly, this involved speaking to random people in the street, usually during situations in which they can't escape us, like a queue for a gig or at a festival. And so, as it's approaching the end of 2018 and you might be bored, here's a round up of all the best, most enlightening times we've done this, for your reading pleasure:

Best quote: “Emo is definitely coming back though, even Kendall Jenner wears Metallica T-shirts.”

What we learned: Halsey fans know a lot about emo music, but they're more into scrolling through Instagram and tbh same.

Best quote: “It's a cloud rave, where everyone is in space pods, and everyone's levitating, and everyone's in their own pod, levitating around the stages they want to go to.”

What we learned: Most of these people were off their tits, but they all seemed to assume the world would still be around in 2050... so that's good?

Best quote: “When I was younger my mum pissed me off, so I put needles in the sofa and watched laughing as she sat on them and got three needles up her bum.”

What we learned: Lily Allen fans are fucked up.

Best quote: “I don’t know why your jumper is so fluffy. I’m not into it."

What we learned: Teenagers are really polite, but they're also weirdly obsessed with colour coordination?

Best quote: “Death is quite a taboo subject, so rather than shunning it, we celebrate it. It’s the one thing in life that you know it’s going to happen at some point.”

What we learned: Goths are very optimistic and don't care about death, even the one who was dressed up as the literal grim reaper.

Best quote: “We’re shopping for a new mattress. 'Cos every time we listen to that song we wear out the springs, haha.”

What we learned: Turns out a lot of couples don't even have a song and should probably just break up?

Best quote: “We're bored of boy bands with clean cut white boys.”

What we learned: Brockhampton fans are the best dressed of all the fans and have a! lot! of! opinions!

Best quote: “I was in the Scouts for seven years so definitely, I have all those survival skills.”

What we learned: Every dude thinks they can start a fire and catch fish, but they probably can't start a fire or catch fish.

Best quote: “Dare to be ugly, dare to be manly, dare to go against boundaries.”

What we learned: Chris fans are very sincere, soft and sensitive and we should protect them at all costs.

Best quote: “Our friend was so desperate for the loo that she did a shit in a Morrison’s bag and had to sneak it out the house a couple of hours later.”

What we learned: Most people have done weird shit with some poo.

You can find Noisey on Twitter.

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a3mawbDaisy JonesRyan BassilhalseyEnd of YearPeople in the streetbritney fans
<![CDATA[Look, Who is Buying The Greatest Showman Soundtrack and Why?]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/ev3qmn/look-who-is-buying-the-greatest-showman-soundtrack-and-whyTue, 18 Dec 2018 10:30:00 +0000It’s often said that the charts mean nothing these days. After all, when rules on streaming and sales are constantly changing, what even matters anymore? That’s not strictly true, though. It’s not that they mean nothing – they actually just mean anything, like Mr Brightside being permanently tacked onto the Top 100, or national (false) treasure Bradley Walsh producing the fastest-selling debut of last year.

This year’s stand-out contender for being an outstandingly confusing success is The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Soundtrack). The film itself did really well, telling the slightly true story of a circus leader called P.T. Barnum, played by Wolverine. But the numbers behind the showtune numbers are off the wall. Since its release last Christmas, the album has flogged almost 1.4m copies in the UK alone and has been at the top spot for 21 weeks. But how? Why?

I fucking hate musicals. To the point of physically wanting to cauterize my retinas and mutilate my eardrums at the sight or sound of them. Spontaneous saccharine songs mixed with quattro formaggio levels of cheesiness just isn't the one for me.

Clearly, though, I’m in the minority. It’s led to a spin-off LP (The Greatest Showman: Reimagined) featuring James Arthur and Sara Bareilles and now a world tour with Hugh Jackman himself. In a weird way, maybe it has made the charts mean something: bizarrely, 46% of sales were actually hold-in-your-hand copies (vinyl or CD), plus the film’s record-breaking 1.4m sales by July included nearly a million sales of actual DVDs.

To find out more, I spoke to six Greatest Showman fanatics, to see why they think it’s done so well:

Richard Dunbar, 35

1544533021792-Sophie-Jayne-Bridgens

When did you first cop a copy of the soundtrack?
I have a radio show on University Radio York (URY) where I discuss and play songs from Hollywood films, West End cast recordings and Broadway. We started playing their songs when the first singles came out, in early December last year.

There's been a load of musical soundtracks released this year, from Mamma Mia to A Star Is Born. Why has this done so much better?
Mamma Mia is ABBA, people love ABBA, and I love ABBA – I’ll dance to it till the cows come home. I haven’t listened to or seen A Star Is Born. This, to me, is better, because it’s a new musical with new songs, and with Hugh Jackman.

What do you think of the world arena tour? Are you planning to go?
I think yeah I’ll try to, depending on ticket price and when it is. But yes, because Hugh is a showman and I know he’d put on a proper show.

…uh, interesting, I guess.

You can find Kyle on Twitter.

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ev3qmnKyle MacNeillRyan BassilImportant Questions Raised By...soundtrackthe greatest showman
<![CDATA[Owen Ashworth Writes the Loneliest Christmas Songs]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/59v4k5/the-noisey-advent-calendar-day-17-advance-base-owen-ashworthTue, 18 Dec 2018 09:17:20 +0000I'm on a train in Narbonne, France, 60 miles north of Le Perthus and the border with Spain. I've been staring out the window dumb for the last half-hour. The TGV ran past the Étang de Leucate, a spuming lake below the Pyrenees that I'd never heard of until I looked it up on Google Maps. Now we're hugging the Canal du Midi through to Beziers. I'm sure it's getting colder outside as the train heads north to Paris, but it's warm enough on the top deck. I don't need a jacket. The guy across from me is sound asleep, curled up like a coyote in his chair. Ash grey clouds have started to obscure the sun.

I've been listening to Owen Ashworth most of the way. "Christmas in Oakland," from Advance Base's 2012 LP A Shut-In's Prayer, has been on my list for the last two-and-a-half weeks, and I'd roughly traced out its contours already. The Rhodes piano hums and glistens and flickers as though it's coming out of a busted old VHS tape, and Ashworth sings it in a run-down croak. Like most of his songs, in both Advance Base and Casiotone for The Painfully Alone, it's bare-limbed, economical, and graceful, a tiny story in four parts: "It's Christmas in Oakland / I don't feel a thing / Rode bikes to the Chevron / For Chesterfield Kings," he sings, before killing off the first-person altogether. "The smoke in our eyes / As we ride how it stings / What tidings we bring." It is, we find out at the end, a love song, even if it has its caveats: "On Christmas in Oakland / We had a fling / You looked like an angel / Who'd lost its wings / With stars in our eyes / Lying on mattress springs / We were beaming."

That final verse also turns "...Oakland" into one of Ashworth's least brutal holiday songs. His back catalog is peppered with Christmas songs, most of which follow the same format as "Christmas in Oakland" without hinting at that little moment of bliss. In 2015, he gathered all the ones he’d recorded to date onto a 25-minute Christmas Mixtape. It begins with a fluorescent instrumental version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" (which he later reworked into "Harsh The Herald Angels Sing," an agnostic song about a single woman's pregnancy), then moves through the United States, picking up new stories in each hollowed-out town.

There's "Christmas in Dearborn." a muffled, country-tinged song about returning home for the holidays and confronting the familiar: "On the bed where you first slept / With your husband at seventeen / Read your yearbooks back to front / With TV on & your skirt off." On "Traveling Salesman's Young Wife Home Alone on Christmas in Montpelier, VT," a few hundred miles east, he sings through another pregnancy. This time it's a young woman whose husband spends his holidays in motels, leaving their marriage hanging by just a couple of threads: "What are you doing on your own with frozen ears? / I know we're changing like the trees in Montpelier." The exhausted "Cold White Christmas" might be the most isolated of all, a note from a 22-year-old in St. Paul, Minnesota, a city as "bare & as mean as the winter trees." Eventually the tape reaches "Christmas in Milwaukee," its lyrics more ominous and messy than the wide-open major chords would have you believe. "The folks in their graves / Have been doing summersaults," he sings. "I’ve got trouble enough."

"Christmas is such a different experience depending on where in the country you are," Ashworth told The A.V. Club's Randall Colburn five years ago. He's right. How could two Christmases in two different Americas have anything in common besides TV schedules and too much alcohol? Ashworth tends to set his Christmas songs in the bitter cold – only in Oakland is it "warm as spring" – and there's a loneliness that connects them all, but the changes in heart and the decisions made vary wildly from place to place. In Oakland, there are movies and a love affair; in Michigan, "Your mom complains about the tree"; in Milwaukee, "They broke the window / Took the radio & wreath."

This year, Ashworth released "Christmas in Nightmare City," a song that's more autobiographical than the rest, despite the second-person. "Heater’s blowing in the car / Over the sound of a college game / Don’t know the team names / But it’s nice to have a voice on." It is, he explained in a note to Talkhouse, about "the restless energy, sugar cravings, and minor identity crisis" that he experienced after he stopped drinking last year. The song itself came out of a night in Gary, Indiana, another frost-bitten Midwestern city; he'd been driving around to cope with the sober insomnia, and in the midst of the thrum of the factories, he "was struck by the grace of the industrial work lights, twinkling through the mist," he wrote. "They reminded me of Christmas, and I found it all strangely comforting."

Tellingly, he also wrote there about his clutch of songs from Christmas past. "[They] tend to focus on people at low points in their lives," he explained, "people who have found themselves in the midst of relationship crises, difficult life changes, or just bad luck." The voices he's adopted in the past – the mothers-to-be and the desolate, grown-up kids on their way home to the Midwest – were conduits. If there are a million anxious holidays in a million frigid cities, there might be a million "Christmas in…" songs to write, eventually. "The songs are intended to be a comfort for folks going through their own tough times," he wrote. "Commiseration has always been a guiding principle of my songwriting."

This train just pulled out of the station in Montpelier, France. I've always preferred travelling by rail, and I've only ever come up with two reasons why. One: Flying is miserable, and I'm not normally in that much of a hurry to get anywhere. Two: drifting through a country in total silence next to widescreen windows gives me something I can't find anywhere else. You panic and tire and sputter out just about every day, but here, for a little while, at 100 miles-per-hour, you can just stare at industry and water and nickel-coloured clouds over acres of nothingness. It's all strangely comforting.

Alex Robert Ross don't feel a thing. Follow him on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Noisey US.

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59v4k5Alex Robert RossColin JoycechristmasindietrainsThe Noisey Advent Calendaradvance basecasiotone for the painfully aloneowen ashworthchristmas in oaklandchristmas in milwaukeechristmas in nightmare city
<![CDATA[A List of People Who Have Won Ice-T’s Dumbfuck of the Day Award]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/3k9yny/a-list-of-people-who-have-won-ice-ts-dumbfuck-of-the-day-awardTue, 18 Dec 2018 09:16:05 +0000It seems counterintuitive to avoid winning awards. Awards traditionally represent some sort of achievement – a celebrated victory or a task completed in an exemplary manner. But brother, there is one award you most definitely do not want to win, and that is Ice-T’s Dumbfuck of the Day Award.

The rapper, Twitter savant, and former adult bagel virgin doles out this notorious award on Twitter occasionally when his followers step into his mentions with any mixture of the following: ignorance, attitude, general dumbfuckery. Ice will not hesitate to bestow these clownasses with the DFOTDA for stepping out of line. Hell, he’ll drop two in the same day if he must. He – and this cannot be stressed enough – does not give a fuck.

To understand the Dumbfuck Award, you must first understand the rules of it. The first thing you must know is that the award carries real-world repercussions. As if Ice blasting you in front of an audience of more than one million followers isn’t humiliating enough, “winning” the award will also get you automatically blocked by the man himself:

Seeing as how Ice-T’s account is the only good thing about Twitter, this would be a gigantic blow to anyone’s social media usage. It would essentially be like getting excommunicated from the internet. Another thing you should know about the Dumbfuck Award is that if you receive one, you should just take it and die an honourable internet death. Do not make matters worse by deleting the offending tweet. Ice does not respect people who delete their snarky tweets after he puts them on blast for the world to see. Take the L and be owned with some modicum of dignity.

Sadly, many award recipients have not abided by this rule, cravenly deleting their tweets and leaving their transgressions a mystery. We may never know what these users did to merit their Dumbfuck Awards, and thus we cannot use this as a learning moment, but we can only assume it was something extremely fucking dumb.

While Ice has been calling out dumbfucks his entire career, as far as our research shows, Ice’s first official Dumbfuck Award was given out in June of this year, not to a Twitter user but instead to the general population of dumbfucks who feel the need to make the distinction between soccer and football. They got the International Dumbfuck Award, which is officially recognised by the United Nations.

After international law had been established, Ice started giving out awards with some regularity.

This person got one for making fun of his name:

This person got one for getting a little too spicy for Ice’s liking in the mentions:

Don’t even step to Ice if you’re an unworthy gamer:

This guy got one for questioning Ice's commitment to capitalism and family:

He considered giving this guy one for mocking the picture quality of his father-daughter selfie:

And he recently gave a Dumbfuck Award to this dumbfuck who didn’t agree with Ice’s Christmas gift etiquette:

Another thing you should know about the Dumbfuck Award is that you can be hit with one at any moment. The Dumbfuck Award does not sleep. For example, Ice did a rise-and-shine on this guy who accused him of having a Twitter meltdown:

But with only an hour and change left in his day on 13 November, he caught this clownass calling him an old hag. There are no safe spaces as far as Dumbfuck Awards go:

Also, this was previously unheard of, and we can’t believe we’re saying this, but on 9 September, Ice gave out a gold Dumbfuck Award and a silver medal in the same day.

And lastly, we’re not sure where this ranks in terms of severity in relation to the Dumbfuck Award, but Ice-T once gave out an elusive Clownass Award to someone who thought he was white:

Hopefully all this has provided you with all the information you need to avoid winning Ice-T’s Dumbfuck of the Day Award. Stay safe out there online and approach him with caution.

Dan Ozzi is on Twitter and lives in fear of winning a Dumbfuck Award.

This article originally appeared on Noisey US.

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3k9ynyDan OzziTwitterFeaturesInternet ExploringIce-Tdumbfuck of the day
<![CDATA[All the Easy Music Merch You Can Buy For Christmas Presents]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/9k4gn8/all-the-easy-music-merch-you-can-buy-for-christmas-presentsMon, 17 Dec 2018 12:26:08 +0000At the risk of sounding completely off the wall, every time December rolls around it’s the same thing. When I walk past festive decorations, a manic Noddy Holder inspired voice screams “it’s Christmaaaaaaaaaaaaas” inside my head. I ignore it without displaying even an inch of emotion.

But by the time December 23rd has rolled around, I can’t play ignorant anymore: “it’s Christmaaaaaaaas” and I need to buy some presents. And obviously I panic purchase candles and stuff from one department store because I’ve left it too late to do anything meaningful, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.

This Christmas will be different though. It’s a new year, new me (there are no rules, you can achieve things in any month, don’t let the haters get you down, especially at Christmas etc etc etc). If you’re feeling the same and wanting to get into the gift-buying early, then here’s a list of presents that you can purchase for the uncle/co-worker/weird-new-step-parent in your life.

Pencils, by Adele

lady_gaga

Remember when you could save the world from cancer by buying a Livestrong band? This is kinda like that, except, uh, I guess there’s not really a charity involved it’s just a piece of rubber that you wear on your wrist.

Buy this for: the super fans who literally do not give a fuck, they have to own everything.

Socks, by various artists

From Arctic Monkeys to Superorganism to Beyonce, so so so many acts sell socks as merch. This is good because everyone needs socks, and it also makes a nice change from getting a band t-shirt that you’ll only ever wear in bed before inevitably throwing up/snotting all over it on a sick day.

Buy these for: the person you usually buy socks for.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter.

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9k4gn8Ryan BassilDaisy JoneschristmasIdeas2018festivegiftObjectively Correct ListBand merch
<![CDATA[Here's Our Big Playlist of the Best British Songs of 2018]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/vbaz7x/heres-our-big-playlist-of-the-best-british-songs-of-2018Mon, 17 Dec 2018 10:43:38 +0000What an absurdly good year it’s been for UK artists. Usually, around this time, lots of publications focus on the albums that have defined the year – after all, we did it just a couple of weeks ago. But when you look at the ridiculously high calibre of music that’s come out of the UK in 2018, a fair whack of it has been in the form of singles or one-off loosies. Sure, we’ve had legacy acts put our big albums. Most of the newer ones who we’ve been keeping an eye on over the past year or so have been taking their time, though, dropping tracks here and there and rushing around on tour. Remember, kids; albums don’t really make money anymore. The internet sort of did away with that pretty quickly.

So we’re looking back on some of the sick music that’s come out of the UK and Ireland this year. You may remember that in June, we ran through a list of the top five UK tracks of the year, at that midpoint. Rather than a big old list of words for you to read, we’ve put them all in a big old playlist, so you can enjoy dip in and out of it wherever you might be between now and those first few crippling weeks in January. There’s plenty to dig into: Tirzah’s melancholy knack for a love song; AJ Tracey stunting; Dream Wife rattling the bones in your head with their guitars; teen Kelora’s ridiculously smooth vocal; Murkage Dave making sense of the everyday. So have a go at it, on Spotify below.

You can find Noisey on Twitter.

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vbaz7xNoisey UK StaffTshepo Mokoenabest of 2018Noisey 2018Best British tracks of 2018Best British songs of 2018
<![CDATA[Offset Crashed Cardi B's LA Show to Beg Forgiveness and Cardi Was PISSED]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/3k9yby/offset-cardi-b-rolling-loud-stage-crash-2018Mon, 17 Dec 2018 09:22:53 +0000

2018's most tumultuous breakup just keeps happening! Over the weekend Rolling Loud LA – one of the world's biggest hip-hop festivals – took place, with Cardi B set to headline. A headline slot at such a huge festival is a sign of how massive a year Cardi has had, going from one number #1 single to three in the bag, along with a number one album. It should have been a triumphant moment for the Bronx rapper, but it was marred by a significant disturbance: Cardi's (soon-to-be ex-) husband Offset crashed her set begging for Cardi to take him back.

Bearing a sign that said "TAKE ME BACK CARDI" and handfuls of roses, Offset and Cardi had a short, inaudible interaction onstage – during which Cardi looked very miffed – before Offset departed the site. Migos were not scheduled to perform at Rolling Loud.

After the show, Cardi took to Instagram Live to discuss the incident. "I'm upset," she said, clearly appearing quite exhausted. "It's been a long two weeks, I'm so tired of the bullshit." She did, however, explain that she doesn't want anyone talking shit about Offset. All things considered, this feels like a pretty nuts move from Offset – aside from the fact that he essentially left a dark spot on what should have been a triumph, it's also a weirdly possessive thing to do. Expect more on this breakup as it (inevitably) develops.

This article originally appeared on Noisey AU.

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3k9ybyShaad D’SouzaStaff NoiseyrapmigosOffsetbreakupsCardi BNoisey News
<![CDATA[Remember When Beck Made The World's Greatest Hanukkah-Themed Funk-Rap Song?]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/wj3kdz/the-noisey-advent-calendar-day-16-beck-the-little-drum-machine-boyMon, 17 Dec 2018 09:21:53 +0000The rules to The Little Drummer Boy Challenge, set down by the author Michael Alan Peck in 2010, are quite simple: Avoid, at all costs, any and all versions of ubiquitous Christmas song "The Little Drummer Boy." The challenge begins at 12:01 AM every Black Friday and runs through to midnight on 23 December. Everyone is participating, even if they don't know it. There are rules about foul play – anyone who tricks you into hearing the song is themself disqualified – but if you hear "The Little Drummer Boy" playing in, say, a department store or in the middle of a movie, you have lost. The best thing you can do at that point is log your failure at the LDBC website using the official reporting form, or just register your downfall on the LDBC Facebook page, which now has over 5,000 followers. "It’s played just enough to make it challenging, but not so much that it’s impossible," Peck said in an interview in 2013. So, fair warning: I'm about to make the game a lot harder.

Beck's "The Little Drum Machine Boy," recorded for the 1996 Geffen Records comp Just Say Noël, isn't a faithful cover of Katherine Kennicott Davis's wintry, classical carol, but the updated "Blurred Lines Rule" on the LDBC website states that this version will still knock you out of contention. Although it's a seven-minute-long Hanukkah-themed funk-rap track that makes almost no sense at all, you hear a little of the original in the first verse, with Beck slurring the tune to himself:

You also hear some of the strangest, most abstract, and straight-up bizarre holiday-themed lyrics ever recorded. That almost indecipherable robot voice at the top is actually beginning a Jewish blessing – "Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom" – which leads Beck onto a bold declaration: "Ah yeah, that's the holiday… that's the Hanukkah robot funk! / Barumpa bump bump, barumpa bump bump, beeyach." From there, he wants to get into some "Hanukkah science," although a lot of that just involves boasting about his beat-making prowess: "I press a button, make the gentlemen cry," he raps, dropping a line that he'd pick up again "Hollywood Freaks" in 1999. "I rock a beat to make the hamburger fry / And I funk this joint and shake that holiday gear / The system boomin' strictly Pioneer."

This was Beck in the immediate aftermath of Odelay, clearly confident in his ability to pull together and absurdities over sly hip-hop beats. But this is weird even by his lofty standards. At no point on Odelay did he come close to a verse like this:

I get the shit lit like a menorah
This funk's so illegal, I think I might need a lawyer
I'm not a firestarter, but my beats gets hotter
Get 'em out like an allowance, footwear
I rock with New Balance

Hanukkah pimps on it, check

The song does, however, have all of the qualities that turned Odelay into a bizarre alt-everything masterpiece. It's freeform and funny, supple enough beneath Beck's rhymes to save itself from pure novelty status. It's obviously just an opportunity for Beck to get weird – "Droppin' science so you don't even know what hit ya / Next thing you know, you're thirteen, getting a Bar Mitzvah" – but it descends into a twisting, glitchy jam at the end, something that you can hear deteriorate bar by bar. (Beck's still shouting "Hanukkah Pimp" over it, of course.)

Though the song was stashed away on Just Say Noel, surrounded by cuts from Sonic Youth, XTC, and The Roots, it did end up with a little life of its own. Beck played it live for a while on the Odelay tour, and former Village Voice music editor Chuck Eddy even wrote in his 2016 book Terminated for Reasons of Taste that "The Little Drum Machine Boy" was Beck's finest song. It might have had an impact on the next generation of genre-altering alternative artists as well. In Lizzy Goodman's Meet Me In The Bathroom, Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig said that this was the first song he downloaded from Napster: "That was my first instinct[...] 'Wow, we can download some weird shit now.'"

"The Little Drum Machine Boy," then, is a small but important piece of indie history. Maybe that's enough to tempt you into losing this year's Little Drummer Boy Challenge. I suggest that Beck garbling "Oh my shit, sometimes this track is so poignant / Somebody please pass me some kinda ointment" is enough on its own.

Alex Robert Ross gets the shit lit like a menorah. Follow him on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Noisey US.

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wj3kdzAlex Robert RossNoisey StaffchristmasindiefunkrapHanukkahAltabsurdityodelayThe Noisey Advent Calendarthe little drum machine boythe little drummer boythe little drummer boy challenge
<![CDATA[Glam Rock's Friendly Fight for Christmas Dominance]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/8xpbnk/the-noisey-advent-calendar-day-15-wizzard-slade-glam-rock-christmasMon, 17 Dec 2018 09:20:10 +0000If you're from anywhere in the world except the United Kingdom, you may be catching glimpses of Brexit turmoil on social media, wondering why a nation has committed to repeatedly shooting itself in the dick. I can't explain it (though a lot of it has to do with racism) and I don't have the energy anyway (racism). But it's worth remembering that, despite sharing a language and, in theory, a bond with the United States, Britain is a unique and strange place, strewn with passions and in-jokes that would leave the rest of the world baffled. To understand the British psyche, you need to grasp the fact that this country that has obsessed over which single will top the charts on Christmas Day for over 40 years. And because it's the weekend and nobody's around to stop me, I'm going to write about that.

It started in December, 1973. The country was in turmoil. Trade unions were at war with the government. Energy consumption was being strictly rationed. Everything was the color of a filing cabinet.

The people needed a fight with lower stakes, and what they found was a man called Noddy. Slade were already glam rock superstars in the UK, outperforming icons like David Bowie in the charts, racking up hits, dominating the pages of every music magazine. They were brazen, loud, fun, full of choruses. Their lead singer, Noddy Holder, with his cartoonishly unkempt beard, beaming grin, and love for colour-clash three-piece suits, was almost impossible to dislike. They released three singles in 1973, two of which – "Cum on Feel the Noize" and "Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me" – went straight to number one. They were in a groove. And when bassist Jim Lea's mother-law-suggested, off hand, that the band should write "something like 'White Christmas'," a song that could come back and hit the charts year after year, things quickly came together.

Lea came up with the lyrics to "Merry Xmas Everybody" during a 20-minute shower, then passed the song onto Holder and recommended that he use a scrap of a chorus he'd demoed to the band in 1967. Holder, according to a 2013 interview with Uncut, then went to the pub, "got a bit pissed," returned to his parents' house in Walsall, near Birmingham, and worked through the night to craft an unrelentingly happy holiday song.

"It was a miserable time, 1973," Holder told Uncut. "I was trying to cheer people up." He wasn't coy about it either. "Here it is, Merry Christmas / Everybody's having fun / Look to the future, now / It's only just begun," he shouted in the chorus, willing the country out of its malaise. It was destined for top spot.

But there was a challenger, another Black Country glam rock band who'd been on a tear. Wizzard, led by former Electric Light Orchestra guitarist Roy Wood, had been making their own dent in the charts. "See My Baby Jive," a horn-heavy homage to Phil Spector, held top spot for four weeks in the spring of '72, and a follow-up called "Angel Fingers (A Teen Ballad)" spent a week at the summit that summer. They were eye-catching, too, all psychedelic face-paint and rainbow-coloured hair. Here they are playing on the BBC's Top of the Pops with both of guitarists dressed in gorilla costumes.

According to an interview with Rock's Backpages (reprinted by The Guardian), their 1973 holiday effort, "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday," was more about graft than inspiration. The band's saxophonist, Mike Burney, enjoyed his job so much that he used to tell Wood: "Roy, being in this band, it’s like Christmas every day." But Wood was a notoriously hard-working musician, and moments like that were fleeting. They worked nights and re-recorded every take until they were exhausted, all to give the listener the sense that they were having a carefree party. "I did the sleigh bells at the end myself," Wood said. "I just shook them until I was too tired to do it anymore."

The result was a glammy, absurd, beaming single, backed by a children's choir and packed with lyrics that might have distracted the country from its crises: "When the snowman brings the snow / Well he just might like to know / He's put a great big smile on somebody's face."

Holder and his band had no idea about Wizzard's song until that December, when Slade appeared on the popular English TV show Lift Off with Ayshea, hosted by Roy Wood's then-girlfriend Ayshea Hague. "Ayshea came up to us and said, 'Roy Wood and Wizzard have got this Christmas song they're doing, I really think it'll be number one at Christmas'," Slade guitarist Dave Hill wrote in his 2017 autobiography So Here It Is. "So we said, 'Really? We've got one of them as well.' If it hadn't been for us, Roy would probably have been number one, but at that time, nobody could compete with us. We were at the pinnacle."

He was right. Slade won out in 1973, selling 500,000 copies of "Merry Xmas Everybody" on pre-orders alone, then adding another 350,000 on the day of release. Wizzard slipped to number four, below Gary Glitter's "I Love You Love Me Love" and The New Seekers "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me." Slade and Wizzard were both booked for Top of the Pops' Christmas special, where their Christmas rivalry erupted into an on-air custard pie fight. "We pied Roy on camera," Hill told The Guardian. "He carried on singing with custard in his beard. Then, when we were on, one of the Wizzard guys put one right in Noddy’s face." There doesn't seem to be any video evidence of that pie fight, but the video of Wizzard's performance does cut away from Wood for a suspiciously long time at the end.

Both songs became ubiquitous. Christmas in Britain can't pass without both of these songs being played on repeat. A hotel in West London even banned Slade's song in 2008 after customers complained that it had become "irritating." But with the country once again fumbling around in the bleak midwinter, it's hard to imagine either of these songs being dislodged from Christmas playlists anytime soon. Just as they did in 1973, Britain needs to hear Noddy Holder shouting: "Look to the future, now / It's only just begun." The country needs glam rock.

Alex Robert Ross is hanging up his stocking on the wall. Follow him on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Noisey US.

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8xpbnkAlex Robert RossNoisey Staffchristmassladeelectric light orchestraI Wish it Could Be Christmas EverydayThe Noisey Advent Calendarwizzardroy woodmerry christmas everybody
<![CDATA[This Dylan Brady Mix Is Colourful Music for Couch-Sitting]]>https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/gy73b7/this-dylan-brady-mix-is-colourful-music-for-couch-sittingMon, 17 Dec 2018 09:18:23 +0000Over the past couple of years, the Los Angeles-based producer and songwriter Dylan Brady has established himself as one of pop’s most exciting futurists. Whether working on collaborations with like-minded aesthetes from around the online underground or on his own emotive solo tracks, he writes these strangely beautiful and instantly memorable songs that aren’t really beholden to any genre. He always writes these shimmering, evocative melodies and surrounds them with crystalline sound design, but he thrives when he’s working with jarring juxtapositions. On his new EP Peace & Love he has both a blown-out pop-punk song and a dramatic electronic track that culminates in a lurching beat that’s distinctly indebted to East Coast club tracks. It’s an approach indicative of someone who gets the musical era in which we live, where everything is in reach, and basically anything can be a hit.

“In the past I’d say big choruses [make pop songs],” Brady says over the phone, while pacing down an LA street. “But now it seems like any song can be a pop song, which is crazy and cool to me. The Billboard #1 spot is so diverse now. You can do whatever you want and call it pop. The door is completely open.”

Brady grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and got into making music seriously after taking a choir class in high school. He wasn’t really tapped into a music scene while he lived there, but while he was in college for audio engineering he started uploading some of his early tracks to SoundCloud. There, he found his people. Brady’s now part of this loosely organised but incredibly prolific network of friends and collaborators who are providing some of the most exciting visions of what pop music can be. He has a duo called 100 Gecs with the Chicago songwriter Laura Les. He’s collaborated often with the genre-blurring Delaware rap-wunderkind Lil West. He teams up often with buds like Aaron Cartier, Night Lovell, Ravenna Golden, and Lewis Grant each of but who also make their own twisted versions of pop music on their own (but often in collaboration with each other). All of them are exciting musicians in their own right, but they really seem to push each other when they’re working together.

Brady put together this week’s Noisey Mix, which demonstrates both sides of his artistic approach: the pop-pushing autodidact and the capable collaborator. Over the course of the 40-minute set, he shares some of the brightest moments from Peace & Love as well as his work with other artists, including tracks he produced for Ravenna and the songwriter Mark Johns. There’s also some wild remixes of big-ass pop hits, like a hardcore flip of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” which kinda makes this feel like Brady’s alternate version of the radio – where everything feels little weirder and more colourful than it is in reality.

Noisey: How are we meant to enjoy this mix? What’s the perfect setting?
Dylan Brady: I made it on my couch, so I feel like a couch could be good.

Is synesthesia a real thing and if so, what colour is this mix?
I believe people who say they have it. I’ve never experienced it but it sounds cool. I’m going to go with rainbow.

Do you have a favourite moment on the mix?
From MTC to Bon Iver, Lucki and the Sublime song. That’s my favourite chunk. I’m doing a bunch of new stuff and trying to fuse those kinds of things together, crazy hyper vocaloid with really organic room recordings like the Bon Iver and the drum feel of the Lucki shit. I don’t really know, but it’s good. That’s what I should do next.

It seems like vocal manipulation is really important to you, both in your own work and the stuff you’ve put on this mix.
Yeah, I love it. Any kind of vocal wackiness, like Bon Iver’s harmonising or the vocaloid or playing your lyrics into a tube with a talkbox..I was like 8 maybe when I heard Daft Punk and Eiffel 65. I was so into “One More Time” and “I’m Blue” and the really early Auto-Tune songs. And then hearing the Stevie Wonder talkbox stuff also was really crazy. I don’t really know what pulls me to it, but vocaloid is my favourite instrument. It’s cool to be able to do other things that make it still have some sort of lyrical feeling, but it’s completely not sounding like a normal vocal.

Could you tell me a little bit about how you first got into making music?
In middle school I was into Boards of Canada, Radiohead, Kanye, but I first got into [making] music from taking choir in high school. My teacher was very influential, he made music seem possible. I literally knew almost nothing about music. I could play piano and learn songs off of YouTube, but I didn’t understand why stuff worked. He connected a lot of dots. Then I went to college after that for audio engineering. The combo of those two subjects was really helpful for me: knowing how to make notes and to make sounds.

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So you have a fairly formal background.
A bit. It wasn’t like I was studying classical composition. College was pretty good until I got kicked out. I was doing a lot of projects outside of school, making music with a bunch of people. I wasn’t super focused on the curriculum, or at least not at the level they wanted me to be. I was there for three years though, so I learned a lot while I was there.

So college was the start of working on your own.
Yeah that was the Soundcloud start for me. Sophomore year I started dropping shit under my name, kind of in the same vein I’m doing now. [At first], I was producing for friends, and I didn’t really do the solo stuff. I just wanted to produce rap beats and pop beats for people. And then I was doing vocals without thinking much of it, but my friend heard the really early solo stuff and was like “Yo, this is crazy, you should release some of this shit.” There wasn’t a goal. I was just making stuff I liked and putting it up.

When did you realise it was something you could do more seriously?
Moving to LA. Trying to make money off of music was a big thing vs. living in an apartment in St. Louis and not making any money off of music. I’ve said this 100 times, but Lil Aaron let me live on his couch for like six months when I came out here, so that was dope. And then I got a publishing deal after that and then things started to seem more possible cause I could pay rent.

For a lot of people Peace & Love will be the first thing they hear from you, given that it came out on Mad Decent. Did you feel a pressure to represent yourself in any specific way with that in mind?
No, it was just kinda the songs I had ready. I was trying to do a more guitar[-driven], serious thing, but it didn’t happen. All the songs on the EP were made in the process of trying to do that. It was natural and it felt good. I didn’t really think about it being the first thing people would hear. It’s kinda all over the place, which I was nervous about at first. But through conversations with friends, I realised it was fine to have a lot of different sounding stuff. I made it all, so it’s tied together by that.

Is there anything that you feel links all the different sounds you mess around with?
My taste in chords and melodies shines through, I think, even if I try to make it not. Not really sonically – that’s the thing that’s all over the place – but there are melodic themes and choices that are the same in all my stuff even if I try to make it different, whether it’s an acoustic song or an epic, like “7/11 Drone.”

Tell me about Peace & Love as a title. It has a history as a hippie-ish statement, but also the world does feel like it needs love.
I would say it’s not super serious, but I do think love is the most important thing, and I wanted to put that out there in my own way. Love is undervalued. It’s easy to just say “peace and love,” but I want to put that forward every day, in all my decisions. Lead with love.

Tracklist:
Dylan Brady - What I Made 4 U [lofi-dub]
Go - Mark Johns (prod Dylan Brady)
Khalid & Martin Garrix - Ocean (Dylan Brady Remix)
King Yosef - Lurch
Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble (Dylan Brady Remix)
Bryan Haha feat. Ravenna Golden - Eye to Eye
Hit Or Miss, I Guess I NVR Miss huh
Katy Perry - California Girls (Dylan Brady Remix)
Dylan Brady - I’ll Make You Miss Me All The Time
MTC - S3RL
Bon Iver - Michicant
Lucki x 16yrold - @ Night
Sublime - Had a Dat
Keyon Christ - Answers
Dylan Brady - Hit Me
Dylan Brady - Of Course I Still Love You
Lil Soda Boi - Nice Girl (Nightcore)
Ravenna Golden - Pills :-(
BLNTSMK - Fast
Dylan Brady - Nice String Piece_1 ! 2
Dakota White - Up

This article originally appeared on Noisey US.

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gy73b7Colin JoyceNoisey StaffRiver CousinThumprapPOPelectronictechnoBon IversublimeNoisey Mixdylan brady