Christmas Campesinos!

Deck the halls, feed the world, and have yourself a merry little Christmas! Festive music runs the gamut from cheeseboard whiffy to just plain brilliant, so it’s always nice to sit down with a mince pie or five and listen to some new Crimbo choons – and hope for the best.

Thankfully, the new short-but-sweet EP from indie-pop folksters Los Campesinos! (aptly titled ‘A Los Campesinos! Christmas’) doesn’t outstay its welcome, filling your ears like an all-the-trimmings turkey dinner fills your belly on Christmas Day – only you won’t be so stuffed you’ll feel sick after.

Other than a tongue-in-cheek cover of ‘It’ll Be Lonely This Christmas’, the collection comprises five LC originals that put bells and whistles on the band’s usual blend of folk, indie rock and tantalisingly twee songwriting. The highlight is ‘Kindle a Flame in Her Heart’ which mixes a Pixies influence with ’90s grunge guitars, with a lovelorn chorus that captures the bittersweet hangover of Christmases past.

Check out my Los Campesinos! review.

Giveaway: Guardians of Christmas

It’s very likely on any self-respecting geek’s Christmas list already, but a festive treat is on its way to one lucky reader in the form of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Whether you’re the only person not to have seen one of the biggest films of the year, or you just want to re-live the insanely idiosyncratic intergalactic adventure all over again, you may be interested to know I have one DVD copy of the Marvel blockbuster to give away this Christmas.

guardians of the galaxy

It’s very simple to be in with a chance of winning. All you have to do is the following:

1) Head over to Twitter during the festive period and follow @nicetogeekyou.

2) Retweet any one of the giveaway-related Tweets I’ll be sending out over the next couple of weeks before giveaway entry closes on 01/01/2015.

You KNOW you wanna see the New Year in by sticking on a DVD and enjoying the hi-jinx of a talking tree and wisecracks delivered by a renegade raccoon! So, what are you waiting for? Good luck.

Prize Giveaway Terms & Conditions
Prize giveaway open to anyone in the UK aged 18 or over. Entry closes 11:59pm on 01/01/2015. One winner will be chosen at random and notified shortly thereafter via Twitter, whereupon a postal address for delivery of prize will be requested. Entry method as described above: to be considered eligible, you must follow @nicetogeekyou on Twitter and have retweeted at least one of the daily @nicetogeekyou tweets promoting the giveaway. The prize is as stated, with no alternative offered unless the advertised prize becomes unavailable. If a response is not received from the selected winner within 7 days, that winner will effectively forfeit his/her prize and another winner will be selected in his/her place. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms & Conditions.

Trailer Tuesday: Apocalypse New

It’s not exactly festive unless you’re a massive horror fan (which I am, so ding dong merrily on high!) but this week’s slice of upcoming cinema is the final instalment to the bloody great ‘[REC]’ franchise.

Already a hit with gore hound critics at film fests this year, ‘REC 4: Apocalypse’ returns its focus to intrepid journalist Ángela who is very likely regretting entering that doomed apartment building in the first movie. The last time we saw her, she was possessed by the film’s Big Bad and intent on inciting the titular apocalypse. As the clip below suggests, an attempt to quarantine the demonic source of the evil relocates the action to a boat, no doubt as doomed as the apartment block and the previous film’s wedding setup – but therein lies the fun, as the futile bid to stop the spread of the virus results in lots of claret hitting the fan.

And it’s out January 2nd – Happy Friggin’ New Year!!! :-)

Albums of 2014

So, if you’re anything like me, you will have asked Santa to bring you lots of CDs (or iTunes vouchers, you modern maniac) in order to catch up on the year’s best music. Despite trying my hardest, there are a fair few critically lauded long-players that have managed to slip me by, so come Boxing Day I’ll be playing catch-up living inside my Sennheisers.

With just over a week to go until the big day, there’s time to get your orders in if you too are looking for some much-needed new music. In need of inspiration? Here’s one Geek’s choice playlist for the year, covering everything from skewed indie rock (alt-J, Jack White), sumptuous songwriters (Perfume Genius, Tori Amos, Owen Pallett) and lovely ladies (Lana, Lykke and Jenny Lewis).

There’s something here for everyone, and all of it is pretty damn awesome. Happy listening!

2014 music

Electric League Dreams

the human league

All together now: ‘I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, that much is trueeeeee’!

Last weekend, I caught The Human League in concert and proceeded to write some words about it. In a nutshell, my Human League review covers the same main points made in my previous coverage of the group’s live shows (having seen the ’80s pop pioneers twice before, not to mention at festivals) which is to say that those capital-C Choons are evergreen and even better when played out to a party-ready crowd on a Friday night. ‘Love Action’, ‘Electric Dreams’, ‘Mirror Man’, the list goes on and on – and, although ‘Being Boiled’ is sadly absent, Phil Oakey and his gals deliver the goods.

With Crimbo party season coming up, no doubt this beaut will be getting a few plays…

Trailer Tuesday: Burton’s Big Christmas

Forgive the Will-Ferrell-in-‘Elf’-like enthusiasm for Christmas that will likely takeover this blog in the next couple of weeks, but my sleigh bells are a-tinglin’ as we enter festive season. As well as turkey, trimmings, gifts and gooey family sentiment, movies are of course a staple of the holidays and so I’ll kickstart this Geek’s un-Grinchy approach to Xmas with a trailer of the new movie I’m most excited about this December.

Keep your hobbits. This Boxing Day, it’s all about Burton, Adams and Del Rey. It could only be more delish if smothered in cranberry sauce…

Boy Genius

Prior to his recent Birmingham live show (which I reviewed earlier this week here), I had the chance to sit down with Perfume Genius aka Mike Hadreas and chat about new album ‘Too Bright’, loud and scary songs, and crying to Cat Power. Among other things, of course.

Check out what he had to say by checking out the interview and then, if you haven’t already youcrazyfool, immediately go out to the nearest record store and buy all his albums. Okay? Good.

know your indie queen

Bow Ties? Cool. Scarves? Cooler.

It’s December, so the Christmas countdown has started – and, speaking of time, here’s a nifty gift idea for the Doctor Who fan in your family or circle of friends.

Take a TARDIS and flash forward to December 25th, to the moment when that special Whovian in your life opens their perfectly wrapped Christmas prezzy to uncover a replica Doc Who scarf to keep them warm throughout the rest of winter. Sure, bow ties are cool but a lovingly crafted replica of your fave Time Lord’s nifty neckwear? Geronimo!

The kind folk over at Lovarzi, accessory specialists who’ve pretty much nailed a range of geek-chic Doctor Who knitwear (not to mention a Sherlock collection that Cumberbatch himself would be happy to investigate), were generous enough to send me my very own 4th Doctor replica scarf, which dedicated fans may recognise as the type worn by DW legend Tom Baker.

It’s priced at £49.99 but, given that it’s a pretty substantial size (opening up to 13ft/4m long), it’s worth every penny. The officially licensed scarf is a perfect treat for hardcore fans and cosplayers, but even occasional Who watchers (or even complete newbies) may find themselves enamoured by the blend of warm autumnal colours: yellow, purple, green, burgundy red. So, while it may be recognised as an iconic scarf to Who fans passing by, you could just as happily wear it for comfort and style regardless of your allegiance (or non-allegiance) – the only thing giving its true identity away is a label inside, which you’d have to get pretty up close to in order to clarify its official Who status.

lovarzi doctor whodoctor who 4th dr scarf

To buy your very own decorative scarf, or to browse the official BBC Doctor Who and Sherlock collections, head over to the Lovarzi website and keep up-to-date on Twitter. After all, it’s pretty cold out there in space and time – best to wrap up!

Perfect Perfume

It’s that time of year where chin-stroking muso list-makers compile their top albums of the year, and Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius has a lot to be happy about. His third effort ‘Too Bright’ has become something of a minor hit beyond the indie blogs and core fanbase his first two brilliant albums attracted, garnering five-star ratings all over the shop and ensuring a high spot on many of this year’s ‘best of’ lists.

However good the album is though, the perfect way to experience Hadreas’s music is in a live setting. I caught PG at his recent Birmingham gig and, after a four year wait to catch him live, was not disappointed; stark, stirring and something to behold, Hadreas and band combined stark emotional piano ballads with the new hard edges of rock and electronica that mark ‘Too Bright’. In a word? Genius.

Read my review (and keep in mind my interview with the Genius himself, Mike Hadreas, is coming soon) and then glam it up to the anthemic ‘Queen’ by pressing ‘play’ below.

Faith in Paloma

paloma faith

In her concert at Wolverhampton Civic on Saturday, Paloma Faith acknowledged how she frequently gets labelled with the ‘quirky’ tag due to her outlandish fashion sense and gabby chatshow persona.

Well, I for one think the flame-haired starlet’s single-minded approach to the music biz is what has the interest of many people piqued – especially when her music would be pretty straight-laced if it weren’t for her often oddball leanings.

Find out more of my thoughts on Faith, her music and her Saturday night show by checking out my Paloma Faith live review over at The Music Fix.