Category Archives: Cocos Lovers

Christmas Time (Is Here Again)

He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister: “How’m I Gonna Get Back Home”

I never really liked that song (the post title–not the above track, of course), but it’s nonetheless true: today being December 1st, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. So I thought I’d bring to your attention a few ways to give and receive this holiday season, folk-style.

You all know I’m a big fan of PledgeMusic. Besides my general enthusiasm for direct-to-fan anything, I happen to love a lot of the artists that end up on here. This holiday season, support some up-and-coming musicians in their creative endeavors–and get some awesome, unique merch while you’re at it. (I just got my signed Summer Camp tote, and I still can’t get over those brownies.) Although I’d encourage you to check out all the offerings on the site, I’ll highlight two:

He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister
LA sextet He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister describe themselves as “Flamboyant Folk, Glam-a-billy, Circus Rock, Vaudeville Pop, Cabaret Blues.” And truthfully, that’s about as succinct as it’ll get. The band is a rollicking good time, full of catchy tunes and a healthy dose of sass. They have some free downloads on Bandcamp–I dare you to listen to “How’m I Gonna Get Back Home” (above) and not love it. Dare you.

Right now the band needs a tour van, and you can help them out: in exchange, you can get them to play your wedding, give you tap dancing lessons, or (my favorite) go on a naked skydiving trip. Click the link above to see more and pledge.

Tom Williams & the Boat
English folk-rockers Tom Williams & the Boat borrow slightly from the Frank Turner style of anti-folk, but do so with a bit more youthful oomph. They’re partnering with Moshi Moshi (can’t go wrong with that, can you?) for their Too Slow follow-up, and want you to be a part of it. And part of the proceeds go to the charity Kent Air Ambulance, so your pledge will certainly outweigh any lingering Scrooge-iness. And getting a drum lesson, house gig, or painting (yes, painting) wouldn’t hurt either. Check the band’s website here and click the link above to pledge.

For Folk’s Sake It’s Christmas
The wonderful For Folk’s Sake are back with Christmas album Volume 2, and it’s nothing short of splendid. Featuring holiday tunes new and old, it features some of the finest folk artists on the scene–from Caitlin Rose and Cocos Lovers to the Leisure Society and Laura Boyle. The full track listing is below, but you can buy and listen on Bandcamp.

1. Howard Carter – Christmas Blues 03:09
2. The Leisure Society – Christmas Mistakes 03:48
3. Caitlin Rose with Keegan DeWitt – You Never Come Home For Christmas 02:58
4. Cocos Lovers – Christmas is Coming/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 02:02
5. Devon Sproule – Send Me To Coventry 03:49
6. Darren Hayman – Lost In The Snow 04:04
7. Paper Aeroplanes – In The Bleak Midwinter 03:06
8. Kathryn Williams & Neill MacColl – Christmas In Hell 03:27
9. Fiona Bevan – Love In A Cold Climate 03:45
10. Hollows – Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing 02:26
11. Adam Killip & Mi Mye – O Come All Ye Faithful 02:53
12. Laura Boyle – Silent Night 02:49

Tim Wheeler & Emmy the Great’s This Is Christmas
As I mentioned a while back, Emmy the Great and Ash’s Tim Wheeler have released This Is Christmas, an album of rocking new holiday tunes. It includes instant classics like “Jesus the Reindeer”, “Zombie Christmas”, and “Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing)”. Any other Christmas party soundtrack is tame by comparison. To support the album and celebrate the December 1st-ness of today, Emmy and Tim have also released an online advent calendar–today’s offering, “Christmas Do’s and Don’t’s”, is below, but you should see the calendar just for kicks. And if you’re wondering about the frame in the video below, one of the holiday don’t’s is “don’t play naked twister with your family.” Sage advice, guys.

p.s. Yep Roc Records (Peggy Sue, Alessi’s Ark, Cheyenne Marie Mize, and more) has a sweet holiday sale going on now. Besides some theme albums and a free sampler, they’re offering free shipping on all US orders (through the 20th), and 15% off all orders (through the 31st) with the code HOHOHO.

Sugar and Spice: Cocos Lovers’ Elephant Lands

Cocos Lovers‘ debut, last year’s Johannes, is a lovely thing. Full of pastoral imagery, impressive vocal harmonies, and unique instrumentation, the album feels like a journey to another world–albeit one in the past, with lots of petticoats and wandering bards. The standout from that album was the spicy “Time to Stand”, a catchy track with exotic percussion and a rousing chorus. For me, “Time to Stand” actually epitomizes the slight disappointment I have concerning Johannes: why aren’t there more of these nuggets of perfection? While the album is filled with great music, many of the other songs lack the punch of this one track. A little more stylistic diversity would have done wonders.

It was with this in mind that I turned on the Kent-based band’s sophomore effort, Elephant Lands. In many ways, it seems that my unspoken wishes were granted: from the very beginning, the album experiments with new sounds and textures. The titular first track mixes electric guitar with sitar, flute, and a calypso-style bass line, and closing song “Twilight” ends with swirling piano. Single “Bow and Arrow” has an Indian vibe, breaking into a percussive fury halfway through. Even the band’s trademark wall of sound, which is still there in spades, feels lighter and more varied. The a cappella “Days are Long” is a piece of Mountan Man-esque beauty, and the women’s harmonies in “Yellow” showcase their softer side. The structural changes are especially refreshing–I can’t see a song like “Lost Kids”, with its meandering arrangement, barely-there harmonies, and strong female vocals, on Cocos Lovers’ first work.

While Elephant Lands doesn’t contain anything quite as accessible (or dare I say, commercial?) as “Time to Stand”, it is just as enjoyable as their wonderful debut, and certainly more complex. The band continues to sound like nothing I’ve ever really heard before, this time mixing exotic flare with their characteristic old-world charm. Maybe Cocos Lovers did go off and visit some elephant lands–if so, it was time well spent.

Elephant Lands is out now.

New Video from Cocos Lovers: “Bow and Arrow”

The wonderfully rustic Cocos Lovers are gearing up for the July 15th UK release of their second album Elephant Lands, and have put out this video for first single “Bow and Arrow”. (You can also sign up for a free download of the song here.)

“Bow and Arrow” showcases some of the things that make this band great: the pastoral lyrics, tight harmonies, and spicy percussion. While it’s easy to mark Cocos Lovers as quintessentially English (like, 1600s forest-romping English), “Bow and Arrow”, like “Time to Stand” from Johannes, has an almost international flavor in its rhythm section. I hope Elephant Lands brings out more of the diverse influences and sounds that Cocos Lovers clearly have waiting in the wings.

Check out “Time to Stand” below, and order Elephant Lands from Smugglers Records on the 15th.