21st December – Red Shoe Diaries and We Show Up On Radar

Red Shoe Diaries are five friends from Nottingham who write pop songs for messed-up grown ups. I first met their bass player Rob while he was DJing at the bar I worked at, website probably some 7 or 8 years ago. It was like most bar work – fun with the right people, hospital intolerable with the wrong. Those nights Rob turned up with the Don’t Start Feeling All Romantic DJ crew were always the best.
When Fika Recordings kind of got going, visit web Red Shoe Diaries were one of the bands I wanted to get involved. They’re a bunch of lovely people and have recorded some absolutely beautiful songs, so it was always going to be easy. It was their determination for vinyl that got me out of my cassette comfort zone, for which I’m grateful now (though in the midst of the stress and chaos of getting it all together, there was probably a time where I’d have put that 10″ where the sun don’t shine…!)
So if you’ve not picked up a copy of their 10″ EP, When I Find My Heart…, head here to buy a copy. There’ll be more from Red Shoe Diaries in 2012 – expect a download only single and video for Ice & Snow, along with a couple of brand new b-sides… In the mean time, enjoy their download and the video!

Red Shoe Diaries – San Francisco Snowglobe

Here’s what Tom (Red Shoe Diaries) has to say:
San Francisco Snowglobe , the working title of which was Don’t Stop Believing (in Father Christmas), is the first bit of home-recording that we have released. Fittingly fuelled by mince pies and mulled wine, and recorded this Sunday before watching Gremlins, it is several stories woven into one song about friends in far flung places, whom we miss at this time of year.
It’s a song of little snapshots of christmastime in different places. We like the thought of sunnier climes dressed up in faux snow and Christmas trees at this time of year, and snow-globes from places where it doesn’t really snow. We hope you enjoy the song.
Happy Holidays!

On to more Nottingham based Christmas fun from We Show Up On Radar.

WSUOR is Andy Wright. He’s a good chap, a funny one too. He writes somewhat surreal nursery rhymes; a balance of the dark and the twee. He’s got an album coming out in the new year. And he’s got a few shows with Anxieteam in London and Nottingham in January. He’s ace.

We Show Up On Radar – We’re Working Too Hard

We Show Up On Radar
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Bandcamp

14th December – Emma Kupa from Standard Fare and The Dream of Horses

I didn’t listen to Standard Fare because of their name. Seriously, what is ed I’m that stupid. Emma Kupa, discount who writes and sings for Standard Fare is a truly ferocious talent. She has a completely natural musicality about everything she does and, order like all the best singers, is completely unaware of the oddness that makes her unique. I can’t think of anyone that sound like her and that’s the biggest compliment I can pay anyone these days. – Darren

Here’s Emma on her song. – This is the second or third time I’ve been asked to write a Christmas-themed song, and having succumbed the last few years, I didn’t want to write another song about Christmas or snow. I’m Jewish and this year Channuka coincides with Christmas, so that gave me an opportunity to sing about something different. The story goes that a flame in the temple lasted 8 days which was a miracle because they only had oil for one day. So I wanted to take this message (which is easily as good as how great some baby boy is!) and transfer it to the current political and economic situation. It feels like all hope is gone, but maybe we can keep the flame burning! – Emma Kupa

Emma Kupa – Channuka

Rebecca Evans is one of several new friends I made during January Songs. She played clarinet on the song, ‘Staying In.’ She became an even better friend this summer when she took me to an old steam railway in the North East this summer. – Darren

One of the nicest things about this project has been people forming bands especially for the project. Here’s Rebecca on her song.

We put the band “The Dream of Horses” together just for the purpose of this project and recorded it all at home. My younger sister, Sophie Evans, wrote the majority of this song and tells me that the lyrics are all loosely based around people who think that they’re too cool for christmas.

We invited Jon Melvin in to do some of the vocal parts, Jon and me are in band together called The Union Choir and we’ve just released a christmas song with this band for another project – http://thechristmasproject.bandcamp.com/ – Rebecca Evans

The Dream Of Horses – Dress It Up In Tinsel

13th December – Moustache of Insanity and Ardie Collins

The were a few acts that both me and Tom Fika wanted on our advent calendar so much so that we had to fight it out as to who ‘presented’ them. A swift kick to the shins and Moustache were mine.

Moustache of Insanity are funny. Not ‘smirk’ funny but smacking-the-floor-with-your-fist-in-pain funny. Here is Nick to tell you all about their song. – Darren

“Here’s our song. Hope you like it. It was recorded professionally, price by professionals, clinic using nothing but professional tools in a very professional manner.

Moustache of Insanity…raising the bar!

oh sweet mama.

Mary Eksmess!”

Woah! Tom Fika Recordings here. Before I limp away to nurse my bruised shins (hm, ailment cheers Darren) and you download the Christmas joy that is Jingle Moustache, let me put in my 2ps worth on Moustache Of Insanity. They were one of the bands involved in the first batch of Fika cassettes back in February (which sold out super quickly – luckily you can download it from their website). There’s something about MOI that never fails to make me smile; their live shows always get me dancing and giggling like a fool. That, for me, makes them awesome.
In August I was lucky enough to put out their Album Of Death on blood red 12″, which you can buy from here (and I really think you should, its one of my favourites of the year). Good times were had finger painting bloody messages of doom/terror/hiliarity stolen from all our favourite horror movies, dragging Bill and Nik out to old railways lines for photoshoots and the blood soaked album launch party in Brixton. I love the Moustache.
Tom

Moustache Of Insanity – Jingle Moustache

www.moustacheofinsanity.com/

Back in January I tried to write a song for every day of the month. You can find out about that here januarysongs.tumblr.com/ At the end of the project I was made aware of Ardie Collins who is writing a song for every day of this year.

Think about that a little, he will have written 365 songs this year. At least some of them must be bad right? This one isn’t though. Ardie will play with me at my two special January Songs shows in January that coincide with the physical release of January Songs and please support Ardie. I like stupid ideas that involve hard work.

Ardie Collins – Happy Christmas, I Suppose

Here’s Ardie.

I’m a novelist and singery-songwritery type person from Cardiff who has been undertaking a project since the 1st of January 2011 to release one original song every day for a year. It’s called The Cooper365 Project and I’m still on top of it as it moves towards its completion. The nature of the project has meant having to put out an entire year of things I’ve created, whether they’re good or bad or average, and it’s something I would highly recommend doing. This will undoubtedly be the thing I’m most proud of having done, and it’s mainly the prospect of being able to look back with a big, stupid grin on my face that has kept me going.

 

ardiecollins.com
cooper365.tumblr.com

 

6th December – Slottet and MJ Hibbett & The Validators

When I started Fika Recordings, viagra sale the goal was really just to get music I enjoyed out there for other people to hopefully enjoy too. I discovered Slottet (based in Sweden) about the same time as the label got going, and having enjoyed a few mp3s they’d sent out to blogs, thought maybe I should take the plunge and help them get something physical out there. It was the first time I’d approached someone out of the blue and was slightly apprehensive – would they shoot me down or laugh at the prospect of putting something out on cassette tape?
I needn’t have worried – Marcus was delighted to have been asked and a pleasure to get to know once we started forming plans for Fika’s 6th cassette release in the spring.
This track brings a welcome dose of warm synths to the advent calendar; if you enjoy it, please do consider buying one of the remaining copies of the Servants cassette, which comes with download, tea and a cake recipe.
Buy the Slottet – Servants cassette on Fika Recordings

Slottet – A Cold Christmas
Written and recorded by Slottet November 2011
Special thank to Per Jonsson for the drums
Slottet / Facebook / Spotify

Today’s second track comes courtesy of MJ Hibbett & The Validators. When Darren and I first started talking about putting together this advent calendar, Hibbert was the first person I thought of asking to get involved. He’s not released anything with us yet, but I can’t fail to love a man who writes songs about science, dinosaurs and indie discos. He’s a bloody treasure that man, which all made me a little bit too excited when he sent over his track – another Christmas corker.
Here’s what the man himself had to say:

Hello, Hibbett here!
The idea for this song came many years ago when I was sharing an office with a South African. She’d never had a Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere before so was initially dismissive of the whole idea. To her it meant grumpy family barbecues and cards of snowy scenes exchanged on a beach, just fake emotion and pointless present exchanges. However, as November got darker and colder she began to see the point of a massive festival of twinkly lights to keep everyone going during months of gloom, and gradually began to appreciate that there might be a point to it all. By the time advent began she had her own calendar and when we broke up for the holidays she was bedecked in tinsel, singing carols, and necking a big old mug of mulled wine. I didn’t necessarily learn the true meaning of Christmas that year, but by golly I realised why we need it!
I had every intention of making a video for this song, but The Validators were all in different parts of the world (everyone recorded their parts at home, so we have piano from Loughborough and backing vocals in Mauritius!) and I was occupied on various attempts to get our new album made properly, so we didn’t quite find the time. To make up for it I present a picture of a happy Leytonstone snow man, taken by The Pastry On My Mince Pie a couple of years ago. Merry Christmas!

MJ Hibbett & The Validators – Thank Goodness For Christmas

M.J. Hibbett & The Validators

3rd December – Lost Summer Kitten / Stars In Coma / Lisa Bouvier

Hi! This is Tom here, prostate I’m the one behind Fika Recordings. I thought this first Fika-centric day of the advent calendar would provide a good opportunity to babble on about how the label started, pharm in particular, how the three Swedish bands featured here were pivotal in getting Fika Recordings off the ground.

Let’s start at the beginning, four or five years ago. I stumbled upon a track from a female Swedish duo on the internets, Lovesong #1 by Lost Summer Kitten, which quickly became a staple of mixtapes I’d make for friends, my radio shows and melancholic Sunday evening DJ sets. It was a heartwrenchingly tender song and impossible to get hold of a physical copy in the UK. One day I thought, I should try and help release songs like this, songs I just want to play to as many people as physically possible.
Fast forward to London Popfest 2010. I got chatting to a couple of Swedes who’d flown over for it in the pub. Talk turned to the mixtapes we’d put together for the swap box… and that song was still being a fairly regular feature of my tapes. Turns out these girls, Amanda and Matilda, were Lost Summer Kitten.
A couple of months before that, I’d come down to London to catch up with some friends and head to the Twee As Fuck night, where Stars In Coma were playing. This was where I met both the band, and Lisa Bouvier, who was playing keyboards and flute with them at the time. We kept in touch and got to hang out at popshows in Sweden, in Berlin and at Indietracks.
But it wasn’t until the summer, sat outside an East London pub in the sunshine with Lisa Bouvier, that the decision was made to start a record label. Beer had been consumed and it all seemed so simple to do… Let’s put out a few cassettes, hand-make them with care and affection, and get some of the bands over to play in London. Plus both she and Lost Summer Kitten had unreleased songs, so why not? Over the next 6 months, Lisa helped shoot down some of my more ridiculous ideas (though tea and cake with every release met with firm approval), I bothered Horowitz and Moustache Of Insanity to release cassettes with us too, and come February 2011, Fika Recordings was go.

From there, it has been consistently busy at Fika Recordings. The first four cassettes have all sold out, another four cassettes came out in late spring (from Amida, Slottet, Ed Greene and Petter Seander) and then the move to do a few vinyl records, with an 10″ EP from Red Shoe Diaries, a 12″ LP from Moustache Of Insanity and onto the Christmas In Haworth 10″ EP with Darren Hayman. There’ll be tracks from many of those artists coming up later in the month, but first, on to today’s free songs from Fika’s Swedish friends…

The first is Jullåten from Lost Summer Kitten.

Lost Summer Kitten – Jullåten

Written by Matilda Hjärtstam
Recorded at Kulturmejeriet, Lund, Winter 2007.
You can also download their sold out cassette on Fika Recordings, Not Another Sad Song. It is available on a pay-what-you-feel-like basis.

 

Stars In Coma – Three Days Off

Written, recorded and produced by André Brorsson in Moonport Studios between October – November 2011
Stars In Coma 

 

Lisa Bouvier – Christmas Rain

Played by Lisa Bouvier
Strings by Henry Western’s Trio
Recorded by The Producer’s Chair at Hendon Cathedral 2011
Lisa Bouvier