ADRIAN THRILLS: It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas

ADRIAN THRILLS: It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas

ADRIAN THRILLS: Festive gems from folk to funky! Kylie’s disco beats, hard rock hits and show tunes to swoon at… it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas

Even in the age of streaming, music fans still enjoy getting something in their hand on Christmas morning: box sets, CDs, albums on vinyl. 

Here, I round up the best last-minute stocking fillers…

BEATLEMANIACS & STONES BUFFS

The Beatles’ Let It Be album was revealed in a fresh light by Peter Jackson’s superb, if overlong, Get Back documentary, and there are gifting options aplenty if you have a Fab Four fan in your life. 

The 1970 album has been remixed and repackaged in a range of formats, from a single CD (£8) and vinyl LP (£25) through to ‘super deluxe’ boxes on CD (£83) and vinyl (£109). 

The original was a mishmash, but its good-spirited out-takes — and an alternative mix by producer Glyn Johns — capture a band who clearly still enjoyed each other’s company. 

The Beatles’ Let It Be album was revealed in a fresh light by Peter Jackson’s superb, if overlong, Get Back documentary, and there are gifting options aplenty if you have a Fab Four fan in your life.

An excellent coffee table book, The Beatles: Get Back (£26.50), chronicles the same period with candid photos by Ethan Russell and Linda McCartney.

Whenever The Beatles are in the house, the Stones can’t be far behind, and the band’s 1981 album Tattoo You has also been given a reboot. Formats include a double CD (£15), double vinyl LP (£30) and a five-disc box set on CD (£100) and vinyl (£106).

Highlights include Start Me Up, a great example of how drummer Charlie Watts, who died in August, gave the Stones their groove.

DISCO DEVOTEES

For those who’d rather bust a move around the Christmas tree, the new ‘guest list’ edition of Kylie’s 2020 album, Disco, features remixes and new collaborations with Olly Alexander and Gloria Gaynor. 

It’s out as a double CD (£10) and triple vinyl LP (£29).

One of Kylie’s guests, Jessie Ware, has also revamped her own kitchen disco album, What’s Your Pleasure? — adding new songs and club mixes (£11 on CD; £29 on vinyl), while there are some booming dance-pop numbers on Abba’s Voyage, selling healthily on CD (£11) and vinyl (£26).

For those who’d rather bust a move around the Christmas tree, the new ‘guest list’ edition of Kylie’s 2020 album, Disco, features remixes and new collaborations with Olly Alexander and Gloria Gaynor.

BEDROOM POP FANS

A wave of young, female singer-songwriters came to the fore in 2021, many writing songs in their bedroom during lockdown.

Teens will be drawn to Clairo’s second album, Sling (£10 on CD; £24 on vinyl), which tackles the U.S. singer’s social anxiety while still maintaining a warm, fuzzy glow.

Nashville star Hayley Williams’ Flowers For Vases / Descansos (£20 on CD; £19.50 on vinyl) is haunting and tender, its stripped-down folk a far cry from her day job in punky pop band Paramore, while Lorde’s Solar Power (£21 on vinyl) is a testament to growing up on your own terms.

INDIE KIDS

For youngsters who might enjoy something more robust, guitar-driven rock is a good option. Bono’s son Elijah Hewson shows he is a chip off the old block on It Won’t Always Be Like This, the chart-topping debut by his band Inhaler (£8 on CD; £19 on vinyl). Its soaring choruses drew inevitable comparisons with U2.

The Lathums also reached No 1 with How Beautiful Life Can Be, an album of sunny guitar pop that built on the Wigan band’s grassroots following (£8 on CD; £23 on vinyl).

Whitney Houston’s hits collection, I Will Always Love You, is a sumptuous package that made the most of her spectacular four-octave

voice when it was released nine months after her death in 2012.

Now reissued on double vinyl (£25), it includes Saving All My Love For You and I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Further classics are revisited on A Symphony Of Soul (£11 on CD), which adds the strings of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to a clutch of Motown standards, including Dancing In The Street. 

The CD also features two bravura duets — one between Marvin Gaye and Beverley Knight, the other featuring Jimmy Ruffin and Mica Paris.

ROCKERS

The headbangers in your life will be well-served this year, with Iron Maiden’s towering Senjutsu (£13.50 on CD; £40 on triple vinyl) and Alice Cooper’s Detroit Stories the pick of the new LPs. 

The latter features Michigan musicians Wayne Kramer and Paul Randolph and is out on CD (£8), double vinyl (£31) and as a box set that includes a face mask (£42.65).

For fans of alternative rock and Britpop, Garbage’s third album, Beautiful Garbage, has been repackaged (£15 on triple CD; £44 as three vinyl LPs), while Noel Gallagher’s Back The Way We Came: Vol 1 contains the former Oasis songwriter’s solo work. 

The headbangers in your life will be well-served this year, with Iron Maiden’s towering Senjutsu (pictured: Iron Maiden – Bruce Dickinson) – £13.50 on CD; £40 on triple vinyl – and Alice Cooper’s Detroit Stories the pick of the new LPs.

It’s out as a double CD (£10), triple CD (£13.50), double vinyl LP (£26) and deluxe box (£72).

And Pink Floyd’s 1990 stage show is captured for the first time as a stand-alone album on Live At Knebworth (£15.50 on CD; £30.50 double vinyl LP).

SHOW TUNE LOVERS

Barbra Streisand dips into the archives on Release Me 2 (£10 on CD; £12 on vinyl), a career-spanning volume of rarities updated with new instrumental touches.

Streisand’s extraordinary voice is in its element on the musical theatre standard Right As The Rain, while there are marquee duets with Barry Gibb, Willie Nelson . . . and Kermit The Frog.

There are more show tunes on Love For Sale, the latest duets LP by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, which is an affectionate homage to Broadway composer Cole Porter (£8 on CD; £24 on vinyl).

FOLK FANS

For those seeking calm amid the festive hubbub, Joni Mitchell’s Archives — Vol. 2 is a five-CD box (£57) that chronicles her music leading up to 1971’s classic Blue. With unheard originals, out-takes and live cuts, it’s a treasure chest. (Mitchell pictured 1971)

For those seeking calm amid the festive hubbub, Joni Mitchell’s Archives — Vol. 2 is a five-CD box (£57) that chronicles her music leading up to 1971’s classic Blue. With unheard originals, out-takes and live cuts, it’s a treasure chest.

Mitchell’s 1969 concert at Carnegie Hall, watched by Bob Dylan and Joni’s then boyfriend Graham Nash, is included. The gig is also available as a stand-alone triple vinyl LP (£40).

In a similar vein, First Aid Kit’s Who By Fire (£9 on CD; £24 as a double vinyl LP) is the Swedish sister act’s tribute to Leonard Cohen.

Prices may vary.

It’s Nintendo to the rescue for Christmas gaming gifts

By Peter Hoskin for the Daily Mail

Like last year, the items at the top of many gamers’ wish lists — the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X — have fallen victim to chip shortages and supply chain breakages, so few will find their way under Christmas trees.

Which leaves gamers looking elsewhere. I’d advise them to try Nintendo. Their upgraded OLED Switch console (£309.99) isn’t just glorious, with its more generous proportions and fancier screen, it’s also readily available. Buy it with Metroid Dread (£49.99) to really show off its abilities.

On a pure bang-per-buck basis, Nintendo’s new Game & Watch: The Legend Of Zelda (£44.99) may be even better. It’s a small handheld device that harks back to the company’s past, not least by featuring the first and second Zelda titles (from 1986 and 1987), as well as one of my top three games of all time, The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. 

Of course, existing PlayStation and Xbox owners still need games to play. For adults, you can’t really go wrong with the freewheeling excitement of driving through Mexico in ForzaHorizon 5 (£54.99, Xbox and PC only, pictured). And for children (and inner children), there are the cartoon capers of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (£69.99, PS5 only).

There is another way to enjoy Forza: it’s included as one of the games in Xbox’s Netflix-style subscription plan, Game Pass (from £7.99 a month), along with the new Halo, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Control and dozens of others.

Otherwise, there’s always a good pair of gaming headphones. I’ve been getting much aural delight from both Roccat’s Syn Pro Air (£139.99) and Turtle Beach’s Recon 500 (£69.99). 

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