The Essential Advent Calendar: December 24

The Essential Advent Calendar: December 24 – Christmas Party Memories

It’s our second last door on the Essential Advent Calendar, and today we have some musical artists talking about their favourite Christmas party memories.

First up is Maisly, a Nordic Pop Queen that’s caught the attention of global tastemakers with her fearless country-pop fusions.

Mostly when I think of Christmas I see myself clad in a Bridget Jones-like ugly Christmas jumper, embarrassing myself in front of a crush.

Last year, I came even closer to being Bridget because at my parents’ company holiday party I met a gorgeous 6 foot tall lawyer, who I was utterly crazy about. The night was perfect, we talked, we laughed, everything was going swimmingly… he could have been my Mark Darcy… but then.. my mother had to intersect…

They got friendly, he seemed like a dream! They got along well – perfect! Until… my mom turns around and introduces him to Mike, a sweet but I mean, I truly think everyone is gorgeous whatever their shape and size but for the sake of the story and trying to impress a hottie – a balding, chubby, short programmer – a long time family friend and my…. “back-up husband”.

“Hottie’s” face immediately changes and gets all red and flustered. My mom doesn’t notice and just continues to go on and on about my dating struggles, how I can never keep a man down, can’t cook and made an agreement with “Mike” because we both just can’t seem to find anyone and don’t want to die alone…

Safe to say, I didn’t get a date with hottie, but got a back-up husband. Maybe hottie was more Daniel Cleaver and Mike is my destiny, my Mark Darcy..  I mean… they share the same first letter of their name.. only time will tell.

Maisly’s new single, ‘Rumour’, boasts an angelic innocence within her voice, juxtaposed within the narrative of relationship distrust. It’s an emotionally-exposed track underpinned by powerful guitar lines, and uneasingly slow reverb, and represents the determined search for truth. ‘Rumour’ follows in a long line of progressive pop pieces from this dynamic young artist.

Maisly says:

“Rumour is a song about a situation I was in when I found out a guy I was dating was seeing someone else for a few years and.. forgot to mention. So I got my investigative detective hat on and wrote the song about him and what his character feels like to me.”

Second is 25 year old Keir, who released his latest single, ‘Shiver’, on November 22.

One Christmas when I was younger I was bored at a family Christmas party so I made a plan with my younger brother to find out whether Father Christmas was truly real or not. Before going to bed we laid out a small glass of whisky, a carrot for Rudolph and a small note which read:

“Dear Father Christmas,

Are you real or are you not?”

Below this we left two blank boxes one next to a ‘YES’ and the other next to a ‘NO’ and a pencil by the side. We couldn’t believe our genius and ran downstairs in the morning to find out the truth once and for all. The carrot was gone. The whisky was drunk. And the note was left untouched. We wondered whether perhaps he was illiterate, or didn’t have enough time, or just didn’t see the note in the mad rush of delivering presents. Either way it was at that point we realised we would maybe never find out… I shall leave a note out again this year in the hope of getting some answers.

‘Shiver’ will suck you in with its seductive groove, shuddering with angst-ridden sensuality, red-hot and blazing. At the same time, Keir reveals a heavy heart, while at the same time assuring us that there’s nothing heavy-handed about his words; they’re sharp, when necessary, yet bold enough to stay soft. Keir has the ambitious melodies to make him radio-ready, but at the same time, there’s a rawness that won’t be tamed, which nonetheless adds to his appeal.

Posh Chocolates is an interesting name, with an equally interesting Christmas story to connect to it.

When I think about it, the whole concept behind the name Posh Chocolates is in memory of Christmas parties. My mother would waltz through the front door with a box of after eights in hand because it was a special occasion. Coming from a working class background, a mouthful of middle class munch commemorated an exciting occasion. The sentiment lies in the occasion rather than the consumable itself. Live I always introduce ourselves with “welcome to Posh Chocolates” as if it’s we’re all about to share a special occasion. Of which I hope it is for the crowd.

Manchester three-piece Posh Chocolates, they were cultivated by front-man and producer, Christian Ellery, who developed the idea during an isolated delve back into his roots, during the summer of 2019. Ellery has spent many years on the session musician and producer circuit across the UK, giving him a lot of time to think about what to put into his own music. Posh Chocolates style is new age guitar-driven synth pop, which discloses a contrasting dark undercurrent.

Their single, ‘Gold Tongue’, released on December 13, is a space age 80s inspired single, with synths and strong percussive elements, creating the perfect bed for the vocals. Splice in a hot chip vibe along with some cheeky chappy northern charm, as well as careful production and minimal guitars, and the track is pretty damned near perfect.

Last but certainly not least is boyanlevchev.

We were four friends on the road to the winter-time party town in the mountains of Bulgaria. Parties awaited us: dense feasts accompanied by beating bass drums. Squealing zurnas held an inch from your ear, as you rip lamb from your fork and get hazy with the wine…

But we had already started getting hazy, of course, passing around a bottle of whiskey in the car.

Winding between the towering pines, we came across a hitchhiking priest, decked out in a black robe and a scruffy beard, up the side of the road. I don’t know why, but the sight of him excited me intensely, and I insisted that my friend stop to pick him up. We were moving too quickly to stop though, and my friend, clearly relieved that we didn’t have to take on some random bearded man in a black robe, but eager to assuage my weird inclinations, said “Don’t worry, don’t worry, we’ll just pick up the next hitchhiking priest…” – as one does.

We’d blasted up the heating, and, starting to get drunk and warm and cosy, I stripped, and just lounged in my underpants in the backseat, enjoying my friends’ giggles over my shenanigans.

And then, praise be, the cosmos heard my truest inner desires: another hitch-hiking priest in the distance. We all laughed our asses off that there was legitimately a second hitch-hiking priest, again all in black, and again with a scruffy beard, out here literally in the middle of nowhere… And so my friend, probably grumbling under his breath, kept to his promise and we picked him up.

It was like a movie in my mind – like the prequel to The Hangover… It was this scruffy priest on my right, sweating under his black robe and beard, my mate on my left getting jolly, and me slouched in the middle, fanning my nude, drunken body… on our way to party town.

Then he went full priest on us. Tipsy, but polite, we learned that those who don’t accept Jesus as their lord and saviour, would suffer in hell. A hot and heavy topic for a party, but it was fine, because I was naked – but maybe that’s also why we were having that chat in the first place… Somebody questioned him about those who’ve never heard of the word of Jesus – do they just go to hell, because they were unlucky enough for the word not to reach them? No, the priest said, they would be forgiven for their ignorance. Nice! (… I think I’m going to hell though…)

A few swigs of whiskey down the road we left him, and he gave us his priestly business card – a small laminated paper icon of Mary holding baby Jesus. And then after one final swig – maybe one too many… I passed out.

boyanlevchev’s latest work ‘Like A Fool’, feat. BYFYN showcases more than just aesthetics and cream, but shrewd songwriting and sharpened hip-hop sensibilities. Featuring BYFYN who has been lauded by BBC Radio 6, the track precedes a stunning visual directed by Bulgarian director JAWPAINS – to be released on the 10th of January.

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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