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This will be the last ‘live’ post for the next few days as we finally knuckle down and get serious about all this festive business. I will be spending tomorrow concocting delicious dishes for the big day, and no doubt eating half of them before Carols has even kicked off on the telly. It’s gonna be tough. I have set up a few posts to pop up over the next few days though, so if you need a break from Aunty Mildred or are sneaking in a quick trip online to order that CD you asked for that nobody bothered to buy for you, you can always stop by here as well for some top tuneage and maybe another Christmas track or two.

Onward!

White Pines is the performing name of Joseph Scott, who is joined when recording and touring by an assortment of musical friends. February will see him and his band opening for Strand Of Oaks in various locations around the US – visit myspace for details.

It’s not the tour I’m excited about though (for one obvious reason – I’m on the other side of the bloody world) but it’s the recently released EP Face Made Of Wood. This landed in my inbox a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve sat with it since then and it’s become one of my favourite releases of the year, full of rich imagery, gorgeous vocals and beautiful instrumentation. I’ve always preferred a strong EP where every track makes its mark, rather than an album consisting of several songs that feel like filler tracks, there only to pad out the length of the album, and this EP is packed full of notable songs.

Opening track ‘Foot Of The Cross’ contains a lovely swaying melody and it’s quickly apparent that Joseph Scott is a man with serious vocal talent. ‘Foreign Tongues’ has strings, so yeah. Say no more, I love it. ‘Wolves Will Shiver’ is where the EP really steps it up a notch I reckon. Opening line January hit hard this year sets the mood immediately and the whole song sparkles with winter imagery. Northern Hemisphere winter imagery, that is. It really is the kinda track you’d play quietly in the background as you curled up in front of a roaring fire, cliched as that idea might seem.

The two concluding tracks are my favourites. ‘Our Things In The Street’ begins with layered strings and scattered cymbals before melding into a simple, instantly hummable melody. Joseph’s vocals are especially lovely on this track, and there’s some seriously gorgeous banjo in parts – the more I delve into the whole folk/alt-country movement, the more I appreciate this humble instrument. ‘Speak With The Dead’ draws the EP to a stunning close, starting slow but building at each verse with the addition of more instrumentation (is that a saw I hear in the breaks between verse and chorus?) until it takes off about halfway through when the drums kick in for real, quietening again to whisper soft before a gorgeous string finish. How I do love a gorgeous string finish.

So yes. I love this EP. You should too, and you can prove your love, or at least kickstart your affair, by heading to Jumberlack Media and coughing up 6 of your best American/Canadian dollars, or the international equivalent.

Our Things In The Street – White Pines (I’m only streaming this one, because it’s only a 5 track EP, but I still wanted you to have the chance to hear it)

Speak with the Dead – White Pines

Bonus video (I love that wallpaper! No, really.)

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