Audio advent calendar: Villagers playlist

9 December: Our musical Christmas countdown continues as Conor from Villagers talks us through his Spotify playlist

Domino artist Villagers has pulled out all the stops for his advent calendar entry with a detailed run through every song on his playlist ...

Villagers advent playlist

Ben E King – Stand By Me
I have a vivid childhood memory of hiding under the table with my eyes closed listening to this song. It is pure and simple, and sounds like it has been carved in stone.

David Axelrod – Holy Thursday
This track is a good time. It sounds like a completely blissful journey. It promises movement but maintains an overbearing stillness. It also demonstrates clearly the way that drums should sound in a studio recording.

Elliott Smith – Between the Bars
I love how this is played with such delicacy and grace, while the words seem to be alluding to something far more sinister. It is a very beautiful song and I feel dirty talking about it, because he was singing it to me. Not you.

Elvis Costello – Battered Old Bird
This is such a visual song. To me it's a sort of patchwork quilt of different characters and aspects of human nature. The key change in the middle is so strange; it exemplifies the strength of the link between the words and music, both of which are the work of a master.

Jeffrey Lewis – The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song
Funny, meditative, descriptive and moving. I've had some really good moments with this song. We're old friends now.

The Kinks – Death of a Clown
I love the mixture and contrast of the ghostly backing vocals with the almost comedic piano lines. I remember learning a lot about arrangements through this song; about how to create space.

Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat
One of the most potent and evocative songs I've ever heard. The female backing vocal breaks my heart. The lyrics make more sense to me now than when I first heard them as a teenager. I cannot wait to listen to it when I'm 60.

Lou Reed – Walk On the Wild Side
This song is so simple. The lyrics are great, as is the production. It's a perfect bittersweet pop song.

Neil Young – Don't Let It Bring You Down
What a wonderful piece of advice.

Nina Simone – Desperate Ones
A chilling and sensitive ode to the ones who've been cracked by life. The sound of a singer letting a great weight leave her shoulders. I've rarely been so touched by a song on first listen as I was with this.

Pavement – Shady Lane
"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh your God, oh his God, oh her God, it's everybody's God, it's everybody's God, it's everybody's God it'everybody's God – the worlds collide, but all that I want is a shady lane." Need I say more?

Randy Newman – God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)
I'm finding it hard to explain why I like this song so much. It's so obviously a work of genius that anything I say will just cheapen my true feelings.

Robert Wyatt – Sea Song
This song is breathtakingly good. The lyrics are so open while still having a directness throughout. It is consistently inspired and colourful. "Your madness fits in neatly with my own/ Your lunacy fits neatly with my own/ We're not alone" (cue beautiful chord change) – enough said.

Roy Orbison – Crying
Voice, chords, melody, arrangement, production, yes. Thank you, sir.

Scott Walker – On Your Own Again
This song feels like four months and six days inside one minute and forty-eight
seconds. Totally blissful.

Wilco – Radio Cure
When your head feels like it has been sliced into little pieces, listen to Radio Cure by Wilco. Mankind is discovering new levels of communication.

The GuardianTramp

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