Ahead of its Tuesday release on Shiny Happy Records’ Christmas Compilation, we’re stoked to share the NYC duo’s beautiful take on Vashti Bunyan’s (Very sad) seasonal song
In Phantom Handshakes’ Instagram bio, the project is described as “a band born to cope with the quarantine’s gloom,” but it would be just as accurate to say the dream-pop duo has been helping us cope, with gorgeous songs that have offered some serious sonic solace during what’s certainly been the strangest of years.
Now, about five months after the release of the NYC duo’s excellent debut EP Be Estranged, I’m thrilled to premiere the newest from Phantom Handshakes (+ the perfect song to listen to while you cry into your spiked cider): a cover of English singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan’s “Winter is Blue.”
This cover is Phantom Handshakes’ contribution to Shiny Happy Records’ VA: Comfort and Joy – A Shiny Happy Christmas Compilation, which is out Tuesday and features 23 tracks by artists from across the world—from the US to the UK, Japan to Germany
Ahead of the record’s release, Federica Tassano (one half of Phantom Handshakes, along with Matt Sklar) told me how they decided on this particular song and what the band did to make it their own:
“I am a big Vashti Bunyan fan and was listening to her album ‘Just Another Diamond Day on repeat when we were deciding what song to cover for the Shiny Happy Records Christmas compilation. It’s not the most festive or cheerful song choice for sure, but with all that happened this year we wanted to record something a bit more melancholy than the usual Christmas song. The original recording of the song is very sparse (just Vashti’s voice and acoustic guitar) so we brightened up the arrangement a bit with some dreamy guitars and bells, but we still wanted to keep the sadness and intimacy of the original song intact.”
Along with appreciating the irony of such an emo contribution to a Shiny Happy Records comp, I have to agree that a somber song is far more fitting for this particular holiday season (not all is holly jolly, y’all), and if you’re in search of something a little sad // a lot lovely to get you through ’til January 1st, well… you’ve definitely found it.
*Raises glass of now-very-salty cider in air*
So with that, cheers to Phantom Handshakes for helping us (def me!) cope once again.
Buy the compilation here.
Feature image provided by the band.