Monday, November 11, 2019

An ideal christmas present?

Robbie Williams on Christmas A Go Go? Isn't that a bit too commercial and mainstream for this blog? I don't know. He has always been a sort of controversial figure. But he comes with a Xmas double-CD called 'The Christmas Present'. As I still haven't heard the album I will give him a little benefit of the doubt, whether he made the ideal Xmas present :-)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

satan vs santa

A tune that starts as the classic 1969 garage tune '96 Tears' (? & The Mysterians) must be a great and original Xmas track. It's the intro of a very dirty cover of 'Feliz  Navidad', mostly known by Jose Feliciano. You can find it on the 7 inch single 'Happy Holidays with Satan’s Pilgrims' brought to you by Hidden Volume Records. Satan's Pilgrims hail from Portland and on the B-side they put a loud and raunchy surfpunk version of 'Greensleeves'. Defenitely worth checking out.

Friday, November 08, 2019

THe Hengles

Most of the time, we post Christmas songs, meaning songs about Christmas or at least mentioning Christmas, on this blog. But every now & then some seasonal songs slip through. Songs about December, the end of the year, wintertime. Enter Dutch band The Hengles, who recorded a song called Wintertime. The video was made by one of the daughters of the bandmembers (all veterans of the Dutch 90s rock scene, they played in bands like Jack of Hearts, Supersub, Treble Spankers). Their style is that jingle-jangle Big Star/Posies rock that's both very 90s, and very classic.
Now, the reason they pop up today, is that they also recorded a Christmas song - no, not this great track from last year, but a new one. And that one's gonna pop up next week, as an exclusive premiere. Get ready!

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Mariya May

From 2016, but neglected so far (by us, at least, and by Christmas Underground, who shared it with us) which is a crying shame 'cuz this track is magnificent. Portland singer Mariya May wrote a 50s, Cramps-y sounding Christmas track with maracas, reverb and bombshell-vocals that three years later still rattles our tree.

More Mariya (she makes dubreggae, neo-soul and folk, all great) HERE

Monday, November 04, 2019

Put a candle on top of your head

Can't hardly believe we never dropped this one before on CAGG, but we didn't. An incredibly great Christmas track (personal favourite) by good old Claw Boys Claw from The Netherlands. Recorded back in 1986 and it came with a very joyful video.  

''My sweetheart ran away with a ginger wine 
I think I'll go to bed at half past nine 
There is no one to pull the other end 
Of the crackers auntie Mabel sent''

Now if that ain't enough misery to get some real blue bells, what is?
Jingle Bells audio by Claw Boys Claw here.

popular but cool

There are a lot of Christmas compilations called 'Cool Christmas' (go and check Discogs). Most of them full of popular pop and/or rock songs. So 'A Very Cool Christmas' isn't very original as title. But it comes as CD and as a very cool double LP on green and red vinyl (on Music On Vinyl ). On it are 'contemporary' artists like Bob Dylan, Dandy Warhols, Bryan Adams or Brian Setzer. But also 'old', mainly soul songs, from people like Clarence Carter, Jackson5, Rufus Thomas or Aretha Franklin. Also this Marvin Gay song which I wasn't familiar with: 'Purple Snowflakes' . This seems to be a very peculiar song. It was written in 1965 under the title 'Purple Snowflakes'. But Marvin Gay had a hit with it in 1965 under the title 'Pretty Little Lady'. Only in 1992 it was rereleased on the Motown Christmas compilation 'Christmas In the City' with it's original title 'Purple Snowflakes'.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

A prog christmas

Lovers of old prog rock will be very happy with this compilation: 'A Prog Rock Christmas' (on Purple Pyramid Records). It's a nice christmassy album with surprising artists, mainly all known from famous bands who don't exist anymore. We have mucisians like Kasim Sulton (played with Todd Rundgren), Sonja Kristina (Curved Air), Geoff Downes (Buggles, Yes, Asia). Also Dutch flutist This van Leer (from Focus). He does a surprising version of Jethro Tull's 'Christmas Song'. First time I see a cover of this song. And than there is 'I Believe In Father Christmas' a typical English Christmas tune, written in 1975 by Pete Sinfield with Greg Lake (Emerson Lake & Palmer). Here it is redone by Martin Turner (from Wisbone Ash)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Los Lobos

Guestpost! Ruud Houweling, once known as Cloudmachine, is an acclaimed Dutch singer-songwriter with a big heart for Americana music. He wrote a few lines on that very cool Christmas album by Los Lobos:
Chicano superstars Los Lobos, the multi-instrumentalist rockers from Los Angeles with their unique musical blend of mixed cultural origin, recorded a Christmas album with songs from Latin America. Obscure traditionals from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela. Save one; the inescapable classic sing along finale: Feliz Navidad. A flavorsome treat.
(Tip: also give their incredible 1996 album Colossal Head a spin)

Christmas All Over Again

PussNBoots is a sort of all female supergroup from Brooklyn: Norah Jones, winner of 9 grammy awards, Catherine Popper who played with people like Jack White & Ryan Adams and jazz singer Sasha Dobson. For this upcoming season they made a nice (mini) alt. country CD/LP: 'Dear Santa...'. It also includes this great country song:

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Tropical Christmas on Christmas Island

Leon Redbone  (1946-2019) was an artist who was often compared with Frank Zappa and and Tom Waits. He died on dementia this year. In 1988 he released a Christmas album  'Christmas Island'  (in fact a real island, located in the Indian Ocean about 350 KM south of Java). This october the album is rereleased on CD, with two extra unknown new tracks.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Joe Kane/Radiophonic Tuckshop

Stumbled on this album, originally released in 2017 but put on Bandcamp recently. A joyous seasonal album by singer-songwriter, all originals but chockful of references. Really dug this jangling, Beatles-y track:

AAAAaaaaand we're back

Hiy'all. Usually, we fire up the blog on November 1. But since the lovely girls of Clean Pete decided to release their brilliant Dutch take on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen today, we had no choice but follow.
Now, Clean Pete, you might remember them from this Christmas track. Or this one. You might have visited their Xmas shows (two coming up in Decemer). Even if Dutch is not your language, you have to admire their lush voices, and the effort they take to make original takes on Christmas songs. Dutch male vocal hero Thijs Boontjes joins the CP-duo.
On the album, to be released late November, the earlier singles appear (everyting in Dutch), duets with comedian Stefano Keizers, jazz singer Ruben Hein, folkster Lucky Fonz and a few tracks without back up singers. We've already heard it, and think it's B R I L L I A N T. Really. All reworked versions of known carols, xmas pop hits and more. Something to look out for, surely.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Hey Nineteen!

It's the year of the pig, y'all. Happy 2019. See you back in November. Thanks for all your visits, views, downloads, tips, comments and Christmas joy.

Monday, December 24, 2018

He's Alive!

Nothing more to say here. Jezus Leeft!
Merry Xmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Not Fur Longs

The latest Arbor Christmas album is released, Volume 19. And of course, there's a song by The Not Fur Longs on it. These guys are present almost every year. What I like about this band is that they come up with great song titles, are very versatile (from jangly indie to reggae), it-is-what-it-is-lyrics and that honey-drenched voice of Brooke McAleer. Here's a collection of their bestest Christmas songs from Arbor Christmas compilations:

Last year was a so-so song, this is revanche:

NFL get a bit Police-y, like this one a lot:


Cool sci-fi-intro:

Fa-la-la, pa-rum-pum:


Arguably, their bestest xmas song. Yes, it lends from The Cure's 'Boys don't cry', it's very upbeat, very Christmas-y.


Sad13 = Sadie Dupuis. You might know her as part of Speedy Ortiz, or because she made 'Slugger', an album under the Sad13 moniker. And if you don't, get to know her because of this desafinado alt Christmas hit. It's a holiday song, but 'instead of a song filled with generic Christmas imagery, Dupuis gives us an illustration of her ideal holiday vacation, which involves blankets, TV and plenty of staying indoors':

Sadie made more xmas tunes, like this one. And this one.

Almost time for Christmas

Originally a musician from the Netherlands, Truus de Groot moved to Amercia somewhere in 1980. Here she makes electronic music and calls herself: "Early pioneer of Experimental Electronica, soulful vocalist and not your run-of-the-mill Composer". Her X-mas track is only available on Youtube: It's Christmas Time! And it's created with the Analog Reco-Synth, on one track only.

Friday, December 21, 2018

experimental x-mas

The Antwerp based Belgian label Jj funhouse likes experimental music. They just released 'Icicle', their third annual Christmas compilation. It's cassette only and mostly electronic music. Think kraut, ambient, Warp records. Tracks are mostly  quiet instrumental soundscapes with lots of Christmas bells. You can listen to and check it out here.
or below


Scanned some other blogs for new Christmas music, and this is what I found, stuff you really should hear:

Funny, rambling country song by Sun Sap on Santa being daddy [VIA]:

The Greyhound Factory sound like an 80s alt rock band, think music from Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink-soundtracks. Which I happen to like [VIA]
Auckland's Lucky Boy^ shares a song that's apperantly an old NZ xmas classic. It's dreamy, offkey and tropical [VIA]:

Eoin Dolan makes 'sci-fi-tinged surf pop that finds a space where sadness and beauty can coexist simultaneously'. So there. [VIA]

To quote Christmas Underground, whom we trust blindly when it comes to xmas music, 'this band has CHRISTMAS MUSIC PERFECTED':


Dutch bard Bertolf wrote a gorgeous seasonal song years ago (this one), and adds to his legacy this beauty: