Saturday, December 20, 2014

The velvety vocals of Roses And Revolutions

New York duo Roses And Revolutions recorded a soothing Christmas original called 'It's Christmas Time', especially enjoyable for Alyssa Coco's velvety vocals. One to close your eyes for.

Incriminating clawmarks on her back once again

One of the weirdest, yet funniest Christmas songs ever is Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, by Elmo & Patsy. Three years ago we posted an impressive country cover by Dirty Shannon, but a recent version by Beard & Glasses turns the originality meter up a notch. Dark and haunting, like a good Nick Cave song, but still funny as hell. Nice one.

Beard & Glasses are actually releasing a new album tomorrow. You can follow the band on their Facebook page.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Superfresh: Pondertone with The Blue Grass Boogiemen

And another Dutch premiere: Pondertone just released their Christmas collab with The Blue Grass Boogiemen. Expect sublime harmonies and lyrics of heartache. Christmas just ain't christmas with a broken heart.

Superfresh: The Gasoline Brothers' 2014 Christmas song

Though we haven't heard any original material from Utrecht's The Gasoline Brothers in quite a while, we're glad they're keeping their yearly tradition of altrockifying Christmas classics alive.

This one's superfresh: a hypnotizing 11:11 minute rendition of 'Oh Tannenbaum'. Play it loud, do a funny little shoestaring dance in your living room, and you'll be just fine.


A year ago at the Dutch IDFA festival in Amsterdam we saw the premiere of the wonderful movie Jingle Bell Rocks!, a great documentary about people like us who like Christmas music." Director Mitchell Kezin delves into the minds of some of the world’s most legendary Christmas music fanatics and hits the road to hang with his holiday heroes ". It includes people like Joseph  Simmons (Run DMC), The Flaming Lips’ frontman Wayne Coyne, filmmaker John Waters, the famous DJ/musicologist Dr. Demento and many more. The movie is screened in America this month in a lot of cities and there will be a DVD  release with lots of extra's. Here is the very informative website of Jingle Bell Rocks!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: XTC

In November 1983, this press release landed on music journo's desks:
“On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree ... ” Yes, Virgin enters into the festive spirit with this seasonal offering, ‘Thanks for Christmas’ by The Three Wise Men. The song was penned by well-known writing team Kaspar/Melchior/Balthazar, the Far East's answer to Holland/Dozier/Holland. Production was by The Three Wise Men and the Good Lord himself. (released Nov 21st Virgin VS642) Not surprisingly, the release hits the decks shrouded in mystery, intrigue and much speculation. The ‘What's On In Bethlehem’-style sleeve may well proclaim ‘The Three Wise Men’, but this non-de-plume cunningly conceals the identity of one of Virgin's top pop groups! Not that we're telling you which band. Could it be Culture Club, Human League, Heaven 17, China Crisis or even Slapp Happy? Over to you! Just good clean Virgin fun to keep you guessing right into the New Year. It's certainly countdown to Christmas party time. Cheers!

It wasn't Culture Club or Slapp Happy, the vocals gave it away immediatly: this was XTC. Andy Partridge, singer for XTC, said:
“I have a soft spot for Christmas songs. For this I wanted the female staff at the Virgin Records office to sing it and we'd put it out under the name ‘The Virgin Marys’ but they thought it would be sacrilegious, so the band did it under the name ‘The Three Wise Men’.”

Kotzen und Gluhwein

The album description for the compilation "Es incurable. Es Navidad" is in Spanish, artists include Bit Laden (ha!) and Voetbal (wut?) and one of the tracks is called 'Kotzen und Gluhwein' (vomiting and gluhwein). Combine that with the fact that we have no clue who's behind this comp and you'll agree that we had to share this free download with the world.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada Christmas compilation VI

It gives us great pleasure to present the sixth edition of Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada, our seasonal compilation, which, as ever is given in the hope that it will provide an antidote to hearing the same old Christmas songs year after year, while at the same time celebrating some of our favourite Canadian artists.


Favourites (so far): Michael Feuerstack, Kristian Noel Pedersen, Jim Guthrie, Chic Gamine, Machu Picchu, Kim Gray

Higher Hands

Don't know 'bout you, but I could really do with a fat slice of slap back funk, after hearing a mountain of folksy strumming country christmas songs. Thank heavens for Annapolis band Higher Hands, who funked up I Saw Three Ships for an EP featuring more funky tracks (covers of Sharon Jones, Clarence Carter and more)

Hot Sauce Committee

Oh come on, Shake it off by Taylor Swift IS an infectious song! No? Listen to what leftfield hiphoprockhead Hot Sauce Committee changed Shake it off into.
Santa’s going to ride his sleigh, sleigh, sleigh And bells are going to jingle all the way, way, way Cause I just want a la la la latte Peppermint, Peppermint Schools are gonna go on break, break, break Sugar cookies gonna bake, bake, bake, bake, bake Baby I just want a la la la latte Peppermint, Peppermint

The Girl with the Replacable Head

Now THAT's a good bandname. And when you make Phil-Spectorian Christmas songs like this, you're a sureshot on this blog:

Common Linnets

Common Linnets, if you're a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, you know this Dutch duo. Or trio. Or quartet. OK, let's not get into the personnel problems here. Singer Ilse DeLange and her merry band recorded a track for An Americana Christmas (this one), but made an even better country-tinged song for the bonus-cd that comes with the Common Linnets album. This one:

'Let Me Sleep' by Pearl Jam

Really early Christmas single by Pearl Jam. This baby dates back to 1991, but the acoustic guitars and percussion remind me more of Eddie Vedder's solo stuff from this century. Beautiful song.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Christmas you c**t

Punk poet Frank Turner made a foul-mouthed Christmas song. Naturally, we post it here:

This is of course a cover of this infamous Breakdowns track:

Los Angeles Police Department

No, LAPD aren't musical cops, it's the moniker of bedroom singer-songwriter Ryan Pollie. 'Oh Lonely Night' is up there with the bestest new alt. Christmas songs of the year. It has everything, the bells, the longing, the nostalgia. Well done.

Read an extended interview with Ryan Pollie/LAPD HERE


Since 2006 The Killers make an annual Christmas song. Mostly the title and clip are  revealed only within one or two weeks before Christmas. This year they made it together with talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel: Joel the Lump of Coal , a story about a rock who does not want to be a gift for naughty children.  And here is the making of it with Jimmy Kimmel himself!

Felice LaZae

Do you recognise her? She's the girl on the cover of The Killers' second album, Sam's Town (see?). Felice LaZae (for that is her name) started a singing career. She sounds like Pink in her more rockafied tracks. And she recorded a 60s-tinged (think Phil Spector) Christmas track that's quite good.

Christmas in Prison

You might know Phil Odgers from the (folk/country-)band The Men They Couldn't Hang. He recorded a beautiful version of John Prine's classic Christmas in Prison.

(via The Mad Mackerel)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas drones

And now for something completely different.....

Michael Anderson aka Mkl of Drekka has worked together with Sarah E. Duvenant en Þórir Georg to create an alternative Christmas album as Ronja's Christmas Witch. On their self-titled album they present twelve Christmas dreams full of drones, folk and ambient. It's haunting and yet intimate. You can listen to this album here: Ronja's Christmas Witch

Also Firetail made a nice drone version of "Little Drummer Boy":

Little Droner Boy

Merry Xmas and drone on...

New Christmas Classics (2)

A week or so back, I asked why there isn't a new Christmas pop classic canonized. It seems like after Wham's Last Christmas (1984) and Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas (1994), there isn't a new(er) track being covered and therefore canonized into a real pop classic. I made some suggestions for newer tracks, like Ron Sexsmiths Maybe This Christmas and Low's Just Like Christmas.
Our friends over @ Lie in the Sound picked up on this (see HERE). It got me thinking, maybe it's not just one track off of Low's Christmas album (1999), it's the WHOLE album. That album is a certified classic, or at least getting there. Read a nice story on the background of that album HERE.
Taking Down the Tree, mentioned by Lie in the Sound and covered by Small Signals:

was covered some more. By Tracy Thorn, for instance (nice video), Chad Zigweid (here, thanks Brigitte)

Just Like Christmas was covered by (among others) Snow Patrol (here), Ingo Star Cruiser (here, ) David Bazan (here), Dan Croll (cool Brazilian brass version), Glenn Richards & Holiday Sidewinder (here), Sunturns (here), The Sugarpills (here), Zipliss Ellipsis (here), Cutaways (here), Vigilantes of Folk (here), That Melancholy Dream (here), Antonin Koutny (here), Star Matters (here, they changed 'Stockholm' for 'Portland'), Woozy (here, nice version), Kill it Kid (here, jolly fiddle version), The Murder Barn (here), DIY Scarves (here,) NJ Gebhard (here) and lots of other artists. Like Hotel Glockenspiel (here) (thanks Stubby)

Long Way Around the Sea was covered by Pedro the Lion (here), Beau Jennings & Andy Smith (here), Zach Malm (here), Joy (here) and Paal Flaata (it's on Spotify).

If You Were Born Today was covered by JP Haynie (here), The Beautiful After (here), Nancy Wallace & Jason Steel (here), Jimmy Eat World (here), Christmas Friends (here).

One Special Gift was covered by Rough Shop (here) and Insomniac (here).
The other three songs on Low's Christmas album are covers (Silent Night, Blue Christmas, Little Drummer Boy).

Did I miss other covers? Lemme know. Low, the new Mariah.