Friday, June 17, 2022

Christmas in Gaza

Usually we don't post until November, but this is a special occassion. George Kooymans, legendary guitarist of Dutch rockband Golden Earring (yes, of 'Radar Love' fame), just released an album with his American mate Frank Carillo. On that album is a Christmas song. You must know, Kooymans was diagnosed with ALS a while ago. Golden Earring had disbanded because of that, sadly. So this is quite a moment, Kooymans was still able to finish this side-project.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy 22


Thanks to all the artists featured here for the music. Thank you for your comments, tips and visits. Happy 2022. See you in November.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

New Year



Just before we change the calenders, here are a few fairly recent songs about (a) new year. More posts about new year's (eve) songs, HERE and HERE.
This was spotted (of course) by Jim @Christmas Underground, a probably the bestest January 1 song of recent years. With the right amount of melancholy, nostalgia en promises made to be broken. Released this summer, mind you:
Released in July 2019, also heavy on the melancholy stocked with great lines. Musically it leans on the mid-90s guitar sound of Belly and Juliana Hatfield:
Spanish post-rock, about starting over, leaving Madrid and taking one last stroll:
A song about writing a song for the new year:
'Together we'll ring in the new year' by Motion City Soundtrack (from 2005) is, like The Zombies' 'This Will Be Our Year' a staple when it comes to new years songs. There are many covers of the MCS-song on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Most are dull. I found this all girls-version quite nice.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Eilandnet


If you need a Christmas album to chill out to, look no further than Eilandnet's The Soothing Christmas Album. Title says it all, it's blinking lights/analogue synths/Vangelis-like tapestries from keyboards. Arguing family members, complaints about Christmas dinner, end of the year depressions...they all just faaaaaaade away. Eilandnet = recurring CAGG-phenomenon Stippenlift. If you need more recommendation.
Only on Spotify and YouTube:

Thank God It's Not Christmas


When I was re-listening to old(er) songs posted on this blog, I checked the Parenthetical Girls' Christmas album was still as great as I remembered. It was. What I did not remember, was their great Sparks-cover. 'Thank God It's Not Christmas' (1974) is, covered or in the original version, a Christmas song if there ever was one, it had the nostalgia, the longing, even the (mimicking of) bells.
There are more covers, most of them really, really great. So post-Christmas, it's a good theme, no?

Let's start with that Parenthetical Girls version:
On this extensive Sparks tribute album, there are two TGINC-covers, but this slow burning version is the best:
From 2011, with those semi-detached indie-rock vocals that were the thing back then:
Analogue synth-fun!
Highly charming acoustic version:
Sound quality is sh*t, but the energy's great! Not sure if the second song is a cover too, or an original. Would LOVE to hear it in better quality.
Another acoustic version. Look at the guy, how can I NOT post this?

Friday, December 24, 2021

Festive Scanner tunes

 Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner is a well known British electronic music artist. Last year he released ' 'Tis The Season', his first Xmas outing (as far as I know). Because the release was only a few days before Christmas we at CAGG missed it. It's beautiful downtempo and athmospheric music, mainly instrumental. You can easily recognize the origines of the songs like in 'Last Christmas Christmas Last', but Scanner gives the songs a nice twist. There are even vocals in a couple of tracks, which is very rare in Scanner music. Oh yes 'Silent Night' has a strange downtempo like drum & bass beat.

Socks for Christmas


It's the ultimate Christmas gift, so much that JD McPherson named his totally fantastic Christmas album after it. Socks. When Randolph's Leap added a song about getting socks for Xmas to their classic Christmas album, I decided to dig in some more. What are the bestest feet warmin' xmas choons?

Let's kick off with the blues by JD:
And this is that Randolph's Leap track (not only about socks, as Christmas Underground noted):
From a recent SNL episode, Paul Rudd singin' a funny song about Christmas socks
Croonin' about NOT wanting socks (see the video HERE):
Ramones-y punk, ho ho let's go:
Sweet, minimal lofi track from a couple of girls from Belfast: 'And every present then will be as good as gold/ When you've got no money and your feet are always cold'
Great Britpop (think The Crookes), harmony singing about Father Christmas and NOT wanting socks:
Very lofi, but piercing:
Nice retro doo-wop tune:
Not the tightest guitar player out there, but still a solid indie tune:
Ah yes, that unbreakable combo (great Randy Newman-ish song):
Ah yes, that other unbreakable combo!
Punk rock stormer about, yes, socks:
Ragged Flags, a Christmas music staple:
Oh joy, it's Jeremy Walker with an ode:
Why don't we sing along:

I'd love to see someone making a Best Christmas Stocking(s) Song playlist

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Country christmas

 The American label Medicine Show Records has a great holiday compilation out  called 'Christmas Times A'Coming' with a lot of very original country/ americana Christmas songs. Like this one from India Ramey: 

My favorite is Tom Mason's  'Christmas Boogaloo'. (Any song which has boogaloo in the title is great) 

Santa Teach Me To Dance


True Christmas music fans probably know this tune, a 1962 single by Debbie & the Darnells. It's a fun girl group doo-wop dance song. I found a cover on this year's Mela Collective Xmas compilation. They added some Waitresses-energy to it. Don't be fooled by the title:
Then I started looking for more covers. This creeks and rambles like a garbage truck:
Sweet school project from Australia:
And then the grand prize. Not a cover, more like an answer song from a guy's perspective, DAMN FINE tune:

Just Like Christmas some more


Every now and then, I look for new cover versions of Low's indie classic Just Like Christmas, from their Christmas album. There are many, some bad, some good, some totally bonkers, and a lot are really, really interesting. Today I found an ode to the song:

In addition to this post, this post and this post, here are more fresh finds (far from complete, I must add, check the other posts and on Soundcloud):

Fun, almost sunny version:
Very fine pop version:
From Italy, slowed down and again, more sunny than wintery:
You haven't heard JLC like this, I guarantee it:
8-bit electronics:
Fierce rawk'n roll:
Can't be slower than this one:
LOVE this slow burning, sultry version:
If The Cure would be the backing band:
Also pop, also good:
Like a northern soul version:
Dance, dance, dance to the radio!
And in case you're wondering; yes, other songs from Low's Christmas album were covered to. Just a handful examples, this is a beautiful version of Long Way Around the Sea by Greanvine, a fine version of Taking Down the Tree by Small Signals, If You Were Born today by Olivia Mori and One Special Gift by Pale Shade.

Arbor Christmas 22


Incredible, isn't it, 22 years of Christmas compilations. Arbor Christmas is a touchstone in the alternative Xmas music community, it's what staying power looks like. With only 8 songs, #22 is short; like the early days, not like #14 for instance, with 17 tracks.

Rule of the thumb, if the song by recurring faves The Not Fur Longs is good, the rest of the Arbor compilation is, too. This year, the NFL-song sounds like a cover from a Children's tv show in the 70s (it even might be, I'm not sure). In a long list of Not Fur Longs Christmas songs, it does not make the top 5. Better is the opening salvo, the Ramones-nod from Santa's Little Helper and the absolute gem from this year, the yacht-y track by Nightshift. Late night seventies coastal road FM radio, Donald Fagen Nightfly-worthy. Yes, it's THAT good. Mark Martucci's handwashed 'Snow Day' is fine too. The rest, not so much (tho I do like the analogue synths of FTLT).

Still, praise be for the Arbor.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Stubby's Stocking Stuffers 2021


Ah yes, it's that time again. The day when Martin 'Stubby' Johns (he of the now deleted, but still legendary Stubby's House of Christmas blog) sends his double cd mix to, well, to us all. To show us all how it's done, making a Christmas mix loaded with gems. You can download from HERE. It's active until January 6. The zip file contains 2 CDs worth of fully and properly tagged music, plus all the essential artwork to put a CD together (if anyone wants to go that route). I have highlighted/hyperlinked a few favorites.

DISC ONE
1. I Wish It Was Christmas - SoloProject (2021)
2. Jingle Bells To Far Away - The Luckiest Citizen of All (2021)
3. Footprints In The Snow - lorna (2021)
4. Christabel's Party - Cleaners From Venus (2021)
5. Jump For Joy (I Found You This Christmas) - Department of Creative Affairs (2020)
6. One More Sleep - The Dollyrots (2021)
7. Sleighstick - Derek Christensen (2021)
8. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Amy Gabba & The Almost Famous (2021)
9. What Will Santa Claus Say - Christabel & The Jons (2010)
10. Angels We Have Heard On High - Scott Martin (2004)
11. Christmas In The Rain - The Rugged Flags (2021)
12. Nobody Wants To Be Alone (At Christmas) - Jon Gambles (2021)
13. Santa Took My Baby - Charles Arthur (2013)
14. One More Merry Christmas - J Ross (2021)
15. One More Sleep - firmwire (2021)
16. Xmas Oranges - Marlaena Moore (2021)
17. Cold, Cold Winter - PRIM (2021)
18. I Won't Be Bad - Dodge Family (2018 )
19. Hey Santa - Rosie & The Rivets (2021)
20. Christmas (Baby Let's Stay Home) - Chris Daily & Erica Michelle (2021)
21. I Never Get What I Want - Darryl Gregory (2020)
22. The Son Is Coming To Town - Voicedude (2021)
23. Christmas All Over Again - The ABC Jugband (2021)


DISC TWO
1. Everybody Knows It's Christmas - Piney Gir (2021)
2. Uncle Mose & Santa Claus - Ted Russell (1960)
3. So Sad Santa - The Girl With The Replaceable Head (2011)
4. Calling Santa Claus - Amery Bielli (2021)
5. Santa - Blaine Walters (2021)
6. Broke The Bank This Christmas - Mitch Benn (2020)
7. Collect Call To My Baby (Merry Christmas) - Andy Clockwise (2012)
8. Ivy - Marlody (2021)
9. Let It Snow - Vandell Andrew (2021)
10. Meet Me (Under The Christmas Tree) - The Dice Cubes (2019)
11. A Memory of Snow - Sofia Talvik (2021)
12. There's No Green (This Christmas) - Braden Blake & The Oh Wells (2021)
13. Christmas Hallelujah - Nate James (2021)
14. Christmas Mashup - Ben Snowden (2021)
15. The First Noel - Bellefrog (2021)
16. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Mike Jones (2021)
17. Make The Most of the Mistletoe This Year - Krista Herring (2021)
18. Follow The Star - Andy & Elise Pokel (2021)
19. Snow - Black Tail (2021)
20. Winter Slumbers Medley - Dodge Family (2012)

Short Notes (3)


A tip from one of our readers (thanks Darrin), this sweet soothing track by Shelley Harland. Sounds like a 50s torch song. Which is very different from the more electronic, danceable tracks she usually makes. Great find.

Released officially on December 24, this sultry guitar+voice track by SF-based trio Sjowgren:
SUPER cool song by Silver Mouth. She sounds really glad about it, too:
Quite nice folksy Raveonettes cover, great artist name:
HELL YES there is a new Reindeer Tribe album, this is the highlight song:
Kinda like this funky lofi track:
And yes, it's here, it's tradition, so we post it, Ronny Hammond's new Funky Christmas mix

Through the past, merrily (2)

Second backtrack of songs posted in the past 15 years on this blog. Because, a lot of songs are just too good to be left behind. Let's kick off with a GORGEOUS sad song (hat tip to Christmas Underground):

Psych-rocking Xmas by Downdime:
These guys wrote A LOT of great Christmas songs, here's just one of 'm:
Very smart, gentle tune:
Just one of the great lofi indie songs by That Band from Holland (later known as The Non-Traditionals)
Discovered last year, this upbeat lo-fi R&B song:
We've had many glammed up Xmas tracks on this blog, this one shouldn't be forgotten:

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Through the past, merrily (1)

More to celebrate 15 Years of Christmas a Go Go blog. I scanned through the past years, and bumped on a lot of 50s and 60s tracks, MySpace-links, mp3s on YouSendit (ah, those were the days), Japanese singles and indie classics like the St. Etienne xmas songs. It was a cool trip down memory lane. I selected 15 slighty underrated songs that are still great:
Wickedly sexy country rocking:
Cambodian funk version of the Drummer boy:
Released in 2002, on the blog in the first year (2006), still a great psych pop track:
Released in 2005, and more of Christmas-y song:
Sweet shuffle by Natalie:
Cool, sophisticated pop from Ivy:
Ah, The Crookes!
Dutch indie, not beating around the bush:

Christmas Aguilera cover Fay Lovsky


The plan was this: for the 15th season of Christmas A Go Go we'd ask several artists to cover, or be inspired by, the only real Dutch Christmas pop classic: Christmas Was a Friend of Mine by Fay Lovsky (see above) from 1981. She was challenged to write a Christmas song by VPRO Radio host (and documentary maker) Bram van Splunteren. If the plan went well, we'd put the covers on Bandcamp, press it on vinyl, it would be great. But then, I had some health issues (and financial issues), and the plan was shelved (not deleted, or canceled).
So when Christmas Aguilera offered to cover any Christmas classic for a good cause (homeless people in the UK), I jumped at the opportunity.
So here it is, a REALLY REALLY great version of CWAFOM by one of the greatest Christmas music duo's out there. Enjoy!

There have been more CWAFOM covers. This ambient version for instance, focussing on the choir:
Dutch pop duo Nick & Simon with a close rendition:

From this year, by a Dutch duo, with a nod to the pandemic:
Fay herself, for a TV show:
Fay singing in French:
Very cool guitar only version:
Short teaser for a choir:
Another choir (there are more choir versions on YT)
Very close to the original version too:
Dutch rock school students & teachers:
VERY cool buskin' version:

The Lathums cancel Christmas


As if 1980s English indie rock-pop group The Housemartins reincarnated in 'Krampus', The Lathums original Christmas single, but better. Krampus is a horned BBC series creature that scares badly behaving children before Christmas, telling them Christmas is being cancelled this year. Despite of this subject, the track is exactly the festive and quirky, mid-tempo kind of anti-Christmas indie song you want to hear and singalong with. So there you go: "Your Christmas will be cancelled anyway / You might as well enjoy your time today! " Insta over there.

Czech christmas tales

David Boulter was born in the UK. At the moment he live in Praha, Czechia. He still plays keyboards in Tindersticks, a band with a modest sound. Even more quiet is the Christmas music from Boulter. You can find it on a flexi disc, inside a beautiful illustrated book, with an old Czech winter fairy tale. It's an instrumental which is almost new age music. But because of  the Christmas bells it stays down to earth. 

It's Clean Pete again

Yeah, you're right, we already posted on Clean Pete earlier this year (and others). But hey, they just leave us no other choice than do it once again. And with full pleasure that is, because there's a brand new video, shot in one of the most beautiful locations of Nijmegen; the Valkhofkapel (St. Nicholas Chapel). In this chapel, built around the year 1000 and thus the perfect setting for an interpretation of the Coventry Carol from 1600, they played a very tender live version of 'Slaap Diep, Slaap Zacht'.
Can things get more Christmassy?

Monday, December 20, 2021

More Short Notes

The 2011 song 'So Sad Santa' by UK duo The Girl with the Replaceable Head turned up again on Bandcamp. Back in the day we compared it to a Phil Spector production, and there are also traces of Kirstie MacColl. GREAT track, a classic:

Then I thought, Sad Santa, that's a great theme. There are more songs with a similar title, but none as good as this one. If Courtney Barnett or beabadoobee are your thing, do try this:
2021 song. It's pure pop playing the heart strings, and really I can't believe this isn't a cover, but it's gddmn great:
Small Signals from Rochester, NY made a seasonal EP with mostly covers (Denver, Low, Flaming Lips) and a few originals. This power pop opening track about not getting in the Christmas spirit is one heck of a kick off:
You read about this track by Wake Up & Smell the Sun over at Christmas Underground, and you probably loved this stormer just like us. If not, try again:
The KKK took my baby away, the Ramones once sang. And now, it turns out: