Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Christmas songs pop up all year round, by band you'd never expect they'd write one. Here are four fairly recent alt-rock songs about Christmas (that don't make 'm Christmas songs, if you catch my drift). She Came Home For Christmas by Danish band Mew is my favourite, a dreamy track with furiously crashing guitars in the middle. The Ocean Tango (a French/Swedish project) are dreamy as well, in a Carpenters-y style. Russian Futurists are funny Canadians, 100 Shopping Days 'til Christmas is a funny title for a song. Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel are Americana-bands, Christmas '83 appeared on a collaboration-EP.
UPDATE: (from the comments:) It's actually a Centro-Matic song... as it was originally released via Stereogum 2 years ago. South San Gabriel is actually fronted by the same guy who fronts Centro-Matic... so it's hard to call it a collaboration. Sorry to get all geeky.
Mew - She Came Home For Christmas
Ocean Tango - Christmas in July
Russian Futurists - 100 Shopping Days 'til Christmas
Centro-Matic & South San Gabriel - Christmas '83
Monday, November 29, 2010
During the winter we all need music that warms us like fireplaces. Sometimes it's an old nostalgic track by Nat King Cole and sometimes it's just something new that gives us that same feeling. A song that I really loved this year is from Sun Kil Moon: Australian Winter. But also the Cocteau Twin song Frosty The Snowman will do the trick. And there's always Low with their lovely Blue Christmas. No matter what and how you spent it, I wish you all great (white) days.
Low - Blue Christmas
Cocteau Twins - Frosty the snowman (so-so quality, if anybody has a better mp3, lemme know)
Sun Kil Moon - Australian winter
Better version of Frosty (thx Maks): Cocteau Twins - Frosty the snowman
Commenter Der Bingle rightly mentioned here that The Puppini Sisters did a great version of Elton John's Step into Christmas. Full disclosure: I did not know Elton wrote that song (nor that he wrote another Christmas-y song, here). The flipside to Step into Christmas (Who'd be a turkey at Christmas?) was probably written in 3 seconds, yet it's quite funny. Step into Christmas was covered many times, and usually pretty bad. But these rockin' versions by London skinheadband The Business and indie darlings The Wedding Present are good.
Elton John - Step into Christmas
Elton John - Who'd be a turkey at Christmas?
The Business - Step into Christmas
The Wedding Present - Step into Christmas (link = fixed)
One of the weirdest Christmas albums in my collection is Let's Go Go Christmas from 1995, featuring a bunch of Washington DC go-go-bands like Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers and Junkyard Band doing percussion-heavy versions of Christmas classics. If you think metal Christmas covers are the least seasonal, think again. Of course, Little Drummer Boy isn't omitted.
Double Agent Rock - Little Drummer Boy
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Inspired by the Oscar®-nominated film The Triplets of Belleville (a French animated movie which features a ‘40s-style harmony group), The Puppini Sisters — Marcella Puppini, Kate Mullins, and Stephanie O’Brien — formed in London. Dressed in 1940’s-style wardrobe, the three sing like The Andrews Sisters. Both Sisters made great X-mas albums.
The Puppini Sisters - Step into Christmas
The Andrews Sisters - I'd like to hitch a ride with Santa
Saturday, November 27, 2010
'On this compilation we offer you a number of lesser-known existing and exciting Christmas songs. Contemporary musicians, mostly Dutch, were asked to make modern covers of these songs (...) The result is a wonderful mix of old and new songs, wrapped in a stylish 21st century cover, proving that the perfect Christmas song is timeless'. So writes Oscar Smit, aka Grandmaster O, who lovingly compiled and curated Christmas Cover Up. We never saw a Christmas comp featuring Johnny Cash next to Japanese heroes Shonen Knife next to Belgian lounge-meister Monte La Rue. More info on tracklisting et al HERE.
Petit Papa Noel was written in 1946 for Corsican actor/singer Tino Rossi. The version by singer and actress Kaat Hellings from Antwerp is a tad more sexy than the original.
Tino Rossi - Petit Papa Noel
Kaat Hellings - Petit Papa Noel
XO Publicity is giving away a Christmas compilation featuring bands from their roster like Piney Girl, Campfire X and Paper Tongues. Unfortunately, the song featuring Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa himself) can't be heard nor downloaded. Reasons unclear, alas.
Go HERE to download the zip, or the tracks.
Hello-ho-ho, the Christmas A Go Go team (TCAGGT) welcomes y'all back for a month of unashamed musical yearning for the Christmas holidays. TGAGGT-members have a thing for the weird yet wonderful X-mas tunes. You can expect links to mp3s and videos. We're kicking off with a brilliant video by Dutch artists Joast en Eefje, re-doing Paul McCartney's We All Stand Together. A song that is not about Christmas, but got a yuletide ring to it when it was re-released at Christmastime.