Happy new year, bonne année, glückliches Neues Jahr, gelukkig nieuwjaar, from all of us @ CAGG. Thank you for your visits and comments. See you in November 2012 !
Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
By the Asylum Street Spankers, from a Holiday album I seem to have missed completely:
From merry carolers Caleb & the Caroling Caravan:
Free version fom trio Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh (of course), a version that starts with a telephone conversation (of course)
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Thanks to CAGG-fan André, here's a gorgeous version of In the Bleak Midwinter by dreampop band Lanterns on the Lake. Download from HERE
Unavailable for download, alas, is this version of Rocking Around the Christmas Tree by Swedish duo My Bubba & Me. HERE
Funky funky Christmas Mix by Ronny Hammond. Stream and/ord download via Mixcloud via HERE
Dr Rubberfunk also mixed his fave funky seasonal songs together. Go HERE
Friday, December 23, 2011
UK Girl duo Oh My! (Jade and Alex) recorded a great version of The Waitresses' disco wave-classic Christmas Wrapping. LIsten on Soundcloud. Go HERE. Or go HERE to download.
There've been several Christmas Wrapping covers this year. Like this one from Summer Camp. And this one from Dog is Dead. This one from Exohxo.
For the seventh year in a row The Blues Are Still Blue Presents:
Christmas Compilation 2011(download here)
001 Camera Obscura - The Blizzard
002 My Bubba & Mi - Pumpkin Pie
003 Summer Fiction - Christmas Eve for Two
004 The Kik - A Christmas Song For You
005 The Very Most - Wombling Merry Christmas
006 The Winston Jazz Routine - Through the snow
007 Caitlin Rose - You Never Come Home For Christmas
008 The Head And The Heart - Winter Song
009 Beta Radio - The Song the Season Brings
010 Birdy - White Winter Hymnal
011 Breathe Owl Breathe - Snow Blow
012 Chris Bathgate - Auld lang syne
013 David Bazan- Just Like Christmas (Low)
014 Marike Jager - Frosty The Snowman
015 Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler - Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing)
016 Megafaun - I Saw Three Ships
017 Renee & Jeremy - Sunny Christmas
018 Rick Fines - Country Christmas Blues
019 Rue Royale - What Next Dear One
020 She and Him - The Christmas Waltz
021 Smith & Burrows (& Agnes Obel) - The Christmas Song
If you like it, you gan still download my mix of 2010 and 2009 .
As an antidote, I listen to this great Feliciano song. Works every time... I don't care if José thinks I don't know him now.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
As you've noticed, a lot of Holiday compilations are traditions already, like mistletoe and holly. Italian blog Polaroid posted their annual Christmas comp last week, featuring regulars like the the Ian Fays (another very good entry), Le Man Avec Les Lunettes and a really sparkling, spacey track by Welcome Back Sailors, a highlight if you ask me. Go HERE to download'm all.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Local radio station KDHX in St Louis put together a varied mix of Christmas songs by local and national acts, all recorded live in the KDHX studio. Brave Combo probably is the best known band, the Funky Butt Brass Band was already featured on this blog. Really dig the Hammond-a-gogo-version of Jingle Bells by The Civil Tones, and the funny song by Lucky Old Sons. Most of the tracks are downloadable for free. Go HERE
I first heard the Christmas carols of Alfred Burt when I was a teenager. I’d stumbled across the sheet music and plunked my way through at the piano. The graceful melodies full of surprising twists and the lovely jazz voicings instantly struck a chord with me. The carols seem to surface every year around Christmastime for me and yet, oddly enough, it wasn't until this last week that, after years of calling them my faves, I actually became curious about where they came from. Who’s Alfred Burt, anyway? What I discovered was a story that provided me with some good, old-fashioned Christmas inspiration.
The Alfred Burt Carols were the result of a charming family legacy. Between 1942 and 1954, Burt wrote these fifteen carols (roughly one per year), as a Christmas card to send his loved ones. It was a tradition his father had started, and Alfred carried it on through the rest of his short life. He sadly passed at the early age of 33, but not before leaving us this well-rounded collection of utter Christmassiness! The lyrics read sacred, but for me these are outshone by the hallowing harmonies and divinely crafted melodies, which remind me that music really can be simply magical. That, in itself, is sacred, to me. And this is exactly how I want to feel this time of year: that there is such a thing as “sacred” or “magic,” available to us in the form of something as simple as music!
Well, if I’m waxing too mystical for you, let me come back to earth. In 2011, the carols speak louder than ever to me, because prior to digging up this stash of carols this year, I had actually written my own, first-ever seasonal song– a completely unrelated project… or so I thought. When I view my song in the light of these carols that have quietly influenced me each year at Christmas, I see that in my “carol” I’ve actually gone ahead and used Burt’s style of tight, parallel-moving melodies (in places in "We'll Dress The House," “Nigh Bethlehem"), a few unexpected, jazzy chord changes (found in all his carols, but I’ll point you toward my favourite, "Sleep, Baby Mine”), and lyrics that– from within clichéd imagery– reveal a broader concept that aims to bring us all together ("Some Children See Him"). Burt crept into my own wintry music!
There are other ways I feel connected to Alfred Burt’s life. For one thing, he went by “Al” and his wife's name was Anne. My mom and dad are an “Ann and Al,” so that's a nice, li’l coincidence. But moreover, his vocal arranging reminds me of my dear, late mentor Chris Dedrick. Chris’ band, The Free Design, was another “family legacy” type group, consisting primarily of Chris and his siblings. Both Alfred and Chris were jazz trumpeters who served time in big bands of military branches. Both men also clearly treasured the beauty of the human voice and stories brought to life through thoughtful vocal arranging. I like that these two great jazz composers have a bit in common, it feels cozy to me– like a good legacy to settle down into and call “home.” And that’s exactly what I intend to do, by continuing to let the arrangements of both these composers seep into my musical mind.
I’ll start by listening through the Alfred Burt Carols for the 20th time this week!
Sleep, Baby Mine
Some Children See Him
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Of course you check the greatest Christmas blog out there, Stubby's, as religiously as we do every day. But in case you don't, here's a round up of a few fantastic (FREE) songs you just can't afford to miss.
Norwegian producer Torkelson sprinkled his electronic magic all over Judy Garland's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and then it sounded like this
UK Rapper Wiley never got the same attention as fellow grime-star Dizzee Rascal, but the latter never recorded a grand xmas song. Go here to check and download Cheer Up, It's Christmas
And finally, former Slits-guitarist Viv Albertine (pictured above) released a Christmas single that's just that. LOUD! Go HERE.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Dutch jazz-pranksters Tin Men & the Telephone renamed themselves Tin Men & the Telephohohone for the season, 'cause they made a Christmas-album. But not as we know it. If you make tracks like these, you know that their version of classics like Jingle Bells and All I Want for Christmas sound, well, different.
But make no mistake, these guys are really, really good musicians. They invited singer Paul van Kessel (plus a very agitated route planning device) for their take on Chris Rea's immortal 'Driving home for Christmas'.
Tin Men & the Telephone - Driving Home for Christmas
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Hiding under boxes of faded Christmas balls your mom keeps with the Christmas crafts you made back in grade school, Schnauzer Radio Orchestra pulled out an orange and brown Bakelite version of Winter Wonderland, complete with a SuperNES, a Stylophone, a Wurlitzer and an all girls 60s choir. What more could any mortal want for Christmas, besides a dry Martini and a big fireplace, I ask you.
In the words of keyboard player and all around Dutch cheese master Rob Geboers, "Do with this track as you please. Blog about it, remix it, give it away to your worst enemies, or just do a little nerdy dance to it."
Schnauzer Radio Orchestra - Winter Wonderland
Monday, December 12, 2011
I just looked back at some Christmas postings from 2006 and 2007 on Check The Cool Wax. I was surprised to find a lot of links to downloads still working. Click on the album cover above if you want to recapture a little of that childhood Christmas feeling. Get them while the links still work!
Not on Bandcamp, but still free:
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Logister is - in his own words - a master of the pop song, from soulful ballads to country-style bouncersto out-and-out rockers. His song writing is clearly influenced by people like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Joe Jackson and Chuck Berry. Now he comes up with a brand new single ‘Into white’. A nice seasonal track, but without the obligatory jingle bells and without mentioning the word 'christmas'.
'Into White' is available from iTunes and Bandcamp and will appear on Spotify shortly.
The GED-label is a purveyor of fine soulful tunes, their seasonal comp features heroes like DeRobert & the Half-Truths. Check:
Grillade. Never heard of before, but their Just a Sad Christmas song is D E E P.
And finally, 'name your price' for this in fact nostalgic soulful Christmas song by, yes, The Nostalgics (no, not a cover of the Long Blondes track with the same title)
You rather hear something snotty and loud? Go here.
No, not chosen by the CAGG-crew, but Florian Duijsens of Askmen.com. See here (and agree!). Via Twitter, Florian reminded me of a 'non shitty Christmas tune' that wasn't featured here yet. But should. See here. Or even better, go to Stubby's to find the FREE downloadlink.
By the way, when it comes to dubstep and Christmas, we think GLC said it best.
Friday, December 09, 2011
Here's how this works: Gijs posts a track from a Feist Inspired Playlist I made with Arja (see below). That reminded me of Ron Sexsmith, who wrote a song that Feist covered. Then I see this free Christmas album by Exohxo on Stubby's. That features a cover of Ron's Christmas track. So I wondered - are there more covers of Maybe This Christmas? Is Ron's song a Christmas classic yet? Well, he's getting there, I think. Covers from artists from all over the world, even a Swedish translation. It was used in tv-series, there are various covers on Youtube. Are there more? Let me know! (I know there's a duet Ron did with Canadian tv-personality John McDermott, that's just bad)
Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas
Exhoxo - Maybe This Christmas
Nils Landgren - Maybe This Christmas
Sarah Dawn Finer - Maybe This Christmas
Leigh Nash - Maybe This Christmas
Randi T Egeland - Maybe This Christmas
Michelle Schmitt - Maybe This Chirstmas
Terry McDade & the McDades - Maybe This Christmas
Katie Noonan - Maybe This Christmas
Mats Rondin, Charlotte Perrelli, Malmo Symphony Orchestra & Lunds Studentsangare - Kanner din varme
Kerry Getz - Maybe This Christmas
Thursday, December 08, 2011
If soulful or downright funky Christmas tunes are your thing (and they sure are mine), go to the wonderful Any Major Dude blog, to download a fresh, and various old compilations of the greatest x-mas songs ever recorded.
Go HERE if you like the boom-bap a little more. Including a rapping KITT car.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Every month, Dutch music platform 3voor12 puts online a compilation of new Dutch artists, in various genres. This month, they asked bands and singers to send in Christmas track. Thirty-one did so. You can stream the comps via the Luisterpaal (CD1, CD2). Dutch hiphop, Dutch Americana, Dutch rock, Dutch electronica... it's all there (even Chris Rea is!) and most of it is pretty effing great. A few tracks are downloadable, like G.T. Thomas' Winter Birds, iET's Christmas Day, Jörgen Ben Jamin's Days of Christmas and That Band From Holland of course. THIS JUST IN: the gorgeous, Fleet Fox-y song It's Santa! by No Ninja Am I is also downloadable. Here.
Go see the video for Bertolfs English Roses (not a Christmas track, more a seasonal song) HERE
One of the best alt.Americana-bands out there just released an iTunes Christmas session EP. With beautiful, irony-free countryfied (lots and lots of steelguitar) Christmas songs to warm your soul by. Stunning stuff.
My Morning Jacket - When the Bells Start Ringing (feat. The Head and the Heart)
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Jamie Cullum & Eliza Doolittle - Baby It's Cold Outside
If Karen Carpenter had fronted Stereolab, it could've sounded like the songs of G.T. Thomas. This U.S.-born, Amsterdam-dwelling songwriter/arranger/producer released a very delicate, nifty album (go HERE), and wrote and recorded in a few weeks this lovely seasonal track. Enjoy.
Go HERE to download (free, or name your price)
Friday, December 02, 2011
Darren Hayman is an indie singer-songwriter who made a Christmas record (10 inch vinyl, the coolest of formats) with original songs. To promote that, he made a website on which free (!) Christmas songs are posted, by Hayman and his friends. Go HERE.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
You start throwing around some ideas for songs, and before you know it you end up with a Christmas album. It happened to Tom Smith (from Editors) and Andy Burrows (ex-Razorlight), Funny Looking Angels is one of the bestest seasonal releases of this year. A few covers, several smart originals. Dramatic, moody (single When the Thames Froze starts off with the word 'Goddamn'), but balanced. Short but sweet is the duet with angelic Agnes Obel.
Smith & Burrows & Obel - The Christmas Song
The one compilation I was dying to hear, fell on my doormat today. And as it goes with things you want real bad, it's a bit of a letdown. The guys behind the Tramp-reissuelabel compiled a bunch of funky, soulful and hard to find Christmas songs from the 60s (bar two) by no-names like Detroit Junior and Rose Graham. Now, I love vinyl, I really dig the cracks and pops of an old black plate. But when you put vinyl to cd, you can do a better job then the Tramp-guys did for this comp. The sound is distorted, wobbles and is unbalanced. Could be that the source-records sound exactly like that, but I have a version of Gary Walker's Santa's Got a Brand New Bag (from a blog) that sounds waaay better then the one on the Tramp compilation. Be advised!
That said, there isn't a bad track on SS&FCP. The season never sounded so soulful
Lee Rogers - You won't have to wait till Xmas
We Three Keanes = record producer John Keane and his 17-year old twin daughters. They recorded a bunch of Christmas classics (ranging from O Come Emmanuel to Jingle Bell Rock). From the press-release: 'For years, the Keanes have made annual Christmas recordings for the entertainment of family and friends. This family tradition has evolved into O Christmas, Where Art Thou? a fully produced collection of nine traditional holiday songs rendered in a sparse, folksy style, with mostly acoustic instruments and tight three-part harmonies.' The cd is for sale via John's website.
Though a tad traditional for most Christmas-a-gogo ears, this version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings, with some nice steelguitar, is a good one.
We Three Keanes - God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman/We Three Kings
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Coldcut - Coldcuts Christmas Break
Yes, I know the intro text of this blog assured you we'd stay clear of Band Aid, but although the chords and the words are the same, this is not so much a cover as it is a protest. In the words of Fucked Up's singer Damian:
There's a kind of cavalier colonialism to the original, like the West has to go in and help this poor Third World country. But the charities that we're trying to help are exactly a product of this colonial history. People who have been subjugated and oppressed for so many years are going missing. So there's an irony to using the song. The lyrics are tasteless enough as it is.One way or the other, this is an interesting rendition. Not only do we hear the gritty but brilliantly layered post-punk we already knew Fucked Up could deliver so well, as a bonus we also get to enjoy crowd pleasers Andrew W.K., Bob Mould, David Cross, Ezra Koenig, GZA, Kevin Drew, Kyp Malone, Tegan and Sara and Yo La Tengo.
Want the mp3? Download via Mediafire HERE
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Crawl up with me on this bear rug baby. I'll poke up the fire. Ohhh, you look soooo good in your new red see-through teddy, red stockings and garters. Sip some of that wine, while I put on some music. Silky smooth, of course, just like your legs, hehehe. Teddy Pendergrass, of course. Teddy never lets me down. This is from his 1998 Christmas album. It always makes me a little sad when I hear him sing. I need to be comforted baby. Real hard. Hehehe.
Teddy Pendergrass - I won't have Christmas
Monday, November 28, 2011
Urbanus - Bakske vol met stro
Very pretty coverversion:
Nathalie Delcroix - Bakske vol met stro
Sunday, November 27, 2011
The excellent Stubby already wrote about this BRILLIANT take on one of the sexiest Christmas songs ever written. With great hair. But I had to post about it too. First off, the video is great. So's the hair. The lyrics are wonderful: 'Santa Brother, slip a Gucci suit 'neath the tree, for me, so I can get all the girls". And did I mention the hairdo?
More Follette on Soundcloud
James Follette - Santa Brother
Remember Vanessa? From A Thousand Miles, and that Counting Crows-duet? Well, she recorded a Christmas-EP. More like a Holiday or Seasonal EP, 'cause it features an acoustic version of A Thousand Miles, a rerun of Hear the Bells (a song that came out earlier this year) and a rendition of two Christmas-y tracks: John Lennon's Happy X-Mas and Do You Hear What I Hear. That latter version is the best, I think.
Vanessa Carlton - Do You Hear What I Hear
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Of course, the greatest black Santa of all time is James Brown, who made several terrific funky Christmas songs (compiled on this great album). This morning, I was randomly searching on 'Black Santa' and a few great songs turned up. The slow, deep and hard track by Melvins, for instance. An even louder track by The Red Chord. An instrumental by Kid Congo Powers, some hiphop tracks, some comedy. And this 2009 released, high-octane rock'n roll song by King Salami & the Cumberland 3. Who called their single (featuring a cover of Bob Seger's Sock it to me Santa) X-Mas a Go Go. So there.
King Salami & The Cumberland 3 - Black Santa