Happy 2015! From the CaGG Team: thanks for visiting this blog, commenting on our posts, making songs, trading mixes, enjoying the weird and wonderful world of Christmas songs. Hope to see you back in November. Until then:
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
For the tenth year in a row The Blues Are Still Blue Presents:
The 2014 Christmas Compilation (download here)
02 Allo Darlin - Only Dust Behind
03 Naive Thieves - Holiday In The Sand
04 The Avett Brothers - Winter In My Heart
05 Cat Power - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
06 The Explorers Club - Christmas Must Be Tonight
07 Chris Farren - I'm Not Ready For Christmas (Ft. Mae Whitman)
08 Mr. Little Jeans - Dear Santa
09 Gabrielle Aplin & Hudson Taylor - Just Like Christmas
10 Good Lovelies - Under The Tree
11 Belle and Sebastian - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
12 Duover - Ms. Claus Lament
13 Jens Lekman - I Don’t Know What To Do With This Information
14 Kashka - In The Snow
15 Kate Miller - White Winter Hymnal
16 Pondertone & the Blue Grass Boogiemen - Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas
17 The Rosebuds - When It's Cold
18 The Liminanas - Christmas
Monday, December 22, 2014
This is a cover song of a SNL oldie with Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, Christ Kattan and Horatio Sanz.
Twas The Night Before Christmas :: Art Carney
Santa's Supersonic Flying Rocket Sled :: The Hollyberries
Must Be Santa :: The Sweetback Sisters
Is Santa Claus Real? :: The Ray Gelato Giants & The Fielding Primary School Choir
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town :: The Jackson 5
Kadoka, South Dakota :: The Living Sisters
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! :: Dean Martin
Christmasville USA :: Chaise Lounge
White Christmas :: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
What Christmas Means To Me :: Stevie Wonder
Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) :: Elvis Presley
Merry Christmas, Baby :: The Beach Boys
Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer :: The Ventures
Tomorrow Is Christmas Day :: Buck Owens & Susan Raye
Mr. And Mrs. Santa Claus :: George Jones & Tammy Wynette
Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas :: Eels
Super Sunny Christmas :: Redd Kross
Winter Wonderland :: Sleeper Agent
Wake Up! It's Christmas! :: Scarlett & Disher
Tiny Tree Christmas :: Guster
The Happiest Christmas Tree :: Nat King Cole
Sleigh Ride :: Andy Williams
(It's A) Happy Holiday :: The Shells
Seasons Greetings :: Robbers on High Street
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Beard & Glasses are actually releasing a new album tomorrow. You can follow the band on their Facebook page.
Friday, December 19, 2014
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.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
“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’.”
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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
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
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Read an extended interview with Ryan Pollie/LAPD HERE
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...
Monday, December 15, 2014
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.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Official release tomorrow. From the bio:
'Produced by Tony Visconti, the single has been given all the Xmas trimmings, sleigh bells and a boys-choir against an atmospheric background with a rich, definitive vocal from Julian.
Fitting the British pop music tradition of Xmas songs with a social commentary, ‘Sleep For England’ presents a narrative that transcends age, race and class, inspired by the classic alternative Xmas songs such as; Jona Lewi’s ’Stop the Cavalry’, ‘2000 Miles’ by the Pretenders, Father Christmas by the Kinks and Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon, to name but a few.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
With a new song by Slow Club (beautiful) and lots of soft sighing girls (!). Alas, Daisy Digital didn't put up any tracks to stream and/or download seperately. But some songs were released earlier, like these two covers:
Proceeds of the comp go to Coppafeel.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Everybody needs a bit of anarchist Walloon Christmas music in their lives, right? The band René Binamé gives us some nice crunchy guitar to bite into in a song entitled ‘Le Père Noël est un Bordure’, referring to the made up European nation of Bordurie from the Tintin books. They call it a ‘Syldavian folk song’, referring to the made up European nation of Syldavie that fights with Bordurie, presumably modelled on Eastern Europe, giving the song some boiled cabbage infused punk cred. And if that wasn’t clever enough, the song is also a play on words of the cult Christmas French film ‘Le Père Noël est une ordure’ ('Santa Claus is a bastard’), which I highly recommend.René Binamé - Le Père Noël est un Bordure
Ever worse, these porn stars coming all over the spirit of Christmas:
But this is probably the sh*tt*est version of a Christmas classic ever, by the cast of MTV 'reality'-show Geordie Shore (the UK version of Jersey Shore)
This year a new Christmas mix: pop artists (using the term broadly) doing traditional Christmas carols. There’s not much by way of irony going on here, though the levels of sincere religious sentiment obviously vary. I suppose the Staple Singers, who were primarily a gospel act, are more sincere than the Crash Test Dummies, whose vocals might startle grandmother a little. Many of the artists, of course, give the carols some interpretation that relate to their genre. I have avoided the insufferable wispy songbirds who breathe through their sensitive versions of Silent Night. What songbirds are featured here do not breathe their carols, and Silent Night is covered by The Temptations, who are not wispy at all. As far as interpretative chops go, I particularly love The Gaylads’ delightful soul version of We Three Kings from 1970. One might be pedantic and question whether Go Tell It On The Mountain is really a Christmas carol, in the traditional sense of the word. It is really a spiritual, but I see no reason why these should not also form part of the canon of carols. So should Mary’s Boy Child, written in the 1950s, What Child Is This, from 1962, and arguably even When A Child Is Born, from the 1970s. If it refers to the religious element of the feast of the Nativity, then it’s a Christmas carol. If it doesn’t, then it isn’t. But where would that rule leave the traditional English carol from 1850, Here We Come A-Wassailing, which makes no reference to the birth of Christ? As always, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-baked covers. Password in comments. Feel free to add to the comments! Next Thursday: a Christmas pop mix.LINK!
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
thanks Elves Bells
More poppy sounds, this is a just released Christmas original by Swear & Shake, a Nashville based indie-folk band. Cool tune.
Monday, December 08, 2014
Raw Rock Militia compiles festive albums for 5 years now. Opening track on the latest edition (25 tracks!) is a cool cover of 'Christmas Day' by Johnnyswim, a song that's among the bestest of Christmas song released in 2014.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
Need to blow off some steam after your uptight French family has taken all the traditional jabs at your job, fashion sense and choice of friends at the table again? Crank up this Tino Rossi cover loud enough to drown out their pretentious bullshit, tell them “JE VOUS EMMERDE !”, grab a turkey drumstick for a mike and get your Doc Martens and kilt-clad self on the Christmas dinner table and channel your inner punker, BORDEL!
Les Pink Lady from La Daguenière, France are a bunch of fun-loving male punkers that dress all in pink to match their skirts and their gear. Their Christmas album ‘Les Pink Lady chantent Noël’ could very well be that perfect stocking or mouth stuffer for your entire chauvinistic snail and garlic eating clan.
Spicy: Les Pink Lady - Petit papa noel
Original: Tino Rossi - Petit papa noel
Christmas a Go Go is more into the kooky, leftfield and hard funkin' Christmas tunes. But there are always exceptions. Chris West, half of folksy country duo The Western Den, send us links to two of the EPs he made together with Deni Hlavinka. One of those EPs contains carols, and one of the songs that grabbed my attention was a version of 'Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella'. A French carol, dating back to the 17th century, that's usually sung by traditional choirs or classical singers. Every now and then it pops up on seasonal albums by pop/rock singers, like Heart, Sufjan Stevens, Smokey Robinson and The Lower Lights.
I really dig this version by The Western Dens. Chris writes:
Last year, we released our Midwinter EP, a collection of some of our favorite carols, and managed to raise over $1000 for the Typhoon Haiyan relief in the Philippines. This year, we're donating all proceeds made this month from our Midwinter EP and our Battle Hymns EP, directly to No Kid Hungry - an organization committed to ending child hunger in America.
Female duo Clean Pete teamed up with singer Niek of the brilliant garage soul band Afterpartees for a duet that's reminiscent of the great Pogues/Kirsty MacColl team up. Scroll down for more!
UPDATE: Afterpartees also recorded a Christmas tune!
Earlier Excelsior-released Christmas music was by The Kik, Tangarine and this cool compilation.
Saturday, December 06, 2014
From the inbox:
We are students at Berklee College of Music and we have an indie folk rendition of the traditional “White Christmas”. We want to get everyone in the holiday spirit and we think that “Christmas A Go Go” is the perfect place to do that! It would be an honor if you would listen to our song and possibly write about it in your blog, helping us spread the Christmas cheer!
Friday, December 05, 2014
Website Deadspin isolated her vocals for all to hear how bad her pipes are doing: HERE.
In 2013, Chris Klimek wrote this article on Slate.com asking: why aren't there any new Christmas classics since 'All I Want for Christmas is You'? Hold your horses, he's not asking why there aren't any new Christmas songs written, he wonders why none of the newer tracks (from 1990 until now) have grown to canon status.
If you, like me, check out new Christmas music every year feverishly, you'll find that covers of 'All I Want for Christmas' and Wham's 'Last Christmas' are on almost every new, 'alternative' Christmas music compilation. To be honest, I don't need another version. I've made a Spotify-list with a little over 70 versions of Last Christmas (HERE), and trust me, if you've listened to all of them, YOU don't want another version too. I'm waiting for someone else to compile versions of 'All I Want for Christmas' to prove my point. UPDATE: How 'bout this guy, eh?
I should make clear that I don't hate 'AIWfC' or 'Last Christmas', I think they're wonderful Christmas pop songs, I just do not need to hear your acoustic, metal or reggae-fied version of it. Because somebody else already made such a version. Together with 20 other bands.
So how 'bout suggesting a few songs that have the potential to be canonized to 'AIWfC'-status? That can be covered, versioned, mashed-up, etc for the next few years? Songs with bells on (literally), songs written in the last 20 years, that has been covered a few times already, by various artists? I think these three have canonizing potential:
1. Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas (2002)
Good Christmas songs, in my book, have bells, mention Christmas and have a sense of saudade, that Portuguese word for 'a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves'. Maybe This Christmas has that. It was covered by Tracey Thorn (of Everything But the Girl), by jazz hero Nils Landgren, by Rumer, by The Parkington Sisters (here), by a big band and several singer-songwriters. I can imagine a screamo-version. You can electrofy it easily.
2. Low - Just Like Christmas (1999)
This sounds like a Shangri-La's song, which is always a good sign. When it comes to good Christmas songs, the words 'Phil' and 'Spector' loom around the corner - because of his 'A Christmas Gift for You' album from 1963, arguably the best Christmas pop album ever released. Very economic lyrics, but they catch both the Christmas spirit and the saudade mentioned earlier very well.
3. Mary Margaret O'Hara - Christmas Evermore (1996)
OK, I know this is a stretch. Mary Margaret isn't a household name and although this song is on several compilations, where it rubs elbows with the big crooners, it's a hidden diamond. I heard about it first when it was covered by Cold Specks. The original nor the cover version are on YouTube, that saying a lot. So you have to go to THIS Spotify playlist to hear it, and other versions mentioned.
So, whaddya think? Did I miss a track that has better credentials? Love to hear from you. Love to hear your version!