Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy 15!



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:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! With Tim's 2014 Holiday Tantrum

Tim Sewell makes insane Christmas compilation CD's every year, and this time he made the first online version! Super obscure Christmas bangers that will blow your festive mind. Head over to Tim's Holiday Tantrums to check it out.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Vim Cortez - Christmas Is For Lovers (Too)

French electro-rock and soul act Vim Cortez had a bit of fun recording this tongue-in-cheek Christmas song over the weekend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Blues Are Still Blue Christmas Compilation 2014



For the tenth year in a row The Blues Are Still Blue Presents:
The 2014 Christmas Compilation (download here)

01 Ron Sexsmith - Heard The Bells On Christmay Day
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

ADVENTUROUS & DIFFERENT XMAS MUSIC

 Do you like adventurous X-mas music? Check out this blog on the site of the magazine Gonzo (Circus). It's in Dutch, but the great mixcloud  has people like Tom Dyer, Gary Lucas, Au Revoir Simone, Hannah Peel or Belle & Sebastian on it.  A different kind of Christmas feeling!



Merry Christmas, Baby Yeezus

This is supercrazy: A group called Local Business Comedy re-recorded Yeezus with a Kanye West impersonator, and christmasified all the lyrics. 'I Am A God' is transformed into 'I Am A Klaus',  'Bound 2' became 'Wrapped 2', etc. Listen to Kreezus.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Julian Casablancas does SNL

Through the years this one has worked its way up in my personal top 5: The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas with his Ramones-esque rendition of 'I Wish It Was Christmas Today'. Casablancas tries to keep it cool as usual, but slowly transforms into the maniac singer the punk beat demands him to be as the song progresses.

This is a cover song of a SNL oldie with Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, Christ Kattan and Horatio Sanz.

All I want for Christmas....

Check The Cool Wax Christmas Mix 2014

Better late than never right? Here is the 2014 mix everyone. One hour of Christmas fun. Express yourself through dance this Christmas Eve in front of your relatives. I hope you enjoy. I'll post the playlist shortly. You can download through Soundcloud or get it directly here.

Track list:
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

Greetings from Moscow

Most Russians don't celebrate Christmas until January 7th, but this trio from Moscow are right on time for those who decorate their tannenbaums in December. In fact, they were so early we almost missed this one: the melancholic 'Just Another Year' was released in February 2014.

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.

JINGLE BELL ROCKS!

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'S HERE!
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.

(LINK)

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

THE NEW ANNUAL KILLERS CHRISTMAS SONG

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)

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...

Monday, December 15, 2014

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.

Computer Perfection

Saw this at Christmas Underground and had to share it: superfunky workout by Computer Perfection that starts with Little Drummer Boy (by Marvin?) and then breaks into a Beck-circa-Midnite Vultures-like popfunk jam. Cool beans!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vulfpeck

The soundtrack to Christmas in Los Angeles, mid-70s, cruising down the highway in your convertible. That's how this heavy Fender Rhodes instrumental sounds to me:

Emmer & Lennon

When your last name is Lennon, you're almost obliged to sing at least one Christmas song, no? Producer/songwriter Stephen Emmer (find out with whom Stephen worked HERE) (you'll be surprised!) asked Julian Lennon to sing a seasonal song called 'Sleep for England'. It is a rework of the same song from Emmer's International Blue album.
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.

Die Hard Christmas

Here's a new theme, a Die Hard (the movie)-themed Christmas song. Marian Call, who says she's inspired by Regina Spektor and They Might Be Giants, recorded it for her seasonal album.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dent May

You probably ran into this popular (and new) Christmas original by Mississippi psych-popper Dent May. If not, you should really hear it. 'tIs the season to get high, 'n all.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Mr Little Jeans

Monica Birkenes, aka Mr Little Jeans is a Norwegian chanteuse who nicked her name from a Wes Anderson movie (Rushmore), the Guardian called her an “über-Kylie [Minogue] who writes her own material, has a hand in its production and can boast a clutch of songs better than anything Minogue has done in years." This Christmas song isn't anything like a Kylie song, it's more in the vein of Lily Allen produced by Phil Spector. Very, very good song. UPDATE: this track was released in 2013, but got a re-release this year (thx @christmasunderground)

Fuck You, It's Christmas

You can't go wrong with a song title like this, can you? Fun lyrics.

The Mockers

The Mockers are a power pop band from Norfolk, VA, who made this 60s-tinged Christmas track. Cool title too.

Ronny Hammond's Christmas Mix Volume 10

It's here! The 10th Christmas Mix by Ronny Hammond! And it's G R E A T!

XXX-MasS Vol.10 (2014) ''FuNKy oR NicE'' .. (Xmas Mixtape) by Santa Mothafunkin Claus (Xmas) on Mixcloud

Daisy Digital's It's Coming On Christmas

It's here, the bestest Christmas compilation of the year!


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

Belgian anarchistic punk features death, Tintin and Santa

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

Tangarine

Dutch duo Tangarine recorded a new Christmas song. Liked the previous one a little better. But this ain't bad:



Christopher Lee and other atrocities

How I wish I was in the studio when this monstrosity was recorded:



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)

Christmas Mixes

Almost every year we post links to the Christmas mix (or mixes) from the Any Major Dude With Half a Heart blog (link). Here's a brand spankin' new one:



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

Noel Interdit

Post-Nico Velvet Underground with Debbie Harry on vocals. Apt way to describe American band DCTV (pronounced as 'Detective')? Try for yourself, this is their cover of Johnny Hallyday's Noel Interdit, which sounds 'nothing like the original' (check that original out HERE), but sure is good!

Echosmith, Swear and Shake

I am such a sucker for soft sighing girls with loud guitars. Echosmith (all members are family) is an American band that scored a hit with Cool Kids. They brings back memories of Belly, Juliana Hatfield, Veruca Salt.... In 2013 they made nice poppy version of this Bing Crosby Christmas song:



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

Judith Owen & Harry Shearer

Singer-songwriter Judith Owen and Harry Shearer (Yes! Derek Smalls!) recorded this jazzy Christmas tune (a version of the Spinal Tap original) for a mental health non profit organisation.

We wish you a Merry Krishna

We did promise you to post weird Christmas songs, right (see our header). So how 'bout an EP with Hare Krishna Christmas songs?

The Hard Ground



Folksy Irish band The Hard Ground re-recorded this gorgeous track for Christmas 2014, all proceeds to go to The Irish Cancer Society.

Young War

VERY good song, by Young War, 'a Manchester based R&B/Soul singer, songwriter and guitarist'. To me, he sounds like Bright Eyes after a healthy dose of Frankie Miller. Free download!

Raise your hands for the Christmas Disco

Bound to cheer up any Christmas Office Party, this new xmas boogie jam by Lola Dutronic:

Funky Xmas Mix

Want to funk up your Christmas dinner? Try this mix:

Loop Line, RRM

'A dreamy, trippy song, influenced by Tchiakovski and Pet Sounds'. Say no more! Loop Line's at it again. In 2012 we posted a track from their Christmas EP, this is the first track from a new seasonal record. On the watchlist!



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

Blow your French punk cover



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

Paul James Band

Love that ol' time rock 'n roll? You might enjoy this ditty by mr Paul James and his band. PJ is/was a sideman for Willy DeVille, Bob Dylan and Bo Diddley, and got several Canadian music awards. This track is from 2011, but could've easily been from the mid-70s.

The Western Den

We rarely post (covers of) old Christmas carols. Not that we don't like 'm, in fact, I have a deep love for 'God rest ye merry gentleman', I even compiled a Spotify playlist of 100 versions.
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.


Tom Waits

Today, December 7, we celebrate the birthday of Tom Waits. He is, of course, writer of that great non-seasonal Christmas song 'Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis'. Hat tip, Mr Waits!

Clean Pete + Afterpartees

Holland Rocks! First, we had the scoop of ms Stevie Ann's Christmas EP. Now Dutch record label Excelsior, a company that releases a quality Christmas tune for a few years now, throws out two grand Christmas tunes.
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!



Video:


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

White Christmas, indie-folk style



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

Hannah Peel, Nancy Wallace

We've posted about the two Snowflakes Christmas Singles before. And we're posting again because A) There's a video for the Hannah Peel song; and B) You can now check out Nancy Wallace's song on Soundcloud. So there.



James Apollo

This is nice: blue eyed soul rocker James Apollo wrote a musical Christmas card, and Trim Another Tree is a very cool song:



There's also a video:

Deer Tick

From the wonderful Converse: Noise to the World 2 sampler, alt rock band Deer Tick transforms Janis Ian's 'At Seventeen' into a bratty, suburban Christmas rocker. Cool beans! More tracks on this sampler (Dum Dum Girls!) coming up!

New Christmas Classics (1)

Did you see Mariah Carey disgracing her Christmas classic, earlier this week?



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. Hasn't been covered that much Was covered a whole lot more than I thought, even translated to Swedish and French. See HERE

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!