Thursday, December 02, 2021

Saint Etienne

The indie pop dance band Saint Etienne from London (not France), are huge Christmas fans and thought it was about time to come up with a Christmas EP, called 'Her Winter Coat'.
The EP consists of four songs of which the title track is also the single. Take a look at the stunningly beautiful video of Her Winter Coat down here and be blessed with the heavenly silk voice of singer Sarah Cracknell in this spiritual, dreamy track.
The video is shot by Alasdair McLellan who also directed the movie that accompanied their latest album 'I’ve Been Trying to Tell You'.

Check their complete EP 'Her Winter Coat' on Spotify here. Insta over there.

Rick Buur (4)

Yes, our favourite Dutch desafinado singer-songwriter's at it again. His fourth Xmas track for this blog, a rework of a Richard Shindell song (HERE). Not a Christmas song as such, but (to Rick) it is in spirit. He writes: 'Catharsis, spiritual release, silvery choirs, a nun changing a tyre...what's NOT Xmas about that?!'
The song's about a traffic jam gone haywire, along Route 80. If you follow the directions given in the song, you'll pass Paterson ('home of Hurricane Carter') and the mountains Minsi and Temany ('the Scylla and Charybdis of Pennsylvania') and end up all wet.
Rick's song is equally geographically correct; you WILL end up in the Nauernasche Vaart!

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Kody Havoc



We fuckin'LOVE profane Christmas songs. Posted a long list earlier, here's a Spotify playlist. Could've posted the title track to the new Sabretooth Unicorn yesterday, too. And now here's Kody Havoc's 2020 single (now on Bandcamp with extra covers). If you hate Christmas, he got your theme tune:

I hope we'll be ok/This Christmas in LA


Matt Dorrien, the man with the voice that makes mountains crumble and curl up on a blankie. He treated us earlier to this seasonal song. And now, this:
I wrote and recorded this song less than a month ago upon moving to Los Angeles from Portland, OR, my home of the last eight years. My wife and I decided to relocate after discovering that my father, who lives with my mother just outside of LA, had been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. It’s a song of comfort and hope during some pretty uncertain times. I hope it brings some semblance of peace to those feeling similarly lost and burdened by uncertainty as we approach the second holiday of this pandemic.

Phoebe Bridgers covers Tom Waits for Christmas

We already had a few posts on Phoebe Bridgers at CAGG the past few years, see here.
Phoebe's contribution to this years Christmas isn't really meant as a Christmas song in itself. Originally it's an anti-war political protest song, released by Tom waits in 2004 on his album Real Gone. Phoebe covered it and "All the proceeds of this cover will go to The International Institute Of Los Angeles, who provide aid to immigrants, refugees, and survivors of human trafficking".
So reason enough to lend this superb track a spot on CAGG this year I think.

Please Come Home For Christmas

'Please Come Home For Christmas'  is a song released in 1960, written and sung bij Charles Brown. It came out on King Records, the same label as James Brown was on at that time. It's a great R&B song with soul and doowop influences.
It is covered by a lot of artists like Eagles or Bon Jovi. In 2020 there even was a shoegaze version from Stars On Fire. This year American singer Elle King comes up with a nice version, although it lacks the warmth and soul of the original.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Sabertooth Unicorn


Ah, the Sabertooth Unicorn lads! Punkrockers with a sweet tooth for blues, country, ska even. You remember their fabeltastic EP from last year. And now, 8 new songs, a profane title, and one HELL of a great ballad. With a weepy saxophone. Gettin' all emo on us. Sigh.

Cat In The Christmas Tree

 It's such a nice idea that the closer you come to Christmas the more the 'usual suspects' herald themselves with their new Christmas music. Enter the Rotterdam based The Non Traditionals with their Bandcamp EP  'I Don't Carol'. They are  funny bunch and every year since 2009 they surprise us with very original Christmas tunes. Read here what we wrote about them last year. Their 2021 songs are great new semi acoustic pop songs with 'Cat In The Christmastree' as inexorable hightlight. Cat owners will immediatly recognise themselves in the song, with some nice Dutch accordeon sounds.


Sinterklaas versus Santa Claus

I am sure you are aware of the Dutch character Sinterklaas. In the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium he is quite known as a big childrens friend. The, short, story is, that every year he arrives in november out of Spain with his big steamer full of presents for everybody. On the eve of his birthday (december 5) he walks with his white horse and his assistant on the roofs and puts all the presents in the chimeys. December 6 he leaves unnoticed back for Spain. The Sinterklaas (or Sint Nikolaas) celebration is a very old tradition in our countries. Dutch painter Jan Steen painted a lovely Sinterklaas scene in the 17th century. Nowadays still a lot af families do the celebration on december 5, called Pakjesavond (eve of the parcels).
The figure of Santa Claus is for a big part based on Sinterklaas. When the Dutch settlers arrived in America in the 17th century they took with them the tradition of Sinterklaas. Later the name Sinterklaas was anglicized into Santa Claus.There are a lot of Sinterklaas songs, bassicly all old nursery rhymes. Hardly any new songs are being made. So we thank The Mieters and Fulco for their new and very original Sinterklaas songs. 
Fulco sings about Sinterklaas knowing everything about him: so he must be a computer. The Mieters are a beat band from Zaandam, north of Amsterdam. They sing about Sinterklaas and his assistent Piet (Pete). They are afraid they will be forgotten and get no presents. The Mieters also like Christmas and made a couple of nice uptempo Christmas songs. We wrote about them last year, read here. 






Monday, November 29, 2021

Blackbird, Tim Dawn

Get ready for yet another new Christmas single from da lowlands: Christmas Getaway from Dutch singer Blackbird. Although she considers herself as a Christmas fanatic, this is her very first original Christmas tune.
It's about "spending time with your chosen family during the holidays, away from life's everyday routine" and it's "an ode to your best friend".
A cheerful, friendly and poppy xmas tune.
Insta over there.



Fellow Dutch artist Tim Dawn re-wrote an old song of his (Another Time) into a Christmas song, Christmas Time. In this song, he apologizes for not being around his wife all year, but this Christmas, he's gonna make it up to her (well, won't we all?).

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Christmas TV



On this blog we explore the newest Christmas songs, but we also dive in alternative Christmas pop history. Earlier on, we posted versions of alt xmas pop classics like Ron Sexsmith's Maybe This Christmas (HERE), Paul Kelly's Who's Gonna Make the Gravy (HERE), Low's Just Like Christmas (HERE) and RUN DMC's Christmas in Hollis (HERE).
Now, we take a look at 2008's Christmas TV by Sheffield duo Slow Club. It was a Christmas single, and appeared a year later on their seasonal EP Christmas, Thanks for Nothing. The song is a desperate cry for love, a broken heart wanting to set back time:
I like the way that our arguments stop when we fall asleep
And the way that your body feels when it's wrapped around me
And I'd like it if you made it to mine by Christmas Eve
So you can hold me
And we'll watch Christmas TV


Most versions stick to the sad, gentle original by Rebecca and Charles:

Here's a selection of cover versions, there are FAR more. Did I miss a really good one? Holler!














Really dig this version:




Don't be fooled by the credits, this is a cover by duo Filthy Rich Dirty Poor:


Acoustic Christmas

Joost Dijkema comes from the north of the Netherlands. After hearing Leo Kottke´s 1969 album ´6- & 12-string guitar’ and Michael Chapman’s ‘Time Past And Time Passing’ he was determined to develop the fingerstyle guitar technique. He was 'townmusician  of Groningen' for three years. He is specialised in acoustic guitar based songs. On his Bandcamp you can find this wonderful song  'An Arm Around Jack Frost' with lots of slide and acoustic guitars, and an intro full of Xmas bells.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Vista Blue vs John Waters

Nashville-based raaawk band Vista Blue (yep, these guys) made an EP with a selection of covers of slightly odd Christmas songs, as a tribute to a compilation filmmaker/style guru John Waters made back in 2004. It featured quite famous tracks by Akim (this one), Jimmy Donley (this one) and Fat Daddy.

So here's that Vista Blue version of the latter:


This is the original by Paul 'Fat Daddy' Johnson:

And that Fat Daddy track was covered by other bands, like:


Friday, November 26, 2021

Silent night with Leslie West (1945-2020)

 Last year, just before Christmas rock icon Leslie West died. He was guitarist in Mountain and played with them on the famous Woodstock festival in  1969. He also played in West, Bruce and Laing. To remember him Cleopatra Records  just released a 7 inch (on blue and red vinyl) with his instrumental version of 'Silent Night', recorded in 2015 . You can order it here. 


Merry Lockdown with De Baron

Last year already, De Baron released a track called 'Grijze Kerst' (Grey Christmas), which we overlooked unfortunately. To make up for that, it's on CAGG this year. And rightly so, because the kind of eclectic guerrilla-klezmer-brass-rap-rock they play lends itself perfectly to a fine and feel good Christmas tune.
Well... feel good... the subtitle 'Merry Lockdown', says it all. The theme of the pandemic still hasn't got any better in The Netherlands and therefor their track is still very topical this year.
In the corresponding video we see a kinda shabby Santa Claus wandering the streets of Utrecht (not entirely coincidentally also the place of origin of De Baron) in search of a party in these hard times. Whether he succeeds? Check it out on YouTube.
Insta over there.

Stippenlift

Stippenlift is a recurring favorite on this blog. His Dutch depriwave songs are a tragically comic bright star in these dark times. His new track is of that same high standard quality:

Santa make me handsome

Braden Blake and the Oh Wells made a Christmas EP that (sonically) reminds me of the bestest Fountains of Wayne moments. This track stands out (a little, cuz they're all good):

Thursday, November 25, 2021

WORLD PREMIERE: Ricky & Frank



EDIT: removed the soundcloud-link, the song is all over the streaming platforms now.

Tomorrow is the official release, but here's the scoop: the Ricky Koole & Frank Lammers Christmas duet (featuring Ocobar)!!! Dutch singer Ricky Koole is already a staple on this blog, see her earlier xmas tunes HERE and HERE. Frank Lammers is a celebrated actor, best known for his role als Ferry in Netflix series Undercover. Together, they channel their inner Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner on this very upbeat seasonal song. Yeehaw-haw-haw!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Christmas Pickle

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any information about the artist 'Up With Glue', other than that he's not the most prolific musician from New Hampshire ever, to put it mildly. His previous and first album dates back to 2018, but that doesn't make his Christmas album any less worthwhile.
No covers, but ten songs of his own, (semi) acoustic with mostly dry-humored lyrics and a high lo-fi feel. Little gems are 'I'm a Baby Jesus', 'Santa's Got a Bump' and the sweet (and sour) 'Christmas Pickle'.
Complete album HERE


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Christmas at last

  •  Did we miss him last year? Normally you can always count on singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ryan O'Neal. Under the moniker Sleeping  At Last he makes a christmas song every year. This year he will make two (maybe to make it up for 2020). The first one is out to now. Here it is a very spherical version of the 1951 song 'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas' . For the other song we'll have to wait one week.