Sunday, December 15, 2019

Trentemøller - Silent Night

Trentemøller loves Christmas.
No wonder when you're from up North, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Silent Night is his 2019 Christmas treat. "I chose Silent Night as it has such a beautiful melody that, for me, sums up the whole vibe of Christmas. Originally it was a lullaby and since I became a dad, Silent Night made so much sense to me especially as it’s my girlfriend Lisbet Fritze who sings on it."
Nuff said.

(And here a beautiful old one by Trentemøller, On a Cold Christmas Night)

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Christmas at Denny's

What's the saddest Christmas song ever written? There are kitschy weepers like Christmas Shoes and Faith in Santa. Country big shots like Johnny Cash singing Ringing the Bells For Jim, Loretta Lynn's Christmas Without Daddy and Santa Can't Stay by Dwight Yoakam. I've made a playlist (see HERE), including Prince, John Prine and A Girl Called Eddy's version of The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot.

While searching for sad Christmas songs, I bumped onto 'Christmas at Denny's' by Randy Stonehill. And I think this makes a very good candidate for the title 'Saddest Christmas Song Ever'. If you're unfamiliar with 'family restaurant chain' Denny's, you'll get a pretty good picture of just how sad a place it is during Christmas. Unlike the weepers mentioned earlier, Stonehills song is dramatic and sentimental, but as a seasoned storytelling artist (he's been active since the early 70s, up there with James Taylor) he keeps the balance just right. With lines like: 'and I'm dreaming about/a silent night/holy night/ when things were alrightand I'm dreaming about/how my life could have been/if only, if only, if only', the songs plays all the right heartstrings and glandula.

I saw just a few covers, and this great rendition. This comment below the video, 'I've come here every year around Christmas to listen to you sing this. I've done this for many years now actually & it's become one of my holiday traditions, I guess. You do a fabulous job on this song and sound really good. I realize this video is 10 years old but I'm hoping you still perform this song as you just do it so well', is very relatable.

Love to hear what your favourite Christmas weepers are.

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Films

I'll just leave this here. It's only on YouTube and Vimeo, and a real soon on Christmas Underground's new Xmas Mix. It's....unbelievably good. And over 10 years old.

Swampmeat Family Band

Thanks Rich, for the tip. Folk/country-infused Swampmeat Family Band from Birmingham, UK, says about this track:
"So we recorded a Xmas track in August which was weird but it actually turned out pretty decent. So much so that PNKSLM offered to put it out for the festive season. Ollie our manager suggested we up the good will factor so our wonderkid guitarist and art guru Tommy Hughes designed a killer Xmas card that has a download of the track included...
We're gonna hock these at our Xmas show on Dec 20th at The Castle & Falcon and they will also be stocked at a few local record stores and dive bars. All profits will go to Birmingham homeless charities so hopefully we can do a little bit with our Xmas ditty to help a few folks out during what can be a shitty time for far too many."

The Magic City Trio

It Will Soon Be Christmas Day (edit) from the magic city trio on Vimeo.

Christmas is all about nostalgia, as y'all are well aware. A day or so ago, I posted a track by a C86 band, and here's another one. Well, sort of, 'cause The Magic City Trio's Frank Sweeney used to be a member of The June Brides. And he uses 'a couple of themes from C86' in this song:

Gianmarco Cilli

Sometimes people, aware of this blog but unaware of the richness that we call 'Alt Christmas', ask me: what makes a good Christmas song? I smile, handcomb my beard, put down my glasses and say: well, a good Christmas song contains a holy trinity: bells, lyrics about events in the past and/or a feeling of nostalgia, and a mention of Christmas. Like all-time greats like White Christmas or The Christmas Song (chestnuts etc), in the best Christmas songs there's a desire, a longing, a need to be or do something else than what you're doing at the moment.
I don't know mr Gianmarco Cilli, a Philly songwriter and singer. Jim CU tipped me on this song by Cilli, who played with member of The War on Drugs on his recently released album. But Cilli knows my rules for a Good Christmas Song. Check it out:

Sidenote: of course, there are HEAPS of solid Christmas songs that don't have bells (Beau Jennings' ultra-brilliant The Christmas Light springs to mind).

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Xmas Supergroup!

A Christmas record from Clem Burke of Blondie, Eliot Easton of The Cars, Wally Palmar of The Romantics, Andy Babiuk of The Chesterfield Kings! Gee, that looks like a great line up. They are the Empty Hearts and made this incredible catchy song 'It's Christmastime' on the A-side and a great Bo Diddley like 'Joyful Noise' on the B-side.  Incredible punk-rock&rol single! Spotify says this track was released in 2016, Discogs isn't sure about the release date, and now there's a Bandcamp link and a vinyl version (see BC).

And watch this great video, with very bad sound, shot during the 2017 Hollywood Christmas Parade.

7 O’Clock News/ Silent Night 2019

Do you remember Simon & Garfunkels '7 O’Clock News/ Silent Night' from 1966? Now there is a remake, with the newscaster reading recent news about subjects as sexting or about people like Trump. The song is made by the singers Phoebe Bridgers and Fiona Apple. With Matt Berninger from The National. The profits of this project will go to the American movement Planned Parenthood

We stand corrected (see comments), as Stubby taught us, this is certainly not the only S&G xmas song. There's this one:

And this one:

And this one:

Zip-Tie Handcuffs

Ah yes, that's what was missing this year, a really down'n dirty rawk'n roll Christmas original. Enter 'Santa's a Creep' by Zip-Tie Handcuffs, who hail from Boston Mass. and their track is punk as f. For fantastic.

Stacey Randol

American singer-songwriter Stacey Randol 'resonates well with fans of Sheryl Crow and Fleetwood Mac', which means that this song is pretty mainstream, with a nice sunny vibe thanks to that electric piano. It seems that they hadn't quite figured out how to end this track, so they kind of just stop playing. However, Stacey has a very pretty, slightly husky voice. Way more standard than usual on this blog, but nice nonetheless:

Robert Sekula

Thanks to @stereo for the tip, this solo single by Robert Sekula, singer of C86-band 14 Iced Bears. TBH, I'd never heard of this band, but this tender, twee single is very sweet 'n indie. There's no Santa Claus, apparently.


THIS is the kind of song for which this blog's been created, over a decade ago. NPK made a funny variety on 'All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth', this is the track your xmas mix needs to lighten the f up.

Soulpersona & Princess Freesia

Mmmmm....hey baby. Looking mighty fine in those furs. Oooh, those horns! Horn-y! (Giggle). Why don't you get reeeeeal comfortable right here next to me. Weather outside is frightful, but inside it's warm, W-A-R-M-mmmmmmmh...

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Amelia & Maddy

I'm stealing this from Under the Radar:
Throw on your best novelty earrings and ribbon your Secret Santa, it's time for your punishing office Christmas party at the local bowls club, and the latest cut from Amelia & Maddy is here to save the day. Described as an Italo disco track, 'Hot Christmas' puts a twee, romantic spin on the anxiety of compulsory BBQs in sticky hot weather. Created by Tāmaki Makaurau dream duo Amelia Berry (Amamelia, Fimo) and Madison van Staden (Moody.V and the Menstrual Cycle), 'Hot Christmas' came about when Berry admitted her desperation to write a Christmas song and lyric writer van Staden had three rules: "It has to be about how hot it is. It has to be about awful work Christmas parties. It has to be about when you have a BBQ on a bowls green.". Berry has also hinted at an array of exciting Amamelia developments in the new year and an EP in the works. Get excited for what's to come, and know you're not alone with the Office Christmas Party Blues...

Rick Buur

Remember Kerstlied 1 by Rick Buur, a Dutch translation of this Robert Earl Keen track? Well, Rick got the xmas spirit again this year and made another translation of a Keen-song. The result; 'There's a barbie doll in the gravy bowl', is a depressingly awesome seasonal story.

This is the original:

Prairie Files

Maybe not the best sung new Christmas track of the season, but a funny video and a lot of heart. It's on Bandcamp too.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Weed & Dolphins

You wanted the weird? You GOT the weird. Weed & Dolphins hail from Minsk, Belarus, and this track was, apparently, inspired by a trip through the sewage system in their hometown. How you get from below the streets to Christmas trees, I really can't tell, but it involves synths and 80s gloom. Have a listen:

The Lilac Time

Very cosy alt rock song by British band The Lilac Time. A song about life, really, the ups and downs:
And I'm so glad you came to me
And saved me from stupidity
Every day is Christmas Day
Ever since you came my way

The Murrays

The Murrays are a husband & wife indie folk-pop duo. Credo:"Making music our dog hates since 2012". None other than the great Stubby tipped me on this EP.

I guess it's Indie Folk Rock, and all the tunes are about a minute long, but the lyrics are nice and twisted. Check this one:

There also a cool video:

Monday, December 09, 2019

Shoegaze xmas

It's difficult to hear but 'Please Come Home For Christmas'  is really a Xmas track, on a white 7 inch, released by Old Bad Habbits a young indie-pop label from Athens, Grece. This loud, shoegaze-like song was made by Cristoph Mark, an American who lives in Seoul, Korea.