Thursday, November 30, 2023

Sara Noelle

American singer-songwriter Sara Noelle has, with that last name, an obligation to record Christmas songs, one would say. She feels that way too, for years she's rejoicing us with seasonal tracks. This is the recent ethereal original, fresh as a pack of snow in the morning, and that angelic Noelle voice:
And while we're at it, these are the other self-penned songs:

This one from 2022 was voted as one of the 52 best New Xmas songs

Rest in peace, Shane MacGowan

It's official. Shane MacGowan, Pogues-frontman and co-writer of one of the greatest Christmas song in the world, ever, has passed away. There is a lot to digest, but a blog like this must pay tribute by posting 'Fairytale of New York'.
This song was covered M-A-N-Y times. We did one round up a few years back, see HERE.

Like Low, Corvair Premiere

Regular visitors know, we keep track of covers from Low's classic 1999 Christmas album. It's mostly Just Like Christmas that gets a touch up or a complete make over. But, as Portland-duo Corvair proves on their new, beautiful seasonal offering, other Low-originals are re-done as well. HERE is the update on Low-covers we posted last year, with links to even more blogposts.

Back to Corvair. Official release on December 1. From the press release:
Singer and guitarist Brian Naubert says of the decision to cover the song, “Low’s Christmas album, which was released in 1999, is one of my favorite holiday albums of all time. I’ve always been very interested in Christmas music, including making my own, but their record completely redefined for me what the genre could be. It’s so profound, there’s not one saccharine moment.”
Singer Heather Larimer says of the song, “I’ve been making Christmas music since my first band, Eux Autres. And I usually like to try to push the subject matter a bit dark. For instance, the first one I co-wrote (“Another Christmas at Home”) was about a dive bar in Omaha. But this year, it felt right to cover a Low song, one that is written deep inside the original Christmas Story. Even just the phrase ‘take the long way around the sea,’ with all of its sustained open vowels, is very poignant. It cracks your heart open to sing it.”
Naubert adds, “Our band owes so much to Low. They are the pinnacle of male/female harmonies, so inventive and stirring. Making this was especially important to me this year.” Good news: in 2024, Corvair will release an Xmas EP!

And now over to other Low Christmas covers we found, overlooked and loved recently (not posted earlier on this blog):

An Italian version:
Sounds like a slowed-down version of the original, but it isn't. It IS slow tho:
Ah, Braden Blake, purveyor of fine original Christmas music. And this charming cover:
Intense version:
New, this slow, ethereal version:
Slow, sultry, from Denmark:

Brad Byrd

"This year has been one for the books for the indie rock/alt country artist Brad Byrd: appearing at SXSW, opening for longtime friend Pete Yorn and recently completing a West Coast tour with Grammy-nominated songwriter and visual artist Joseph Arthur." 

Let us take the liberty of seeing his appearance on our blog as a highlight as well. After all, you have to tickle yourself a little. Challenged by a friend, Brad wrote this track a year ago on Christmas Day. It's a fresh and uplifting original, which contains the whole Christmas shebang of sleigh and church bells. And, for a change, it's a track with a positive and cheerful 'Let Love Win' vibe. Use it to your advantage. 

Brad Byrd Insta here, X over there.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Xmas in a bottle

Amsterdam based Harmen Kuiper usually plays in his punkband GDVRDGDVR. But he has a more melodic pop oriented side project The Slow Clock. This summer he released his second album ‘Inpretative Dancing’. On it a wonderful Xmas track which Dutch daily De Volkskrant described as "The first Christmas hit from 2023".  I specially like when the female singer, called Amarins does the 'Gloria in Excelsis Deo' part in the song.

On our Christmas A Go Go party in Paradiso (Amsterdam) on december 18, he will do a special concert with performance artist Marieke Coppens  And oh yes... he promised us a remix of this song.

There is another 'Christmas In A Bottle' song, by American band Nashvilains, recorded in 2022. But it has a totally different feeling.

Nicholas Burgess

Yes! Some fierce rock for the season, thank you Nicholas Burgess for pulling our strings with this end of year cracker. Doesn't Nick sound a bit like E from Eels? Anyhoo, this song is about 'apprehension we can feel about losing the old year when baby new year comes', and features a heavy heavy bassline and a cool hook. Christmas rock season has kicked OFF baby:

Eels' Christmas

Part of a new compilation of Eels tracks, this new Xmas song from E and his mates. Tis a lovely slow blues with that typical dark humourish view. Says Mark (E) Everett: "Everyone should have at least three christmas songs in their catalogue. i’m sorry it took me so long.”

As you know, this isn't Eels only Christmassy track. As a reminder, these are the other greats:

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

xmaseves by braden rapp

Just bumped upon this one (bad sound quality though) while cruising Soundcloud: xmaseves (merry christmas, now i'm leavin') by braden rapp. No capital letters allowed apparently. A little info digging later this turned out to be an original Christmas track we sadly overlooked last year. And that is just about all the information that can be found about braden rapp too.
But it's a very cool indie rock track that slowly starts with some kind of movie sample, sleigh bells, organ synths and a few little drummer boy rolls, then a very nicely sung song with a raw edge unfolds. This farewell song really deserves to be highlighted, even though we are a year late. CAGG at your service.

You said
Lately I've been thinkin'
Merry Christmas
Now I'm leavin'
I bring you the greatest gift of all

It's the Comps

Christmas mixes and compilations are the myrrh and incense of any Xmas music fan. The gold is, of course, in the music. Three GIANT compilations were released recently, so chock-full of precious sounds we had to wear sunglasses. Here's an oversight:

The 3rd volume of 'Have Yourself a Merry Indie Christmas' has 35 tracks, including a handful that were posted here earlier like El Sancho, The Futureheads, and Vista Blue. With Sunturns, Charlie's Hand Movements and Wedding Present also, err, present you can't go wrong. All proceeds go to charity, like the other two volumes. Very well done again, Kevin! Read all about the tracklisting HERE.
One of the outstanding tracks on V3 is this one by Berlin's Hans Foster (aka Hanemoon). I missed this when Christmas Underground posted it back in 2017. Turns out Man Behind Tree made TWO great Xmas tracks:

Volume 17 (!!!) of A Very Cherryrade Christmas offers Photocopies, Hannah Barberas, Portable Radio and Goddammit Jeremiah among others (26 tracks, 6 Pounds). It's on CD only, no downloads and only 200 copies made. Be quick! Some bands do offer their contribution to this long lasting, always fantastic compilation series on their Bandcamp, like Goddammit Jeremiah:

Sleigh is a 22-track, 14 dollar compilation, of recent Christmas music by mostly American artists on the Nettwerk music distribution roster. No really big names and quite streamlined, but with Beta Radio, Freyr and Martin Kerr's 'God Rest Ye Merry Billionaires' there's more than enough to enjoy. Lots of covers, too. All songs are also available on streaming platforms. Two examples, this a very fine cover of a Billy Squier song:
And this is just a really nice song:

World Premiere: Clean Pete & Tim Knol

Our patience was tested a tiny bit this year, but now it's finally here: the long-awaited new Christmas duet from blog darlings Clean Pete. Tomorrow the official release, today already exclusive on Christmas A Go Go.
After duets with a number of fellow angels in recent years (Judy Blank, Maaike Ouboter and Robin Kester), a male duet singer has been chosen this time. And lo and behold: right away it's hullabaloo immediately and hearts are being broken. Thanks Tim!
So don't let the song title fool you, because 'De Mooiste Tijd Van Het Jaar' (Most Wonderful Time Of The Year), doesn't apply to either of the two ex-lovers in this compelling song. Their love turned as cold as the ice on the roof under which they once slept together. If only Christmas could be skipped this year... A beautiful Christmas duet dripping with melancholy and heartache for a love that is no longer there.
The choice of Tim Knol, a famous Dutch singer-songwriter, also works out very well. His second voice singing is pretty modest and blends surprisingly beautifully with Loes Wijnhoven, who is also responsible for the music and lyrics. 

Traditions are here to stay, so this year again Clean Pete seduces us with sophisticated musical arrangements and moving lyrics. I think by now we can call them the Dutch high priestesses of Christmas. Catch'm live on stage this Xmas season!  

Clean Pete Insta here, X over there.
Tim Knol Insta here, X over there.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Valley Winter Song(s)

It's been three years already since we lost Adam Schlesinger, half of the songwriting tandem with Chris Collingwood and motor behind Fountains of Wayne. The back catalogue of that band is still fresh and glowing; fantastic songwriting, well executed.
Fountains of Wayne left us two genuine alt-rock Christmas classics, 'Man in the Santa Suit' and 'I Want an Alien for Christmas', but their 'Valley Winter Song' is probably the best known seasonal track. Christmas isn't mentioned, but the end of December is, and the lyrics are very much in tune with the Xmas atmosphere.

To Twelve is a Dutch duo (Jasper & Olga) who love playing on the streets, and roam the squares and corners of Europe with their camper van. Last year, they did a very fine version of Kacey Musgraves 'Glittery' for a compilation (this one), this year they really outdo themselves with a gorgeous ethereal version of that Fountains of Wayne song, 'Valley Winter Song':

There are more VWS-covers, of course. To Twelve's is by far the best. Most covers stay very close to the original FOW-version, but this a capella version is nice too:

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Cat Rose & Jon Fazal

Serious late night thoughts on a lazy sunday evening because of Cat Rose and Jon Fazal's end-of-year reflection song 'Other Side of Christmas'. Or, in their own words: "The Cat and Jon sad-xmas-banger has arrived to your ears!". It's a kinda indie folk track with a delicate Christmas bell here and there and beautiful vocals. Sometimes the song seems to want to swell for a moment, but then falls back into the lovely stillness that fits the theme of the song so well.

From the other side of Christmas
Will everything seem different?

All proceeds go to Jeremiah's Journey, supporting children and young people in Plymouth during bereavement or at other difficult times. Please give what you can. 

Insta over there.

Holy Shit It's Christmas (3)

Continuing our themed posts on 'Shit' and 'Christmas' (HERE, and HERE for the others), this time it's all adjectives:
Christmas can be boring, and if you write a song about it, it could turn out as great as this indie rocker:
Not getting that one gift for Christmas, makes you wanna ROCK OUT
Damaris Phillips letting out her crooner diva, for a bluesy acoustic track:
'Christmas can be shit/When you lost someone'. Sarah sings a sad sad song:
Hawaiian punk band, who enlightened the world with their 'Merry Christmas Joey Ramone' song back in 2021. In this track they remember the dark COVID days, hoping next Xmas will be better:
Ruining Christmas for everyone, Irish folkballad style:
Gezebelle is in a relationship crisis too, accepting even socks as a Christmas gift, if only (nice vintage drumcomputer sounds!):
Great find this one, never heard it before. Love the 90s indies vibe in this song:
Cool cover of that Royal Bangs track:
There is more! Most (not all) songs from the posts + extras are in this Spotify playlist

Holy Shit It's Christmas (2)

Second post on the 'Shit' and 'Christmas' theme. First post is HERE. In these songs, 'Shit' is used as a noun, mostly in the sense that someone is or isn't getting (sh)it for Christmas:

Very catchy Boston old school punk:
A modern day alt Xmas classic, Sad13's cool indie pop song is a joy:
Whiskey Avengers is a ska-band, but for this song they turned into a talkatavive country act:
Told ya, Red Peters (comedian, producer) is back again, also in that parlando country singin' vibe:
Bluesrocker Luke Daniel is getting you 'a half ass song for Christmas':
Not sure who this is, but it sounds like a flamboyant musical show tune, Broadway-style:
Again, no clue who this is, but it sure is a great jazzy piano tune. If only Michael Bublé could cover this:
Cheating a little by bringing in Santa instead of Christmas, but it's in the same theme:
Short, acoustic, and the message is clear:
Upbeat folksy song, about not taking shit from Santa anymore:

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Holy Shit It's Christmas (1)

So I heard this hard rawking tune from Portland, Maine's Hot Dogs:
I liked it. A lot. Punk Christmas songs are, when executed well, an adrenaline shot for days when you mostly hang around in a food coma. Then I thought, shit and Christmas...I know more songs with those words in the title. With 'Shit' used as an adjective, an expletive, a noun, a verb maybe (eew).
How'bout picking the bestest Shit & Christmas songs? Right. Tis because we LOVE themed posts, AND this is probably the only Christmas music blog that can actually do a Shit Christmas themed post (part 2 HERE, part 3 HERE).

Let's start with songs where 'Shit' is used in the title as an expletive, like the Hot Dogs song above. This one sprang to mind immediatly. This is a classic, people:
This glamrockin' great must be here too:
From Germany, trying to sound very sophisticated and British (and succeeding), but still using the S-word:
Sounds like a carol, and inspired by the dark COVID-days:
American comedian Red Peters made a Christmas album back in 2009. On this, he gets help from some chipmunks. Sorry, hamsters. It's funny, really. He will be back, because he sang more Xmas 'n Shit songs.
Yes, you were waiting for this John Lennon 'cover', didnt' you?
Singer-songwriter Gene Burnett knows how to amuse himself, alone on Christmas morn', with a great big pile of porn.
Of course, there is more. And tips of GOOD songs on this theme are appreciated, in the comments. (There is a Spotify playlist for this, sure)

Friday, November 24, 2023

In 2020, British jazz-singer made us roll over and purr like a kittycat with her cheerful, sultry Christmas EP. Mostly covers on that one, plus one lovely original. This year, it's more covers and 3 originals. The classic 50s sounding Christmas Cheer is a highlight, you can almost see Fred Astaire tip-tapping beside her in a wonderful Christmas movie. Even if the song is about's mixed feelings about Xmas.

Tis on Bandcamp too, but (up until now) no embedding allowed.

Surfin' with Santa

A very well known combination and tradition: surfing and Santa. Last year we welcomed The Surfrajettes and The Tremolo Beer Gut providing us some cool xmas surf instrumentals, this years first Santa surf instrumental comes from The Surfisticats. They are from Cambridge in the UK, specialized in twanging guitars and rockin' rhythms and are desperately seeking for a surfboard. Maybe Santa can help them out. 

Insta here, their X over there.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Christmas TV, Elliot Wilson Premiere

That title, Christmas TV, that's of course a nod tot that great alt xmas classic by Slow Club from 2008. We did a post with various versions two years ago (HERE), it's stil a cool song no? Listen again: The reason I'm diggin this up is this really cool upbeat popsong by Elliot Wilson, 'Made for TV', about being fed up with sappy Christmas movies. Hallmark Channel overload, so to speak. Elliot's no stranger to making Xmas music, find his debut with nicely streamlined originals and covers HERE. His new song is just GREAT and we can premiere it here (official release tomorrow). Hear al the references to truly great Christmas movies at the end, very clever:

Christmas & tv, that's a fine combination. Here's a selection of songs on that theme:

This great power pop song needs to be in a list about songs about watching tv on Christmas, with loads and loads of references:
Stuffed with Christmas TV samples:
The Eggnog Experience punkifies watching tv on Christmas:
Solo track, with an Evan Dando vibe, about Southside Girls 'who think that music started with the Pixies', who also like Christmas on TV:
Lo-fi, and to be honest a tad mediocre jinglejangle track but with a great chorus: 'There's nowhere I'd rather be/Than watching shit TV/In your arms /On Christmas Day:
The Buddy System released this noisy ode (hmmm, sort of) in 2007:

World Toilet Premiere: Mark Lohmann

Now this is a special one. We're having a world toilet premiere here at CAGG! Anyone who visited one of the Clean Pete Christmas Shows last year will undoubtedly remember Mark Lohmann performing this song and now he is officially releasing this remarkable track (tomorrow actually, but we had the honor of sharing it with you already today). Mark Lohmann, who also makes music under the moniker Moon Moon Moon, wrote this therapeutic self-help song about the panic attack he had right before he had to perform during a previous Clean Pete Christmas show in concert hall Doornroosje. As a result, he fled to the backstage toilet and actually didn't want to leave it anymore.
Uncertainty about whether he was good enough, well dressed enough, handsome enough, funny enough and so on, made him no longer dare to perform. Until - in this song - his own self, two hours older, bangs on the toilet door and tells him to stop comparing himself to others and just be 100% himself. Yes, a pretty lame and cliché advise from his future self, but it works. 

Lohmann already has quite a few sublime Christmas songs to his name, including my personal all-time Dutch favorite in duet with Loes from Clean Pete (who is also presented as one of his fears in this song too). But there's also this 'Adult Christmas' from 2020, sung in English, about spending your Christmas Eve on a plane, chasing dreams, being confident, meeting someone and having sex in the toilet stall. (What's that with toilets and Christmas, Mark?) 

But this years track probably is his most personal 'till now. It's on repeat at the CAGG headquarter all day, because we love his unique talking style of singing and his diction. His lyrics are completely honest, mostly uncomfortable, self reflective and always tragicomic in a way. Some might say he's a typical anti-hero, I'd say if you have the guts to write a song like this, you're the opposite.
Unfortunately this track goes in Dutch, but for all you non-Dutch speakers out there, believe me, his lyrics are more than worth a Dutch course. An instant Christmas classic is born, straight from the toilet. Now think about that.

Insta Mark Lohmann and his X.
Moon Moon Moon's Insta here and X over there.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Ska Christmas from Switzerland

Making records since 2018 on specialty label Fruits Records, Swiss ska-band Cosmic Shuffling is releasing a vinyl 7-inch next month. Their first Christmas single, and if yer into ska and rocksteady from the 60s, you will be having a blast. For Ska Christmas has that brilliant laid back vibe, and Leo Mohr has the right, sweet soul voice that can melt, well, snow I guess. Lyric wise, it's like a nursery rhyme but hey, look, you're already skanking to the beat.

Very curious about that other track. Will check later.

While we are on the subject, how'bout some original Jamaican Xmas ska, rocksteady and reggae tracks?

Dragon Inn 3

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Still a great bandname. The American indie rock band had their finest moments in the early 00's, and stopped making records in 2015. Dragon Inn 3 is a spin-off; In 2012, SSLYBY-singer Philip Dickey wrote the theme song for a short film, Ghoul School, a teen horror-comedy hybrid told through an ’80s look and feel. This synth-centric instrumental eventually doubled as a jumping-off point for Dragon Inn 3. Their music is coming from the same pond as the soundtrack to 'Drive' and 'Stranger Things'.

For this season, DI3 released a covers EP, featuring a happy/sad synth-version of 'Last Christmas', a version of Snowflake Music (from the Rushmore soundtrack) and a really cool version of 'It's Christmas'. The original was written and played by actor Jason Schwartzman under his Coconut Records moniker, from 2010's 'The Christmas Gig' compilation (we did a post about the album, HERE).
I really like the sythesized version, the neon colours suit the song very well:
Not the first cover, this gentle version is nice too:

Ralphie's Red Ryders

Busy times for the men of Vista Blue (see previous post), because they are also responsible for the music of Ralphie's Red Ryders, their Christmas Story band.
Released simultaneously with the new Vista Blue tracks, they even speed up a bit and ram through two more excellent new punk rock Christmas songs.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Vista Blue Is Here Again!

We have a number of regulars here at CAGG, who we see return almost every year and the guys from Vista Blue are certainly among them. Their rocky recipe is well known, but damn it tastes delicious every single year! This time they have once again come up with four strong, original and speedy Christmas tracks for our socks. That's what we got. What Are You Gonna Get? 

Check out all four songs at 'Christmas Every Day' at their Bandcamp.
Their X is over there.

More information on Vista Blue at our blog in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Team Amoeba Wants To Gobble

With a little backing vocals help on 'Gobble, Gobble Hey!' (not to be confused with this Ramones parody from 1979) by the Merry Mummula Choir, Team Amoeba recorded two Holiday tracks that last just a little bit more than two minutes each. Exactly the kinda length that makes you hopeful for some steamy punk.
Tina and Gene Amoeba, who are currently floating around the Midwest, say they are into 'catchy pop punk to shake your cytoplasm to', whatever that may mean and that's about all the information you can find about them on the internet.

Monday, November 20, 2023

christmas and gregory porter

The big jazz singer Gregory Porter and CAGG is not an obvious combination. His first Christmas album 'Christmas Wish' contains a lot of smooth  and slick songs, with only a few covers. Like Stevie Wonder's 'One Day At Christmas'. But there is one surprising song, the title track, on his album. It's about his dearest wish:

If I had one wish, one wish to gift  that  day

It would be to kiss my momma on Christmas day 

It starts with an old fashioned swinging organ and slowly it turns into a crazy gospel song. His brown voice with a real gospel choir is a great combination.

Melanie Ryan

Name one better reason to write a Christmas song while you're in a songwriting session together with Judy Blank halfway March and it suddenly starts snowing. There isn't one. And so Dutch singer-songwriter Melanie Ryan and Judy did, they wrote an original Christmas track for this year at that very moment.
Now regular visitors of this blog know very well that we hold Judy Blank in high regard here, so the omens were good and it did turn out well.
Melanie describes her music as 'braided style country', where pop meets folk, meets country, meets americana. Her beautiful, crystal clear voice brings all these styles together with great ease and naturalness, making it a style all her own. 

Oh and we know and immediately admit it: true romance doesn't always dominate here on CAGG, but with this one from Melanie we more than make up for that. Her beautiful warm and sensitive song 'Everything I Need Is Here' subtly shows what life is really all about and so also during Christmas. Now light up that fireplace! 

Insta over here. X over there.

More Melanie in a Christmas mood on YouTube (her song Snowflakes)

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Swansea Sound

The Swansea Sound from - you guessed right - Swansea in the UK, is specialized in singalong indiepoppunk and recorded three Christmas tracks this year. The one featured here is 'Santa Bail Me Out' and is about how you should, even with a bank account deeply in the red, still celebrate Christmas. Maybe even extra hard. The other two songs are in fact two of a kind. 'Nadolilg, Pwy A Wyr?' is sung in Welsh by Catrin Saran James, who is actually not a real band member, but does the artwork for the band, while 'The Life We Led' is sung in English by Hue Williams and Amelia Fletcher. Both songs will be released December 8th.
And don't forget to join in to their very short Christmas Listening Party on 9th December, because "The band will be up for a chat and will answer any questions, although they may be quite drunk." Don't say we didn't warn you. 

Insta over here, X over there.

Ballsy - OMG, it's Xmas

More than three minutes of quirky, cheerful and up-tempo Christmas pop music, that is Ballsy's Christmas gift to us and we accept that gift with gratitude. No difficult stuff, just uncomplicated and undisguised longing for those cold and snowy days underneath the mistletoe in Montreal, Québec.

A festive live video over here, Insta over there.

Not the first Christmas song, this one's as catchy as the one above:

A Brown Christmas - R.I.P. Karl Tremblay

Karl Tremblay, the popular lead singer of Québec's modern folk group Les Cowboys Fringants, died on November 15, 2023. One of the band's last performances with Tremblay was in Québec City at the Festival d’été de Québec in July 2022, the third biggest outdoor event in Canada. It was such a big deal that Les Cowboys Fringants could play that an extra day was added to the festival, with 90,000 people there just for that show. For context, Karl Tremblay is French-speaking Canada's answer to English-speaking Canada's Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip.

A few weeks later, performing in a small city, the band had Tremblay singing, sat down, and did the same to not make it weird. Karl picked up on that and told the crowd, "You came here to see us sing, not to see us dance," to lighten the mood.

Les Cowboys Fringants' 2021 album 'Les nuits de Repentigny' ('Repentigny Nights') named after the sleepy city near Montréal the band hails from, features the Christmas song 'Noël brun' ('Brown Christmas'). It's about being dumped on Christmas Eve and the brown part is about coffee. Kinda.

Alone on a night with no moon
Sitting in a Tim Hortons
Brown Christmas, my childlike heart is far away
A thousand miles from the good old days

Karl Tremblay, rest in peace.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Fresh snow and warm feelings - Zoe Sanders

True to Montréal form, pop singer Zoe Sanders sings in both French and English. It's Québec's language equivalent of non-binary: it doesn't matter where you were born, who your parents are and what side people think you're on, you're both because 'oui can'. Get it?

Sanders' Christmas single 'La chute est douce' ('The soft fall') feels like being stuck in dark, downtown Montréal traffic but the powdered snow is so beautifully that you don't care. Or it's the caribou you drank at the office Christmas party kicking in. Or both. And you're not driving!

Besides having been a model, Sanders writes all her songs. She should be blasting off into space career-wise.

Friday, November 17, 2023


Question: Is Leonard Cohen a Christmas artist? His (edited) song Hallelujah is - for it is covered on many Christmas albums. I saw this YouTube compilation. And come to think of it, songs like If It Be Your Will or You Want It Darker ('Vilified, crucified/In the human frame/A million candles burning/For the help that never came') have a certain Christmassy feel.

Another question; is Anita Ward's Ring My Bell a Christmas song? There's a bell involved, sure. But it's pretty easy to spot that the song is about sex. Christmas & Sex, what a combination. We should to a themed post ab...oh wait.

A deep Cohenned voice + sex and disco, that's where Discohen comes in: the project of Dutch duo Tejje Venema & Pim van de Werken. In 2016 they found out that Tejje could sing really low, like Leonard. And that it was really funny AND cool if he sang certified dance classics like Donna Summer's Hot Stuff and Divine's Shoot Your Shot inna Lenny Cohen stylee. And oh yeah, change (in the lyrics of 'Ring My Bell;) 'dishes' into 'tissues'. A full album and an EP were released. Sure, it's a joke, but Tejje & Pim are also very serious. This is good stuff.

Side note: Cohen himself did one disco'ish track, Don't Go Home With Your Hard On, certainly not a Christmas song.

Back to now. For tis season, Discohen remixed 'Ring My Bell', added a fierce church bell, and see: it's gothic, it's sexy, it's a song to hear between red velvet sheets. You want it darker? If that be your will:


Another very talented singer from The Netherlands is néomí (Neomi Speelman). Earlier this year she released 'After', a beautiful spheric indiefolk album about being young and growing old. And so in a way, her new song is about that too. It's not necessarily intended as a Christmas track, although it does have that specific atmosphere, but without ringing bells and all that stuff.
She's open about her granddad suffering from Alzheimer in 'Garden', a slightly sad but loving song with a very personal video. And on Christmas Eve, even though he probably has no idea, she will tell him again how much he loves her grandmother. A beautiful, moving and honest track that overflows with love.

Insta over here, X over there.

Marike Jager

It has been far too long since we welcomed Marike Jager to our blog. Back in 2011 she recorded a cheerful and damn good cover of 'Frosty The Snowman' which was accompanied by a touchingly sweet home-made video, but after that there were no more Christmas releases. But it's been twelve years now and luckily, she's back on Christmas track! The Dutch singer-songwriter has written a wonderfully glowing and acoustic Christmas song full of love and with delicate choirs in the background, that beckons and longs for being together just one more time. She accompanies herself on guitar and with an occasional honky tonk piano tune, making it feel so intimate, it's almost as if you're right there on the couch with her. And yes, you heard right, there's nod to Mr. Presley there.

"Stay with me
Let us curl on the sofa
Oh baby, hold me tight
Love me one more night
It's Christmas"

We wouldn't even dare refuse.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Freedom Fry

Connecting the dots between folk, 60s and 70s pop and indie rock is what Freedom Fry from Los Angeles, California aims to do. And so they connected with a cover of 'The Christmas Song', the unparalleled Nat King Cole classic. But the French/American duo also wrote an original too: 'Who's That Walking on my Rooftop?'. A joyful and retro poppy Christmas track, sweet and smooth, makes it the ideal accompaniment for an intimate dinner with a full-bodied red wine and the curtains closed.

More Freedom Fry on CAGG in 2017 and last year also. 

Insta over here, X over there.