Thursday, December 14, 2023

Reindeer Tribe

Reindeer Tribe is a staple in the wonderful world of damn fine Christmas music. Up there with greats like Kristian Noel Pedersen, Make Like Monkeys, Non-Traditionals, Vista Blue. The ones you can count on, safe bets.
This Californian bunch of friends & musicians just released their 13th (!) seasonal offering. Most of those albums had an Americana influence: country, blues, bluegrass, soul. They write their own songs, and sprinkle some albums with covers. This year, they have a new, quite unexpected (for me, that is) approach: new wave. The basslines in the appropriatly titled 'Cold' are straight from a Martin Hannett-produced album on Factory Records:
The first track seems influenced by the soundtrack for John Hughes' 80s highschool movies (16 Candles, Pretty in Pink, etc):
The RT explain themselves:
Each year we have a theme of sorts, and this year we had a double challenge. First we wanted the vibe to be 80's synth pop, new wave, cheesy 80's etc. So we dragged out all the drum machines and synths and noise makers that pushed the sound in that direction. The second challenge was that we captured all of the sound of the instruments with one stereo mic in the middle of the room. We had to balance the levels of all the sounds on the spot and capture the performance live. We tracked vocals separate for those curious.

If you dissect the credits list, you'll find White Denim-guitarist James Petralli among this year's Reindeer Tribe line-up, Opus Orange 'mastermind' Paul Bessenbacher, Loud Forest-duo Bernard & Rachel Chadwick, and actors Sarah & Peter Lanfer.