Every year i sift through thousands of novelty Christmas offerings and, if you’re of similar bent, i have some recommendations no yuletide oddity library should be without. I mean, these platters otter be on yer serving places posthaste.
JANUARY 2019: I featured songs about being sick at Christmas. I figured Christmas with the Crystalairs was just another doo wop collection i overlooked from the ’60s. I was wrong. These hulking white (German) guys have revived the stylings for decades and dropped this album just a couple years ago, replete with cool songs i ain’t never heard before.
Red State Update have been making politically sarcastic hay for some time. Jonathan Shockley and Travis Harmon play patriotic Tennesseans Jackie Broyles and Dunlop who harrumphed and sung about all things Tea Party and Obama. The podcast dwindled but was reborn as Travis & Jonathan, ‘cuz a good thing don’t go away easy when creativity is still to be paid. From their albums Santa is Real and Merry Twismas Part Twoo and Other Gooduns, please enjoy a Red State Update Christmas selection.
Yet, my favorite video of January is the skit/song from James Coyle about bad breakups and wishing her “A Very AIDS-y Christmas.” BLUE ALERT
FEBRUARY 2019: A month-long rant AGAINST Christmas in song. Another chance to revisit Arrogant Worms, an Ontario college radio comedy group who has spun up a dozen albums of masterful genre-switching. Funny guys. Christmas Turkey is a 1997 album you should have by now. The all original songs give every year.
Do You Hear What I Hear? may be a clearing house for cool independent artists on the Mojo Land Recordings label. The album is blithely entitled Independent Christmas Music and loads up the fun. Listen and see.
Best of the haters goes to Benjamin Stuart Steele as ‘Rusty Cage’ with his “Christmas Knife Game Song.” Sharp guy. BLUE ALERT
MARCH 2019: Uh oh. It’s the sex act (all of them actually) as celebration within Xmas music. Or maybe just sex and it happens to be Christmas. Neill Kirby McMillan Jr. championed psychopunk cowbilly way back in the ’90s, like with his quintessential 1992 Horny Holidays. Mojo Nixon says, Get some.
Dr. Duke Tumatoe was a bluesman in REO Speedwagon but has spread his wings with the 2001 It’s Christmas. Blues in the service of humor. Now that‘s Christmas.
My carnal choice from the month goes something like Matt Mullholland’s 13-year-old idea brought to fruition when he’s finally something of a New Zealand web musical sensation. Sing along to “O Holy Night”! Naughtiness!
APRIL 2019: Uh oh again. Now it’s the F-word as decoration for Christmas music. Time for some fun with Bowling for Soup, pop punkers from Texas known for cartoon theme songs. Their double EPs from 2011 were known as Merry Flippin’ Christmas Vol. 1, and Vol. 2. Colorful, chaotic, cool. Even the covers. (And here’s our euphemism for the obscenity.)
I was drawn toward the songs that swore for the Lord. Youtube’s Mr. Elevator, Crudbump, serenades us with “Fuck You If You Don’t Like Christmas.” It’s illustrated and educational. Did you know about The Hat Store? Didn’t think so. EXTRA BLUE ALERT
MAY 2019: I thought myself so clever that i could dedicate a month to rerun all previous themes one-a-day into a ReduXmas. But, make no mistake, this was largely to include monsterously cool numbers from albums i had found the year before. Like J D McPherson’s socks, my oh my that collection is solid gold from big band song to jazz swing song. I even heard a cut playing at Kohls.
Holidelic was an odd duck for me. Everett Bradley is this cool cat who has a traveling funk-disco Xmas show in NY state every year and Holidelic: Rebooty is a compilation of their best. Not enough opportunities for me to wedge this spectacular showstopping stuff into my weird wardrobe of ideas, so i thought i’d gift you with the suggestion to check it out.
Sometimes the music video enhances the song experience to the point where i don’t know why the song was enjoyable by itself. “Christmastime for the Jews” was a 2005 TV Funhouse bit on Saturday Night Live. Darlene Love is barely audible and the black and white claymation is clumsy in its comedy. But the swinging R+B and NYC injoke rompiness overloads when stitched up together. (And… is it racist?)
JUNE 2019: Themes tumbled together around now. I should have done the idea of romantic heartbreak and splitting up around the holidays (Ex-mas was the title of many of these songs) right after the sex songs. But i’m not really that organized.
Trey Stone and The Ringers are an Ohio ‘billy rocker group with a sharp EP Sing About Christmas. It’s honky tonkin’ amazing. Fun fact: i added their song about wanting a divorce for Christmas because i noticed (a month late) that i hadn’t entered a post on that day in my blog and i had to scramble for one more aspect to breaking up.
Mr. Cork’s Totally Off The Wall Whacked Out Christmas Songs! is probably some self-published backroom amateur set of all original Xmas tunes. I can find out nothing about this ‘Mr. Cork.’ But thank God for the internet, or we’d never get this level of ‘adult’ oddity.
Andy Goldenberg has a rollicking Youtube channel full of fun songs (a few on a holiday album–which includes April Fools Day). But i dig his hyper jazz swing Jewish neurotic can’t-stop-talking “I’m Breaking Up with You for Christmas.” Run, girl.
JULY 2019: Then i fooled around with this strange ‘etc.’ mix of not-Christmas other-holiday songs which should have been paired with my war-on-Christmas theme i wouldn’t get to for another three months. But, i digress. Founding drummer of Blue Öyster Cult branched out to a sweet set of original songs as Albert & The Sleigh Riders with It’s Christmas… Again. Worth it.
Matt Farley goes by at least 70 different band names and can crank out a dozen songs a day. His word salad electric piano ramblings of a minute or so make him money out of his RI home studio. Tread carefully: here are 76 offerings from The Motern Media Holiday Singers with These are Great! Holiday Songs! (including National Bird Day, Singles Awareness Day, Leap Day… and more!) (The guy lives on Wikipedia.)
Brit gamer Youtube original songwright, Dan Bull, has gone to the trouble to white-rap the other notable events of December the twenty-fifth. “Non-Christmas Song” doesn’t exactly start the fire, or try to fight it. Listing! It’s a Christmas tradition!
AUGUST 2019: A Family Christmas says it all, doesn’t it? Okay, every family has its problems. Ask Dostoyevsky, ask Faulkner, ask your mother…. Love/hate adulate/ignore hug/sneer…. exhausting. Christmas Queens albums (1, 2, 3) offer pop takes from dragsters about life, lust, and dealing with it. With panache. Or elan. Or whatever. (Mostly takes on traditional carols, but some outlandish originals to look out for.)
Holidaze in Lumania from Barnes and Barnes is that eccentric absurdist humor you seem pretty cool to larf at while no one else knows what the hell is going on. Norms beware.
Time for something sweet and sentimental. A Silent Film has a darling hand drawn bit o’ nostalgia with “Christmas at Our House.” Awww-together now.
SEPTEMBER 2019: So many novelty numbers for Mrs. Santa, our dependent Claus. Albums to get: The Quinto Sisters Holly Jolly Christmas (1964). The Bobs Too Many Santas (1996). Three Day Threshold & Summer Villains Christmas & Holiday Songs, Vol. 1 (2008). Eddie Florano Christmas Here There and Everywhere (2007). Emmy the Great (and Tim Wheeler) This is Christmas (2011). Collect and trade.
But take a moment for “Surabaya-Santa” from Soshana Bean. Just, give it a chance. Seriously. Ridiculously even.
OCTOBER 2019: Songs defending and debunking The War on Christmas, wherein somebody out there is trying to stop yuletide celebrations of all kinds. It’s not the Grinch… it’s not the Communists (although i gave them a shout out)… it’s your neighbors! Spy on ’em for me and report back, there’s a good lad.
Lauren Mayer is the liberal (Jewish) commentator Mark Russel stopped being. Her album If My Uterus was a Gun and Other Musical Rants from the News leans all over the show tune winketty-wink humor. Rimshot. (For the more discerning patron, right this way to Latkes, Shmatkes! her all-Chanukah lounge-act comedy parodies.)
Roy Zimmerman’s 2005 Peacenick Album is a must-have staple of leftist satire. This Dr. Demento regular has an occasional musical revue of his political punditry in San Jose. Artistry is folk-based, but this be professional humorism, gang.
‘Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas’ was an actual movie in 2014 discrediting all the ‘myths’ of pagan antecedents becoming the Christmas Holiday (the film earned the lowest score ever received on Rotten Tomatoes). Taylor Ferrera is a NYC folkster who schoolhouserocks the irony of this nonsense in “Pagans Stole Christmas from Christians.” Cry Holiday and let slip the eggnogs of war!
NOVEMBER 2019: Finally a happy theme for a month of novelty: PA-HA-AR-TAY! Party albums include Karling Abbeygate’s goth rockabilly uninhibited wildness, Christmas with Karling. It goofs, it soars, it swings.
Have you met my friend, Rudy Casoni? Our favorite Sinatra impersonator doesn’t cover the Chairman’s hits, but mocks the sexism, alcoholism, and mob connections with original lounge tunes all holiday-tinted in ‘Sno Balls, a reference that there‘s no balls like his. This rat packs more comedy into a song than a Dean Martin roast.
The NYC funny white gang of songsters Fortress of Attitude range genre and humor stylings far and wide. Something for everyone in Bigger Than Santa: 12 Christmas Songs in 12 Christmas Days, an excellent example of ha-ha-ha-ism. This is my way of introducing my fave-o party song “New Years Steve,” a 1980s soft anthem of crazy roof-raising. Not exactly Xmas, but the wonderful rhymes just keep coming. (Ha, Aleve, ha ha.)
DECEMBER 2019: Guilty pleasure, sometimes i peek at those evolution-of-dance Youtube videos where the cast segue from waltz to Charleston to sockhop, well you get the idea. I thought i’d try that with the history of technology to communicate Christmas cheer. Certes, there are more examples of such than songs about it. And many of these are amateurs (with flair).
The Mangles’ EP album of last year Mangle Bell Rock deserves a twirl. Thoughtful alt, ‘billy, and more. Novelty approved!
Sam Wineman is a director musician social justice warrior. If you donate to AIDS/LifeCycle you’ll get his album Right in My Christmas. It’ll make your apparel (& your Xmas) gayer. All original, self deprecating, tongue-in-cheek.
It’s been a dark year, so we’ll end the holy day with the nihilstic downer “Nuclear Xmas” by GOOP. Deal with it.