A busy year, but rewarding. At least that’s how i choose to look at it today. Don’t ask me tomorrow what i think, doesn’t matter then.
Tried some wild concepts for my monthly themes. Surfing for Christmas?! Many surf-rock versions of traditional carols roll in with the tide, but for songs ABOUT riding the waves in December… Well, i’ll recommend The Barbary Coasters’ Hark! to Parrotheads, retro rock enthusiasts, partiers, and anyone else with a pulse. I think you’ll dance.
Oddest of the lot: Surf Party, USA was a joke band that made good–well, at the college radio level. But their 2018 beginnings have resulted in THREE holiday albums (one’s for Thanksgiving, another’s for Halloween). So, get wet with Surf Party, Yule S.A And say hey to Andrew Berg for me.
The single i can’t get out of my head was a typo. “Athiest Serf Holiday” by The Yule Logs from the album You Ruined Christmas has to be heard to be believed. No oceanic adventuring. Surf rock, and existential as Moondoggie.
FEBRUARY tried more sport transpo with sledding action. Christmas songs about buttsliding on snow?! As much as ‘Jingle Bells’ is a Christmas song! That Band From Holland, known as The Non Traditionals, and their light rock insouciance is a slam for the worries of the world. Their album New Traditionals (Final Christmas Compilation) is but one of many. Try it and see.
The Light get me right in the novelty bone with their bizarre “Sledding Song.” I can barely believe the rush.
March continues with skating! Most of these interesting songs come from albums littered with standards–which i do not prefer to recommend. But Ginger Cat’s Christmas With You has just enough class to make my cut.
John McCutcheon noodles on the electric guitar in such a way that his “Fly” evokes childhood, nature, athleticism, and pure joy. Yeah i like this.
April tested boundaries with songs about skis. There’s a subculture in the music world there, so it’s easy to land on the album Ski Songs by Bob Gibson. The suffering, self-hatred, and ecstasy of being a skier lands more on the ’50s than now. but this is a must-have for the slope-sters out there.
1960s Outsider Pop is another thing imma not familiar with. If Joye Bell’s “Let’s Go Skiing” is symptomatic of this trend, sign me up. Peppy and fun.
Adolescent humor takes me back to my just a few hours ago. It’s what i know. So, when i say Ben & Tucker’s “Magical Rainbow Train” is self indulgently & narrowly hilarious, i guess I know what i’m talking about.. [Which means their album Christmas Carousal (Deluxe Edition) is something to check into as well.]
June took locomotion onto the high seas–and sea bottoms–with boats for the holidays. This gave me a chance to revisit Carbon Leaf’s bluegrassy rock in their inimitable Christmas Child. That is good music.
Another tangent, ‘cuz Christmas music about ocean craft only floats my boat so high… but Brennen Leigh’s “Merry Christmas, Asshole” finally pays the tab of all those put upon women in country music singin’ about all those intolerable men. He does sink a boat, but there’s SO MUCH MORE to call him out on. Sing it!
July naturally extends boats to pirates. What a great idea for Christmas tunes! …in some other year, perhaps. I did happen across concept bands who ONLY perform pirate music where’er they play. Mostly they spoof traditional carols with an ARR! or AVAST!, but Ye Banished Privateers is deadly serious with their researched and cosplayed A Pirate Stole My Christmas. The energy! The grime! Goosebumps! Get some.
A rare live performance from Captain Bog and Salty charmed me enough to feature “Merry Christmas, Santa is Walking the Plank.” Perhaps i shouldn’t have. But it is quite the jolly blend of cruelty and danceable shanty.
August comes alive with MONSTERS for Christmas. Oh you kid, the possibilities were endless… well for ghosts and zombies, anyway. Most cryptizoologicals didn’t earn much play (Chupacabra Xmas songs, anyone??). The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra resuscitated (in 2019!!) big band sounds from mid-century flawlessly with their album Underneath the Mistletoe. On repeat, please.
“Love Xmas, Hate Vampires” care of Vom Vorton doesn’t mince feelings. But this righteous rockabilly punk has a great beat and i can die to it.
September rounded up even more monsters with demons, devils, and Satan hisself. Christmas Reminisces from the X-Misses includes at least two songs about Hell. And a helluva lot of more originality. Rock, swing, disco… who could ask for anything more!
Music Vault (Joe Heavey / Patrick Kelly / Rick McKay) amuses with their love ballad “Merry Christmas, Satan.” Whatever you think it is, you’re wrong. Sigh.
October continued all things damnable, including a major detour through Armageddon. The Doubleclicks offer solace with their unusual album Christmas Ain’t about Me. Classically trained funsters cute loose. Cool Christmas album.
Rifftones ends times with their “Apocalypse Christmas.” This joyous drinking song hits all the wrong notes in all the right ways. Great video besides.
November naturally turns to the worst Christmas ever. It’s about time to introduce you to A Very Bert Dax Christmas. Purveyor of the greatest Saint-Louis-centric holiday compilations ever compiled, and then some, this collecting apparatus has been going strong for years. Not always original works, but always cool. We’ll start you with Volume Seven.
Mark Cummings unleashes the shaggy dog story of a holiday gone terribly wrong in “Don’t Give Your Wife an Iron for Christmas.” Deadpan country humor gives me stitches.
December turns the tables with the menace and power of guns for Xmas. Which means imma feature songs id rather avoid. Including Ralphie’s Red Ryders’ album You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out. Embarrassing movie, great rocking subject.
The hypnotic power of Wall of Voodoo depicts the menace part in “Shouldn’t Have Given Him a Gun for Christmas.” And to all a good duck and cover.