This year was me hunched over Lyrics.com trying to find a Christmas song with the number 666 in it, or something like that. I wound up in genres i ordinarily wouldn’t’ve sampled (metal, rap). Some months featured less than a hundred songs! Then the weirdness started rolling in. So my retrospective here on this day of all days is not exactly in order (so tired of that). But, i will recommend albums for you to peruse (BUY!) as well as singles to celebrate the gonzo times we are in.
Did i forget to mention TV’s Kyle? Put a Santa Hat on It is a must-have holiday album full of quality comedy and decent music. You gotta trust me on this one. Get some.
Okay, Christmas cards on the table, imma Dickens fan and a musical fair-weather fan. But, Team StarKid’s electro-disco ‘A VHS Christmas Carol‘ may be better than most modernizations. Kudos to cast: Dylan Saunders, Jamie Burns, AJ Holmes, Brian Rosenthal, Ali Gordon, Brian Holden, Meredith Stepien, Joey Richter, Lauren Lopez, Clark Baxtresser. Check this out.
An amazing synth rocking family shaggy dog story, “Pink Aluminum Christmas Tree” by Leschen Sessions (feat. Kyle Suppler) begins with drunk dad in a ditch then winds up with the enterprising son cashing in on Ebay to the tune of 953$. Don’t believe it? Listen again!
Glad to listen to Krista Detor again. Noticed her my first year out (2015!). Her album, The Silver Wood: Winter Songs, covers fun and systematic societal failures. Love it.
Kookoo bananas from Welshman Liam McKenna & Friends, A Christmas Crisis (for Crisis at Christmas) is a charity grab for a Foodbank type thing in the UK. If the ideas of a dog asking for cat food for Xmas, mincemeat, and turkey bingo don’t wow you, this might be the album wherein (like Edgar Rice Burroughs) you exclaim I Can Do THAT Just As Well–and you diverge to your new career.
Nick and Gabe bring it back around to jaw-dropping novelty with “Thank God (9/11 Wasn’t on Christmas).” This pop tribute begins with how awful people make the holidays, BUT… ‘coulda been worse. Thanks for the perspective, boys.
On the older side, June Christy’s This Time of Year takes us back to 1961. Hep cats may have listened on high. This swingin’ jazz easy listening needs listening to.
Jamie Cullum’s The Pianoman at Christmas is pretty cool. Jazzy lounge big band orchestration. If you like that sort of thing. Then you might love this. Purchase?
Andy Churchill is sitting in your driveway wondering if it’s just a “Party of One” for Christmas. Alt-rock be-grunges the misinterpreted invitation: You said 8:30 But nobody’s here. Still he wishes you’d join his party (of one), i guess because it’s a time of forgiveness. Or he’s that naive.
Wikipedia news! Christmas in Stereo was a 1997 Christmas album featuring various indie rock bands. Each band had only two weeks to write their song. (But i’ve never featured that.) A follow-up compilation, Christmas Two, was released in 1999. (Dipped into that well many a time!) Not something you may have heard before. Bees’ knees and all that. Find it if you can.
The Dan Band features Dan Finnerty, and a whole lot of inappropriateness. Santa helps a hooker, elders are given the gift of a roll in the hay, terrorists are teased, and too much is had to drink. Ho: A Dan Band Xmas has even more. Parody of ‘Christmas Shoes’?? You bet! Look it up!
Un-joyous is the cost of 100 quid faced by The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican in their ‘American Pie’ parody “The Gasman Cometh.” Figures it’d be Christmas Eve (the day the boiler died)…. (Yea! Parody!!)
W.R. ‘Bud’ Thornton, J.D. Andrew and Mike Butler, the remarkable band that has in its time been called ‘the future of hillbilly rock & roll,’ ‘and one of a kind rootsy warriors,’ make up The Boxmasters. (That’s from Airplaydirect.com.) Get ready for some Christmas Cheer. It’s gotta be good, ‘cuz i’m allowing standards to get the rockabilly treatment and still insisting you check it out. [BeeTeeDubs, last year a follow-up Christmas in California came out. Yeah, also too.]
More original, A Malibu Kind of Christmas by The Malibooz run with the surf-rock sound. I mean, run. I mean golly, Moondoggie, that’s a whole lotta tunes.
The other day it dropped to 78 I’m kind of cold, brags “Florida Christmas.” To the Handel chorus Kj-52 X Jonah cleverly disputes your preconceived notions and raps in the holidays, playful-like. I guess I like rap that repeats itself.
Ivor Biggun’s Xxxmas Package is the BLUE record of Robert Doc Cox, aka Ivor Biggun. The subjects range from penises to drunkeness to sex to alcohol. This is a sound engineer from the ’60s at BBC who just had to get down and dirty, for you. Naughty list!
Amanda Shires trembles with her alt-garage, then screams with her pop punk. For Christmas is the gamut of grrl rock and you might want to ask permission before playing.
A loaded 44 is the problem in “Green and Red,” a road rock of a rollicking tragedy. See, the color that left the elves when he snapped is hidden in the title of the song. That’s Vinny the Comb for you.
Homegrown humor from Connor Ratliff & Mikey Erg results in folk strutting that borders on rap. The energy of the doublet The Spirit of Ratliff: a Holiday Soundtrack EP & Summer Is Not Xmas: Anti-Summer Anthems could have lit a whole suburb of trees. It sounds snarky, but it’s heartfelt. You’ll see.
Official Sidekick Production is also a bit amateurish fighting crime in a high concept superhero-inspired Christmas album: The Super Friends Holiday Album. Each song is from the POV of another comic character. All DC, but the fanboy must be fed. This is good stuff.
The prettiest BLUE ALERT i’ve ever posted (yeah i’m a sucker for violins), Altarviolet’s “This Christmas Can Eat a Dick” is not a hater, but a sympathizer for the lost, the put-upon, and the miserable. Still, bully for you who like it: Merry Christmas to the ones who cannot wait till the clock strikes 26. Alt-folk.
I wasn’t sure i’d get into COVID Christmas albums, but Reality Student Ministry’s A COVID Christmas is a bit too good (EP short as it is) to miss. White boy rap, but it gets me.
Saint Etienne is perky pop, but it is Christmas–a time for forgiveness. IF I ever get in a dancing mood, i could do a lot worse than A Glimpse of Stocking. Bet YOU’ll like it.
Harry and Chris from ‘The Russell Howard Hour’ (yeah, i don’t know ’em either) explain Christmas from the 25th to the placenta to a last minute, on the way to Christmas dinner, present-buying, emergency service station stop in “The Christmas Song.” Pop show tune comedy. Literally.
I’ve been missing Thrice a Chuckle to the point where this basement band has dropped SIX volumes of Christmas frivolity i only just discovered. Known simply as Volume I, Volume II, Volume III, Volume IV, Volume V, and Volume VI–wait, there’s Volume VII! Uhh, and Volume VIII!!~ There may not be a topic they haven’t skewered with their folk-rock slyness. Golly.
Now i did run into Make Like Monkeys years ago, but never LISTENED to their album(s). Perhaps i’ve grown more tender with age, but this retro rock-pop band has all the musical nonchalance of boy bands from the late ’60s (Herman’s Hermits, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and–yes–The Monkees). This was before the age of irony, kids, and the folk-surf-baroque influences create a world of sweetness, even with heavy heartbreak, dysfunctional families, and MONSTERS (their forte). Granted, foolishness and angry parody have their place, but i love music that leaves me with hope. Please, oh please, try out some of their wonderfulness from Christmas With Make Like Monkeys!, A Barrel of Christmas!, Let the Season Begin!, Joyeaux Noel!, Hand Claps for Christmas!, Make Room for Christmas!, Ahhh! Real Christmas, and Just Add Xmas. These are album starting from 2018… love ’em all! (The separate singles i’ll sneak onto the blog later.)
Now, i ardently listened to Dr. Demento in the ’70s and could recite the lyrics to Benny Bell’s “Shaving Cream” at will. So, knock me over with a feather when i discovered Joel Samberg had updated this classic into “Holiday Shaving Cream” which includes building models of nine reindeer at night and finding behind them the next morning…
Just about the strangest thing i stumbled over this year was Brendan Dalton & The 1740 Boys Choir tribute Christmas in Middle-Earth. Why, yes, each song is dedicated to a different character (or set of characters) from LOTR. I suggest you brush up on your Tolkein and read the song titles carefully. In some ways, i suppose, this is no more than filking (like they do at the comic cons), but it’s just so damn impressive. For the nerds.
A strange metal attitude fills Albert Fishing Trip’s macabre sprightly folk pop Christmas Album. Often parodic, always grisly, this should fulfill a rebellious teen’s wishlist. Or yours, you sicko.
Needing more, Keith Varney belts out Just Get Me to Drunk in his hanging-by-a-thread country pop “Christmas Spirits.” It may be morning at home, But in the town of Bethlehem It’s five o’clock in the manger… is all the excuse he needs. Salut!
It’s Going to Be an Awkward Christmas, Darling by Helen Arney is an alt-pop–at times talky–exploration of family, relationships, childhood, and all other necessary evils with curious genre mashing ups.
Sharks’ Teeth’s Christmas on Christmas album gets garage psychedelic with symbolism, metaphysics, and theology. Go with Godforsaken.
So, to Christmas morning. The Stew Boys are begging BLUE ALERT! for Christmas off, but instead they’re up at 4 A.M. to “Make the Stew.” Hope you’re happy. The plodding pop makes me quite so.
Stephen Colbert’s ’08 Christmas special won a Grammy and sold a few albums. A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! is all over the place, showtunes to improv, parody to serious messaging. I should have recommended this long ago. All for you!
Wild Earp & The Free for Alls swing their Cynical Christmas. That way it’s fun for the whole family, no matter how upset you are. The traditional tunes (done as prison blues)! The dirty juke joint fracas (for laughs)! Ho ho, oh.
D.I.L.F USA get pretty pop with their thoughtful “Countdown to Christmas.” Then they rock. Two gifts for you. Oh, and a cool video.
…and to all a good nut!