It’s Not You, It’s Mean

Breakups took up a month already (JUNE 2019), but it can still feel like Bad Times at Advent Heights. Worst possible timing or what?

Once In a Lifetime comes right out and entitles their boo-hoo “A Christmas Tragedy.” Tinkly folk that plucks the strings deftly, if a bit too sweetly.

Alternately “Christmas Tragedy” by W1GS layers treacle over R+B. Unused arms, phones, and mistletoe leaves us cold and alone.

An Awful Christmas and a Lousy New Year” is smokin’ blues from
Swamp Dog. His woman’s gone, people!

Christmas Gets Worse Every Year” by The Other Guys is decent a cappella about you being just a picture now. Reverentially churchy, but internalized. Could be a makeup session later….

Yuletide: Keelhauled

How bad does it get for sailors at sea? No turndown service?!

Loneliness may be balanced with banquets in “A Maritime Christmas.” But Lee Murdock returns to slowly, sadly reveal at sea it be Christmas in song only. Shanty.

The worst of Sara Noelle’s “Christmas at Sea“‘s experience is not having Christmas at land. Autotuned ethereality about, i suppose, heartbreak.

Gabriel Minnikin balladeers the worst of weather in his banjo-driven indie-gospel “Christmas at Sea.” Hold fast!

Out of mothballs Scythian brings us “The Wellerman Christmas” which is just the old sing-along Wellerman about the whale that won’t let go, but with an appeal to Christ born near the end. I mean, that ship is being dragged ’round the world to no end. Fun stuff.

Frozen tea, lashings, pouring rain… “It’s Hard to be a Shantyman (On Christmas),” at least according to The Longest Johns (again). Advice: Grin and find some yuletide cheer— Brave, me buckos. Keep it shanty!

Yuletide: Hardship

Life at sea is not easy. There’s wet shoes, nausea, and death.

Dumpster Company worries about the dark, buoyancy, and cold when it’s “Christmas on a Boat.” This ’60s jazz band easy listening is a hoot and then some. Poor guys.

And then there’s seasickness: North Pole Fisherman’s Association treads water with “Check Below the Deck for Rollie.” To the tune of ‘Deck the Halls.’ Barf. (If you’re biting the whole parody album is available: A Fisherman’s Christmas Carols. It fills a niche.

Sting tackles classic poetry with “Christmas at Sea,” a regretful adventure into cold and covetousness. But the Celtic singers add an ethereal weirdness.

This same Robert Louis Stevenson poem, “Christmas at Sea,” receives a good turn from Neil Adam & Judy Turner. Sad strings, brave vocals, classically influence folk… this tough time is an enjoyable song. [For comparison, Rob Winder recites this bit with tragic musicality.]

Combining both of those approaches, The Longest Johns a cappella their “Christmas at Sea” like an oral tradition you’d best heed. Lessons here.

A Slippery Slope.14

Rosroc is snowbound at the lodge in “Not Making It Home (for the Holidays).” This R+B with rap interludes isn’t complaining, or even working it out so much–what with cuddling by the tree and hoping to smoke with Santa.

CT arpeggios electronic “Skiing” with an eye for the woodsy slaloming. Zwoosh.

Zac Hurell chants in recognizable English about flirting in the cold, while children outside sled and ski. “This Christmas May Not be the One” doesn’t elevate the player as much as weird us all out.

Christmas Countdown: 50,000

Lemme sneak a couple more in here…

54321 is the address of Santa on “Candy Cane Lane” according to the cornball rock of James Leo Oliver. As if there’s another house up there to identify!

The Yule Logs squeeze a phone number, “North Pole 45789,” into their bouncy pop number. Maybe that’s 674-5789… but, what’s the area code for up there? It’s a number!

Fifty Kilowatt Tree” is the OCD (obsessive compulsive decorating) The Bobs mount to be seen from space.

Yee Haw-liday: slicker fun

Some city folks attempt to don the ten gallon hat and pose as real rangers. Is that funny? In honor of Christmas?!

The Heebee-jeebees are a Calgary a cappella group who have won the Canadian A Cappella Northern Harmony Championships twice. And they’re a hoot. Measure that claim by their “Cowboy Christmas,” a cow punchy listing of all cowboy cliches fast as they can. Hee haw.

Dependent Claus: underloved

Maybe he’s too involved with work, supervising, listing, keeping his weight up… i suppose Santa might be neglectful of the husbandly duties a vibrant helpmate like Mrs. Claus ought to expect. Is it bad enough to sing about?

Tony Thaxton (feat Allison Weiss and Sara Watkins) gets sloppy with bluegrass begging in “Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Christmas Eve.” Nagging does not become you, madam.

Ode to Mrs. Claus’s Joy” from Gregg Cagno is a chatty folk rock feature about the seduction of the fat man. She’s under a blanket under the tree. PG-13. Yeah, there’s some Beethoven mixed in there.

Stockings and Christmas heels are the allure from “Mrs. Claus Laments (Stay Home with Me).” This torchy R+B jazz from Lynzie Kent gets a bit sweaty.

The Bobs bring it home with “Mrs. Claus Wants Some Lovin’.” Shaggy baggy R+B a cappella that’ll land her on the naughty list.–K0NOO3ys

TreeMendous Holiday Fun: Coloring Outside the Pines

Anyone can string the bulbs ’round the needles. It takes an outlier to really decorate with chromatic panache. Light ‘er up, Jetson!

Putting incandescence on the holiday plumage may take on other meanings. “Lit up Like a Christmas Tree” from Flaming Stars isn’t about drinking, but about drinking you in with my eyes, love.

When The Smoking Trees invite you to melt your mind, it’s with tambourines and filters and sound effects from town and distortion. “The Psychedelic Lights of Christmas” result. Ingest responsibly.

Other moods include BLUE. “Blue Light Christmas Tree” isn’t about the decorations after all. Jim Rorie gets bluesy about her leaving him. The tree just is there, brightly mocking him.

And what if they’re dark… or “Blinking Lights“? Brian Kinder goes music hall funny with this.

On the other branch, you can overload that unsuspecting pine into a “Fifty Kilowatt Tree” as Caribbean a cappella-ed by The Bobs. Blew the ‘burbs out. Purdue Musical Organization performs: