Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'Tis once more the season . . .

. . . when cheerful holiday music and alchoholicly-lubricated good cheer are at our throats. It requires all my strong moral principles to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street and methodically knocking people's hats off (thanks Ishmael). And so I retreat to my pile of oddball Christmas cheer.

Merry Christmas, and to all, a Happy New Year.


Eels: Christmas Is Going To the Dogs

I always liked Eels. To eat, to serve as a container for my money and credit cards, but most of all, to listen to.

Yo La Tengo: It's Christmas Time

They're from Hoboken. Yup, them and Frank. If there's a band that every music nerd, regardless of their taste, loves loves loves, it's YLT. These guys also are a walking iTunes collection of covers.

The Knife: Christmas Reindeer

Swedes! Who are neither Jens Lekman nor Peter, Bjorn & John. Wow, what are they doing on an Irate playlist?

Jens Lekman: Christmas

There had to be something from Jens, right? Off his wonderful blog that I check obsessively in the remote hope that he'll play a secret show at my house.

Arcade Fire: Jinglebell Rock

Yeah, they're from Montreal. They're popular or something and play arenas now.

Okkervil River: Listening To Otis Redding At Home During Christmas

You can never go home again, but thankfully, you can listen to Otis. Bonus song is Otis's "I've Got Dreams To Remember." It's not a Christmas song, but that's the song Okkervil reference here. It's one of Otis's most beautiful.

Big Star: Jesus Christ

If you don't know Alex Chilton and Big Star, you should reexamine your life choices. Their songs in the 70s resulted in so much of the New Wave, college radio scene, etc., and even a TV show (that's a bonus song, "In the Street," later covered really well by Cheap Trick for what I've been told was a popular show on the televisions.)

Belle & Sebastian: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Performances of this carol can often get a little precious for my taste. But I love the way they force their way right through the lyrics. This was the first Christmas song I heard played in public this year....way back in October.

Tom Waits: Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis

Tom Waits basically is the business. I'm trying to think of anyone else who could write a song about a Christmas card from a hooker in Minneapolis and have it taken seriously. If anyone has any ideas, lemme know.

Low: Little Drummer Boy

I hate this song. Hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it. It's the kind of carol that in three minutes usually manages to incorporate 8 million pop music cliches. But this one is special. There's no bullshit, the focus on the lyrics really is a wonderful reminder, and means a lot to me. Turn it way up, the breath at the beginning is so beautiful.

The Pogues: Fairytale of New York

And just like last year, here's my favorite Christmas Song and yours. Shane looks fantastic in this. I saw him this year at the 9:30, and there was an audible gasp from the crowd when everyone realized that the horrifying train wreck of a human being slithering across the stage with a cigarette and a pint glass full of a clear liquid (I'm assuming not water) was one of the great lyricists of the 20th Century.