Results matching “decibels”

MerryHappy.jpgSomehow, a reality show star yelling at a cat became the biggest thing on social media this year, but if you stop and think about it, this meme is actually a pretty reasonable summary of what's been going on in America the past few years. Well, enough with the pop philosophy; let's take a look at the holiday through the funhouse-mirror perspective of your jolly website host.

"Merry Xmas Everybody," Film -- A nice upbeat disc opener, and it's been years since we've had a cover of this great Slade holiday original on the annual playlist, so here it is once more.

"Under the Mistletoe!," Elle King and Ronnie Spector -- A 1960s girl-group legend teams with a popular millennial singer-songwriter for a bombastic holiday future classic.

"Being Home For Christmas," Ivan & Alyosha -- I never heard of these folks before, but I like this stately midtempo ballad a lot. They've got to work on their names, though; every time I see those names I think of characters from the Ukraine scandal.

"Holiday-ish," The Regrettes -- No, this doesn't have anything to do with any ABC-TV situation comedies, it's just a nice original pop-rock take on Christmas.

"Arbolito de Navidad," Los Lobos -- The self-proclaimed "Just Another Band From East LA" tips their hats to their heritage with a Christmas album stocked mainly with folk carols from Mexico to South America, but they manage to keep their rock 'n roll bonafides in the foreground as well.

"I Got Your Christmas Right Here," Aloe Blacc -- I've only ever seen this guy perform on Jools Holland's BBC-TV show on the MTV Live channel, but he's a great soulful singer, and this original is from an album of mostly new funky holiday tunes.

"Better Everyday," Keb' Mo' -- With all the existing blues Christmas tunes that are out there, it's great that this popular blues singer managed to put together a few originals of his own for his first Christmas album.

"Mediterranean X-Mas," Josh Rouse -- Seems like every year we manage to nod to Christmas in the warmer climates, and this year's tropical sugarplum comes from an American guy who spends a lot of time in Spain. Hence, this new original song.

"The Leader of the Pack," Merkel and the Merkelettes -- This bunch of Philly comedians put together a note-perfect Christmas parody of the classic Shangri-Las' tune.

"Christmas Time Is Here (Uh-Oh)," Telekinesis -- Let's rock out with this driving little number that was originally intended for Cheap Trick, but the writers kept it for themselves, with great results.

"Angels We Have Heard On High," The Decibels -- If a young Van Morrison were one of the angels, this is what the carol might sound like. These guys take a classic carol to the garage and rock out.

"Eight Nights a Week," Loudon Wainwright III -- The "Dead Skunk" guy weighs in on the celebration that is Hanukkah in this gently rootsy tune.

"Merry Christmas Happy Holiday," Amber Pacific -- A chirpy little folk number, this is here mainly because it serves as the playlist's title tune.

"I'm Going Back Home for Christmastime," Olivia Bloch (featuring Kurt and Al Bloch) -- Because if that's not where you are this time of year, it's where you want to be.

"It's Christmas Time," Jenn Bostic -- More blues influence, only from the female perspective this time. Which is only fair, since there are a LOT of women in the blues field nowadays.

"Mardi Gras for Christmas," Squirrel Nut Zippers -- These guys came in about 20 years ago riding the new swing band trend, went away for a while, and now they're back with this nod to the season done New Orleans style.

"Silent Night (Christmas Is Coming)," Sting and Shaggy -- This is a popular Christmas carol, but it's usually done in ways that aren't quite in keeping with the spirit of our annual playlist. The former Police-man and the reggae star fixed that for us this time around.

"Broken Gnome," The JAC (featuring the Christmas Crew) -- A damaged holiday decoration sets up the singer for a bit of dread about the future, but the sentiment is set off against an upbeat power-pop melody.

"I Think We Killed Santa," Lucky Halfspeed -- Oh no, you bastards! You don't hear many Christmas carols that take their plots from "Weekend at Bernie's," so here you go.

"X'mas Time (Sure Don't Feel Like)," Letters to Cleo -- This 90s band resurrected one of my favorite obscure Christmas tunes from about 30 years ago, so I thought I'd put it on the playlist this year.

"Rebellion of Winter," Piebald -- Whip out your lighters, the energy here is threatening to melt the polar ice caps. What, it's already happened? You mean it's not a hoax propagated by the Chinese government? Who'da known, eh?

"New Years Blues," G. Love -- What the heck, one more blues to wrap the collection for another year.

A Kool Kat Kristmas Volume 3, various artists (Kool Kat)

koolkat3.jpgThis New Jersey indie label has provided us with two previous volumes of sharp power pop holiday recordings, and they're back for 2019 with a new collection. It's only available on CD, there's no download or other format available at this writing. As I mentioned earlier, the Athanor single "I Remember You on Christmas" was compiled here, along with Everet Almond's "Have a Very Very Very Merry Christmas," a sharp Spector/Beach Boys homage, the Decibels' 60s-style "Christmas Wish," The Junior League's ballad "Holiday Bouquet," The Season's Greeters' bluesy "Santa's Leaving Town," and Nick Frater's more 70s-sounding "Christmas Is Cancelled." Richard Turgeon insists he's "Skippin' Christmas" and running off to California in a nice mid-tempo strut, the Stan Laurels give us "Noche Buena," but don't worry, it's all in English, and Stephen's Ruin ramps up the garage band organ on "A Child's Christmas." Emperor Penguin goes all "Rocky Raccoon" on us with their faux-Western "Lonesome Cowboy Christmas," Tommy and the Rockets perform the uptempo "December Snow," Ed Ryan cranks up the intensity even more with "Noel (You've Gotta Sing)," and Steve Somerset's Shadow Kabinet takes the collection out on a down note with "Compliments of the Season," a folk-rock holiday protest song with a few currently timely references, and I think you know what I mean by that. Yet another fine collection of a currently neglected style of rock 'n roll music. Note that $5 of every sale goes to the American Cancer Society. UPDATE: Stubby, and commenter Rich Woods, both rushed to the intertubes to tell me that Futureman Records has the download for this album over at Bandcamp. Also, though I tend to favor Amazon links where possible due to the few pennies they throw at this website, it's only fair to let you know that you can get the CD from Kool Kat's own website.

Big Stir Holiday Maxi-Single, various artists (Big Stir)

BigStirEP.jpgBig Stir has been busy this season, with two singles previously mentioned here and this further collection of eight songs (short LP or long EP? Definitions, folks!). Great rock-power pop is on offer here, starting with Anton Barbeau's "Xmas Song," a holiday jangle-pop anthem, and going on with San Francisco's The Bobbleheads performing the catchy "Groovy Time of Year," Dolph Chaney remaking a downbeat original of his called "Christmas," Kai Danzberg and Scott McPherson teaming on an almost Bay City Rollers-esque "The Day Before Christmas," and The Decibels mash up "Angels We Have Heard On High" with "Gloria," something that was done in the 80s by the Tryfles on A Midnight Christmas Mess. Nevertheless, it's too good an idea not to resurrect now and then. The Forty Nineteens conjure up an echo of Roy Wood in their song "It's Christmas Time Again," Alison Faith Levy brings us a Hanukkah Alert on the folky "All I Want for Chanukah is a Ukelele," and former Soft Boy/Katrina and the Waves songwriter Kimberley Rew teams with Lee Cave-Berry on the 70s pop-rocker "All I Want Is You For Christmas." As with the other releases, you have to go to Big Stir itself to get this, and you should, especially if power pop is your jam.

brokegnome.jpgThis group is the work of Joe Algieri, a power pop legend from Down Under, who has been posting his music to Bandcamp for years. Among those many postings have been a number of Christmas tunes, and this 2019 offering is his latest. It's a bright midtempo number with all those British Invasion touches amped up a few decibels, with seriously downtempo lyrics about a dying relationship at holiday time. Best of all, it's free from Bandcamp -- one click and it's yours.

This power pop Christmas collection from 2011 has an international pedigree, as each act's country of origin is given in the liner notes. The US, Britain and Australia are always gimmes, but Italy, Spain, Sweden and Guernsey are also represented. (Yeah, I thought Guernsey was just another UK location, but it's not only nominally independent, it's not even part of the EU.) Previously covered tunes include the Britannicas' "Chris Hillman Christmas" and the Click Beetles' "A Christmas Wish." Although no act is entirely from Sweden, Joe Algeri and Friends' "Stockholm Christmas" features Magnus Carlson on lead guitar, he of the recent Phil Spector homage "Cry Cry Christmas." The majority of the songs here are originals, although the Decibels present covers of "White Christmas" and "Angels We Have Heard on High," the latter of which is similar to the Triffids' "Gloria," in that both groups medley the classic Them song with the carol. The Jetz also do a serviceable "Father Christmas," the Kinks song, The Lolas give us a nicely rocked-up "Little Drummer Boy," and Guernsey's The Risk revisit The Damned's "There Ain't No Sanity Clause." The Shambles "Warm This Winter" is a great song with a kind of amped-up Everly Brothers delivery, Yeh Yeh's "To All Who Can't Attend" is a nice poppy holiday toast to those who went before us. Spring Collection and Ed James have nice holiday love ballads, "Christmas with You" and "You Make Me Believe," respectively. Jeremy goes all Beatlesque on "Christmas Every Day," while The States channel The Who on "This Christmas." Smodati gives us some Italian power pop on "In tempo per Natale," which I guess is "In Time For Christmas, and Los Immediatos stick to English on "Just Let It Snow," an organ-led rocker. And here's a name I haven't seen for a while: Skid Roper, former partner of Mojo Nixon, gives us a nine-minute "Christmas Mystery," in which the baby Jesus goes missing. The Jetset wraps things up with a bit of Beatles Christmas record-style goofing around, followed by the solid rocker "What Can I Say." Another great compilation of independent power pop Christmas music.
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