Happy New Year, bitches...

So that's it, Christmas is over, James Brown is dead, and I'm done with the Christmas tunes. There were more tracks I wanted to post, but just didn't get around to, so I'll save them for next year perhaps. I was gonna do a "top gigs" list for 2006, but I really can't be bothered right now. I know I've broken your heart, but you'll get over it real fast, trust me. I'm gonna take a lil break from this, but I'll be haunting the usual spots if anyone wants to message me.

I've been feelin some old school tunes lately, so I'm gonna close out 2006 with this Brenda Holloway vid, "Just Look What You've Done", from 1967. I've never actually known her by name, just a few songs on random comps. I was listening to one track and was inspired to look her up. From what I've read, she apparently was an exception to the rule, as she was a female artist who wrote AND performed her own songs back when most female artists didn't do shit like that. In any case, she's utterly gorgeous and a fabulous singer, she totally shoulda been a big star.

Have a safe one, cya in 2K7...


The rats ate all the presents and the reindeer ran away

Sooner or later, everyone releases a Christmas song or album. Even the legendary Spinal Tap did one, called "Christmas With The Devil". There are a few versions of this song floating around, the best of which is on the "Christmas With The Devil" 7" b/w a "scratch mix" of the same song, but this one is a little more difficult to find. You can also find it on their "Break Like The Wind" album, which had wider distribution and has probably ended up in bargain bins all over the world.

The version on BLTW is a tad overproduced, and I much prefer the 7" version. Also, the 7" version has Tap themselves wishing happy holidays to all at the end of the song, while the BLTW version edits that out completely. Check out the 7" version here, and happy holidays, bitches.

Spinal Tap > Christmas With The Devil

RIP James Brown

Singer James Brown, known as the "Godfather of Soul", has died at the age of 73.


Step into Christmas, the admission's free

I got into the Wedding Present waaaay late, but hey, better late than never. Right? I once had a housemate who loved them and would play choice songs for me, but it never clicked. A few years ago, I went to see the The New Pornographers and guess who was supporting. It was Cinerama, which is David Gedge's "other" band. Cinerama were so fucking good, I was completely taken. I bought a few of their albums and sure enough, I started to delve into the Wedding Present and it all came together beautifully. Anyway, this is their kickass cover of Elton John's "Step Into Christmas", which you can find on their "Hit Parade 2" album, as well as that "Lump of Coal" compilation I mentioned a couple weeks back.

The Wedding Present > Step Into Christmas

Wonder Christmas

I don't know much about Chocolat, except I really like her songs and her sweet, sweet voice. This song has kind of a big 60s feel to it. Maybe sorta like something off the Phil Spector album. Maybe. I could be reaching here, but check it out...

Chocolat > Wonder Christmas

(ps...it's m4a)


I wish that I could walk you home

I don't know much about the Raveonettes, although I once saw them live a few years ago. I got a free ticket, thanks to a timely email from a friend. I thought the gig was pretty cool, but I never followed up for whatever reasons. In any case, I believe this is an original of theirs and I like it. So there.

The Raveonettes > The Christmas Song


I Want An Alien For Christmas

Some people think Fountains of Wayne are a novelty band, and in some ways, they are. What I really like about them are their smart, catchy pop songs. They've got enough hooks to last days and days. In any case, both of these are pretty darn catchy with a healthy dose of fun. You can find the tracks on FoW's "Out-of-State Plates" compilation or on the original single (pictured) if you have the time/cash to track it down.

Fountains of Wayne > I Want An Alien For Christmas
Fountains of Wayne > The Man In The Santa Suit


We felt so young, it was just like Christmas

Speaking of sleigh bells, it's Low's modern classic, "Just Like Christmas", from the predictably titled EP, "Christmas". Low are generally known for their funeral dirge-like songs, so this is a very upbeat number in comparison. I love the sleigh bells and the timpani drums. Well, they sound like timpani drums to me. I also like the way the guitar comes in at the end, and Mimi's voice is just lovely. What more could you ask for?

Low > Just Like Christmas


Christmas Rap

Okay, I have time for one more before I head out. Anyone remember this? Classic. Nuff said.
Run DMC > Christmas in Hollis

Old skool

These are probably questionable in terms of being actual Christmas songs, but don't worry, I've got plenty more. I say whatever, I love 'em and I'm a sucker for sleigh bells. I'll even go as far to say that sleigh bells are better than handclaps. Anyways...

The Pixies Three > Cold, Cold Winter
William Bell > Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday


I'm waiting for Santa Claus, he's riding on a bison sleigh

One of my favorite bands. I finally got to see them live a few years ago, and again last year when they came through town. They're so fun, charming, and unassuming and very much worth your time. I love this track, it's great, goofy fun and doesn't feel like tacky sentimental crap. They're just a band out to have a good time and they want you to have a good time as well.

Shonen Knife > Space Christmas


I just realized I had previously posted that Kinks track a few days ago. Good thing this isn't a professional blog or else the shareholders would be up in arms. Or something. So I will make up for this error by posting a cover version of a Christmas track I've already posted. What? I said, this one is sweet. Asobi Seksu played it last month at the GAMH gig. Also, you can download it from their website. It's really just a reason to post another pic of Yuki. And who needs a reason?
Asobi Seksu > Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)


Give all the toys to the little rich boys...

This was one of the first non-traditional Christmas songs I remember hearing, some time in the late 70s, and it's been a fave ever since. I'm guessing that finding the single would be a bitch, but you can also find it on the comp, "Come Dancing with the Kinks: The Best of 1977 - 1986".

The Kinks > Father Christmas


I think of you, wherever you go

One of my favorite Christmas tunes, it's The Pretenders' "2000 Miles", from their underrated 1984 album, "Learning To Crawl". I remember my dad complaining that it wasn't a Christmas song because it wasn't a classic. Umm, dad...WTF are you talking about? I wonder what people thought of, let's say, "Frosty The Snowman" the first time they heard it back in the 50s. They probably thought Gene Autry was smoking crack. Anyways...

The Pretenders > 2000 Miles


A lump of coal...

This is probably one of the trippiest Christmas tracks I've ever heard, it's Henry Rollins reading "t'was The Night Before Christmas". You can find it on a Christmas comp called "A Lump of Coal", which was released in the early nineties. The other stuff on there is not bad (at least it's not the Gwen Stefani Sings Christmas Classics), ranging from The Wedding Present's "Step Into Christmas" and The Primitives' straight ahead version of "Silent Night", to the Crash Test Dummies' "First Noel" and The Young Fresh Fellows' "O' Little Town of Bethlehem". I can't imagine that the album is still in print, but I'm sure it could be found if one looked hard enough. Anyways...

Check it:
Henry Rollins > t'was the Night Before Christmas


This Year's Favorites...

(in this order, sorta...)
  1. Asobi Seksu >> Citrus
  2. Neko Case >> Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
  3. Band of Horses >> Everything All The Time
  4. Mogwai >> Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
  5. Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins >> Rabbit Fur Coat
  6. Joanna Newsom >> Ys
  7. Camera Obscura >> Let's Get Out of This Country
  8. The Radio Dept >> Pet Grief
  9. The Decemberists >> The Crane Wife
  10. Cat Power >> The Greatest
  11. Sparklehorse >> Dreamt For Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain
  12. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan >> Ballad of the Broken Seas
  13. Tom Waits >> Orphans
I didn't really get much new music this year, or at least it didn't feel like I did...but this is what I liked. Fairly predictable, if you know me, but there it is. I'm sure there's tons of stuff that I should be listening to, as well, so I'm open to any recommendations.

I have to say, after a so-so (to put it politely) debut a couple years ago, the Asobi Seksu album came out of nowhere and absolutely floored me. I mean, I was expecting nothing but greatness from Neko Case, but the way AS took me by surprise is the reason I placed it at number one.

Band of Horses took me by surprise, as well. I had read that they were a couple guys who used to be in Carissa's Wierd (sic), whom I really love. So I picked up the BoH album, not really knowing what to expect, and ended up with a wonderful album. I got to see them live, and they sounded fucking great.

I keep using the word, surprise, but it applies to the Jenny Lewis album as well. I'm not a huge Rilo Kiley fan, but I do enjoy their work. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins caught me off guard with its...simplicity, I guess is the right word. The album is really charming and only gets better with repeated listens.

The Zidane album, to me, is a big improvement over Mr. Beast. I love the quiet beauty within. It's very subtle and understated. Don't get me wrong, I love the noise and fuzz as much as anyone else, but I love the opposite end of the spectrum as well.

**EDIT** I just realized I forgot to throw in Tom Waits' Orphans, even though I haven't listened to all of it. It's three discs long, but c'mon, it's Tom Waits. He's the man, okay?


The Manhattan Love Suicides

It's been a long week and I'm tired as hell, so I'm gonna keep this short, mainly because I don't know much about The Manhattan Love Suicides. Their album was just released on Magic Marker Records. I ordered a copy from Darla.com on the strength of the tunes on their myspace page, which I had first heard this past summer. They kinda remind me of The Primitives or The Darling Buds, except with more fuzzy guitars. Fuzzy guitars are a good thing, trust me.

The Manhattan Love Suicides > Skulls


Self Portrait: DoB

OMFG!!1!!!1~~ Robot Hero in rare self portrait shocker!

Me, messing around with camera at 1am on my birthday. Fucking hell, I feel old. I'm treating myself to an Aimee Mann gig tonight, at Bimbo's 365 in North Beach. She's doing a "Christmas Show", probably in conjunction with the Christmas album she just released, which is titled ""One More Drifter In The Snow". You can buy the album over on her website and probably your local brick and mortar CD shop as well. It's got all the covers you might expect, and it also features an original song, "Calling On Mary". Also, her version of "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch" is amusing.

I'm taking my dad along with me to the show. I figure that over the course of my lifetime, he's put up with enough of my shit that he deserves at least night out on me. I also figure that of all the music I listen to, he'd be more receptive to 1) Aimee Mann (even tho he probably wouldn't "get" her) and 2) a Christmas themed show. I don't think he'd be very pleased if I dragged his ass to go see Asobi Seksu or Neko Case. Then again, if I put enough alcohol in him, I could probably get him to sing along to all my favorite Godspeed You! Black Emperor tunes. Anyways, check out Aimee's Christmas track, along with my two favorite birthday songs. Cheers.

Aimee Mann > Calling On Mary
The Pixies Three > Birthday Party
Cibo Matto > Birthday Cake