It is what they say it is, yo. We've previously told you about the RKVC Christmas album. Well, the experimental Indie Power Pop duo is tossing a little sampler your way via Noisetrade and they've included this "loud and obnoxious Thanksgiving greeting"--their words, not mine. The music's good and the whole thing is free. And, be honest, you really want "Thanksgiving" in your arsenal. Hard to say how long they'll keep it up, so best go and get it now.
Of course, the one you really want in your holiday arsenal is this year's free track from Pop Punk favorites The Dollyrots. "Let's Turkey Trot" was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin and originally recorded by Little Eva. It was Little Eva's third single and, lest you believe it was a holiday single or the flip of her Christmas single, it was released in February. Goffin & King were simply trying to come up with/create a new dance craze for the "Locomotion" singer. It didn't exactly take off, though it didn't entirely flop--reaching #20 on the charts. The Dollyrots version actually sounds a half a beat slower to me than Little Eva's, but there's plenty of energy, here, as there always is when the Dollyrots get their thing on. You can get "Let's Turkey Trot" free at either Noisetrade or Bandcamp.
Well, that's all well and good, but this is Stubby's after all. We've got to go where few others dare tread. How 'bout a Bluegrass Thanksgiving tune, hmm? Yeah, we got that.
Paktuckia is the California band of Aamir Malik. Aamir's got Kentucky in his soul, apparently. "The Thanksgiving Song" may be appropriate for the day, but Aamir would tell you it's really about the state of mind we should all have every day. With apologies to William DeVaughn, be thankful for what you got. It's a Bandcamp freebie.
Well, we can't leave it like that, can we? We wanna go out happy. And you're probably thinking I'm going out with that song you've already seen and heard 100 times this year, "All About That Baste" from the Holderness....es. But, no, I'm not going to do that. Can't get a legal download of it anyway. "I Heart Thanksgiving" may not be new and may not be free, but you can get it if you want it from the Funny Music Project. And Robert Lund is a pro at the parody game. OK? Enjoy the turkey, enjoy the football and, mostly, enjoy each other. If you have family or friends to spend Thanksgiving with, cherish them. How ever much or little you have in life, be thankful for that.
Our friends at Lie In The Sound just posted that New York based Front Side Records has dropped a top crop of Christmas freebies on their Soundcloud stream. Some big names included, like The Dropkick Murphys and Big Sugar. And Brigitte is absolutely right to point out that these may not last long. Maybe its a Thanksgiving thing, maybe these are capped at so many downloads. Whatever. Run, do not walk, to Front Side's Soundcloud stream and grab 'em like they're free....cause, right now, they are. Well? What are you waiting for?
I can't help it. I'm still exhausted from that long-ass Singles post. So, below you'll find a list of the free stuff we've featured so far this year (some of it was on the front page and might be in the middle or end of a post...just FYI) including a bunch I just posted.
And just so's you have something to listen to, I've got a couple of recent Swedish Indie Pop/Electronica songs from Tobias Borelius. I didn't find any US outlets where you can buy them, yet. Which is a shame, but his album "You Know Me Too Well, Goodbye" is free on Bandcamp. But I'll keep looking and its definitely worth a stream. The tracks are "Christmas By Myself" and "Tomorrow's Christmas".
ARMAND & IMANI - AWAY IN A MANGER
BROWN FEATHER SPARROW - HOW TO THROW A CHRISTMAS PARTY
CANARIES IN THE COAL MINE - SCARF WEATHER
CHASE ATLANTIC - ALL I'M MISSING IS YOU
CONVERSING WITH OWLS - THE NOBLE SEASON
EGOKILLER - SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN
NOEL GOURDIN - ONE GIFT
HOW TO THROW A CHRISTMAS PARTY - ANGELS & SHEEP
HOW TO THROW A CHRISTMAS PARTY - CHRISTMAS ISLAND
IRONING BOARD SAM - SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN
JUDY K - X-MAS SONG (LONGING FOR NEW YEAR)
DEAN LANE - A CHRISTMAS TRUCE
THE LIKES OF US - JINGLE BELLS
LOVELY HOUSES - SIBERIAN SOLSTICE
JD McPHERSON - TWINKLE (LITTLE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS)
ROSE MELBERG & GREGORY WEBSTER - MERRY CHRISTMAS
SCOTT MILLS - THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS SINGLE
MONDO QUINN - HEAR THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY
MYMAREN - HAPPY CHRISTMAS
NEHZUIL - WHERE WILL YOU BE (THIS XMAS)
NOAH - CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME)
ONCE - FORLORN IN THE DARK
PLASTICFARM - HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS
POUNDSKIN - PAST CHRISTMASES WERE ONCE THE PRESENT
RAQUELA - DEAR SANTA, BRING ME A MAN
ROUGH SHOP - GIMME THAT TWINE!
ROUGH SHOP - MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE
ZACHARY RUSSELL - REINDEER MARCH
MARILYN SCOTT - WINTER WONDERLAND
MARILYN SCOTT - SILVER BELLS
S.P.O.T.S. - DAS CHRISTKIND IM BIKINI
THEA & THE WILD -THIS CHRISTMAS
TOFFEES - LAST CHRISTMAS TIME
ZIPLESS ELLIPSIS - JUST LIKE CHRISTMAS
VARIOUS - NEVER MIND THE BAUBLES (Small Bear Comp)
VARIOUS - NOISE TO THE WORLD
VARIOUS - AN NRT CHRISTMAS, VOLUME 1
VARIOUS - UNDER THE MISTLETOE
VARIOUS - XO FOR THE HOLIDAYS VII
The thing about Christmas singles, this time of year, is that they never stop coming. After last night's marathon Singles post writing, I took a fairly big break from the computer, today. I did add a few things to the Free page, but I didn't want to know from singles for a day. So, tonight, I did a quick check and, lo and behold, there's a single that I swear wasn't around when I checked in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. And, dang, Christmas Underground beat me by an hour (give or take). You know....not that its a competition.
So here are L.A.'s Psych masters, The Smoking Trees, with a two track single which you can purchase beginning December 8 via Amazon (if a hard copy option presents itself, we'll let you know).
Lots going on. Too much to properly keep track of, I'm afraid. But we're gonna try. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Amazon's "All Is Bright", though. "All Is Bright" is Amazon's 43 song playlist designed to entice folks to sign up for Amazon Prime (where the streaming is free). I can't knock them for that; it makes sense, business-wise as, if anything was going to get me to go there, a 43 song Christmas playlist might do it. But its a bit of a mess for those of us who don't really want to do the Prime thing. There's no button to purchase the entire collection (which would be close to $50, if you buy all the tracks individually) and, for somebody like me, it's too much to sift through. Some of the music is brand spanking new and some of it has been kicking around for a while. I'll just recommend Liz Phair's "Ho Ho Ho" and leave you to check out the rest. Now....
"Black Santa Claus" is my absolute favorite new Christmas song of the year. Performed by Inner Circle and featuring Mikey Spice, "Black Santa Claus" has everything. It's got an easy going Reggae beat, a sweet and soulful delivery, and a perfect message. "Take your bag, fill it full of hope, and give it to the poor and the needy. Take your bag, fill it with love, and give it to the youth in the streets" You have to listen to it. Then I think you'll love it like I do. I've had it on repeat all night. The song'll pretty much speak for itself (and win your heart, I'm sure), so I'll let it do so. Official release date for "Black Santa Claus" is November 25 (this Tuesday). You can get it from Amazon.
The John Lindberg Trio has been making great Roots Rock for years, including the too often overlooked Christmas album "Rock This Christmas" (2012). They've got a new Christmas single, this year, and it's pretty awesome. Sounds like Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly got together with Jay & The Americans and an early 70s rock band (haven't been able to pinpoint exactly who). A song like "Merry Christmas (I've Been Waiting So Long)" would make a rousing open or close to your holiday mix. Stream it on Spotify (I don't do Spotify, but I did for this one) and get it at Amazon.
I keep waiting for Rotten Christmas to start up again. They started their long post-Christmas nap in January after a post about Osaka Popstar's "The Christmas That Almost Wasn't" from several years back. Osaka Popstar is back and I say that means Rotten Christmas should be too.
Osaka Popstar was the brain child of several Punk superstars. The members represent some of the finest bands of the genre--The Misfits, The Ramones, Black Flag and The Voidoids. One day, they decided to create a band devoted, primarily, to singing about characters from Japanese anime. Like Astro Boy and Sailor Moon. I'm not sure what they were smoking when they conceived Osaka Popstar, but I sure would like some. [Note: Kids, don't do drugs. Why do you think they call it dope?]
For Christmas 2014, Osaka Popstar has released their vision of "O Holy Night", giving the classic tender carol the kind of a makeover The Dickies gave "Silent Night". It's pretty good, too, though I'd still go with the version from The New Royalty if I was looking for a rockin' version. It's at Amazon and everyplace else, but only as a digital single (although the band will happily sell you an ornament to go with your download). I do dig the cover art.
If you're looking for something with a little more wonder and awe, Canadian Folk Pop singer Anna Vandas has got an absolutely beautiful tune out (complete with haunting cello, violin and some really well done synth). "Wonderous Wild" is perfect for that quiet, snowy December night. Truly gorgeous. I guess you'd call it Folk Pop, but I think this one has enough going for it, it would fit pretty much any playlist. Amazon's got this one.
Over on the Free page, not long ago, we featured a collection that included an amazing funk slice from the band Roxy Roca. We've noted that the band was working on a Christmas single and they were kind enough to mention, in the comments, that, although they didn't have time to get a vinyl 45 pressed, they were offering a CD of their Christmas tunes. CD-Singles are pretty rare. You hardly ever see them anymore. And you never see them with this much funk and soul contained in two tracks. On the "Nice Side", you get "It Ain't Christmas Without You" and, representing the "Naughty Side", a gritty cover of the Clarence Carter classic "Back Door Santa". Of course, being a CD, both sides are actually just on the one side. The CD-Single even comes with a Christmas card. Get down wid yer bad self and boogie on over to Roxy Roca's web store and get a copy of this fantabulous funky Christmas single overflowing with Texas Soul.
And, just when we thought this holiday season couldn't get any funkier, Christmas A-Go-Go finds the most awesome of instrumental R&B singles from Harris & His Christmas Avengers. "Get Down Auld Lang Syne" is guaranteed to breathe new life into any seasonal celebration. We're still waiting for Funk Night Records to hang the "For Sale" sign on this magic piece of vinyl funk. But the sounds on the vid should have lines longer than Apple's last rollout waiting and drooling to get it. Check it out.
I had forgotten that I bought this one until our friends at Lie In The Sound posted it a few days ago.
Dallon Weekes is the bass player (and backing vocalist) for Panic! At The Disco. He also has his own group, the Brobecks. But he's issued "Sickly Sweet Christmas" under his own name. As the title might imply, this is not a "Go Christmas! Its your birthday!" kind of anthem. If anything, its openly mocking the jollier songs of the season. But, when you're taking on something so ingrained in human consciousness as happy Christmas songs, the blade stings all the more when you use their own devices. In this case the self-described "who gives a crap indie" track is upbeat and bouncy and appropriately Spector-esque that it'll delight everyone who gets it and go straight over the heads of those who don't (and they'll delight because its so bright and bouncy). Right down to the little "Jingle Bells" riff at the end. "Sickly Sweet Christmas" is available on Bandcamp, but you'll get it cheaper from Amazon. Just sayin'.
Hey, guess who's back? Back in 1968, a Welsh born singer named Mary Hopkin signed to the Beatles new Apple label. Her debut single knocked the Beatles out of the number one spot. Ah, "Those Were The Days". Mary had the voice of a songbird--fragile, yet strong--as she practically created (or at least defined) the genre of Folk Pop. She recorded some more between 1968 and 1971, including the underrated Lennon and McCartney penned "Goodbye", and then she seemingly disappeared from sight.
Mary did not stop recording--not completely--but she'd had her fill of "the business" and spent most of her time and energy raising a family. A few years back, she started her own label, releasing some previously unreleased recordings as well as some newly recorded material. Among the material Mary has released under her own imprint are a trio of Christmas songs--all previously released, but they sure got by me. Two traditional folk songs--"Cherry Tree Carol" and "Mary Had A Baby" were released post-Apple in 1972. "Snowed Under" was recorded and released as a download in 2006. The Christmas songs were released on a CD in 2008, but you can download the mp3s at Amazon.
Now 64, Mary Hopkin went back to the recording studio this year and cut a Christmas single which releases December 1. Talk about returning to your roots, "Iesu Faban" is an old Welsh folk carol, beautifully done and featuring her children as the angelic choir.
Singer/songwriter/multi-instumentalist Lisa Brigantino was once a member of Lez Zeppelin, the all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band. And, seriously, check out that band's debut album. They rocked! Still, there's only so much you can do with a Led Zeppelin tribute band and Lisa's musical pallet had a lot more colors she longed to paint with. So Lisa embarked on a solo career in 2009. Her most recent album, "Wonder Wheel", featured a diverse menu of Blues, Folk, Americana, Rock, and Old Timey music; I'm exhausted just writing all that.
With a new album expected in the coming months, Lisa has just released a Christmas single. "It's Christmastime" is a piano-centric Folk Pop tune that would be at home on most traditional holiday mixes as well. Its available at Amazon and on iTunes.
Did somebody say Blues? You know I love the Blues. Thankfully, some people who make music like the Blues, too.
Jill Taylor is one such artist. She and her husband were doing pretty well with assorted bands in the eighties and nineties. But just when they thought they'd found the right chemistry with a pair of brothers, the brothers spit for bigger things and, bandless, Jill and her husband John settled down to live their lives, Jill teaching school and directing the church choir.
In 2008, Jill began writing songs, again. They just kept coming. And, of course, once you've written a whole bunch of songs, you've got to sing 'em, right? 2013 saw the release of "Song Of My Heart" and, this year, Jill's got a Christmas single. "Christmas Blues" is now available from CD Baby and will hit Amazon and other outlets by the end of the week. Head to Jill's website and get four songs free just for signing on to her mailing list. And you gotta know...if it's Christmas Blues and there's a video, I'm showing it.
Oooh. More Blues. Two tracks from the DC area group known as The Hard Swimmin' Fish. They've got a pair of tracks out and, although they're listed on separate pages on CD Baby, they're only 65 cents each, so it just adds up to $1.30 for two tracks (you pay that much for one, these days). First up is a cover of the Carey Bell holiday song "Christmas Train". Then there's the cover of the Louis Armstrong chestnut "Zat You Santa Claus?" Hey, you put a Blues harp on just about any Christmas song and I'm buying. Way to go, Hard Swimmin' Fish.
If you remember the early years of rock 'n' roll...well, then you're even older than I am. But, in the early days, Rock was essentially the melding of R&B and Country. Think Bill Hayley & The Comets. This new single from the Martini Bros. has that kind of feel to it. For "Christmas Won't Be The Same", the Martini Bros. are joined by Donna Jean Foster. The Martini Bros. have been rocking Pennsylvania and beyond for twenty years, now. I'm not sure if this is their first brush with the holidays, but I do suspect that Bill Haley, himself, wouldn't mind this one hitting the turntable. If you want to hear the band really rock out, check out their 1997 debut, "Portable". That album is "Smokin'". As for the Christmas single, you can find that one on Amazon.
I don't think I've ever heard an Alt Rock version of "Walking In The Air". Ragsy, aka Gary Ryland, was a contestant on the UK's version of The Voice last year. He didn't win, but he surely gained a following. Ragsy's voice sounds as though it would fit right in a classic rock band like Kansas. I do kind of wish Ragsy and the band would have gone heavy halfway through the song. But you have to consider that Brits revere the song. Still, pretty good take on what is most often presented as quasi-classical or AC vocal. Amazon's got it.
Steve Drewett is a bonafide Punk Legend, having led the Newtown Neurotics and written the anthem "Kick Out The Tories" back when Punk was the cutting edge of rock and politics. Now 60, Steve sees nothing incongruous about making a Christmas single. "I can write anything I damn well please to do," says Steve, "because I can."
"It's Christmas Time! (Oh Yeah, NaNaNa)" has a Phil Spector meets the Ramones feel, so I don't think anyone is going to be too upset, but then again some fans are bound to see it as selling out. The song's about a broken relationship and Steve says it took him three years to get the sound he wanted. "It's Christmas Time! (Oh Yeah, NaNaNa)" is available as a CD-Single in the UK. In the states, we're going to have to settle for digital.
If you like your Punkish music to have an attitude that's a bit more aggressive, the ladies of Jackknife Stiletto have just the thing. "Dear Santa" reminds me of those mid-late 80s Indie Punk Rock songs that you'd stumble across if you were lucky. In fact, I think it might be a cover of just such a record, but its 4 in the morning and my records are in the other house, so... "I still didn't get that bicycle I wanted. I wrote you 500 letters and you still haven't answered me." Worth grabbing in any case. Get it at Amazon or CD Baby. "PS--I took an elf".
OK. I admit it. I'm a nearly 60 year old man who loves "Girl Meets World". Sure, part of it is that I used to have a crush on Danielle Fishel of "Boy Meets World" (you do the math; I was pretty old then, too). And, OK, maybe I still do. But I actually like the new cast and show, too.
Sabrina Carpenter plays Maya on "Girl Meets World", the best friend of Cory and Topanga's offspring Riley. Sabrina's clearly very talented (and only 15!) and here she shows off her singing. "Silver Nights" doesn't even have that full on Radio Disney vibe (which I actually kind of like, by the way--"bubblegum child" and all that--though I know a lot of people can't stand it). If anything, it leans a little bit Country. Disney Pop Country, sure. "Silver Nights" is available through Amazon and iTunes.
1. The Thyme Machine - Driving Home for Christmas (Presents)
2. Mighty Kids - Under Christmas Lights
3. Town Bike - Worst Christmas Ever
4. Los Campesinos! - Kindle A Flame In Her Heart
5. Happy Fangs - All I Want for Christmas Is Halloween
6. Sunny Intervals - Christmas In Your Sights
7. The Very Most - Wombling Merry Christmas
8. Simon Love - Santa's Beard
9. Monkeys In Love - Secret Santa Party #1 (In Comic Sans)
10. Helen Arney - Traditional Family Christmas Argument
11. Oh Peas! - An Adult's Christmas In Wales
12. Alex And The Christopher Hale Band - Christmas Party Disaster, 2011
13. Stephen Hudson And The Fiat Pandas - The Truth About Christmas
14. Moss and Jones - A Song for Mary
15. Ho3 - Back Door Santa
16. The Swapsies - I Hope It Snows Tonight
17. The French Defence - The Shopworker's Lament ORDER FROM CHERRYADE
18. Pocket Gods - Moobular Bells
19. The Lost Cavalry - Christmas Wrapping
20. Quiet Marauder - It's Xmas, So It's OK (To Go And Hug A Turkey)
21. Partly Llama - The End of the Journey
22. Jack Hayter - Xmas Eve In the Pound Shop
23. The Twelve Hour Foundation - Christmas Follows Shortly
Christmas music, in the Internet age, has its own set of annual traditions--each one a present anxiously awaited. Traditions change, of course. Some get better, some worse, some vanish, some appear.
For the last decade, Cherryade--a UK label founded by Indie DJ and FAN, Rachel Nieman--has provided some of the finest Indie Christmas sounds anywhere through the "Very Cherry Christmas" compilations. I wait for these like others wait for Christmas. When they're announced, I order immediately. I've got them all. I treasure them. Fifty years from now, when music historians want to document the very best of the era of Indie Pop, Lo-Fi, Twee, Dream Pop, Indie Alt Folk Rock, Psych Pop, etc., etc., they'll look first to the Cherryade compilations.
As with previous volumes, "A Very Cherry Christmas 10" is being produced in limited numbers. Most volumes sell through by the end of the season or, certainly, by the end of the following season. Cherryade currently has a few copies remaining of Volumes 5 and 9, and you can bundle those with Volume 10, if you want to catch up. Digital downloads appear domestically most years, but they don't stick around for long (currently, Amazon has digital listings for Volume 5 and Volume 6).
As with prior editions, Volume 10 contains some tracks which were previously released by the bands. Volume 10 includes "Kindle A Flame In Her Heart" from Los Campesinos!, for example, and The Lost Calvary's "Christmas Wrapping" from 2012. Other tracks, like "Driving Home For Christmas (Presents)" by the Thyme Machine, are recorded specifically for the set. We've found two tracks from last year to bookend our post.
The regular Cherryade web site has experienced some technical difficulties (it's still there, but administrators are having difficulty accessing for updates), so Rachel and company have set up a blogger page to make ordering possible. An official shipping date has not been posted. In the past, its mostly been anywhere from November 30 to December 6 (so figure somewhere in there). Thank you, Cherryade, for a decade of great Christmas sounds. May the tradition continue forever.
Well, this I never hoid. Apparently there's a Christmas song contest going on. Before you leap to your casio, they're currently in the final round with five finalists competing for whatever. I really can't tell you much more about it, because its all in German, apparently, and google translate is no help at all.
But, for our purposes, this is a great way to track down some unheard Christmas music. These folks may have lost in the contest, but Christmas songs are meant to live forever. But, here, I'm going to let you do the work. I'll play around with it some more, myself, and, when I find a cool freebie, I'll drop a note on the Free List (just put a couple up today). But you might be making final adjustments to your annual mixes and can't afford to wait for me. So here 'tis. On either YouTube or in a regular search engine, drop the phrase "ThomannXMas2014". Haven't tried the search engine yet, myself, but YouTube's got a ton of stuff up. Some real bad, some real good (volumes are all over the place), some from prior year competitions. Here are a couple of my faves so far (no free download on these).
ACROSS A BLACKENED SKY - WE CAN'T WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS
UNDER THE MIST - IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME AGAIN
STEADY GROOVE & STEFAN KAMMERER - I'VE BEEN GOOD THIS YEAR
AGENT DEE - CRAZY CHRISTMAS
OCTOBER - HARBOR (volume is really low on this one)
That's just a taste. There's a lot of diversity--from Classical to Metal. Oddly enough, my two most favorites of the ones I've sampled so far have free downloads available. So check 'em out.
That ought to keep you busy for a while. ;^)
The first of those annual freebies we all look forward to every year has arrived! The 7th installment of XO Publicity's "XO For The Holidays" series has been posted. It should be noted, here, that I love to jump the gun and XO has been known to add songs and tinker around a bit after the initial posting. Right now, the "download album" button isn't working (so you have to download the songs individually) and I'm not sure they've tagged everything the way they want it, yet. That said, if you're making the final adjustments to your annual mixes, you're going to want to grab these at the earliest.
This year's playlist (thus far) is short--just 6 tracks--but given the awesomeness of every track, I can't say I mind.
Starting the set is a cover of Low's "Just Like Christmas" from Pat Kearns of Blue Skies for Black Hearts. That song just sounds so good, no matter who is singing it, and Pat gives it a fine Indie Pop swing with subtle hints of Folk. Then things get heavy with Magnuson's Progressive Rock bordering-on-Metal reading of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Plenty of distortion and guitar shredding make this one a fine anthem for your annual Christmas parties. Hard to believe there are only two people raising all this fine racket. Alejandra O'Leary steps up next with "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)". Alejandra shows you how Indie Rock should sound and how the Spector anthem should be righteously covered in the 21st century. Stick around through the credits--nice ending here.
The tempo and mood turn on a dime when Hawks Do Not Share take center stage, next. A lovely bit of folktronic shoegaze, "Christmas Eve, Montmartre" appears on the band's latest album, "HDNS". It's the sort of thing that seduces you. "Mix me. You know you want to."
It would be difficult to overstate my infatuation with Piney Gir. She's pretty much a regular on the XO sets and, this year, she does not disappoint. When Indie Pop meets Piney Gir meets Exotica, well...this one is gonna spoil you; you're never going to be satisfied with any other rendition of "Christmas Island" ever again. "XO For The Holidays VII" closes with one of the best Psych Punk tracks you'll ever hear, "Got Gratitude" by The Love Dimension. And, OK, so the song's originally from 2011 (re-recorded earlier this year) and its not a Christmas track, per se. I don't care. This is what would happen if you locked the Doors and the Blues Magoos in a small room overnight with nothing but gallons of espresso. And that's something everybody should experience.
So there you have it. "XO For The Holidays VII". Grab it free. Collect the whole set--all 7 volumes. Thank you XO Publicity. You make the season bright.
A few weeks back, I reviewed Rough Shop's new Christmas album, "Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree". I said it was the best Christmas album I've heard so far this year and that's still the case.
A couple of days ago, Rough Shop began a Pledge Music campaign in support of the record (making records ain't cheap, yo). If nothing else, its another platform to reach more and different people, I'm sure.
As with most such crowd funding efforts, there are a variety of incentives available. Want Rough Shop to come caroling at your house this Christmas? It's in there. Rough Shop homemade cookies? Yep. Their entire CD catalog? You can get that. But my eye was immediately drawn to the VINYL record option. There's been so much vinyl this year, it feels like we're back in the eighties; I've never seen so much blue on my List. The over-abundance of vinyl this year might make it seem less special. I get that. But you're not really buying vinyl for this year. You're buying vinyl for the years and decades to come (years and decades which may feature no hard copy formats of any kind). You're buying vinyl because everything about vinyl is better than CD or download. It's warmer, the sound is better, the graphics are bigger and bolder (if your eyesight is anything like mine, that's a pretty BFD). I always preferred vinyl. A CD is just a CD, but a vinyl record is a love affair. Anybody who knows me well can tell you that, when I buy CDs, I look at them briefly when I get home and toss them back in the bag. But a vinyl record...I hold, I touch every edge, read every word. It's a very spiritual moment, that first moment you hold a new vinyl record in your hands.
Ahem, well, yes, some...therapy...might....be indicated, here. Not the point.
The vinyl LP of "Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree", assuming the group raises the necessary funds, is a PledgeMusic exclusive. You'll only be able to get it there. It's super limited. I count 250 available. But lets even say they press 500. That would still be half as many vinyl copies as the Smoke Fairies are making. That's pretty effing limited. Scarcity is a big deal with vinyl collectors. And 100 of those you can only get by buying a ticket to their Holiday Extravaganza on December 6--which is cool if you live in the area, but not much use if you can't get there. It's 150 gram vinyl, so not some cheap piece of plastic. And, most of all, "Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree" is a fantastic album--the kind of album you're going to want to hear again and again, year after year. And you are going to want to hear it at its best--in all its aural glory. That's vinyl.
Anyway, now you know. The rest is up to you. But, if you haven't bought the CD yet, but intended to, take a gander at some of the other swag you could get with it via PledgeMusic. And, if you have bought the CD and like it as much as I do, take a look at some of the other swag you could get for saying thank you by supporting the band. Vinyl! Just sayin'.