And you might wanna know that the "2016 Cigar Box Nation Christmas" collection is out. Details on the Free page.
In advance, I want to say that I don't control the rhythm of the season. And mid - late December, Rock singles usually dominate. But here's one you're going to want to run out and get. Power Pop at its finest from Somerdale.
Speaking of cold winter nights, "Merry Christmas Time" is just the thing to warm you up. Get it from Amazon and iTunes.
EDIT: I feel like an idiot. I've just been reminded that "Merry Christmas Time" by Somerdale is included on this year's "Arbor Christmas", which is presently a free download. Apologies for my short memory.
Enough sermonizing. Let's just say there is good in everyone. But its a choice you have to affirmatively make. Or, as all the great philosophers have argued, and to quote Ghandi directly, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
Ace Enders, by the way, put together one of our favorite releases in 2015, the Indie excellent "Silver & Gold". "Jacob Marley" is waiting for you at Amazon ...or in your nightmares, if you don't change your ways.
Alright, so are you familiar with The Macaroons? The Macaroons are a group that does Indie Alt Pop music that sounds like it's for kids--which it certaonly could be--but is also pretty awesome if you're all growed up. Think Kids music meets Brave Combo. If it helps you any, they're actually a spin-off group of the LeeVees. They've done Hanukkah songs before, but they've got a new one out now. Since EIGHT days of Hanukkah are so cool, they're campaigning for TEN. Oy! Sounds like there's either a theramin or a musical saw in the mix, too. What more could you want already? Get yer "10 Days of Hanukkah" from the Macaroons on over at Amazon.
We still love Natalie, here, even if it's unrequited. While "No Better Time" had a bit of a throwback sound (somewhere between the era of "Baby It's Cold Outside" and 70s Folk Pop), her new Christmas song--"Everybody's Having Fun (It's Christmas Time)"--has more of an 80s Synth Pop meets 90s Indie feel. And look at that cover art. It almost looks like she stepped right out of a Devo album cover. She just needs one of those stupid hats.
Natalie says she has had trouble connecting with the spirit of the season, this year. But, if you fall into a funk like that, you can either sink into the quicksand or get up and fight. Says Natalie:
"This holiday season is, for many of us, a confusing and frustrating one. This Christmas video is a statement on all of that. To try your hardest to be a self contained vessel of joy. To fight against what seems like a decaying wasteland of the world around you.... I'm hoping this video makes you want to dance and feel free to be who you are - no matter how alone you feel or how different you are than your family or community. There's a place in this country for everyone."
To those ends, Natalie wrote "Everybody's Having Fun (It's Christmas Time)" with Kyle Ryan, made the video, and, to further be a positive force fighting the descending darkness, 100% of the proceeds of her Christmas single will go to the School of Performing Arts in the Richmond [VA] Community. That's a school that's open to all children and which was founded on the principle that no child should be turned away simply because they can't afford the tuition. You can find "Everybody's Having Fun (It's Christmas Time)" at Bandcamp. And, if you can afford it, consider paying in a little bit more than the sticker price. Remember, 'tis better to light a single candle--or purchase a single Christmas song--than to curse the darkness.
Knox Hamilton got a little bit of help getting their name out there when, earlier this year, Katy Perry took to Twitter to praise the group's "Washed Up Together" video. The praise was well deserved but, hopefully, the video didn't distract from how cool the song was. As big as this year was for Knox Hamilton, next year figures to be even bigger as the Indie Pop Rockers will be releasing their first full-length album ("The Heights") AND appearing at SXSW.
A few days ago, Conan O'Brien's Team Coco debuted the group's update on the Beach Boys classic "The Man With All The Toys", which you can now get at iTunes and Amazon. The band's Boots Copeland said they felt the Beach Boys Christmas album doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Really? I don't know, man. Maybe in Arkansas. But, on the east coast at least, it gets plenty. Only Spector and Guaraldi get more. Just sayin'. Of course, none of that takes away from the super sound treatment Knox Hamilton brings to the table in their super cool cover of the Christmas classic "The Man With All The Toys".
A versatile singer and actress, Doreen Taylor got plenty of praise for her Country Pop album "Magic" in 2012. Her Christmas single, "My Christmas Wish", which Doreen wrote, is more of a "standard" which should be playing well with Adult Contemporary audiences (Josh Groban is currently #1...again).
And, while you can certainly find "My Christmas Wish" digitally at iTunes and Amazon, you can get a signed CD-single from Doreen (and, I know I'm a dinosaur, but hard copy still matters to me). Not only that, but $1 from every sale of a signed CD-single of "My Christmas Wish" will be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, one of the many charitable foundations Doreen supports (and I think those are some of the kids in the video).
By the way, have you seen Carly's blog? It's like she sees all. She knows when I'm posting about her practically before I do. Hey, you don't suppose she's.....Santa?
There's another big difference, too. This one counts. Tristen is donating all proceeds from "In Winter Blues" to the International Rescue Commission. The IRC was founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein. The IRC has, for 83 years, provided aid to those forced to flee their homes and their countries because of conflict or natural disasters. And, if you've seen the news at all, recently, you know about the slaughter in Aleppo and the ongoing turmoil in Syria. So the IRC needs all of the financial support they can get right, now. The crisis abroad is worse than any since WWII. So, though the cost of "In Winter Blues" is one dollar, Tristen asks you to please give more if you can.
As for the song, itself, it's gorgeous. The 3-song EP she released in 2011 was a little raw and hewed closer to Indie Rock. "In Winter Blues" qualifies as Indie Folk Pop, but, to me, it sounds very much like an early 60s Pop ballad. Except, there's some beautiful layering and the lyrics aren't about boys and dating (although you could read them that way, if you were of a mind to; I'm reading them more as the passing of a season and the year...but then I'm pretty literal).
Buried my sorrow in a sad song
Cried behind the evergreen
Real friends make a toast to remind me
they never like you anyway
in Winter Blues
With Tristen on "In Winter Blues" are Erin Rae McKaskle, Austin Hoke, Jim Hoke & Diederik van Wassenaer. The song is being offered at Bandcamp and every penny helps.
As it happens, I only just discovered Kerry Patrick Clark's wonderful Americana/Folk Pop album, "The Heart of Christmas", which is a 2016 release. Rushed it to our List (though you've got to drift back to, like, October 28). Hard copy CDs available from the artist.
For some reason, Fruitcake songs are always a big hit, so here's another one, "Fruitcake Round", trading off the pros and cons of the thing. Pros about fruitcake? I didn't think there were any (although that College of the Ozarks fruitcake is actually delish...and I'm not being paid to say that).
And I see our friends at Lie In The Sound have found the new "Ho Ho Ho Canada" release (and I was just over there yesterday). Ah, well, I try to be first with Polaroid and Brigitte is always first with "Ho Ho Ho Canada". There is balance in the universe. You'll have to wait at least a day for my thoughts.