1. Dale Voorhies
2. Merry Christmas Darling (Maybe Next Year Things Will Change)
3. Warren City Christmas
4. Pretty Lights
5. Winter In The Pub
6. You're Going Everywhere Without Me
7. Reckless Road
8. The Black Crown
9. PA Grey
10. My Only One
KISSING PARTY WEB SITE
KISSING PARTY ON FACEBOOK
PURCHASE FROM BANDCAMP
PURCHASE FROM AMAZON
PURCHASE FROM iTUNES
In that first year, I (and perhaps you) were introduced to a few artists who I've come to think of as family. Not like parents or siblings, but, you know, the kinds of cousins for whom the door is always open. C'mon in, sit down. Can I get you anything? Let's catch up.
In 2010, a Denver based Indie band known as Kissing Party released a song entitled "Winter In The Pub". I was instantly attracted to their sound. I don't even know why. But I was drawn to it. Fascinated by it. I had the kind of feeling I usually get about a woman I know is ultimately going to break my heart (they haven't...yet).
The guitars sparkled. The vocals I described as "somber and sinister". It was Lo-Fi without being Lo-Fi. There was a darkness, but there was a light (kinda like that woman who is going to break my heart). The band, I think, had described their sound as "Slop Pop". It took me a while to conclude that (to me, anyway) what that means in that there are so many different styles coming together in their sound, that it's fairly well impossible to say it's this or it's that. It's all of it.
"This year's Christmas gift is "Dale Voorhies" which the band themselves call "morose". But it's "morose" that you can dance to. In fact, I can scarcely think of a more depressing song that makes me feel this good. It's weird. It's genius!"
And, in 2013, they topped themselves again with "Pretty Lights". Look, I could reminisce all day, but we're here to talk about this year. But I would never forgive myself if I didn't at least include a link to the brilliant video for "Pretty Lights". Please. Watch it. Repeatedly.
The "star" among the new Christmas tunes is "Warren City Christmas" (video up top). "The Black Crown", on first listen, sounds like "Warren City Christmas" painted in different hues. I do love "Warren City Christmas". But I also love "PA Grey", which isn't getting a whole lot of attention right now. This tune gives me the sense of sitting on a bus as it pulls away, in the middle of winter, looking out the window--deep in thoughts of what was, what is, and what will never be--with the fog of your breath on the glass and your heart in your stomach. So I gotta toss it in, here.
The combination of people in the group is part of the reason for the success of their sound. I can't put it any better than Tom Murphy of Westworld Magazine did, so I'm going to borrow his assessment:
"The Kissing Party is a band masterful in the writing of upbeat, melancholy pop songs and wry wit. Although the lyrics reveal the romantic and sentimental outlook of the group's primary songwriters, Gregg Dolan and Deidre Sage, it is the rhythm section of Lee Evans and Shane Reid, coupled with the delicate yet assured guitar leads of Joe Hansen, that take relatively simple songs and give them a drive and color that isn't otherwise obvious."
And we get further insight into their Christmas songs, specifically, from the band, who say the songs come from their experience going home for Christmas over the past 5 or 6 years. See, you can go home again. And it's less that it's not the same than that it is.
"This album is for anyone who has ever gone home to find the same friends sitting on the same barstool you left them on the year before. It's about not feeling home at home but dreading returning to the city. It's about feeling happy, depressed, drunk and in love at the same time. It's about friends you grew up with, girls you still miss, smoking in garages and playing ping pong in basements. It's the feeling you get returning to the bedroom you grew up in and its still decorated with Oasis & The Cure posters you had on the wall when you were 15. In other words Christmas Carols for the crippled inside. Pairs well with hot totty's, hometowns and heartbreak."
Please check out Kissing Party's "Winter In The Pub" and consider buying it. It's not just a timecapsule of their Christmases past, but of ours. Although you can find it at the usual digital emporiums, you'll get your best price (and FLAC, if you like) at Bandcamp. Just sayin'. If we find out there's a CD for sale anywhere outside of Denver, we'll certainly let you know (though my sense is maybe not). I just hope this isn't the last of Kissing Party's Christmas music. Or maybe this is finally the moment where that girl breaks my heart. Hey, I knew it was coming the moment I laid eyes on her.
It is true that many of these songs were originally offered as free gifties, but they've earned whatever the "Winter In The Pub" collection might cost you. Proving they still love you (or maybe they just forgot, so grab it quick), "Warren City Christmas" is currently free to download from Soundcloud. And, even if that disappears, you can find a free download of "Winter of No Self Control" (not a Christmas song, but just as wonderful) from the band's "Waster's Wall" album at Hot Congress (right click, MAC users).