The Empty Hearts Christmas single arrives on Black Friday. The A-side, "It's Christmastime", sounds good enough in the :30 second clip at Amazon--a good classic Pop Rock tune, nice harmonies, and Bangles. The B-side, on the other hand, "Joyful Noise", that one sounds like a killer featuring a really aggressive Rock take on the Bo Diddley beat. Wish we had a YouTube clip or Soundcloud stream, but we don't. Not yet.
The Faithettes, if you weren't aware, are Paloma Faith's live show backing band. Paloma Faith has long been enamored of classic Soul and, if you're gonna do it right, you need a high caliber backing band. But, if your gig is backing Paloma Faith when she's on tour, what do you do when she's not? Well, obviously, you make your own music. And that's what they do.
"Me And My Baby (Spend Christmas With Me)" is the group's Christmas single for 2016 and its as fresh as it is retro. Just a splendid high energy holiday song that could well have come straight off a Motown Christmas album. One thing of note. The Dead Mint label web site appears to be out of commission. At least I couldn't get there. So ignore all those prompts in the video to "download" the song there. It's not as if it was a free download anyway. So, to download the Faithettes' "Me And My Baby (Spend Christmas With Me)", head to the usual spots, like Amazon and iTunes. They'll hook you right up.
Daisy Hicks was born in England and raised in Australia. She began her musical career in Jazz. And her albums to date have been more Pop oriented, with some Dance remixes along the way. But she's taking a turn, now, to bring in some of her Jazz influences. And let me add real quick that I've been privileged to hear a bit of her album coming in 2017 and its a stunner. But back to the Christmas song.
"Christmas Without You" is a gorgeous ballad which Daisy wrote. If there's a moral involved, it's to recognize and admit to your mistakes rather than stubbornly maintaining you didn't make any. "Christmas Without You" made me think about a couple of things. The music reminded me of a time when beautiful love songs were always part of the chart action. "It Must Be Him", "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", "The Look Of Love"... there were always songs like that on the charts in the 60s, right along side the R&B and Rock N Roll. Not so much anymore. Lyrically, the song put me in mind of the movie "Family Man". That's the one where Nicholas Cage (I know; he's in everything) is shown the life he could have had, had he made a different decision years earlier. It's actually one of my favorite Christmas related movies and I'm not going to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it. But Daisy's Christmas song is about much the same thing. Decisions have consequences.
"Christmas Without You" is scheduled for release on December 2. It will be at all the usual spots, including Amazon and iTunes. 10% of all digital sales of "Christmas WIthout You" this year will be donated to BBC's Children In Need. And, while I don't have any sound to embed for you, you can listen to it over at Daisy's web site. And I strongly suggest you do so.
Always love it when old friends stop by. Carly Jamison has been jingling our bells and rocking around our Christmas trees for a few years, now (check the body of holiday work at Bandcamp). Her latest holiday extravaganza is "Keeping Christmas". The song officially launches on Friday, at which point I'm assuming you'll find it on Bandcamp and in other digital playgrounds. At the moment, we have a :30 preview at Amazon and, to my ears, "Keeping Christmas" sounds positively T-Rex. I don't think there's a higher compliment I could pay a Rock Christmas song than that. Mark your calendars. Friday's the day.
Which brings us to Dear Stella's "My Favorite Kind of Gift". There's no re-inventing of the wheel, here. We're not breaking new musical ground. Nothing deep and ponderous about the lyrics. It's just a good, snappy, joyful, feel-good Christmas Pop song. And I like that.
Dear Stella (Stefanie Drexler) hails from Austria (that makes at least two this year), she's a singer/songwriter, and "My Favorite Kind of Gift" is her first original Christmas song. You'll find the single on Amazon and iTunes and probably a bunch of other places.
You know what else I like? I like videos that show people in the recording studio. I do. Always have. I think I'm going to watch this one again, right now...
Leah has an album due out in the new year ("Running In Borrowed Shoes") which is a concept thing. She interviewed 100 people--as diverse a group as she could find--and then wrote songs based upon the stories she heard and the themes she noticed.
Now this is the part where I tell you that "Christmas In My Mind" is NOT a Christmas song. Or so says Leah. The song, she says, was inspired by two themes that were fairly common ones among her diverse interviewees. One) regret at having witnessed parental conflict as a child and Two) the comfort and solace of the holiday season. Yeah, I'm two-for-two there, myself. So Leah's point is that "Christmas In My Mind" is that place you go for peace when bad stuff overwhelms you. Leah can say this isn't a Christmas song (and I get that, I do), but I think it's not only a Christmas song...it's a very powerful one. In fact, as frequent readers know, I've always said the best Christmas songs are the ones that simultaneously celebrate the happy and sad. "Christmas In My Mind" does that. It's also just a gorgeous tune. Pick it up at Amazon or any of the usual download spots.
"Every December" is only the second song ELSEE (all caps) has released, though she's got something coming in the New Year. You can find it at Amazon or CD Baby. And 100% of the proceeds from the sales of "Every December" will go to Hamilton's CityKidz foundation.
Val Starr and The Blues Rocket recorded "Spending Christmas With The Blues" late last year and managed to get it out to a few radio stations before Christmas. But the track wasn't commercially available until 2016 (my computer tells me I bought it in February). It was included as a bonus track on Val's latest, "Woman On A Mission". The album is available both on CD and digitally. But, if you just want the Christmas tune, you'll find it at Amazon and wherever fine downloads are sold.