It's really a bit early in the season for holiday singles; that action doesn't usually get hot until around Halloween. But we've got a few of interest and one noteworthy slab of vinyl to lead with, so what the hey?
I don't think there's a Christmas music collector alive who isn't familiar with the record "F#ck Christmas" by L.A.'s seminal punk rock band Fear. It wasn't the irreverence of the thing that made it a classic; it was the fact that it was actually very good. An anti-Christmas sentiment, to be sure. But, at just 47 seconds in length, pithy and to the point. Pure punk. And the sucker was just...good. Keeping radio play in mind, Fear was even thoughtful enough to provide both a bleeped and an unexpurgated version. Released on 7" in 1979, the song eventually worked it's way into popular lore and onto Rhino's "Punk Rock Xmas" collection. And Fear? Well, Fear split up in 1993 and Lee Ving has been floating around out there ever since.
So why should anyone be surprised at a new Fear 7" Christmas single? Truth be told, Lee Ving is the only original member of Fear in the new group, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is actually a solo track that's been kicking around for a few years and this mellow track will out-mellow anything on Scott Weiland's upcoming set, guaranteed. But, hey, why quibble? It's new to vinyl, right? "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" has been available as a download from Amazon and iTunes since 2009 (and just below is an in-studio performance of the song from 2007). The running time and artwork are essentially unchanged, so its safe to assume this is the same track. The "B" side meanwhile, "Another Christmas Beer [Explicit]", does feature the new Fear in full punk mode. But that, too, is from 2009. You're forgiven if you missed the 2009 release of "American Beer".
So don't get overly excited but, yes, there is a new vinyl Christmas single from Fear--available for pre-order from Amazon or The End (shipping charges will even up those prices)--should you want it slid down your chimney and/or stuffed in your stocking this Christmas. Release has been set for November 22.
To much of the world, Clifford Curry was a one hit wonder who scraped the bottom of the pop charts in 1967 with "She Shot A Hole In My Soul"/"We're Gonna Hate Ourselves In The Morning" and then disappeared. Students of Soul Music know, at least, that it was Curry who shared vocals with Faye Adams on the #1 R&B smash "Shake A Hand" in 1953. Here in North Carolina, though, Clifford Curry is family--an R&B legend, a Soul Survivor, and still an artist in demand. Like many R&B artists from the 50's, 60's, and 70's, Clifford Curry has made a career playing to Southern Atlantic fans of Beach Music. And that Hall of Fame he's a member of? That would be the Beach Music Hall of Fame, which inducted Clifford in 1995 as part of its original class.
Clifford's new Christmas single "Christmas Ain't No Time For The Blues" is a fairly straight ahead Blues tune and well worth the price of admission though if you want a more straight-up soulful Clifford Curry Christmas experience, I highly recommend "Santa Bring Me Some Dancin' Shoes" from KHP's "Southern Soul Christmas, Volume One". And for the ultimate in Clifford Curry, there are few Soul records hotter than "She Shot A Hole In My Soul"; if you've never heard the song, that'll be the best 99 cents you ever spend.
Domestic Crisis Group is an Indie Folk Pop duo currently based in Montreal. Timing is everything and this pair just happens to sit in the sweet spot right there where the two strongest currents in music today--Americana and Indie Pop--overlap.
It helps when you have good material, too. And, here, for their seasonal single, the pair have chosen Godon Lightfoot's "Song For A Winter's Night"--which started to become a standard of Folk, Country and Bluegrass Christmas celebrations about the time Tony Rice picked it out in the mid-80s, maybe even a bit before that. Dane Ratliff and Gen Blouin slow the song down a bit and their fresh arrangement is such that you can feel the longing much more acutely than at any time since Gordon originally cut the track back in 1967 (yes, even more than Sarah McLachlan's version).
You can give Domestic Crisis Group a spin at Amazon or iTunes and you should definitely look them up on Facebook. I'm expecting big things from these two.
The Eric Ekstrand Ensemble has been one of California's leading practitioners of neo-swing since 1992. Eric comes in all shapes and sizes--there's the Eric Ekstrand Trio, the Eric Ekstrand Band, the Eric Ekstrand Ensemble and Time Machine. But it's The Ensemble that does most of the neo-swing sets. In spite of two decades of performing and recording, "I'm Gonna UnWrap My Baby For Christmas" is, I believe, Eric's first commercially available Christmas track. And I think all you kittens and cats are going to dig this swingin' sound. It's hot. And it's cool, daddio. It's just what the hep cats who swing to Louis Jordan and Louis Prima (yes, all the Louis...es) are stomping to this holiday season. You'll find it at Amazon and CD Baby and wherever fine downloads are sold.