I don't know how many singles posts we'll have this year, for a whole bunch of reasons. But I was waiting for at least one super exciting single to put the first one together. And, thanks to our friends at Christmas Underground, we've got one. And, thanks to my own relentless digging, we've got another.
First up, the one I was hipped to by my pals at Christmas Underground.
I have not seen a lot of holiday wax advertised, as yet, for this year's Black Friday Record Store Day (all the lists I've seen, so far, are last year's; the complete list for this year is expected next week). But we are getting a tasty slice of Vinyl Single Heaven from Ben Kweller, the Indie Folk Rock artist, formerly of Radish. The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is promising lots of fuzz and distorted guitar on "It Ain't Christmas Yet", Kweller's first ever Christmas single. "It Ain't Christmas Yet" is a Kweller original, the message of which is, basically, waiting sucks.
The 45rpm record comes in 43 gram red translucent vinyl and is limited to 1000. 200 of the thousand will come in green and pink splatter vinyl and those are completely random in distribution throughout the thousand. The sleeve is 300gms card stock with green metallic foil stamping. The records will be at all the cool local record shops November 28. Ben did hold aside 200 of the singles for folks overseas and those who may not live near a record store cool enough to have gotten the 45s and those are being pre-sold through his web site.
Because the purpose of this single and others like it is to introduce you to real vinyl at your real brick and mortar local record stores, there is no download card with the 45 and it will not be released to iTunes or Spotify. Just sayin'.
BTW, the flip is promised to be a raucous cover of "Here Comes Santa Claus" featuring fellow former Radish John David Kent on the drums.
Sharon's new holiday entry is "Just Another Christmas Song" and it's slated for release on November 18 and should be available in both vinyl and digital formats. The B-side is last year's Google Play exclusive free download, "Big Bulbs". "Big Bulbs" was kind of fun, but wasn't Daptones' best--but as a B-side on vinyl, it'll be nice to have.
Dirt Box Disco is a British band. I'm not entirely sure what their schtick is (and I don't at all mean that in a negative way), but their sound is real Old School Hardcore Punk. I love 'em already. They remind me a bit of the Dead Kennedys (not saying they're on a level with the Dead Kennedys, who I consider one of the greatest bands ever). I'm told their live shows are beyond awesome and their music is not only Hardcore, but anthemic.
Dirt Box Disco's Christmas single is "I Don't Want Anything For Christmas" and one reviewer says it's "as catchy as chlamydia at an office party". Its scheduled for a November 17th release and, if you want the CD single, you'll apparently have to order from the band. But the digital version will be at all the usual online spots, including CD Baby. I, for one, will most definitely be looking for it.
If you're a long time Christmas music collector, you probably have a copy of Atomic Magazine's 2000 Neo-Swing CD "Sleigh Me". (If not, read up on it over at the Yuleblog and then go get it.) Proud to say I bought mine the year it came out. Well, we've got a pair of singles for fans of the Neo-Swing movement--both from artists who appeared on that very same compilation.
Ray Gelato, known in England as "The Godfather of Swing", contributed a cover of "Winter Wonderland" to the Atomic set. But his new Christmas single is an original, "Is Santa Claus Real?" It's got a real nice Louis Prima vibe to it. And the sax is killer. I could have lived without the kids singing in the chorus, but what are you gonna do? Overall, I dug it a lot. And you can never have too much Neo-Swing Christmas music.
"Is Santa Claus Real?" is a charity single, too, with proceeds going to the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan appeal, helping out the people of the Philippines. CD copies (highly limited) are only available from Ray and are pretty much reserved for UK orders. But, if you're not in the UK, you can email to see if he has any copies available and what he might charge you for them. The download of "Is Santa Claus Real?", thankfully, is available wherever fine Christmas downloads are sold, including Amazon MP3.
George Gee, keeping Big Band Swing alive since the late 70s, believe it or not, did up a killer version of "Run Rudolph Run" on "Sleigh Me". This year, the cat's gone all smooth and silky with "Baby It's Cold Outside" featuring the vocals of John Dokes and Hilary Gardner. You can find that one at Amazon MP3 and CD Baby. Or, if you'd prefer hard copy, "Baby It's Cold Outside" is slated to be a bonus track on the upcoming CD "Swing Makes You Happy".
"Snow!" is the group's holiday single and just gives you a small taste of the delights waiting to be had on such albums as "The Greatest Show On Toast" and "Dinosaurs Ate My Caravan". Depending on your needs or desires, the single version of "Snow!" is about half as long as the full-length version, which you can pick up a la carte. No doubt, "Snow!" will sparkle up many a mixtape and, by New Year's, we'll all be "friends of the Badgers", hopelessly addicted to their music. And cheese. You'll find "Snow!" laying roundabout all winter long. Certainly at Amazon and CD Baby.
There's a Christmas Rap single [Explicit Language] that kind of tickles me, though conservatives will hate it and I doubt it's truly mixtape material [Explicit Language]. But it tickles me, so I'll give it a mention. It's "The War On The War On Christmas" from Macarone. There's a bit of preaching about hypocrisy and I love how they mock Fox News. Check it out or don't. But don't be hatin'.
Folks who dig the parodies and Christmas re-workings of hit tunes may like "Merry, Merry Christmas" by Chris Commander--a holiday reworking of "We Will Rock You". I didn't. Like it, that is.
People who like the straight novelty records may enjoy "Mom's Pickle Aluminum Christmas Tree" from Joseph M. Strauss. Not my bag, personally, but don't let me stop you.
My guess is Johnny Searfoss knows that I can't resist a title like "All I Want For Christmas Is A Kitten". That's out there.
The First Noel
O Holy Night
What Child Is This
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
Go Tell It In The Mountain
Eddie Vedder performed "Imagine" earlier this year in Portugal on what would have been the slain Beatle's 74th birthday. And it was wonderful, a truly touching tribute. The analog (vinyl) singles aren't ready to go out just yet--and we've heard nothing official about the B-side--but Vedder's "Imagine" is available to purchase by everybody (everybody who isn't me, at least) via iTunes (curse you, iTunes!). And its all over YouTube, if you want to hear it first. Proceeds benefit Heartbeat.fm.
Powerkompany are a Cinematic Dream Pop duo from Athens, Georgia. A lot of good music has come out of Athens. The "recommended" artists on CD Baby lists Kate Bush and Lana Del Ray, which sounds about right to me if, you know, we're talking "Born To Die" Lana. Powerkompany is still growing, experimenting, exploring, but last year's album "I Am More Than This" was a huge critical success for them.
"I'm Sorry About Last Christmas" is simultaneously dark and light. Exactly how I like my Christmas music. And highly accessible. Don't know what the critics will say, but I love it. The B-side, "Holiday", is pretty good in its own right. A little heavy on the electronica for my taste. But it's growing on me. As noted, you can find it at CD Baby, right now. And, yes, there will be hard copy (the band got them in yesterday and they'll be setting up to take orders shortly). Keep your eye on Facebook for developments on that front and, uh, give 'em a "Like", OK?
The A-side is "2 Big Pumpkins" (you can see where we're going with this already, can't you?) and the flip is "13 Nights of Halloween". And they're written by Fred, so you know they got that beat. And, yeah, yeah, the double entendres are pretty obvious. But its campy Halloween fun, you know?
The single is pressed on "pugnacious purple" vinyl and the sleeve is printed with heat reactive ink (the picture to the left is what the cover looks like AFTER the ink is activated--though she looks to have more color in the demo) so, as the festivities heat up, so can you. Third Man Records. Don't miss out.