Don't know a thing about Evan Coles. But he sure can sing. Download this beautiful version of "Silent Night" free on Soundcloud.
Produced, arranged, performed, recorded, mixed, mastered, and video edited by Jesse Fischer. Available to download free on Bandcamp.
'Tis the day of the Night before Christmas. I, for one, am exhausted. Just added 8 new posts to our Free List, including the "Paste Sampler", "Ho Ho Ho Canada 6", a second free Christmas song from Joe Bonamassa, a good one from hard Rockers Bombers, and a terrific new song from Sophie and The Bom Boms. I also screwed something up (a posting I'd intended for the Free List) and I may tell you about it when I feel a little less guilty and embarrassed. Probably will.
A few more Jingle Bell Rocks! collector playlists have made their way online. "Al's Christmas Ale" from Al Aitchison, "Santapalooza" from Matthew Kiernan, and a sampling of 12 of the best of Bill Adler's "Xmas Jollies" (yes, THAT Bill Adler). You can find them all on Oscilloscope's Soundcloud feed.
And, of course, I want to remind you to get "A Stubby's House Christmas 2014", if you haven't already. Remember, it goes away forever on January 7.
With all that out of the way, on to our morning vid. Do you remember Jessie Kol? We met Jessie through her music in our first year of Stubby's, 2010. She had just then released one of the most beautiful EPs, "Little Emmanuel", that I've ever heard (to this day). I listen to it every year. It's only 4 songs long, so I play it through twice every time. If you don't already have it (and I'm guessing we have some readers who weren't with us that first year), you really need to get it. Jessie has redesigned her website and, for Christmas, she recorded a couple of Christmas songs just sitting in front of the fire (that's her husband Perry on the guitar). Just as simple as can be, no big production (it's not a "release"; it's a "Merry Christmas"). Simple can be very nice, especially when you've got a voice like Jessie's. Here's one they did that is not on the EP and its perfect for a Christmas Eve morning. We share the sentiment and we all hope you'll "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".
It's the eighth night of Hanukkah and, if you're doing it right, your candles are lit and your house is filled with light and love (and food!). And, if you're doing it wrong, the curtains are on fire and the pets ate all the food (at least that's Uncle Moshe's story and he's sticking to it).
This is an old song from Naomi Less, but a new video. It's among her most popular songs (and she has many). You can get "8 Nights" from Amazon.
First Night: Light - Lisa Loeb
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah - Isabel Rose
Second Night: Chanukah (Shake It Off) - Six13
Dreidel - Shir Soul
Third Night: Lights - Shtar
If you were paying attention to the new Christmas releases this year, then you caught this one early--The Living Sisters and "Hanukkah" from their album "Harmony Is Real: Songs For A Happy Holiday".
Fourth Night: Nesh Gadol Haya Sham - Aimee Mann, Ted Leo & Susanna Hoffs
Chanuka Makes You Jewtiful - Jew Direction
Burning Latke - Radioactive Chicken Heads
Hanukkah Song - Sharon Luxenburg
The Chanukah Song - Adam Sandler
A few years back, Pella Productions gave us "8 Nights of Hanukkah". Now going as AKA Pella (get it? akapella? Yeah, you're not going to Lipps Inc. me again.), the group is getting ready to deliver their first full length album in the new year and they've launched the project with a new Hanukkah single, "The Jew Who Can't Be Moved". So far, this single is only available from Nigun Music ,where you can also pre-order the album.
We gave you almost everybody's 2013 Hanukkah song (making up for last year), but not Shir Soul's "Timeless As The Stars" (a reworking of One Direction's "Counting Stars"). This does not seem to be currently available anywhere, though it was briefly a free download from Shir Soul last year.
Fifth Night: One Light - Riv Eilfort (contains "Kol Isha")
Eight Nights Of Light - Petting Zoo
The whole Kol Isha thing reminds me of that scene from "My Favorite Year" between Selma Diamond and Peter O'Toole when the Alan Swan character is in the Ladies Room. I suppose it would be disrespectful to repeat the line, but you know the one.
Anyway, here's another song with a "For women and girls only" warning. It's a free download from Shaindel Antelis, "Light Up The World".
Sixth Night: Shine With Me - Julie Geller
I Believe In Miracles - Julie Geller
Seventh Night: All About That Neis - The Maccabeats
Burn - The Maccabeats
Hanukkah reworkings of popular hits are almost too common. Almost. Here are a couple of new parodies from Ash Soular. I'm not entirely sold on the Adele parody, but I absolutely adore the Iggy Azalea parody. Unfortunately, neither is available for purchase or download (yet).
Ash Soular isn't just a parody artist. She's a serious singer of serious music. But Hanukkah is a holiday everybody can have a little fun with. Ash has a full-length coming soon (her first, I believe). This song, "The Remnant", which is not a Hanukkah song, will be on that album.
More humor from Rachel Lark. "Hanukkah Schmanukkah" is included on her free (for now) Bandcamp Christmas record, "Hung For The Holidays". Though, if you just want the Hanukkah song, it'll cost you a buck.
What else we got? Here's a new Hanukkah single from Ari Goldwag. From "The English Album", you can find "Chanukah Light" on Amazon and iTunes.
We mostly try to feature new Hanukkah music, here, but this is one of my absolute favorites. "Judah and The Maccabees" from Damon and Naomi goes all the way back to 2000. But it sounds as good today as it ever did. Don't know if I've shared this before. Don't care. Get the song at Amazon or wherever fine records and downloads are sold.
We gotta put this sucker to bed or pretty soon we'll be talking about the twelve nights of Hanukkah. It's a thing. There's more out there, obviously, if you're willing to look.
Gonna close with one more video. Not a professional recording or available as a single, but I found this on YouTube and it's delightful. Jennifer Warren-Baker is a professional DC performer and she did have an album a few years back. But this she did just for fun, I suspect. Here's "Dreidel Boogie".
Happy Hanukkah, everyone, from Stubby and Mrs. Katz (oy vey, she's Jewish?).
Just a quick note to let you know, if you're looking for it, that our Hanukkah countdown will conclude with the Eighth Night shortly. Slept very late today (its catching up to me) and the Eighth Night at Stubbys is always a blowout with lots of videos and Hanukkah tunes. We're endeavoring to get it up as soon as we can. So check back in a little bit and we'll all dance the hora.
Don't forget to grab "A Stubby's House Christmas 2014". Ordinarily, I'd give it a few days at the top of the front page pile but, since it's Hanukkah, it's going to get pushed down. So this is just a reminder. Click on the cover, here, to get to the original post and playlist and the download links.
So it's very close to Christmas, now. And either you're kicking back and taking a well-deserved deep breath or you're running around like a maniac trying to get everything done in time. There aren't likely many still working on their holiday mixes at this late date (although there were years....). But there are still some new releases you might want to know about and not all of them are going to be available much beyond Christmas. Two examples of that come quickly to mind.
When Local artists get together for a Christmas album--especially one done for charity--they frequently disappear with the wrapping paper after Christmas day. Sometimes they stick around for a second Christmas, but seldom any longer than that. This year, artists in and around Provo Utah came together as part of the The United Way's Sub For Santa program, which provides essentials for those less fortunate or challenged this holiday season. 100% of the money raised from sales of "Provo City Christmas Concerts" goes to the program with a stated goal of raising $20,000. And we mean 100%. Not a dime of the $10 purchase price will go anywhere else.
Initially, the city brought in a few local artists to record a few music videos. But, after listening for a bit, they realized they just might have something bigger, here. You probably know a few of the artists--Joshua James and Mindy Gledhill spring readily to mind. Others may not be known outside of the region. Most of the music is Indie Folk, Folk Pop, or mellow Indie Pop Rock. You're not going to find a Punk or a Power Pop tune on here. But the music is gorgeous and I suspect it'd be an excellent Christmas Eve soundtrack. CDs are $10, if you're on the ground in Provo, and $15 if it's being mailed to you. There are videos for all the songs here and you can place your orders here. Each CD purchase is accompanied by an immediate digital download of the album. So far, the CD has raised around $18,000, with most of that coming from online sales. Feel free to donate beyond the album price.
If you love the Local Artist comps as much as I do, but want something a little louder and more forward leaning, we've got something for you, too. "The Bay Bridged 2014 Holiday Compilation" has a little of everything for the Alt and Indie Fan. Dream Pop, Electronica, Noise Pop, Americana, Indie Pop, Post Punk, and some straight up Alternative Rock N Roll. In fact, we already featured one track from this album on our Free List--"Christmas Time Is Here" by Parmesans (though they titled it "Linus & Lucy" on Soundcloud). The hardest rockin' track is Cocktails' "Tis The Season" (though bAd bAd's "Donde Esta Santa's Claws" isn't far off. Joseph Childress does a nice Indie Pop "Last Christmas". You gotta love "Missouri Loves Company". Laura Weinbach of Foxtails Brigade contributes "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". And my personal highlight is "Coldest Night Of The Year" from DonCat and Jess Silva. This comp does come with a Parental Advisory, mostly for Thick Red Wine's "Christmas Cookies". There's also a Hanukkah track, "Ma'oz Tzur", from Art Pop band Everyone Is Dirty.
The Bay Bridged is a non-profit organization (your "donation" for the digital set is tax deductible) supporting San Francisco's music scene with blogs, podcasts, music festivals and more. For a donation of ten dollars or more, you'll get a download of "The Bay Bridged 2014 Holiday Compilation" (they'll send an email with the url and password). You'll find more info here. Unfortunately, not many of these tracks are streamable, or even have :30 second clips to sample. Sort of have to take it on blind faith.
A couple of EPs to mention. Just out is Becky Becky's "Champagne For Christmas Day". As disturbing as that video is to watch, the subject matter of this three-song "Christmas" EP is even darker.
Gemma Williams and Peter JD Mason came together in 2011 to form Becky Becky. They were inspired by the writings of Jean Rhys and agreed to do an album based on her works. But the two became lovers and had a tumultuous relationship until finally splitting for good almost as soon as they'd started. Gemma released some critically acclaimed solo records while Peter travelled through Europe. But their desire to make an album based on the writings of Jean Rhys haunted them both and they agreed to give it a go. Though most every encounter and session ended in screaming matches, they nonetheless finished their album, "Good Morning, Midnight" and released it earlier this year. The songs on "Champagne For Christmas Day" are loosely based on Jean Rhys' "Voyage In The Dark", telling the tale of a back alley abortion on Christmas Eve in 1920s Paris.
Having said that, there are lots of Christmas compers who live for the darker themes of the holiday (Jim? Is that you?). And the juxtaposition, here, of a very dark tale and a "Merry Christmas" couldn't be more perfect...especially on this bright and bouncy track "Bells Ringing (X-Mas Again)". No one knows how long the couple making up Becky Becky will be able to stand working with each other so this Christmas EP is a nice souvenir of their time together. Find it at Bandcamp.
The other EP I want to call your attention to is a Swedish import (although not in the sense that's it's an actual Import since there's no hard copy available on this side of the Atlantic at least). Kalle Moraeus is a multi-instrumentalist who worked with ABBA's Benny Andersson in Benny's Orkester. As a solo artists, Moraeus has primarily recorded Indie Folk music. On the four song Christmas EP, "God Jul önskar", Moraeus and Lisa Miskovsky are sculpting in Folk Pop. Lisa's voice is beautiful, whatever she's singing. And the two tracks most prominently featuring her voice are the two I've recommending. "Isar" is a Swedish translation of Joni Mitchell's "River" and it's pretty awesome. But the one original on the set, written by Lisa and Hello Saferide's Annika Norlin is the best of all. "Klockor ring för mig" translates as "Bells Are Ringing For Me". You can download that track or the entire EP at Amazon.
Singles? Well, I don't know about you, but it's kind of hard to think of The Boy Least Likely To going full on Classic Country. Harder still to adjust to The Boy Least Likely To singing a Country song about a darts champion heading off to defend his title on New Year's Eve. But I have to admit...they do it well. Jof Owen of The Boy Least Likely To is currently working as/with Legends of Country and "It's A Long Way Back From A Dream" is based on the real life story of Richie Burnett, the 1995 darts champion. Spoiler alert: Richie lost his title that year and, in 2010, was on the dole, unable to maintain a marriage, a day job and his darts career and unable to make ends meet at all.
"It's A Long Way Back From A Dream" has enough winter/holiday imagery to work as a post-Christmas/New Years tune. The virtual flip is a Christmas track, "From St. George To Snowflake"--the tale of an all night drive from St. George Utah to Snowflake Arizona (though, mostly, he slept through it). The digital single releases officially on December 28. But, if you pre-order now through Bandcamp, you'll get the Christmas side immediately (and the New Years side on the 28th--i.e. before New Years). Looks like they thought this one through.
Stumbled across this one the other day and I really dig it. The Indie Pop/Dream Pop duo American Dream also show a little Psych influence on this immensely accessible and gorgeous "Let It Snow". And, no, it's not THAT "Let It Snow". This is an all new original. This song is light and airy like cotton candy and just as sweet. You can (and should) grab this one from Amazon or iTunes. And its the perfect song to end this or any post.
Six13 and Shir Soul aren't the only Jewish a cappella groups. The Maccabeats have been turnin' out the tunes for a long time, as well. Originally formed in 2007, as a Yeshiva University student vocal group, the Maccabeats made their big splash in 2010 with "Candlelight", a Hanukkah reworking of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite". Since then, The Maccabeats have traveled the world and appeared on countless television programs bringing with them their combination of American beats and Jewish heritage. Their pinnacle piece may well be "Lecha Dodi" which put some of the most beloved words of the Torah to the music of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". This year, the Maccabeats deliver their Hanukkah take on Meghan Trainor. Because "It's All About That Neis". You can get the tune from Amazon.
You can also pick up last year's Hanukkah single from the Maccabeats on Amazon. We weren't around much last year, so we'll play it for you now. "Burn".