Thursday, December 23, 2004

Loop the loop.

You'd think that, when I hatched my bombard-them-with-Christmas-covers plan, I might've saved the best for last. But no. I'm just as random as ever. That's what you love about me, right?

Anyhoo, this may (or may not) be my last post before Christmas, so thanks to all of you for reading and an extra thanks to those who've commented or e-mailed thanking me for what I do here. It makes me feel great to know I'm not alone in my sickness.

  • Powder "Christmas Don't Be Late" (Chipmunks cover)
    When I first heard this track, I pictured a twee little gal singing it backed by your standard trucker-capped backup band. Instead, it's these characters. Go figure. I guess it's about time LA got a Dale Bozzio for the new millennium.

  • Low "Blue Christmas" (Elvis Presley cover)
    Another one for your next Slit Your Wrists at Christmas mix.

  • Hanson "What Christmas Means to Me" (Stevie Wonder cover)
    Many of the holiday songs I've posted here used to be clear-the-music-department-of-customers favorites of mine. This, on the other hand, was a standard "how can I get my snotty, slacker, hipper-than-thou co-workers to get the hell away from me for three fucking minutes?" track. Ah, the indie glares I'd get! I just learned that Mercury just re-released Hanson's 1997 Snowed In, from whence I got this, as The Best of Hanson: The Christmas Collection as part of their 20th Century Masters series. Um. Yeah. We all knew Armageddon was nigh.

  • The Maddox Brothers and Rose "Jingle Bells" (Traditional)
    This is my least favorite Christmas song, but I love this old-school hillbilly country version.
  • Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    Shoutin' out with glee.

    I don't got no time for jibba jabba, so just listen.

  • Daniel Johnston "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (Marks)

  • The Humpers "Run, Rudolph, Run" (Chuck Berry cover)
  • Sunday, December 19, 2004

    Me, I'll be just fine.

  • Vic 20 "Marshmallow World" (Darlene Love cover)
    My Vic 20 never did anything this cool. All I could use it for was graphic-less "video" games in which I had to maneuver my way out of a bog using simple word commands.

  • My Chemical Romance "All I Want for Christmas is You" (Mariah Carey cover)
    My favorite local cable access video show, Ken Mottet's The Otherside, played an MCR video a few weeks back. I found myself just slightly less than intrigued with the music, but knew that a 14-year-old version of me would love it and would become obsessed with the hot geek-goth look of the boys in the band. And, really, anyone who covers my favorite secular pop Christmas song (shut up, it's some of Mariah's best work!) is okay by me.

  • The Masters of the Hemisphere "The First Noel" (Sandys)
    From one of the Kindercore Christmas comps, comes a whimsical little indie First Noel from a band I'd never heard of. Imagine.

  • Donny & Marie "Winter Wonderland" (Bernard/Smith)
    Shit, what I'd give to get back the Donny & Marie portable record player (with microphone!) I had as a child. I loved that thing. I could dance and sing and pretend I was Mormon. Pretty awesome.

  • Ru Paul "Hard Candy Christmas" (from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas—Dolly Parton's version is probably most popular)
    Many thanks to my pal Ray who was able to get this track to me after I hunted for about three months to no avail. I remember watching TBLWIT repeatedly on cable as a child and getting teary-eyed when the whores all went their separate ways. Like Dolly, I kind of always related to whores. Even at 8 years old. I know, I'm weird. Anyhow, it's even better with drag queen banter. I miss Ru Paul.
  • Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    Fall on your knees.

  • Sonic Youth "Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope" (Martin Mull cover)
    This cover always perplexed me. It's pretty annoying.

  • Melt Banana "White Christmas" (Well, this is called "White Christmas," but it's really a somewhat fucked-up version of "Here Comes Santa Claus.") (Autry)
    You know I love Japanese covers. The stranger the better.

  • Sufjan Stevens "O Holy Night" (Adams/Dwight)
    I love this so much I can't even believe it.

  • Pond "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" (Bach? Handel? Traditional?)
    Not bad for a band I totally forgot ever existed. (And I only knew because a Sub Pop distributor pushed a promo on me, which I promptly forgot to listen to.)

  • Richard Davies "Do they Know It's Christmas (Feed the World)" (Band Aid cover)
    Okay, who slipped the ativin into this guy's eggnog?
  • Monday, December 13, 2004

    Gets colder day by day.

  • Coldplay "2000 Miles" (Pretenders cover)
    The original used to be a big favorite of mine in high [or was that middle?] school. I wish I liked Coldplay more.

  • Ivy "Christmastime is Here" (Vince Guaraldi & the Peanuts gang)
    A friend of mine in high school could dance exactly like Peanuts characters. It was awesome. (From Nettwerk's Maybe this Christmas Tree comp.)

  • Cranes "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" (John Lennon & Yoko Ono cover)
    Like nails on a chalkboard to me. I remember that when I heard the Cranes were opening for the Cure in 1992, I strategically planned to miss them. I was successful. I don't mind dream pop from time to time, but I can't stand this baby-voiced schtick. Hell, I'd rather listen to Jordy's "Dur Dur D'être Un Bébé" than this. (From Rock for Choice's O Come All Ye Faithful comp.)

  • C3-P0 & R2-D2 "Sleigh Ride" (Anderson)
    This is not as much a cover as it is an insane reworking. And could C3-P0 be more condescending? (From Christmas in the Stars.)

  • Taime Downe (ex-Faster Pussycat) "Silent Night" (Traditional)
    Yep, you read right. (From the We Wish You a Hairy Christmas comp.)
  • Friday, December 10, 2004

    I'll give it to someone special.

  • Spectrum "Santa Claus" (Sonics cover)
    I'll have what they're having.

  • The Cocteau Twins "Frosty the Snowman" (Nelson/Rollins)
    At least half of the Cocteau Twins' non-holiday songs sound Christmassy to me so I'm not sure this was even necessary.

  • Jimmy Eat World "Last Christmas" (Wham! cover)
    Leave it to the, uh, kings (?) of emo to make this song sound even gayer than the original.

  • No Doubt "Oi to the World" (The Vandals cover)
    Even after a decade or more, I still can't definitively say whether I love or hate No Doubt.

  • The Vandals "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies" (Tchaikovsky)
    The Vandals Christmas album is another all-time holiday favorite of mine. You should buy it.
  • Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    Come, I tell you.

    These are from another of my all-time favorite Christmas comps, Sympathy for the Record Industry's two-disc Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus. My favorite track is Spectrum's "Santa Claus," but that's not a cover, now is it? Here are a couple of tracks that belong here. Edit: Well, except that it is a cover. A Sonics cover. With a lot of poetic license. My bad. Maybe tomorrow.

  • Bomboras "Little Drummer Boy" (Davis/Onorati/Simeone)
    There is an unwritten law that all surf instrumental covers must break into "Tequila" at some point. Deal with it.

  • The New Bomb Turks "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home" (Darlene Love/Phil Spector cover)
    Not all punk covers break into "Runaround Sue," nor should they. Still, this is far more entertaining and lively than Death Cab for Cutie's version.
  • Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    Let nothing you dismay.

    Warning: Because I have slew of holiday songs to post before Christmas and I have very limited web space, in the next few weeks, tracks will probably only remain on the site for a day or two. So download early and often, kids. I'm doing my best to let you know so I don't have to field questions like this from mannerless ingrates.

    Now that that's out of the way, these tracks come from what was once my favorite holiday album, the long out-of-print A Christmas Present to You from Zero Hour. That was back when I was all about effects-laden and/or syrupy lo-fi bands nobody else had ever heard of. Especially those on Zero Hour, as I mentioned way back here. Sigh ... was it really a decade ago that I was in my early 20s and had that kind of time? It seems like just yesterday I was stealing all the crap promos from work, but I digress.

    Unfortunately, my favorite tracks from this album are the non-cover songs, such as Kittywinder's "Don't Wanna Hear No Merry Christmas" and Nicole Blackman's spoken-word "What I Want for Christmas," but at least it's not full of the same ol' Nat King Coles, Bing Crosbys, Mariahs and Enyas most Xmas comps are jam-packed with.

  • Grover w/Kevin Salem "Fairytale of New York" (Pogues/Kirsty MacColl cover)
    This doesn't stray much from the feel of the original, but I like it nonetheless. In fact, I may be the only person who actually paid money for Grover's full-length album. The one with the Barbie doll face on the cover. Anyone? Anyone?

  • 22 Brides "A Coventry Carol" (Traditional)
    I think the gals in this folk duo were sisters. It's kinda pretty, I guess. That's about all I have to say here.

  • The Dirt Merchants "Jingle Bells" (Traditional)
    Kinda noisy, kinda poppy, kinda rockabilly-y.

  • The Black Watch "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (Traditional)
    Back when the Black Watch were on Zero Hour, former Medicine frontman Brad Laner produced their album. And it shows. Very distortion-heavy sonic drones and goth-sounding violin and shoegazery overtones. (And I've never seen an album cover that screams "recommend me to fans of My Bloody Valentine or Medicine" than this.) If I could afford drugs on my measly salary, I'd consider getting into this kind of music again.

  • Space Needle "Silent Night" (Traditional)
    Um, speaking of distortion and sonic drones, allow me to introduce you to the song that saved my sanity on more than one occasion during the holiday season. No, it's not because I find this track aurally pleasing, to say the least. My love for this track comes from the fact that, back when I needed a break during my former holiday retail whoring, playing this track ensured that the entire music department would clear out. Yeah, I had to endure a scowl or two—not to mention the tedious and seemingly relentless dissonance of this "song"—but it was worth it not to have to sell another Yanni album to a bitchy Gold Coaster.
  • Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    All right, already.

    As Joss Stone proved a little while back with her [excruciating, in my opinion] cover of "Fell in Love With a Girl Boy," nowadays a song need not be in the grave before someone decides to resurrect it. Here's further proof.

  • Ada "Maps" (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
    The original might make you want to dance and sing along, this German electronic chill-out version just makes me want to sleep.

  • Ben Lee "Float On" (Modest Mouse cover)
    I loved Ben Lee's first album so much when it came out. I still like his stuff, but it's just not as amazing now that he's no longer 12. Still, I'll forgive his live slip-ups. He used to be cute.

  • Jeffrey Lewis Band "The Modern Age" (The Strokes cover)
    Comic books and anti-folk? Previously stereotypical slacker types are too damned motivated nowadays.

  • Richard Cheese "Hate to Say I Told You So" (The Hives cover)
    I had a few requests recently for more Cheese, and I'm nothing if not a giver.

  • REM "NYC" (Interpol cover)
    God, I know it's lame to be all "cool" and say I don't like REM now, but I really don't like REM now.

  • Grum Lee "Get Free" (The Vines cover)
    Prepare your ears for the acoustic, um, stylings of France's Grum Lee, whose covers have been submitted to and available on various sites over the years. I can't tell if he's trying to make outsider art (which would, of course, mean that it couldn't technically be outsider art) or if he's completely serious (which would mean it could be outsider), but either way, his stuff will probably frighten and amuse you in equal amounts.

  • Scissor Sisters "Take Me Out" (Franz Ferdinand cover)
    Back in the day, everyone and their brother posted this. Well, they probably posted the full (read: a little longer and a lot quieter) version, but whatever. I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon just in case anyone out there missed it. I really love this. It makes me long for the time when Elton John actually wrote good songs. I was hoping they'd play it back in October when I saw the Sisters at the Metro, but no such luck.

    Also: I'm preparing a slew of holiday covers for you. Be on the lookout.