Worthwhile Way/Madison Bloodbath Split

Worthwhile Way “White Christmas” (2013/2014)

Eager Beaver Records (JP)/A.D.D. Records (US)
Buy: Bandcamp

Worthwhile Way is a country punk band hailing from… Japan! This track comes off their split release with Madison Bloodbath, The Moon in the Darkness, which was originally released on CD in Japan in October 2013, but got its first stateside release via A.D.D. Records on 10″ Vinyl in January of 2014. I tried to find some lyrics, to no avail. That said, it does appear that the song is sung fully in English. Despite the lyrical challenges, I am quite confident in saying that the song is most certainly not a cover of the classic “White Christmas,” but a wholly original tune. I like the vibe, even if I can’t make out the lyrics. Check it out for yourself!

Bottom Line: If you need something more upbeat for your mix, these Japanese cowpunks might have the song for you. 3.9/5

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Sugar & Tiger - Noel Christmas

Sugar & Tiger “Noël Christmas” (2011/2014)

Atmosphériques
Buy: Amazon UK | Band’s Webstore | Amazon FR MP3 | Bandcamp

Sugar & Tiger‘s “Noël Christmas” has been around since 2011, but the song was not properly released until this year on their debut, Télévisage. An extremely fun tune, sung largely in French with some English in the chorus, these Parisians expertly straddle the pond. They list their influences as the Ramones, the Raveonettes and Phil Spector… so it makes perfect sense that they recorded a rockin’ Christmas song.

Bottom Line: Upbeat with that certain, I don’t know what (hehe) that makes me want to listen to it multiple times. If only it were easier to purchase as a single song! 4.1/5

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Hannah Peel

UPCOMING: Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club 2014!!

Hannah Peel

Hannah Peel ‘Find Peace’

Its official. I just received word from Robert over at the Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club (SCSC), and we’ve got 2 new singles for 2014! Hannah Peel and Nancy Wallace (both from the UK) are this year’s lineup, with the same format as last year – one original and one cover. They will be limited to 500 copies, and are pressed on snow-white vinyl. If you did not take advantage of this stellar club last year, you can still pick up three of the four releases directly from the club. Do some digging, and I’d imagine you’ll find that Smoke Fairies 7″ for sale somewhere too (There’s a signed one on Amazon!).

Nancy Wallace 'January' b/w '2000 Miles'

Nancy Wallace ‘January’

I can’t recommend these releases enough. The Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club is working hard to bring us wonderful NEW Christmas songs from interesting artists. SCSC are not website throwaways, but some of the best Christmas songs of the season. That Miserable Rich tune from last year is one of my favorite Christmas songs of the last decade – no joke.

I can’t wait to hear these new ones…

I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about these releases here and everywhere else as the season draws near. Grab your copy today to make sure you don’t miss out.

 

the liminanas rarities

The Limiñanas “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (2014)

Trouble in Mind
Buy: 7Digital FLAC/MP3 | Amazon UK | Amazon UK MP3 | iTunes

Get ready for a lovely slice of French garage rock from the duo known as the Limiñanas. This unreleased cover of Phil Spector’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” can be found on their new rarities compilation on Chicago’s Trouble in Mind Records, (I’ve Got) Trouble In Mind: Singles & Rare Stuff 2009/2014. They don’t stray too far from the spirit of the original (not a dirge to be found), yet their rough-around-the-edges delivery makes it feel like something new. Check it out, buy a copy and impress your friends.

If you find that you like their sound, and want to make a bit more of a commitment, you can even pick this up on vinyl. So, finger to the wind… how does it blow for you?

Bottom Line: I already like the song, and the Limiñanas give me that little bit extra to make this tune mix-worthy. 4.8/5

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For my new readers

Just a quick heads up for my new readers (as Stubby’s kind shout-outs have certainly brought some new eyeballs to my small corner of the internet) -> I tend to post more frequently early on, until about Dec. 10 or so… after that, my mix is usually done and I begin to slow down. So, while everyone else is likely heating up, I’ll be cooling down. In summation, read me early and often, and I’ll do my best to get some good stuff (and yell about some bad stuff too) out to you.

Enjoy.

Friday Bridge

Friday Bridge “Coloured Lights Will Fall Like Bombs” (2012)

But Is It Art? Records/Self-Released
Buy: Stream

Friday Bridge is a (Can you guess the country? Do you read my blog?) Swedish pop duo comprised of Ylva Lindberg and Niklas Gustafsson (of the Higher Elevations). Back in 2012, they released a Christmas tune on Youtube, and a good one at that. I dig the atmosphere of the song – and while I can’t make out many of the lyrics, I don’t really care. Short, with a f*ing fantastic title… it might just sneak onto your mix.

Bottom Line: No way to download this song without getting creative… good tune, listenable, but may need to grow a tiny bit more to claw up into my favorites. 3.8/5

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memoryhouse - this year will be our year

Memoryhouse “The Year Will Be Our Year” (2012)

Self-Titled Magazine
Buy: Free!

Why not round out the week by rounding out my Memoryhouse posts with their one remaining Christmas/New Years track? Back in January 2012, Memoryhouse covered this classic Zombies’ track to celebrate the new year. Posted and hosted by Self-Titled Magazine, this cover is certainly worth your time. The noisy guitar parts that they every-so-often intersperse differentiate it from the wonderful Mynabirds’ version enough to let it stand on its own.

Bottom Line: Free download. Great song. Great Band. Why not? 4.4/5

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The Guardian Christmas

Sing a Song of Christmas: Three New Tunes Exclusive to the Guardian (2013)

The Guardian
Buy: Stream

Last year, The Guardian newspaper asked three singer/songwriters to write an original Christmas song, with the only rule to include five provided phrases they felt “sum up the spirit of the holiday:”

“Do I have to wear this paper crown all day?”, “No really, sprouts do make me sick”, “The trains are pathetic on Boxing Day”, “I think you threw away the gift vouchers” and “Will someone turn the heating down?”

Their website provides the whole background on the songs, including interviews with the performers. I like the concept, and very much hope they do it again.

Dan Croll‘s “A Guardian Christmas,” is my favorite of the bunch. The sparse beats and R&B vocals are very much a sound-of-the-moment (and a sound which I like), and he does it well. I would certainly edit out the “Ho, ho, hos,” and everything after the second set of jolly laughs – and that 1:30 running time would be easy to squeeze into any mix. I really like the feeling of the final bit – that’s what sold me.

Gabrielle Alpin‘s “Untitled Christmas Song” also has some of the elements I like to look for – a sense of the melancholy of Christmas, and a bit of humor. She has a lovely voice, and the song is well done and quite short (bonus!). I suppose the only thing that would make it better would be a more fleshed-out production. Otherwise, really quite good.

Lewis Watson‘s “Home Alone (at, or before, Christmas) here” is my least favorite of the three, but it most certainly has some redeeming factors. The song is an ode the the McCallister family of the Home Alone movies – and tickles the bit in me that associates my own Christmas experience with Christmas TV and movies. However, it remains the least satisfying by having a low production value, and a part where he throws as many lyrics in as possible. Still good enough to be listenable, no doubt.

Bottom Line: All these songs are enjoyable enough to play in the background at a party – so perhaps consider adding them to your Soundcloud playlist, or use one of those fancy websites to download the MP3s. Most certainly an above-average collection, and had they offered easy, free downloads, may have scored higher. 3.8/5

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