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Christian Lee Hutson only recently popped onto my radar with his 2020 record, Beginners. Picked it up and really enjoyed it, yet somehow forgot to follow him on Bandcamp and be alerted that he might just release a Christmas song… as he did in 2020, with a very good version of “The Christmas Song.”
This year Christian dropped another record, Quitters, and once again we’ve been gifted a new Christmas single. I’m seeing a trend here – release a record and follow it with a seasonal single. I mean, you’re in the studio already, let’s lay it down! Thus, “Silent Night” drops a few days ago, and I figure it’s yet another version of the classic carol to be thrown on the pile. However, I’m happy to be proven very, very wrong. Yes, the melody remains, but Christian has wholly rewritten the song. Each verse is a flickering moment, a 15-second scene from a movie filled with minimal dialogue and lots of eye work. A very fresh approach indeed. I really felt this one, and you might too.
Bottom Line: What an unexpected delight. Christian has proven himself as one to watch. When his record count grows, let’s hope his Christmas catalog continues as well.
Always a joy to find a new Saintseneca song in my mailbox, whether it is a holiday song or not. This Columbus, Ohio band have put out some of the most sonically and lyrically interesting Christmas songs over the past few years, nearly making this a holiday tradition. Unsurprisingly, “Winter Breaking” fits beautifully inside of their bespoke holiday soundtrack. The song takes place as everyone goes their own way for winter break. There are some beautiful passages here: “The night before you get picked up / I stop by your new place / you got a dog and a sawed-off / say they make you feel safe / some old soul song is changing all the air around the room / you say you hear the sadness in the singer’s voice / maybe I do too.” Man… that is a movie in my head. The music is warm, his voice is genuine, and the lyrics are interesting – a perfect Christmas blend.
Bottom Line: Saintseneca are just a fantastic band. I just assumed the song would be great when I saw it was released, and yup, it is.
If you buy this today on Bandcamp, BE SURE to download it. I have learned the hard way recently. Nothing is forever.
Back in 2016, Saintseneca released one of the best holiday EPs of recent note, with their holiday compilation The Mallwalker EP. This past holiday season, they continued what has been established as a near-yearly tradition of releasing a new holiday song, “The Wandering Star.” Unfortunately, by December 23rd, I am running on 10% power and the final warning window has popped up. Thus… I am only getting to this song now. “The Wandering Star” is immensely interesting and enjoyable, instantly reminding me of one of the more adventurous tracks you might find on a Sufjan Stevens’ holiday opus. There is more religious imagery in this track than I’m used to from Saintseneca, but they dress it up well enough to keep things interesting. (Avid readers know that this blog is here to write mainly about the secular songs of the holiday… read my about page if you are so inclined.) Saintsenica know their way around a song, and the intro’s finger picking and layered vocals set a thoughtful, yet powerful mood. However, when the pace picks up and the bass kicks in, this song truly blooms. This journey they set the listener on culminates with both a feeling of power and serenity – it is truly impressive. Once again, Saintsenica prove that they are in the top tier of underground, original Christmas music.
Bottom Line: Add this track onto the pile of wonderful Saintseneca holiday songs – and check out their new full-length LP, Pillar of Na, only released about a week ago!
Columbus, Ohio’s Saintseneca has released one of the strongest indie rock Christmas releases I’ve heard, perhaps the best since labelmate Dr. Dog’s in 2013. The 5-track EP compiles four previously released songs, with one new song for 2016! The refreshing lyrical approach makes this entire album different than… well, anything else I’ve heard this year. None of these songs feel like Christmas songs… and that is probably why I love it. Really, all I can do is ask you to listen to it – if the first track “All the Best” doesn’t grab you, then this fantastic, wonderful, mix-worthy record is just not for you.
Presently, I’m heavy into trying to finalize my own mix right now, so I’m having a tough time writing a ton about this record. So consider this my worst review ever, for perhaps the best EP of the season. I also just realized that this is a compilation of 4 previously released songs and one new one. I’m familiar with “New Coats”, and see that “Mallwalker” was released a few years ago. Which one is the new one, got me! Perhaps I’ll be able to amend this later.
Bottom Line: Saintseneca have created a beautiful, gritty, sweet, thoughtful holiday EP whose proceeds benefit Water For People (www.waterforpeople.org), a charity whose mission is to get clean drinking water to people. You’d be an awful person, with terrible taste in music if you didn’t buy it. Just sayin’. 🙂
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This release is nearly flawless. I loved every single song on this 4-song EP, and find myself justifying that any track could be on 2014’s Christmas mix. Dr. Dog has created a wonderful collection of original Christmas tunes that is unrivaled in both scope (4 great songs!) and originality. If I were to make ANY criticism, it would be to take out the verse sung by a child in “Rejoice,” otherwise a spectacular song. Even with that blemish, “Rejoice” still makes me swoon.
Bottom Line: One of indie rock’s modern Christmas classics. Why not release it somewhere where I can purchase a FLAC?? 5/5