Saintseneca “The Wandering Star” (2017)

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Buy: Bandcamp

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!

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Saintseneca – The Mallwalker EP (2016)

Saintseneca - Mallwalker EP

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Buy: Bandcamp

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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Dr. Dog – Oh My Christmas Tree EP (2013)

Dr. Dog Oh My Christmas Tree - EP

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Buy: 7Digital MP3 | iTunes | Amazon.uk MP3

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

[youtube http://youtu.be/dDC8PXIV9Kw]