Chris Farren (feat Evan Weiss and Into It. Over It.) “Cold Front” (2015)

Chris Farren "Cold Front"

Soft Speak Records
Buy: Limited Vinyl | Bandcamp | Limited Vinyl Repress

Chris Farren released the absolutely wonderful Like a Gift from God or Whatever digitally last year, and its unique songwriting and fantastic production made it a quick favorite in the CU household. This year, Chris and Soft Speak Records decided to wrap a bow on the record and give it to us again. But… what a bow! A limited vinyl release! 100 on gold vinyl, 270 on red vinyl, and 30 handmade editions (only to be sold at The Fest in Gainesville, Florida this upcoming weekend). However, the story does not end there. There is a wonderful vinyl-only bonus track, “Cold Front,” featuring Pet Symmetry‘s Evan Weiss and Into It. Over It. Melancholy seeps out the of every crack in this Christmastime memory. For new readers… Christmas melancholy is something that I’m most certainly a sucker for. The song builds slowly, setting the stage – “The dead of winter, / the streets covered with salt. / I’m in the front yard, / wondering where you are. / The lights shine brighter / when you’re around. / The snow stops mid-fall / and avoids the ground. / The congregation ends the prayer. / Somebody told me it was not my fault / Somebody was wrong.” The music lifts and we go back to a time that was filled with love. The emotional roller coaster that is Christmas, wonderfully reflected in a song.

Oh, and all proceeds benefit NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. So buy a record, support a good cause, and get this awesome bonus track.

I have been so, so, so busy lately. I really wanted to write about this earlier, when there were more versions of the vinyl available, but alas… there is only red left. But take heart! At least there is SOMETHING left.

EDIT: Just announced today (November 6, 2017) – Randomly-colored vinyl repress of 500 copies!

Bottom Line: Chris Farren can write a bonus track for me any day… just make it available for those who can’t grab one of the 400 copies and I’ll give back that .1.  4.9/5 5/5 (I keep my promises – available for download now!)


Chris Farren “I’m Not Ready For Christmas (ft. Mae Whitman)” (2014)

Chris Farren - Like A Gift From God or Whatever

Self Released / Soft Speak Records
Buy: Bandcamp | Very Limited Vinyl | Limited Vinyl Repress

Naples-based singer-songwriter Chris Farren has a very interesting Christmas record coming out tomorrow. I can’t say I knew too much about him, but certainly recognized his “The Smiths” t-shirt that made the rounds earlier this year. This ignorance left me quite surprised by this first single, “I’m Not Ready for Christmas.” I either expected a punk or comedy record, to be honest. I was most certainly wrong. What I found instead is a wonderful Christmas song, chock full of the kind of regret that the holiday season can bring. You may think that I revel in wrong stuff… but come on, its songs like this that make listening to Christmas music palatable. If all you listen to are jingle bells, you are an insane person (or will become one). That said, this song is bound to bring up some lost love in your past, be it the girl you loved in grade school or the boy you almost married. “Maybe in another life we’d be walking down that aisle, / but under white string lights you’ll go left and I’ll go right, / and wish each other another silent night.” That part comes in right after he introduces this saxophone that completely makes the song. Tasteful sax, nothing like it. Lots more to read about this record over at Vice’s Noisy blog, including a rundown of all the guests on his full length, Like A Gift From God or Whatever, and an interview where he discusses every song.

EDIT: Just announced today (October 20, 2015) – Vinyl edition with a vinyl-only bonus track!
EDIT: Just announced today (November 6, 2017) – Randomly-colored vinyl repress of 500 copies!

Bottom Line: I loved this slice of melancholy, and the beautiful music only made it sweeter to hear. I only wish I could hear more (it comes out tomorrow!) 4.9/5