Fowler VW Volume 5

UPCOMING: Fowler VW Presents A Blackwatch Christmas Volume 5 (2015)

Fowler Volkswagon
Buy: Bandcamp

YES YES YES! After what I erroneously feared was an end to the Fowler VW/Blackwatch Christmas tradition (silent social media and a few bounced e-mails), I was kindly corrected by the wonderful folks over at Fowler VW that one was indeed in the works – and here it comes! The first track was just released, a fantastic cover of “Mele Kalikimaka” by Oklahoma City’s Horse Thief. The song has a great swagger to it, perhaps only matched by Golden Boots’ version from the Comfort & Joy comp. These Fowler VW/Blackwatch compilations get better and better every year, and this tracklist has me salivating. BRONCHO makes an appearance as a full band this year, along with Barcelona, Bronze Radio Return, Sherree Chamberlain, Jacob Tovar, Samantha Crain, Brine Webb, Sports and Hector Comancho. I truly can’t wait – and I won’t have to wait long, since the full release is supposed to drop later today!

For those who live in the Norman, Oklahoma area, Fowler VW will host a free concert and Christmas party Dec. 13 from 8 p.m. to midnight at Stash, 412 E Main St., in Norman. The first 50 people will get a free copy on vinyl!!

Bottom Line: Too soon to tell, but these guys are killer.

LISTEN

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Indie for the Holidays cover

UPCOMING: Indie for the Holidays, An Amazon Original Playlist (2015)

Amazon
Buy: Stream

Amazon has announced a follow-up to their (IMHO) “meh” 2014 playlist, All is Bright. Their playlist was expansive, 43 songs, and with such a wide scope, there was no way that they were going to make this indie grinch happy. Too many expected covers from too many a coffee-shop friendly artist. This year, however, Amazon has tweaked their formula, and decided to curate a more adventurous playlist. The first song, Sondre Lerche & Jherek Bischoff‘s “Surviving Christmas” is presently streaming exclusively over at Stereogum. Its lovely throwback production is unsurprising, as I feel Sondre has been moving toward crooner for a years now (certainly not a bad thing – he’s great!). The lyrics are most certainly poignant, while sometimes remaining playful – Frank Sinatra would be proud. I am, however, very curious what electropop wildcard YACHT‘s track will be like, or serially grumpy Guided by Voices frontman Bob Pollard‘s What Begins New Year’s Day.” Rogue Wave have tried their hand at Christmas tracks before, as has (to a lesser extent) Langhorne Slim. There are also some newcomers (to me), such as Irish singer/songwriter SOAK, Seattle folk-pop band Ivan and Alyosha, and Swedish gothic pop singer Anna von Hausswolff that all have interesting biographies that make me want to hear more. I am most definitely intrigued, and hope that something great will come out of this for my 2015 mix. The entire playlist will be released on November 20th, so until then… just gotta wait.

LISTEN

EDIT: I’ve added all available (free) streaming songs to a playlist.

Phoenix - All Alone on Christmas Day

UPCOMING: Phoenix – Alone on Christmas Day 7″ (2015)

Glassnote Records
Buy 7″: Amazon.UK | Bull Moose

Stubby! I heard that Phoenix was the push behind the new Mike Love (god I hate Mike Love) Christmas tune… why the heck didn’t I do a cursory search to see if they were going to release anything??!!  The realization of a Phoenix Christmas 7″ has pretty much made my day. I can’t wait for the Bill Murray Christmas special that it will, no doubt, feature in. Why? Cuz Sofia Coppola directed it!

Well, I’m excited, are you? I’m even excited, despite the fact that I believe its a Mike Love cover!

UPDATE: So… nearly all the listings have disappeared. Where did you go, Phoenix 7″? It’s back! Links above!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf_dgbBK25o%5B/embed%5D

It's Coming on Christmas

UPCOMING: It’s Coming on Christmas 2 (2014)

Daisy Digital
Buy: Bandcamp | Bandcamp Deluxe Edition

One of the most anticipated releases (for me) this year is Daisy Digital‘s charity compilation, It’s Coming on Christmas 2. She just released the lineup of bands, and it includes a NEW Slow Club song, as well as tracks from Summer Camp, Shy Nature and The Districts to name a few (there are a TON of bands on this list). I’m damn excited, and can’t wait to hear it. While it may be coming out too late for this year’s mix (for me at least)… I’m going to have an eye on next year for sure. More to come on this release as it develops.

Be sure to check out last year’s compilation as well – all proceeds are donated to CoppaFeel! a charity that helps breast cancer awareness, educating young people on the importance of checking their boobs regularly and knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

UPDATE: There is now a deluxe version available as well, with 3 additional tracks, outtakes, bonus photos, and a PDF booklet. And they both come out on December 10th!

A Sunny Day in Glasgow “New Christmas Classics”

UPCOMING: A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Sketch For Winter I: New Christmas Classics (2014)

So, when I tweeted at A Sunny Day in Glasgow the other day, kindly suggesting that they make some more Christmas tunes… I received a cryptic response:

They were NOT joking. Jump on this quick – there are only 300 of this, the first in a series of cassettes by Geographic North, with four bands taking on winter themes. A Sunny Day in Glasgow has gotten the ball rolling with Sketch For Winter I: New Christmas Classics. I only wish they had contacted me first – thankfully I got one! GET ONE NOW!

Tracklist: 
1. Shut Your Mouth, It’s Christmas
2. Saturn Pulls Me Apart (Death of the Unconquerable Night)
3. Fantasia on Xmas (From Vaughan Williams)
4. The Strange Presents of Idols (Merry Christmas!)
5. All I Want for Christmas Is You (This is Peter McCallister, The Father Version) [Mariah Carey cover]

Los Campesinos! Christmas

UPCOMING: Los Campesinos – A Los Campesinos! Christmas (2014)

Stubby, I don’t know how you pipped me on this. I don’t even see it on their website… YOU ARE THE MAN.

YES, Los Campesinos! is going to put out a Christmas 12″, which will no doubt become an indie classic. It compiles their three previous WONDERFUL efforts with three more holiday tracks. I can’t imagine they’ll be pressing too many of these, so I would order early and often.

Los Campesinos! have finally confirmed the release of this new EP – and they will have a new track streaming, as well as a direct-from-band preorder (which they will have some in the US store too) on Monday. This also confirms that this release will also be available digitally, and my fingers are crossed that the digital copies may be available slightly earlier than the vinyl (for my mix!).

EDIT: Both the EU and US preorders are sold out. We have learned that the vinyl will include a CD inside it as well, and if you were one of the lucky 400 to get a copy from the band, it will apparently ship well before the official release date. Hooray!

Side A:
1. When Christmas Comes
2. A Doe To A Deer*
3. The Holly & The Ivy*

Side B:
4. Kindle A Flame In Her Heart*
5. The Trains Don’t Run (It’s Christmas Day)
6. Lonely This Christmas

*previously released

 

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols Cover

UPCOMING: Mark Kozelek – Sings Christmas Carols (2014)

So, its not out yet, and you can only hear two tracks (see below), but it was made official overnight (in that you can now preorder it)… that yes, indeed, Mark Kozelek’s first stab at a true Christmas record will be coming out November 4th. The preorder is live. It is real and it is limited. Those unfamiliar with Mark, or more likely, those with that little bit of familiarity with Mark, may say – hey – he has 2 other Christmas albums! No, no… they are just deceptive titles for live shows with minimal Christmas representation. So, be sure to purchase this new album, not White Christmas Live or Little Drummer Boy Live if you want the full thing.

All that said – I’m looking forward to this. This is certainly an album that will be heavily reviewed by major publications, and could very well be the indie-christmas-du-jour release (unless Sufjan releases another). However, I don’t have my hopes too high up – as the only tracks I’ve heard aren’t quite my bag, but that’s just my personal prejudices toward really religious tunes during Christmas (I understand the irony). I do very much love Mark, Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters though…

The CD version has begun showing up at other retailers (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Amazon UK), but if you purchase direct from Caldo Verde, you get a bonus CD, Mark Kozelek: The Kids – Live in London. In addition, there is also a vinyl pressing that has popped up. The numbers are in, and its official – red, green, black and white editions will all be limited to 500 copies each. The red is available exclusively from Caldo Verde (and its live now… likely for 24 hours or so), while the green, white and black are already available for preorder on Bull Moose’s website, as well as on Amazon (Edit: I don’t think any Amazon copies actually shipped – they kind of suck for limited stuff).

Sings Christmas Carols:

  1. Christmas Time Is Here (Listen via Stereogum)
  2. Do You Hear What I Hear
  3. 2,000 Miles
  4. O Come All Ye Faithful (Listen below or listen at this link)
  5. O Christmas Tree
  6. Away In A Manger
  7. Silent Night
  8. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  9. What Child Is This
  10. I Believe In Father Christmas
  11. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Listen via Stereogum)
  12. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
  13. The First Noel
  14. The Christmas Song

Proper review to follow, of course.

LISTEN:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXOhzykofK4]
Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club

PREORDER: Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club (2013)

Be sure to head over to the Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club blog to check out the latest posts. There is a rundown of all the singles, A + B side tracklists, and I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED.

PREORDER HERE: http://snowflakes.bigcartel.com/product/all-4-singles-of-the-2013-edition-of-the-snowflakes-christmas-club

P.S. – Don’t buy them all before I get some money together. I will be quite sad.

Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club

UPCOMING: Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club (2013)

I will no doubt be talking more about this upcoming project as it unfolds, but just to wet your appetite, a repost below from their website, with handy hyperlinks to the featured bands. Thank you Robert for sending this my way, and best of luck with this AMAZING project.

From snowflakes-christmas-singles.blogspot.nl

In November, the four singles of the Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club, edition 2013, will be released.

All singles come in a full colour picture sleeve on white vinyl, limited to 500 copies. On the A-side, the singles will have an original, on the B-side a cover.

On the first single, London folk/blues duo Smoke Fairies, joined on violin by Neil Walsh, sing about how celebrating Christmas with friends and loved ones makes one feel at home in their ‘Simple Feeling’. On the flipside they do a haunting and beautiful rendition of ‘I Wonder As I Wander’, a Christmas carol written by singer John Jacob Niles, based on some lines of a folk song he once heard a little girl sing in a small village in Appalachian North Carolina.

Stockholm, Swedens’ indie poppers The Garlands have rearranged and rerecorded their ‘Christmas Song’, prevously released as a download only in 2008, for the second single. This Chrismas love song has the sound of the swinging 60s, with bells, piano, sweet harmonies and all. Their cover of ‘I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You’, written in 1967 by Margo Guyan for French actrice, singer and dancer Claudine Longet, is a perfect fit with their original song, has the same hip 60s vibe, but still with a indiepop bite.

The third single has chamber popband The Miserable Rich from Brighton with an uplifting original, ‘Everything You Want’, in which singer James is out to buy a Christmas present for this lover and finds himself – and the present – with friends in the pub at the end of the day. The Miserable Rich cover the antiwar protest song ‘Stop The Cavalry’, written and made into one of the most loved Christmas songs from the early 1980s by Jona Lewie.

Surf pop band The Silhouettes from Amsterdam are featured on the fourth single. The Silhouettes have written an very Christmas sounding song, about looking forward to sit with your lover ‘Under The Mistletoe’. They back it with a surf version of the Christmas standard ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’, written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and first sung by the legendary Judy Garland in the classic 1944 musical ‘Meet Me In St. Louis’.

Pre-orders going up later this month!
Check http://snowflakes-christmas-singles.blogspot.nl/ or http://www.facebook.com/Snowflakes.Christmas.Singles for updates!