January 2, 2013

MWM Holiday Special

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A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.

  X-Mas songs by Jack Hittinger on Grooveshark

For this week's edition, we polled the SadBears on our favorite "nontraditional" holiday songs. (We are, after all, nontraditional students here.) We all figured we'd heard enough "regular" Christmas music (looking at you, Bing Crosby) that we should give readers a taste of some other stuff we like too. Here's what we came up with:

JACK: Julian Casablancas, "I Wish It Was Christmas Today"
The Band, "Christmas Must Be Tonight"
Ravonettes, "Christmas Song"

A mix of new and old. The Casablancas song is mostly a stand-in for the original SNL version of the song, which is one of the most legitimately uplifting ans honest Christmas songs ever written. I also crack up just thinking about Tracy Morgan dancing whenever I hear this.

The second is one of my dad's favorites by one of his favorite bands, so it's always one I kinda liked even though it is kind of cheesy.

The last one is nothing special, but the Ravonettes are really good at making recycled ideas just sound cool. That's what this does.

TONY: Cotton Top Mountain Sanctified Singers, "Christ Was Born On Christmas Morn"
Alabama Sacred Mountain Top Singers, "Sherburne"

If you ask Katie, she'd describe me as the Grinch when it comes to holiday traditions and Christmas music. It's true. Yet when Jack sent this prompt, I knew immediately that I needed to share two non-traditional Christmas albums, and representative songs from each.

First, I think the "Where Will You Be on Christmas Day?" album came out partway through college, and it collects some really odd and catchy Christmas roots music. I think of these ditties often, including my mix selection: "Christ Was Born On Christmas Morn," by the Cotton Top Mountain Sanctified Singers. As a second pick, check out "Sherburne" by the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers. This album would also be a good introduction to roots music, if you haven't dabbled much.

Second, of more recent vintage, is "An East Nashville Christmas," which just came out this year as a Nashville musicians' fundraiser for the homeless. It's really diverse and extremely listenable (whatever that means). You can stream some samples here: http://eastnashvillechristmas.com/  

CHASE: The Hives and Cindy Lauper, "Christmas Duel"

I've never been huge into holiday music, and my taste really runs the spectrum depending on mood. A solid rendition of "Carol of the Bells" (probably my favorite traditional holiday song) will impress me one day, and then the next I might listen to Mariah Carey (no shame). But if I'm being honest, I've been avoiding holiday music this year.

MARK: Sufjan Stevens, "Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!

Sufjan Stevens makes up 90% of my Advent/Christmas music diet every year. My consistent favorites each year are "Once in Royal David's City" and "O Come O Come Emmanuel." This year, though, I was particularly drawn to the above track, "Put the Lights on the Tree," and "Holy Holy Holy."

ECON: The Royal Guardsmen, "Snoopy's Christmas"  

OATESS: Tom Waits, "New Years' Eve"

EDIT: For some reason this Tom Waits song was on Grooveshark, briefly, but then taken down. Or else I'm crazy and it was never on Grooveshark in the first place. Regardless, listen here because it's a good song.

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