Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Ape and Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp.
I'll get back to my half-assed list of favorite things of the thing later. It's time for some Christmas Jams! Most of these selections can be found on the mega rare Snowman-shaped Wonderful Christmastime/Rush Job 2-CD mix tape box set I made for a White Elephant exchange last year. If I remember correctly, Ms. Emily Twentyfive owns the only copy on spaceship Earth. Congratulations, Emily. They can also be found separately in many other places. Enjoy them together again for the first time below.

Alan Vega - "No More Christmas Blues"

Full credit to WFMU for alerting me to this. Not unlike Paul Beatle and wife and friends, only it was released on a Ze comp. and you probably won't hear it on WYYY. Also perfect for starting a Suicide kick if the pretty great knock-off from Candy-O isn't enough.

Caetano Veloso - "In The Hot Sun of a Christmas Day"

As previously side-noted a little while ago by me, this is the first whole Veloso song I ever heard, from Peanut Butter Wolf's (or someone else from Stones Throw's) Christmas mix from last year. From that category of Christmas songs that use Christmas primarily as a backdrop for a story about a guy narrowly evading a bloody manhunt. Includes the lines "Machine gun/in the hot sun of a Christmas day".

Claudine Longet - "Snow"

More of a winter song than a Christmas song, and a grim, lonely winter song at that ("Our dreams lay buried in the snow"), from the acclaimed French actress and songstress who left Andy Williams for pro skier Spider Sabich, who she later shot sometime in the '70s.

Rowlph and John Denver - "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

From the Muppets/Denver collabo, A Christmas Together, which is up right there with A Charlie Brown Christmas, Crom-Tech X-Mas, and Dorothy Hammill's PAX nightmare from a couple years back. If I ever cover a Christmas song, I think it should be this one. I can do a decent Rowlph impression, and I know all the asides, too. It'll wind up sounding like Tom Waits and a guy making fun of John Denver, but I'm just going to do it anyway.

Mirror Image - "Deck The Halls"

From their 1979 album, Yuletide Disco, which looks like this. Not nearly as unbearable as Universal Robot Band's "Disco Christmas", but still covered in Variety Hour sheen and best in small doses. Lots of great synth sounds, though, and a cheap robot reggae version of "Deck The Halls" totally out of nowhere.

Bob and Doug McKenzie - "The Twelve Days of Christmas"

Arguably the only funny Christmas song that will be really, really funny forever. No disrespect to the barking dogs doing "Jingle Bells".

Non-Christmas jam of all-time is Ghostface and MF Doom's "Angeles" from the forthcoming album Swift and Changeable (DO NOT COPY) set for release in late 2006.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Baggin' ounces in the back of the Maz.
Alright, I should probably do some 2007 best-of spiels before the year is out and I forget what it was I liked so much. I'll start with a couple must-haves by two bands that conquered my brain in the early part of '07. El Michels Affair continued their Wu obsession by collaborating with actual Clan member Raekwon on the PJ's...from afar EP, together interpreting Pete Rock's "PJ's" as only true dusty Shaolin Brooklynites can--L. Michels and crew laying down their cinema soul moods with a little more cut n' paste flair, while Raekwon gets almost stream-of-conciousness about day-to-day nefarious things (I think). If you have a heart for New York hip-hop, it will get all aflutter. Clean and instrumental version of "PJ's" are also included, as well as the deep stunner, "This One Is For My Baby", and some bonus beats. Did anyone else see that Fat Beats ad in the Wax Poetics photo issue that mentioned an El Michels "Wu-Tang covers album, title TBA"? Did anyone else gasp (or say "Noooo shiiiittt") out loud??

El Michels Affair and Raekwon - "PJ's (clean)"
El Michels Affair - "This One Is For My Baby"

I also geeked out majorly over Soiled Mattress and the Springs' Springtime! 12" right around the same time (January/February) I was geeking out over the first of El Michels' Shaolin 7"s. Honestly, that period was like the highlight of my year. Just coming home from work, freezing, putting on Soiled Mattress and El Michels one after the other for an hour or so, and dreaming about what Spring and Summer might have in store possibility-wise. NYC's Soiled Mattress especially came out of nowhere with the perfect idea--wonderfully executed bar mitzvah-ish jazz for everyone--and introduced me to the excellent Teenage Teardrops label, who's blog then introduced me to the Smell-centered LA scene that I feel like I've been living through vicariously ever since. If I wasn't a little unsure as to whether or not Springtime! came out this year or at the tail end of 2006 (and if I wasn't truly bowled over by one other record in particular), I would say this was the best record of 2007. But there's no doubt it was the most refreshing piece of non-rock pure joy I heard all year (and let's not forget that back cover photo of the boat with the words "DOCK WAR" spray-painted across it).

Soiled Mattress and the Springs - "Phillip's Head"
Soiled Mattress and the Springs - "AM"

Christmas Bonus(es): I think we can all agree Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" is the Christmas national anthem. At the very least you should check out the video, if possible. White dorks on dope! Back-up anthem is The Free Design's "Close Your Mouth (It's Christmas)", which is maybe definitely a more impressive song.
Serious Non-Christmas Bonus: The Creatures' Expansion over at the Red Room. For disco robot weirdos only.