The “most wonderful” time of the year is fast approaching, and the (rare) avid R$N reader, Identification of Music Group member or Discogs perv might be aware of the fact that I don’t mind getting my gloves wet on the odd jingle, regardless of the season.
However, you’ll be surprised to learn that I find Christmas itself quite bothersome and depressing. The forced social gatherings, useless gifting culture, XMAS FOMO. Suicide rates surge higher than Uber’s in a snowstorm during the so called festive season, so I suspect I’m not the only one that shares this sentiment (or... indulge me this horrible pun, santament??).
Your cheerful christmas tree, unbeknownst to most, is actually a very common home for...TARANTULAS!! Fuck me... And let’s all just face it. Santa, or anyone donning his suit, is a creepy old cunt, or a creepy cunt dressing up as a creepy old cunt. If one day he does turn out to be real, he will probably make Bill Cosby, Gary Glitter and Roman Polanski look like three wise men.
That being said, the deceptive holy days of obligation have inspired some incredible music from all parts of the world. And the diversity of yuletide tunes - dealing with themes ranging from loneliness, separation and unattainable love to peace, love and (mis)understanding - prove that Christmas is not a just a time of year; much like house music, 'tis a feeling! So I say to you all: FREE XMAS! Choose which sentiment or lie you relate to on any day of the year in any part of the world (say a countryside UK festival just outside of London in mid-July for instance...)
To prove that the true Christmas spirit comes in all forms, and is suitable for any occasion, I’ve asked some friends and highly esteemed music connoisseurs (including myself of course) for their favorite yule-jams! Let’s Ho!!
Kicking it off with my buddy John, snappy dresser, multilingual, nice guy, knows his shit. Can’t even think of a funny dig for John, so annoying!
“I grew up with Spanish-English parents, so Boney M’s 'Feliz Navidad' tapped into my home’s bilingual character and was played constantly throughout my childhood, even in July… It’s a personal favourite, but sooo well known that I thought it would be more interesting to submit something a bit different. I love Caribbean Christmas songs as they somehow subvert ideas of what a Christmas song should be, but their appeal is mainly as novelty. However, Tony Tuff’s 'Christmas Highrie' just about manages to sit on that impossibly precarious borderline good position with its reggae Christmas niceness.”
Good old Harv. Rides a chopper, listens to Japanese solo piano. That’s all you need to know.
“Just piano version. Took me a very long before time to find 7 inch was rare. Now easy to find on discogs The only Christmas record I actually like.”
My buddy G from IC. Digger/Skater/Father/Hater. Always on top of things. Sometimes literally.
"This is a disco variation of parang, a traditional folklore Christmas carolling music specific to the Caribbean countries especially in Trinidad & Tobago. It’s loosely derived from two Spanish words: parranda, meaning "a spree or fête", and parar meaning "to stop”. I remember going carolling in the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, during Pasko (Christmas) doing dragon (aka carolling) in a thong and tassels performing a kind of skipping dance called Tinikling. It was embarrassing and traumatizing but we ate good food and danced all night. This is similar, a block party jam of sorts, and a massive fave whenever IC plays it anytime of the year. Look for some jams produced and arranged by the incredible Arnold Shuffler soon on IC. Malagayang Pasko and Happy Festivus!"
Jonnie Wilkes [Optimo/Naum Gabo]
Do you have any christmas spirit in ya? WOULD YOU LIKE SOME??
"I know the songs covered on this album all too well. I was sent to church a lot as a child but now I don’t have a god or at least I’m no longer afraid to admit it and at Christmas there is no baby Jesus - so I don’t want to know and I don’t want to hear it. If I must choose a Christmas record to help Marco out of a hole then I’ll take the drones and wild tunings of a clanging mad genius like John Fahey. It’s just Fahey to me, his characteristic assault unaffected by the song’s yuletide origins.
A lot of cool bands let themselves down badly attempting Christmas records - that was horrible - producing corny and awful music, I hated them for it. You know who I’m talking about. It was without exception the worst thing they ever individually did. Even if it was an ok one, it was still the worst thing they ever did. I don’t want to hear that even if they got close to something passable.
In fact I remember now we did “a turn” one Christmas day when we were wee and covered this ourselves singing… “We Three Kings of Ballybeen Square, selling knickers - 3p a pair…”"
ESP Fam. Former straight edge hardcore punk. Now enjoys listening to mellow jazz whilst nursing a delicious frothy eggnog.
“I always associate jazz with Christmas. Mellow jazz in the background at the family gathering with the fireplace on and eggnog. I chose this song because its a lovely mellow morning song and reminds me of home.”
And then there’s me. DJ turned Music Journalist for a week, regretting it since day one. This rare Dutch 7” by the insanely talented Ende Shneafliet has it all, soaring synthesizers, fat 808s, a dodgy Dutch accent, and most of all DESPAIR! And just saying, this is Christmas in outer space!! No seasons in space mate! He probably doesn't even know nor care what day of the week it is. But then neither do I half the time come to think of it…
OK, because R$N’s lanky deformed ginger elf Wil Troupe has given me so much shit about turning in this article late, here’s a bonus noel time banger!!
I mean, what can you say, this is just probably the most bad ass Christmas tune ever. The drums and bassline sounds like they’re straight out of Style Wars, and to top it off German Santa is, of course, on a vocoder! Aaaaand he’s hitting the CLUB! This particular Santa might not be such a prick after all…
Well, I think we sleighed this one! Thanks to all involved. I’ll be celebrating my Christmas like every other year, In mid fucking July! XXX Marco
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