Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Noo Ear

Dearest Friends, I am back in Blogville, but only for a fleeting moment. The end of the year is nigh, and you all know what that means, eh? Time for a funky New Year's Eve party! If you're looking for a fin d'annee soundtrack, head on over to Contrast Podcast, where Old Father Tim(e) has a fantastic one on offer. You can download it here or subscribe to all the upcoming 2007 'casts by using this RSS feed: The lineup is:

(00:00) Ella Fitzgerald - What are you doing New Year’s Eve?
Tim from the face of today
(04:18) The Zombies - This will be our year
Hiram from The Harvey Girls
(07:04) Asobi Seksu - New Years
Ross from Just Gimme Indie Rock
(10:09) The Buzzcocks - Boredom
Bob from Gimme Tinnitus
(13:44) The Dismemberment Plan - Ice of Boston
Chip from Donewaiting
(18:52) U2 - New Years Day
FiL from Pogoagogo
(25:06) AC/DC - Have a drink on me
Natalie from Mini-Obs
(29:32) Paul Weller - Brand new start
Crash from Pretending life is like a song
(33:30) Yu Fei Men - Happy New Year
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away
(37:43) The Alice Project - I hope this year is better than the last
GD from Bitesize Bonus
(40:49) Brenda Khan - Yellow Sun
Tom from Other People’s Toys
(45:54) Ween - It’s gonna be a long night
Michael from The Yank Sizzler
(49:34) Martinn - Around the world on New Years Day
Waffles from waffles radio
(53:10) The Walkmen - New Years Eve
Andy from Circles of concrete
(55:37) Luka Bloom - Bridge of Sorrow
Tristesse from And before the first kiss

I must confess, it has been years since I celebrated New Year's Eve. I believe the last time was in 1999, when we had a street party to welcome in 2000. Even then I remember shivering outside in the cold, wondering when would be the earliest I could diplomatically slink inside the house and into bed. I often wonder why I'm such a New Year's Eve Scrooge, seeing as I do enjoy a party and have little fear of embarrassing myself. I suppose it's the notion of enforced frivolity and enjoyment: You WILL stay up until midnight and you WILL drink lots of champagne and you WILL enjoy yourself and you WILL make chit-chat with people who don't care if you live or you die. So I reserve my 'Bah, humbug' not for Chrimbo, but for New Year's Eve. That said, I do hope you all enjoy yourselves...

In a similar vein, I've been strongly resistant to the idea of posting an end-of-year list. So many people have already done a fabulous job of rounding up this year's nuggests of goodness. Coxon posted his fave songs, albums, and gigs; Fraser couldn't contain himself and did it here and here; Andy wrote his in concrete, Marcy got lost in her inbox not once but twice, and Rachel treated us to a myriad of excellent 2006 fayre served up in different ways over here. So in the end I have given in to peer pressure. I am very easily led astray...

And here it is, my list. This is not a 'Best of 2006' - goodness knows I'd never presume to tell you what you should be or should have been listening to. No, this is a totally subjective and flawed recollection of choonz released in 2006 that made me a happy FiL at various points during the year. If I thought about it more, I'm sure I'd come up with others. Definitely not in any order of preference.

Cansei de Ser Sexy - Alala (buy here)
Oh, maan, best thing to come out of Brazil since cachaca.

Snowden - Anti-Anti (buy here or e-here)
Post-punk is not dead. It's alive & well & living in Georgia. Peachy.

Motorettes - You Gotta Look The Parts (buy here)
These lads make me grin summat fierce.

Buzzcocks - Flat-Pack Philosophy (buy here or e-here)
There's life in the old 'Cocks yet. Indeed, they're are at the top of their game.

GWAR - Tormentor (buy here)
Most fun at a gig I had all year. And the fluids!!

Teddybears Sthlm - Hey Boy (buy here)
These Swedes sukapunched me and lodged in my brainstem, where they remain to this day. Thank you, SAS Radio!!

Harvee - Magical Mind (buy e-here)
Lovely Canadians! I wish them bags of success in 2007.

Pony Up! - The Truth About Cats & Dogs (Is That They Die) (buy here or e-here)
More lovely Canadians!! But unfortunately they speak the truth. Ah, the suffering of change...

Ndidi Onukwulu - Old Heart (buy here or e-here)
My surprise discovery of the year. This young blues diva knocked my socks off at the 2006 Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

Sambassadeur - Kate (buy here)
More Swedes! These ones have occupied my soul and are making it ache with their sweet sound.

Camera Obscura - I Need All The Friends I Can Get (buy here or e-here)
Oh, Traceyanne Campbell, how you make me all giddy & giggly. And the kids love you too. As do mine. Sigh.

Well, that's it from me for this year. I'm off to pick up Dearest T from the Vancouver aerodrome, then it's off to Mayne Island early tomorrow morning. I will be incommunicado until sometime during the first week of January, so until then (and afterwards as well), I wish all of you a rollicking start to 2007.

Edit: Damn, damn, damn! I knew I'd forget some worthy tracks, but this one was really too worthy to leave off: Mouse Eat Mouse - Mair Licht (buy e-here). Think Mark E Smith meets Ivor Cutler and Billy Connolly. In a Haircut 100 single played at 33rpm. I have a certain Scottish blogger to thank for this gem.

P.S. Dearest T has arrived, but British Airways saw fit to leave his bags and those of thirty other passengers somewhere in Heathrow. So first stop was to an all-night drugstore to buy a pair of Rhino underpants. Tee hee!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas
(apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Christmas, in the blogosphere
But not a blogger was posting, it was powerful queer.
I trolled the old stalwarts in search of new fayre,
But came up with nothing, the web was all bare.

Perhaps all my blog friends were seized with good cheer,
And have spurned their computers, for those held dear.
My heart, it was much warmed by this kind seasonal thought
What miracle, what magic had Christmastime wrought!

No bootlegs of Sufjan, not a Kooks rarity,
No Camera Obscura, nor an Arctic Monkey.
No Britney-meets-Carcass-meets-Manilow mash,
No insightful reflection, no wit, no flash.

About this occurence, I felt I must post,
So I typed on my keyboard, and grew deeply engrossed.
For three hours, nay four, I wrote prose most sublime
And picked music tracks that were perfectly divine.

My labour most heartfelt I then tried to upload,
But Blogger just froze and Fileden did implode.
I then understood the fair bloggers' Yueletide plight,
Merry Christmas? Fuck that, I'm off to bed, goodnight.
Dear Friends, I'm going to be out of the blogosphere for a few days now as we gear up for the Chrimbo festivities. I should be back briefly after Boxing Day, but shortly thereafter we are off to glorious Mayne Island to see in the New Year.
Thank you all so very much for stopping by - I really do enjoy your visits! And to my Dearest Friends, including those blogospheric denizens who've become ones over the course of the year (you know who you are), I send extra special holiday greetings and FiLlurve.
Since this will be my last chance to post Yuletide muzak until 2007, here are a final trio of tunes to blast on Christmas morn:
I Am The World Trade Center - Rockefeller Tree (buy e-here, and if you don't know what a Rockefeller Tree is, see here)
Holly Golightly - Christmas Tree On Fire (buy e-here)
The Bellrays - All I Want To Do Is Shag For Christmas (buy e-here)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Feeling Scroogey Yet??

Contrast Podcast is back this week with yet another batch of Christmas cheer to force down your gullets. But this isn't just more of the same-old mouldy fruitcake, oh no! This stuff is cool and crisp, just like a new snowfall on Christmas morning. The Vandals! The Muppets!! The Wedding Present!!! And more!!!! Rejoice, rejoice!!

As usual, you can pull the podcast out of this stocking, or you can get Santa to regularly drop off each episode by subscribing with the following RSS feed:

OK kids, let's do some rapping and unwrapping!!

(00:55) Eric Metronome - Jesus Christ
Eric Metronome (website/myspace)

(03:58) The Vandals - Oi to the world
Simon from You can call me Betty

(07:04) The Shitbirds - Christmas is a-coming (may God bless you)
SAS Radio

(08:58) The Wedding Present - Step into Christmas
Jim from Quick before it melts

(13:33) My Chemical Romance - All I want for Christmas is you
Bethanne from Clever titles are so last summer

(18:10) Emmy the Great & Lightspeed Champion - Christmas in Prison (buy the charity album here)
Tim The Daily Growl

(21:58) Garrison Keillor - The 12 days of Christmas
Rick from Are you embarassed easily?

(25:50) Unio and Petito - a balm on yer
Deek Deekster from Pod of Funk

(31:37) Loretta Lynn - It won’t seem like Christmas
Michael from The Yank Sizzler

(34:55) Frickin’ A - Merry merry merry frickin’ Christmas
Tom from Other People’s Toys

(38:44) Danny Elfman - Making Christmas
Shawn from Das Mobius

(42:59) John Denver and The Muppets - The Christmas Wish
Spoodles from Robot hand is the future

(46:54) Emmy the great - The Woods
Tim from Fun Fun Fun

(50:05) Miles Davis and Bob Dorough - Blue Christmas
Marcy from Lost in your inbox

(53:26) The Flaming Lips - Christmas at the Zoo
Bob from Gimme Tinnitus

(57:01) Neko Case - Christmas card from a hooker in Minneapolis
Brian from The Rant

(01:00:57) Victor Scott - O Holy Night
Victor Scott (website/myspace)

For those of you thinking beyond Christmas, Tim's already accepting submissions for the New Year's Eve podcast. But you'd better hurry: submissions are due no later than 21 December!! Still don't know how to participate? All is made clear here.

Now, I know some of you out there are sick to the back teeth of this whole holiday rigmarole for one reason or another. So, in an attempt to put a wee smile, however wry or twisted, on even your faces, let me offer up a batch of tunes that celebrate the darker, downkey, and depressed aspects of the season. If you're dreading yet another year of family arguments, the sardonic Shrag have the tune for you. On the flip side, that nice, morose man fellow from Casiotone For The Painfully Alone paints a lonely picture for those left all by themselves for the holidays. Vancouver's own Young And Sexy ruthlessly reveal Santa's class bias, while the Long Blondes block up their chimney and nurse a bitter, broken heart. And finally, Faster Pussycat and BTFABG paint it all a gothicky black.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Cold White Christmas (buy here)
The Vichy Government - (One More Widow) One Less White Christmas (atmospheric freebie download from last year. Now unavailable, but this year label Filthy Little Angels is giving away a massive 70-song sampler - for free!! Get it here!!)
The Long Blondes - Christmas is Cancelled (this was a freebie download - how kind!!)
The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song (buy here)
Merle Haggard - If We Make It Through December (buy here or e-here)
Shrag - Stop The Revelry (find this & other similar goodies here)
Young & Sexy - Santa Likes Rich Kids Better (buy here or e-here)
Faster Pussycat - Silent Night (buy here or e-here)
Black Tape For A Blue Girl - Chanukkah, O Chanukkah (buy here)

And for the purists amongst you, here's Oscar the Grouch with his inimitable Noo Yoik take on the holidays: I Hate Christmas (buy here).

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I Grow Old...

I grow old. . . I grow old. . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

-- T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Dearest Friends, today was my birthday. And though I am that little bit older, I do like to think that I will not end up as Eliot's Prufrock, embittered by and regretful of an inauthentic life of paralysis. Yes, so much has happened, and there have been many avenues, now closed, that I did not explore. And I wonder what would have happened if I had. But I look ahead, and am convinced there are still adventures as yet unhad, and opportunities to be uncovered and seized.

It was a low-key day; I spent a good deal of it up on the garage roof unblocking drains and sweeping tree litter. But Dearest Wife made for me a most fantastic chocolate-almond cake spiced with cardamom and chili. And Little Man made me a card in which he drew his first ever recognizable representation: a snowman. A low-key day, but a good one.

Do I hear you ask, "How old?" Well, here, let me give you some clues - first one to get it right gets a copy of the cake recipe.

Donovan - Hurdy-Gurdy Man (buy here)
The Beatles - Revolution (buy here)
William Shatner - Mr Tambourine Man (buy here)

I fear that this day in history is actually a bit of a musical desert. The best I can come up with is that I share a birthday with Bananarama co-founder Sara Dallin. But I am pleased to say she's several years my senior. Was that bitchy? Bop-bop-shoobee-doo-aaah...

Bananarama with Fun Boy Three - Really Saying Something (buy here)

But the real question is: do I now qualify as a dirty old man??

Thee Headcoatees - Dirty Old Man (buy here )

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Contrast

Well, roger me sideways with a candy cane and douse me in mincemeat, it's time for the first instalment of the Contrast Podcast Yuletide extravaganza! And at the helm of this runaway sleigh is none other than jolly old Chrimbo Timbo. Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum. The CP elves have obviously been hard at work, picking the finest festive ditties for your enjoyment.

There's no need to wait until Christmas - just click here to unwrap this present, or get the gift that keeps on giving by subscribing through this RSS feed:

Woah, the reindeer are getting restless - I'd better get to the list...

(00:00) Eels - Everything’s gonna be cool this Christmas
Tim from the face of today
(03:28) The Wombats - Is this Christmas
Ross from Just Gimme Indie Rock
(07:23) And What Will Be Left Of Them? - Have yourself a filthy little Christmas
FiL from Pogoagogo
(10:58) Laura Nyro - Up on the roof
Adam from Beggars Banquet
(14:49) Axydlbaaxr - Carol of the bells
Axydlbaaxr’s stumbleupon page
(19:13) The Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby - Mele Kalikimaka
Kip from Hip to be square
(22:47) Mydols - Merry Frickin’ Christmas
GD from Bitesize Bonus
(25:38) Remy Zero - Someday at Christmas
Andy from Circles of concrete
(28:41) My Morning Jacket - Christmas Time is here again
Duke of Straw from The late greats
(35:18) Barry & the Beachcombers - Booka’s list
Crash from Pretending life is like a song
(36:26) Centro-matic - It’s starting to look like Christmas
Alex from Totally true tales from Texas
(40:39) John Leguizamo - The night before Christmas
Cindy from Adzuki bean stash
(44:40) Dressy Bessy - All the right reasons
Amy from Shake your fist
(47:39) Low - Just like Christmas
Natalie from Mini-Obs
(51:18) The Smashing Pumpkins - Christmas Time
Jamie from The Run Out Groove
(55:08) The Von Trapp Children - Carol of the Bells
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away
(59:53) Fear - Fuck Christmas
Chris from Culturebully

If you've got a seasonal carol you want to share, don't despair! There's still time to contribute to next week's part two - find out how right here.

Dearest Friends, my stockings are soooo chock-full of Christmas warbles that it goes without saying that there were loads of runners up. So let me sling another lot of choonz your way. Now, don't fret, I'm not going to get all reflective on you. This won't be another one of my "I-liquefied--my-left-hand-in-the-blender-making-egg-nog-daquiris-but-it-taught-me-the-true-meaning-of-Christmas" posts. This one is all about arse-out fun. Yep, 'tis the season for making silly. For going along to excruciatingly cheesy parties and snogging Brenda (or Bruce) from Accounts Receivable under a sprig of mistletoe. For getting giggly with gramps and granny on the gin. For moshing round the menorah with the menschen. For conducting regrettable experiments with advocaat, Baileys, soy egg nog, and port. For rockin' around the tree with Da Kidz. For gorging on shite like plum pudding and friutcake that at any other time of the year would be used to pave streets.

And so, in the spirit of Christmas parties everywhere, here's a poptastic holiday mix for your enjoyment. Better run, coz I'm about to break out that mistletoe and Baileys...

St Etienne - I Was Born On Christmas Day (buy here)
Boney M - Feliz Navidad (buy here)
Kurtis Blow - Christmas Rappin (buy here)
Sam Flanagan - Frosty DMC (this mashup f'ing rawkz da bellz!!)
The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping (buy here)
The Pipettes - White Christmas (freebie from Memphis Industries)
Supposedly The Beatles - White Christmas (Allegedly off of a fanclub flexidisc, but some of my kind & discerning readers say otherwise, and they're probably right. Calumny! I've been duped!! And to think I traded the family cow for this tune - what will Mother say?? I no longer warrant the authenticity of this track- you click the link, you take your chances...)
The Kinks - Father Christmas (buy here)
Slade - Merry X-mas Everybody (buy here)
Beach Boys - Little St Nick (buy here)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's A Fair Cop

A Very Nice Mountie

Dearest Friends, our family's downward slide into criminality continues. You may recall Dearest Father-Out-Law's brush with the Mounties back in October. Well, it is with a heavy heart that I must report my own descent into lawlessness. Yes, in one brief, fleeting moment I was transformed from a staid, respectable, family man into Gangsta FiL. Here is my sorry tale...

I had just dropped off Little Man at home after his regular Saturday swimming lesson. My intention had been to run a few errands on the way, but his sporadic breakfast cough was becoming increasingly persistent cough and told me that he was probably not up to the task. I also felt a wee bit of guilt begin to gnaw away, asking me whether sending him off to swim today had been wise. So with Dearest Wife's imperative to return in less than an hour so she could take Darling Daughter off to ballet, I jumped into the Golden Pimpwagon and took off.

As I tooled down the road, I mulled over all I needed to do: pick up an ink cartridge, find a Chrimbo prezzie for my mother, order a ham at the butcher for Christmas dinner, and fill up the car with petrol. A quick glance at the clock told me I could do it all, if I hurried. Then I got a bit annoyed - hurry, hurry hurry. I hate hurrying. I hate hurrying particularly on the weekend. And doubly so during the holiday season. Hadn't I told myself that I wasn't going to let myself be forced to hurry this year? Irritation grew, and to top it all off that nasty provocateur Julian Cope was egging me on with his popular beat combo music on the stereo. My foot grew heavy on the accelerator, and then, off the the right...

A policeman. Waving me down. Telling me to pull over.

"Good morning sir, you were doing over 100 kilometers in an 80 kilometer zone. May I please see your driver's license and registration?"

I waited on the shoulder while the cop checked my details back in his squad car. I sweated, thinking about the five keys of blow I had in the spare tire, the unlicensed Glock 9mm in the glove compartment, and the endangered Golden Lion Tamarin under the front seat. But I really started to tremble when I thought of my mp3 player - that unauthorized Yo La Tengo track alone would get me five years in maximum security...

Alright, so yet again I exaggerate. No blow, no Glock, no protected, tiny monkeys, and no Yo la Tengo (whew!). Just an embarrassed, mad-at-himself FiL.

The cop returned. He was ever so nice about it all; he gave me the lowest fine he could ($138, reduced by $25 if paid within 30 days), and didn't even feel the need to lecture me. As I pulled away nice and slow, he bagged another miscreant with his radar gun.

Sitting in the Staples carpark, I spent a few minutes trying to stop feeling so stupid. I asked myself what was I supposed to learn from this episode, apart from the obvious "Obey the speed limit." What it came down to was that despite my self-entreaties to chill out, I had become caught up in the hectic frenzy of the season. I had let myself get frazzled and irritated, and had paid for it. Indeed, I thought, this was a lesson that went beyond Christmas.

Having somewhat regained my equilibrium, I proceeded with my errands. Though I didn't manage to fill up the car or get a present for Mum, I did stick to the speed limit.

And I felt a whole lot calmer for it.

Lightnin' Hopkins - You're Too Fast (buy here or e-here)
Nouvelle Vague - Guns of Brixton (buy here )
Grandmaster Flash - White Lines (buy here)
Clinic - Monkey on My Back (buy here )
Classix Nouveaux - Guilty (buy here)

And as a bonus, here's the sublime Copey track that I tried to blame for pushing me over the edge: Julian Cope - An Elegant Chaos (buy here)

In this elegant chaos / I stand to one side / Shouting 'Ha!'

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Punky Christmas Party

Santa & The Klawz, NP-34 Research Station, 1/12/06

Well, the Christmas frenzy has well and truly started, but so far I've managed to steer calmly through the froth. I do apologize if this sounds a bit smug, but methinks I've already done about 90% of my gift shopping. Yep, thank you,, and (Dearest Wife, avert your eyes RIGHT NOW unless you want to spoil the surprise) amazingly funky local boutique LouLou Luv! LouLou's is a wonderful girly-girl place, stuffed to the gills with fantastic handbags and jewellery. The shop itself has a real fin-de-siecle a Paris vibe and their window displays are always extraordinary. Currently they have two stunning Christmas trees fashioned out of sparkly silver and gold evening clutch bags. Ho Ho Ho & Oh La La!!

I am particularly thrilled that I managed to limit my exposure to The Dreaded Mall. Indeed, I made but one brief foray into the roiling waters of Oakridge Shopping Centre, and managed to escape before being crushed by a combination of piped Yuletide muzak, overheated and recycled air, zombie-shopper hordes, and enormously bloated decorations (Look out! It's a six-foot-wide velvet bow!!). As I emerged (empty-handed, I might add) into the refreshingly cold outside air, I had a brief, frightening flashback to one December night a couple of years back in London...

It was either the penultimate or final shopping day before Christmas and I was sadly behind on my shopping owing to a maniacal year-end workload. In desperation I went that evening to the city's premier shopping strip, Oxford Street, to hit the major department stores: John Lewis, Selfridges, Debenhams, House of Fraser.

I found myself in hell on earth. Wall-to-wall bodies. Tortuous check-out queues. Displays picked clean. Packed, sweaty Tube trains.

I can't remember what all I bought. But I do recall feeling despondent that I hadn't been able to put my heart into it, that I had spent a lot just for the sake of buying, that I had let Christmas become an automated, compulsive duty.

And so, Dearest Friends, let me give to you the second of my festive mixes, one which I hope will give you the stamina, courage, and bolshiness to muscle your way through all the shite and aggro of the season. I tell you, these are the tunes that Santa, his reindeer, and the elves are pogoing and slamming to in the North Pole mosh pit. Merry effing Xmas to you all - I mean it, maaaan!!

The Vandals - Oi to the World (buy here or e-here)
The Damned - There Ain't No Sanity Clause (buy here)
The Dickies - Silent Night (buy here)
Sloppy Seconds - Hooray for Santa Claus! (buy here or e-here)
Crucial Youth - Santa is Coming (buy here or e-here)
Peter & The Test Tube Babies - I'm Getting Pissed for Christmas (buy here or e-here)
The Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) (buy here)
Celibate Rifles - Merry Xmas Blues (buy here)
The Jet Boys - Merry Xmas, Fuck You (buy here or e-here)

And for Dearest Liz, who goes for this song most every way it's dished up: The Revolvers - Last Christmas (buy here)

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Sound of Money

Clink... clink... ka-chiiing!! This week, Contrast Podcast is bopping to the beat of cash tills, the sound of shaken piggy banks, and the rustle of banknotes. Yes, the theme this week is, as Abba so eloquently put it, "Money, Money, Money." And since time is indeed money, let's get on with it: you can download this musical cash cow here, or you can improve efficiency, and therefore both your profit margin and return on equity, by subscribing via this RSS feed:

And so, let's open the vault and sift through the treasure therein...

(00:00) Toby Slater - Consumption (Waverunner remix)
SAS Radio

(05:21) Mudhoney - The money will roll right in
Bob from Gimme Tinnitus

(07:59) Billy Bragg - The marching song of the covert battalions
Sid from Too Much Rock

(11:54) XTC - Love on a farmboy’s wages
Crash from Pretending life is like a song

(16:06) The Coup - Pimps (freestylin’ at the fortune 500 club)
Katherine (who doesn’t have a website)

(21:23) Jamie T - If you got the money
Tim The Daily Growl

(25:38) Horace Andy - Money Money
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(30:18) Daisy Chainsaw - Love your money
FiL from Pogoagogo

(33:48) Whodini - What people do for money
Tom from Other People’s Toys

(38:30) Jens Lekman - Pocketful of money
Jamie from The Run Out Groove

(43:20) Billy Bragg - Bad Penny
Natalie from Mini-Obs

(46:23) MxPx - Money tree
Alex from Totally true tales from Texas

(48:57) Fang - The money will roll right in
Michael from The Yank Sizzler

(51:42) Hamel on Trial - The lottery
Ross from Just Gimme Indie Rock

(54:42) Think about life - Money
Marcy from Lost in your inbox

Over the next fortnight CP is getting into the holiday spirit with not one, but TWO festive episodes on subsequent weeks. So break out your favourite seasonal ditties, though I promise to send Rocco & his ninja elves round your house for a friendly chat if you submit any Aled Jones. Indeed, why limit yourself to Christmas? Pelt Old Saint Tim with your Kwanzaa and Hanukkah tracks as well! Go here to see how you can get your presents under the tree.

To be sure, as I rummaged through my change purse trying to decide what to drop into the donations box week, several songs caught my eye with their lucrative glint. So here are a few of the not-quite-so-valuable tracks that were considered:

Buzzcocks - Credit (buy here or e-here)
From this year's corker of an album, "Flat Pack Philosophy," which is in my Top of the 2006 Pops list. And they're stunning live, even if they're old.

The Jam - Pretty Green (buy here)
Paul Weller explains the complexities of the monetary system to us all in down-to-earth language even a banker can understand.

Momus - Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (buy here)
No, no, nothing to do with those nice, suburban kiddies, Good Charlotte. This is lovely, squiggly, bleepy, indie C86 Eurodeesco, not unlike a slightly more knowing Pet Shop Boys. When you're up, everybody wants your babies.

So, now that we've talked about money, a brief word about love. On Sunday, Dearest Wife asked if I would help her henna her hair (I dare you to say that last phrase ten times fast). With some trepidation, I agreed. The process involved strategically pasting her lovely chestnut locks with a whiffy, greenish mud consisting of grass clippings, freshly brewed coffee, and apple cider vinegar. As I worked the gunk in with my mismatched rubber gloves (one pink, one yellow), I mused out loud that this situation must indicate one of two things: either that all the magic and mystery had drained irretrievably from our marriage, or that our relationship was so firmly cemented that it could withstand such banalities. I'm going with the latter...

Haircut 100 - Love Plus One (buy here and dance like a mad, eighties fool)

And in this holiday season, remember: love trumps money anytime...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bah, Humbug! vs Deck the Halls!

Hooray! It's the first of December! The advent of Advent! The moratorium on things Christmassy has been lifted! Cue engorgement on atrocities like egg nog and fruitcake! Bring on fevered, last-minute shopping for novelty stocking stuffers! Roll out and repeat ad nauseam syrupy-stringed muzak versions of "Winter Wonderland"! Better get me a bucket...

Heck, old Snow Miser even dumped a ton of snow on us here in Vancouver to jam it down our throats. Quite useful, you see, as the Canucks cannot rely on Thanksgiving as the starting pistol for the holiday season, like their bretheren south of the border can.

I've always felt a bit odd about the holiday season. In many ways it fills me with dread. Why? Oh, the usual reasons. Feeling obliged to try and enjoy it. The sense of disappointment, inadequacy, and frustration when you don't. Pervasive, rank commercialism. The hurtful politics of some families. The painful gluttony. The panic of trying to meet work deadlines before everyone f*cks off on vacation. Bah, humbug.

But over the past couple of years I have found myself trying to focus instead on that which I find good in the season. The shared rituals, such as a good neighbourhood carol service. The excuse to give because you really want to give, not because you have to. The sense of anticipation and wonder, magnified by that of Darling Daughter and Little Man (who at my office's Christmas party for children really believed that S. the receptionist WAS Santa Claus and hugged him no less than FIVE times to thank him for his gift). Actually, having created my (er, yes Darling Wife, I meant "our") own family has helped me try and centre on these latter aspects. It's as if creating a critical mass has allowed me to better define what it all means to me, and to offer up to others.

Bloody hell, I sound like a flipping greeting card. When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best (tm). To the cynics, I apologize. You're rolling your eyes so hard I can hear the muscles popping. But I am sincere in hoping you get something out of this holiday season. Other than heartburn and heartache.

And with that in mind, here's a brace of holiday choonz to get you going. A wee bit of something for everyone, from Lord Nelson's taste of calypso Chrimbo to the best cover of "Blue Christmas" EVER to Klaus Nomi's surreal Club Bossa Nova versh of "Silent Night." And I can promise you a few more stockingfuls of seasonal music over the next few weeks. Regardless of whether you've been naughty or nice.

And now, I'm off to boogey with the elves...

Jimmy Eat World - Last Christmas (no idea where you can buy this)
Tralala - Everybody Christmastime (buy here or e-here)
Shonen Knife - Space Christmas (here's the only copy I could find!)
Lord Nelson - Party for Santa Claus (buy here)
Klaus Nomi - Silent Night (er, once again, sorry, can't point you to the single, but try this)
Bullette - Blue Christmas (don't know where to find this, but she's lovely & you should download her debut album here)
James Brown - Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto (buy here)
Daniel Johnston - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (buy here, tho' admittedly there's not much point...)
Sufjan Stevens - Come on! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance! (buy here or e-here)
Three Wise Men (XTC) - Thanks For Christmas (buy here)

BONUS! From the finest Christmas TV special ever created, I give you: The Heat Miser Song!!