Seasons Beatings! Christmas: AZ Indie Style

With it being Christmas Eve and all, I thought it would be great to share with you the amazing slew of Christmas songs that have rolled into my inbox over the last few weeks. Local artists have really done a great job this year of promoting the holiday spirit and the submissions for Christmas songs were still rolling in as late as yesterday. Here is a nice little collection of tunes to keep your ears warm and your heart merry. Songs are posted in the order I received them to avoid any confusion in their placement.

Being Cool Is Lonely-”Happy Xmas (War Is Over If you Want It)”

This was the first track to land in my mailbox and I was ecstatic. Not only is it Being Cool Is Lonely performing one of my favorite holiday tunes (and a slightly subversive one at that), but this electronic duo is joined by Austin Head, Suz (Therapist), Brett (Sister Cities), Braden (Dead Wildlife), and Elise Welch and William Reed of Blaque Panther Disco. Enjoy this amazing take from an all star cast of this John Lennon classic.

Zero Zero – “I Know What I Want 4 Christmas”

Zero Zero has taken the bravest route possible and rather than covering a classic Christmas tune, has written one of their own, it’s a pretty fantastic one at that. It’s  a raving, roaring affair that some takes all their style and slams it into the spirit of the season sideways. Ending on the question, “come on wouldn’t everything be better, spending every christmas together?” You can only answer yes. I  know what I want 4 Christmas, I want Zero Zero to be around for many more of them.

Emby Alexander – “Merry Christmas I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight”/”Blue Christmas”

Emby Alexander has released not one, but two Christmas singles this year, a double sided single if you will (if there were sides in the digital era). The first holiday tune is a cover of the Ramones “Merry Christmas I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight” done only the way Emby Alexander could with their amazing baroque, chamber pop sound intact–and a total Phil Spector Wall-Of-Sound aesthetic. In short it’s brilliant. The perennial favorite “Blue Christmas” provides the other side, clearly drawn from the version done by Elvis, which happens to be my favorite, the back up singers are in fine form and the song has rarely sounded better, with the exception of being in the hands of the King himself. An amazing retro-fitted effort all around.


Curtis Grippe and STEM Recording have whipped up a 7 song mini-album featuring some fantastic artists and some fantastic holiday tunes. You have Japhy’s Descent playing the ever familiar Peanuts Christmas theme in brilliant style, a song that will just make you style, especially if you know this great group of guys–the dialogue, between James and Travis is fantastic…I think Vince Guaraldi would be pretty proud of this. Meanwhile, Los Guys take on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is quite touching in its sentimental, authentic delivery–simply beautiful. Sara Robinson & The Midnight Special take on the relatively new Christmas classic “Mary Did You know” and though this song has become incredibly successful on the country charts, year after year by various artists, they add their own brand of riveting soul to it and make it something wonderful and new. Japhy’s Descent take on “Sleigh Ride” is more in line with their normal sound taking on a classic–seeing Travis the other night wearing a Santa hat adds imagery to this track I wouldn’t have otherwise and I can picture him singing this in no other way. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” is Banana Gun’s near hard rock contribution to this amazing compilation and it too, is brilliant every step of the way…this is possibly my favorite version of this song ever, perhaps because there’s just  a touch of evil here and frankly, Santa doesn’t sound entirely on the level here and you may be inclined to fear his arrival. Another rocking, rollicking good time is Ghetto Cowgirl’s “The Christmas Song,” which is as amusing for the near rockabilly back drop, as it is for Marc Norman’s near lounge lizard vocal delivery–in short, it’s just plain fun and would you really expect anything less from Mr. Norman? Pretty amazing really, definitely one of my favorites here. The compilation closes with Martin Sugg’s feedback drenched version of “Blue Christmas.” Now, I don’t recall Jimi Hendrix having  done a version of this song, but I guarantee that if he had, this is exactly what it would have sounded like–a perfect end to a perfect seasonal compilation thanks to the wonderful recording artists at STEM and Curtis Grippe.

Xmas Smeeches The Third

For the third year in a row the wonderful and possibly insane folks at Sun Hypnotic have unleashed another volume of Xmas Smeeches upon the world. Each year it seems to me that Sun Hypnotic is going for the award for strangest Christmas compilation of the year, and in my book they win. The opener is called “The Pagan Spirit” by Nastral Polyp and is a collection of samples and strangeness that is somehow both amusing and impressive, while it questions the roots of this holiday. CSML who was recently forced to change their name to these initial by actual Christian Science Monitor Lizard’s who were offended, present “Enter Mr. Santa Man” and yes, it’s everything the title evokes–this should be a new Xmas classic  if you ask me. Meanwhile Roastin’ Ghosts & GooClay bring a very drunken, loungey sound to “Silent Night,” and for many of us, this should remind of Christmas time from our childhoods, evoking memories of whiskey and shame. Genius.  AC Grüns of CSML and electronic music producer in his own right, bring us “chrissmusschrissmuss”, a weird collage of sounds and noise finding it’s disturbing way into the holiday spirit, there are even Chipmunks at work here–it’s a weird time to be sure, but it’s also kind of wonderful. Bitty-B apparently submitted the next number, “Going To Do a Great Job Today,” somewhat anomynously through an email–once more it seems Chipmunks are at work, they are then fed to Satan and sing  from his stomach. #-* presents “1221″ an homage to the recently passed and survived end of days–one of the best numbers here and this should be pulled  out every time we’re about to face yet another apocalypse. Zach Anderson’s “Clayton Kringle” is about Kris’ down and out drunken brother, another brilliantly  accomplished number, if Dr. Demento was still doing radio, this would be a serious submission for novelty holiday song of the year. “Mary Nodded…Off!” by AC Grüns is pretty great whether it’s a holiday tune or not, fantastic dance tune with a hilarious MC asking for “first aid and security” mid way through. Finally, we have Idol Eyes closing out the set with a warped remix of a certain ex-Beatles “Wonderful Christmas Time” re-worked to be “Having Simply (Youph C. Noodlez)” which you’ll understand better when you hear it. It’s weird, it’s wonder, it’s XMAS SMEECHES!