"Thrift Gift Christmas," Savory Flakes (self-issued)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
3M ago
This Pittsburgh-based act dropped for 2023 this lo-fi indie power pop number about shopping for the holiday at thrift stores and wrapping the gifts in newspaper, although the dearth of newspapers out there nowadays suggests the singer would have to scavenge them from the neighborhood recycling bins on trash day. Nevertheless, a cool number with a bit of XTC-style riffage and prominent bass to recommend it. Just noticed while checking out the Bandcamp page there's another song from 2021, "When Santa's Here," a more midtempo Kinks-styled number, and it's a free download. Grab these for your holi ..read more
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East Bakersfield Christmas, Mento Buru (self-issued)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
3M ago
Another act I haven't encountered before is this seven-piece Southern California band that has been around since 1992, jamming together Latin alternative, ska, rock and reggae. In 2020 they dropped the EP in the title, and in 2023 they dropped another titled East Bakersfield Christmas II, and between them we get a boisterous Christmas party experience. The first EP gives us knock-down versions of "Donde Esta Santa Claus" in English and Spanish, "Jingle Bell Rock," "What Child Is This," "Feliz Navidad," and a slow reggae take on "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts)." Version two gives us a cool orig ..read more
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Kosmo Comes For Christmas, Look Mum No Computer (Look Mum No Label)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
4M ago
Speaking of synth-pop, this 2023 album is essentially a holiday romp through a really well-stocked keyboard sales showroom. Never heard of this act, it appears to be a one-man band who tours Europe with his music and whose website is full of geeky wirehead-speak about building synthesizers and systems out of equal parts commercially available modular synths and Arduino hobbyist computing components. As for the music, it's more progressive-symphonic instrumental and less to do with rhythm sections and such, though it begs to have the volume slider pushed to the max. Song choice is familiar thin ..read more
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Last Christmas, Dragon Inn 3 (American Laundromat)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
4M ago
This Missouri-based group has been around for five years and has two albums of modern-era synth-pop-rock out. In 2023 they dropped this EP featuring a faithful take on the Wham! classic and two other songs: "It's Christmas," a similarly upbeat synth-popper, and "Snowflake Music," a short instrumental featuring digital chimes and old-school 808 drum/bass machine. Cool stuff ..read more
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"Baby It's Christmas," Bananarama (In Synk)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
4M ago
Bananarama were queens of the British New Wave starting in the early 80s, with multiple hit singles and collaborations with such folks as Fun Boy Three. Over time they evolved into a cabaret disco act with lesser, though not insignificant, chart success in Europe. In 2010 they dropped this EP, which is just five mixes of the same holiday song. I probably wouldn't have chanced upon this if I hadn't seen that a career retrospective is dropping in March 2024 including this song. But if you've got a theme playlist for 80s new wave stars, you might want to add this to it ..read more
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Santa Is On Her Way, The Krayolas (Box Records)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
4M ago
This San Antonio, TX band has a strong reputation in that part of the country, occasionally being called "the Tex-Mex Beatles." This 2023 album makes a great case for that, as these guys are a polished, power pop rock outfit. Don't know why the title song plays with genders, but it doesn't hurt anything on this strong album opener. Another great song is "Christmas With My Dad," a tour down memory lane with a backbeat. They cover "Run Rudolph Run" and also give us a "Tex-Mex Rudolph" version of the familiar carol featuring Tex-Mex celebrity keyboardist Augie Meyers, and parody the Ramones on "I ..read more
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Father Christmas EP, Dave Davies (Red River)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
4M ago
Kinks guitarist and occasional writer for the band Dave Davies dropped a live EP in 2023 that includes a verstion of the band's 70s classic "Father Christmas," as the title will no doubt inform you. Three additional live cuts are non-Christmas, but Kinks completists will want this, especially as there's vinyl available in addition to downloads and streaming ..read more
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"Tell 'Em It's Christmas," Buckcherry (Sand Hill)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
4M ago
This hard rock band from the 90s has been on the Christmas bandwagon before, and they're back for 2023 with this solid old-school hard rocker that'll remind you of the pre-disco 70s. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am, and they rhyme "Christmas" with "wish list." Download or stream this at your leisure ..read more
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"Happy New Year (Cheers To You)," George Nipson (self-issued)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
4M ago
George Nipson is actually Mark Horn, a guy with a long history in the music business that includes albums of kids' music as well as a 1978 solo album called Someday that sells for stupid money in collectors' circles. The PowerPop blog notes that Mark changed his name because his real name belongs to a stupefying array of other artists who would likely appear before him in searches of streaming sites. At any rate, feel free to download or stream this from any of the usual sources, as it's a neat year-end power pop tune. (I believe the crowd noises are added on and that this is a studio recordin ..read more
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"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Billie Eilish (YouTube)
Mistletunes
by Rudolph
4M ago
Last year we posted a bootleg video of Billie doing this, but for "Saturday Night Live" in 2023 she performed it again, with much better sound quality and arguably a better performance. Enjoy ..read more
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