"Songs of Christmas, Midwinter & New Year" from Alan Lomax Archive
Festive
by DJ El Toro
2M ago
As a retired arbiter of cultural tastes, I am well aware that the hottest Weird Old America icon for Christmas 2023 is Harry Smith. He's simply everywhere. Between John Szwed's COSMIC SCHOLAR: The Life and Times of Harry Smith and the excellent cover photo and three-feature spread in Maggot Brain #14, it's a wonder Macy's didn't exhume the Anthology of American Folk Music curator to ride a float in this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (They got Cher instead.)   So spare a thought for that other legendary ethnomusicologist, Alan Lomax. Maybe he's not as "cool" as Harry ..read more
Visit website
Pylon Reenactment Society, "Christmas Daze"
Festive
by DJ El Toro
2M ago
photo: Christy Bush Since Athens, GA emerged as a hotbed of underground music in the 1980s, several of the scene’s best-loved alumni have released Christmas records, including R.E.M., Matthew Sweet (Buzz of Delight’s infectious “Christmas”), and Fred Schneider of the B-52's. And now you can add another one of those great names to your holiday playlist… sort of.  With their bracing mix of post-punk and jangle pop, Pylon have been a personal fave since high school, and I’m not alone in my devotion; James Murphy’s DFA Records reissued their first two albums in 2009, and Deerhunter c ..read more
Visit website
Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul, "HOHO"
Festive
by DJ El Toro
2M ago
  Speaking of clever recycling... The scathingly brilliant Topical Dancer by Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul was one of my favorite albums of 2022, and their single "Thank You" has been spiking my sets since in dropped the year before. Now the Belgian duo cleverly re-packages another one of their breakout singles, "HAHA" (which was built around a sample of Adigéry cracking herself up), in holiday drag. "HOHO" reunites the pair with producer Soulwax and yes, it's just as pointy as you'd hope.  “Hahahallelujah, we made a Christmas song! From HAHA to HOHO... What started of ..read more
Visit website
Caleb Nichols, "Crimble Medley"
Festive
by DJ El Toro
2M ago
Far greater minds than mine have weighed in on the Beatles’ Christmas offerings o’er the years, occasionally even on FESTIVE! (see Sean Nelson’s thoughts from 2018). I could never be bothered. To my ears, “Christmas Time (Is Here Again),” “Wonderful Christmastime,” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” all fall short; each has a good idea or two, but none of them holds up well to sustained listening.  Now FESTIVE! vet Caleb Nichols turns that bug into a feature. Across four minutes, his "Crimble Medley" stitches together the best bits of John and Paul’s Christmas ditties with excerpts from ..read more
Visit website
Hifi Sean & David McAlmont, "Xmassy"
Festive
by DJ El Toro
2M ago
David McAlmont won Christmas back in 2005 with his version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and he's held on to his crown e'er since. This beautiful pairing with David Arnold pops up in my playlists every year, despite its absence from streaming services.  Additionally, McAlmont easily earned as spot on the 2023 NICE list when he teamed up with HiFi Sean (aka Sean Dickson of Soup Dragons) for Happy Ending, one of my favorite full-lengths this year.  Now, the duo has done it again, issuing the new "free"/pay what you will seasonal original "Xmassy." Their Bandcamp page su ..read more
Visit website
Portland Cello Project, "Under The Mistletoe"
Festive
by DJ El Toro
2M ago
photo: Jason Quigley No matter what your perceptions about string ensembles, it’s hard to think of the Portland Cello Project as a buttoned-up classical enterprise. Since the group’s inception in 2006, they’ve worked with artists including Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, the Dandy Warhols, and Corin Tucker (to name just a few) and issued records on PNW labels Kill Rock Stars and Jealous Butcher. To my mind, they’re right up there with Arthur Russell in terms of challenging conventional notions about the cello. For its latest release, Under the Mistletoe, PCP teams up with singer Sa ..read more
Visit website
The Yuletime Lifers, "Time For Love"
Festive
by DJ El Toro
2M ago
  “Christmas will come, And Christmas will go But please remember Love’s not a toy You put away after December” - The Yuletime Lifers, "Time For Love" (Daptone, 2003) Posting started later than usual this year because, frankly, holiday cheer eluded me. My inbox overflowed with notifications about new (and classic) Christmas songs now available for airplay, but I felt… nothing. Or worse, cynicism. Perhaps the time had come to shutter FESTIVE!?  Then earlier this week, I received a Xerox Christmas letter from my Uncle Doug and his dog, Rocky. That simple tradition reminded me of th ..read more
Visit website
Christmas (Not Christmas) Songs: The New York Times Weighs In
Festive
by DJ El Toro
2M ago
Last week, The New York Times' music newsletter "The Amplifier" tackled a familiar FESTIVE! topic, the phenomenon we dubbed Christmas (Not Christmas) Songs.  "What makes a Christmas song … a Christmas song?" ponders columnist Lindsay Zoldaz. "Sleigh bells? Yuletide imagery? A certain indefinable, know-it-when-you-hear-it sense of reverence and good cheer?"  Zoldaz sets the bar at a reasonable height. A true Christmas song is one she only wants to hear in December. She then digs into "those cuspy, sort-of-Christmas songs," like Joni Mitchell's "River," before serving up a list o ..read more
Visit website
Björk, "Jólakötturinn"
Festive
by DJ El Toro
1y ago
  When I was a kindergartner in Pasadena, our teacher taught us about Yuletide traditions from Mexico, Germany, Italy, etcetera and we made tree ornaments to represent each one; I still have my tiny broomstick for La Befana, with "buon Natale" scrawled on a construction paper tag. Fifty years later, I'm still filled with glee and curiosity when introducedd to an unfamiliar Christmas tradition from another county.  My friend Justin, who likes cats, Icelandic culture, and knitting sweater, posted a picture of his puss posed under a silvery tree, andd a comment about his home having i ..read more
Visit website
New Soft Cell Christmas (Not Christmas) Single
Festive
by DJ El Toro
1y ago
I saw a meme the other day that discouraged the practice of special-ordering records for yourself, gift wrapping them, and leaving them under the tree marked "From Santa." I've never gone quite that far, but I usually don't make it to New Year's Eve without a few holiday impulse buys.  Case in point: The limited-edition "Last Chance (Christmas Mix)/Light Sleepers" single from Soft Cell, which comes with a custom greeting card. With the cost of international shipping rates off the charts, I've avoided ordering any music from overseas in 2022 but... well, it's Marc and Dave and Christmas ..read more
Visit website

Follow Festive on FeedSpot

Continue with Google
Continue with Apple
OR