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Santa Brings Seasonal Stocking-Stuffers PDF Print E-mail
Music - Music News
Written by John M. James   
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 02:13

Jacqui Naylor's Smashed for the Holidays'Tis the season for hipster kids to rock out all that nutty tree-trimming with a brand-new beat in a chunky stocking full of new holiday CDs.

Mixing up crazy rock grooves and a mellow jazz sweetness, my pick of the stack is Jacqui Naylor's Smashed for the Holidays from Ruby Star Records. If her slow-dance caress that takes The Kinks' "Father Christmas" and John Lennon & Yoko Ono's "Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)" to new heights isn't enough to fall in love with, three selections are smashed, mashed, and twisted to the melodies of unthinkable hard-rock monsters. Intrigued? The unmistakable opening of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" morphs into "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," and two of Led Zeppelin's greatest riffs transform familiar Christmas classics to weird wonderment. Can't get your head around it? I dare you to lean back in the meltdown of "Santa Baby" fueled by "D'yer Mak'er" and "We Three Kings" deconstructed into the glory of "When the Levee Breaks." Three cool originals hit the spot in "Christmas Ain't What It Used to Be," "Winter," and "Celebrate Early & Often."

Soulful girl-group legend Darlene Love returns with an all-new CD from Shout Factory Records, putting her signature tone on Christmas selections from the rock and R&B songbook with tasty results. Titled It's Christmas, Of Course, these dozen iced cookies for Santa are a surprising, satisfying bunch, featuring The Pretenders' "2000 Miles," Billy Squier's "Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You," Tom Petty's "Christmas All Over Again," and The Band's "Christmas Must Be Tonight." One personal favorite is a comforting take on "Thanks for Christmas," originally released by XTC in 1983.

On the road now wrapping up its 12 Days of Christmas tour, Sister Hazel is treating its fans this year to Santa's Playlist. The CD includes a bluesy take on the Charles Brown chestnut "Please Come Home for Christmas," alongside some surprising, terrific new originals: the sexy, slow, and low "Christmas Time Again" and the warm sentiment of "It's a New Year (Just Get Along)."

Not to be outshone in the originals department, The Smithereens offer up three new tunes on Christmas with the Smithereens on the Koch Records imprint. Covers include Elvis Presley's "Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me," The Beach Boys' "Merry Christmas, Baby," Pete Townshend's "Christmas" from the Tommy soundtrack, The Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight)," and The Beatles' "Christmas Time Is Here Again." Drummer Dennis Diken penned the liner notes, reminiscing about the classic toys found under the tree and his personal journey through the 45s and LPs his family added to its collection each year.

Available exclusively at Target, KT Tunstall has released a six-song CD EP, Have Yourself a Very KT Christmas. Playing everything but the percussion, Tunstall turns in some eclectic choices, featuring Mud's 1974 hit "Lonely This Christmas," The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York," and the Hawaiian-islands sway of "Mele Kalikimaka," which fought back the snowdrifts on the B side of Bing Crosby's multi-million-selling "White Christmas" seven-inch single.

Rockin' the house party for nearly 40 years, Asleep at the Wheel brings energetic Texas swing in Santa Loves to Boogie from Bismeaux Productions. Famous friends join in, with Willie Nelson dueting on his classic "Pretty Paper," Dale Watson lending his golden voice to his own "Hot Texas Christmas Day," and Jack Ingram putting the pep in "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

Surf's up in a second volume of Seasonal Favorites from the retro kings at Double Crown Records, kicking up the sand and blazing through 20 tracks with The Neptunes, The Urban Surf Kings, The Daytonnas, Frankie & the Pool Boys, and The Pete Curry Orchestra. Highlights include "Rudolph's Secret" by Speedball Jr., "I Want a Monkey for Christmas" by The Barbary Coasters, and the slap-happy beat of "Silent Night" from Big Boy Pete.


New Releases Coming Tuesday, December 18:


Coil - The Ape of Naples (Important) limited-edition three-LP vinyl reissue from 2005 featuring a poster, "backwards" remixes, and etched B sides

Rivers Cuomo - Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (Geffen) 18-track collection from the Weezer boss, featuring the original demo for "Buddy Holly" and a must-hear cover of Ice Cube's "The Bomb"

The Dig - Good Luck & Games (Dig Music) CD EP

Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's The Cool (Atlantic) feeling the cheeseburger love in "Gotta Eat"

Foals - "Ballons" (Transgressive) seven-inch, 12-inch, and CD single with producer David Sitek of TV on the Radio

Daniel Johnston - The Late Great Daniel Johnson: Discovered Covered (High Wire) two-CD set featuring one disc of 18 originals and one disc of 18 covers of his music by Tom Waits, Mercury Rev, Beck, Guster, Bright Eyes, Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, and two cool teamings: Sparklehorse & the Flaming Lips and Teenage Fanclub & Jad Fair

Kiss - Kissology: Vol. 3 1992-2000 (VH1 Classics) four-DVD set, also available at select stores with a bonus fifth disc of the band's 1996 appearance at KROQ-FM's annual "Weenie Roast"

Papertrigger - Riot Lovers (Papertrigger) stunning five-song CD EP from Philadelphia, with pained, enchanting Cabaret meeting Radiohead's coy, floating paranoia in a jazzy, cinematic wail of free-form lyric imagery

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - original motion picture soundtrack (Nonesuch) also available in a deluxe edition with an 80-page book

Bram Tchaikovsky - Strange Man, Changed Man (Hip-O) remastered reissue from 1979

Tool - Vicarious (Jive) DVD "single" of the band's seven-minute CGI video from the 10,000 Days album, boasting audio commentary by David Cross and 3D graphics designed by guitarist Adam Jones

Keller Williams - 12 (Sci-Fidelity) a "hitless greatest hits" collection, selecting one song from each of his eleven albums and one new track; on tour now with The WMD's, featuring members of The String Cheese Incident and the Aquarium Rescue Unit

various artists - WWE RAW: Greatest Hits - The Music (Columbia/WWE Music) celebrating 15 years of beefy bravado with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, John Cena, and The Rock

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