Despite your religious affiliation, Christmas music is unavoidable if you engage with any kind of media, or enter any retail store this time of year (even if you spend Christmas eating Chinese food and watching Daily Show reruns). So for those who’ve grown tired of Brenda Lee and Mariah Carey, consider this playlist of Holiday-themed tunes. Wishing you all a happy holiday and wondrous New Year!
1. Binky Griptite – Stone Soul Christmas
2. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Big Bulbs
3. Tom Waits – Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis
4. Freddie McGregor – O Come All Ye Faithful
5. Dengue Fever – Little Drummer Boy
6. Yellowman – Santa Claus Never Comes to the Ghetto
7. Tracey Thorn – In The Cold, Cold Night
8. The Bird And The Bee – A Christmas Compromise
9. Low – Just Like Christmas
10. Augie Rios – Donde Esta Santa Claus
11. The Everly Brothers – Christmas Eve Can Kill You
12. Booker T & the MG’s – Jingle Bells
13. Butterbean & Susie – Papa Ain’t No Santa Claus (Mama Ain’t No Christmas Tree)
14. Poly Styrene – Black Christmas
Hallow’s Eve is upon us, folks, which means that many of you will be “abroad on your baneful midnight errands”, as Scottish poet Robert Burns so eloquently puts it. Whether your night includes patronizing your local dry ice-shrouded haunted house or avoiding eye contact with large bags of Butterfinger minis at the store, it simply won’t be complete without a sufficient soundtrack of terror-inducing sounds. Purvey this playlist from your porch speakers to ensure that no poorly dressed miscreants come near your doorstep and demand free sweets on the merits of a poorly assembled costume.
This playlist comes in size XL only, because we love this damn holiday. And you.
1. Let’s start with my favorite super-group of all time, The Flesh Eaters. From their album A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die, which just recently saw a re-release, here’s Digging My Grave – caitiebee
2. Danny Weed’s “Creeper” is a trudging behemoth of an instrumental, notorious for two things: destroying dance floors, and being extremely difficult to come by on vinyl. Listen why. –rye
3. We all have our Halloween rituals, such as staying inside like a hermit and sipping atrocious pumpkin-infused beer and tolerating the presence of the questionable poltergeist that comes around this time of year. Creep on creepin’ on with Timber Timbre’s murky “Bad Ritual“. –rye
4. I don’t think that there can be a Halloween playlist without Oingo Boingo – how about some Violent Love. -caiteebee
5. Nothing gets me in the mood for Halloween more than the Fantomas’ “The Director’s Cut”, an album composed of wonderful avant-garde metal covers of various horror/thriller movie themes, including Twin Peaks and Charade. The culprits of this demented offering include members from Slayer, The Melvins and Mr. Bungle. Here’s their take on “Spider Baby” –rye
6. This one speaks for itself – Halloween by Siouxsie and the Banshees -caitiebee
7. How about the man that actually sold his soul to the devil, or so they say, Robert Johnson. Legend has it that deep in the Mississippi Delta, bluesmen could wait at an abandoned crossroad for the devil to come and tune their guitar – while simultaneously exchanging your soul for incredible talent, success, and easy women. From the sounds of it, Johnson may well have made that trade, listen to Me and the Devil Blues. -caitiebee
8. A musical tradition that I find to be beyond fascinating is the murder ballad in country and folk music. Most are creepy especially because of their upbeat and happy nature (see Lyle Lovett’s “LA County”). I thought I’d pick just a full-on creepy one – Tom Waits doing his own rendition of the traditional murder tune “The Twa Sisters” about a girl drowning her own sister in a river….Two Sisters -caitiebee
9. Merrill Garbus is making major waves nowadays, but she’ll always make me return to the chilling closer from her “Whokill” album, which plays like a sparse, demented lullaby that seems like it could’ve been on her Birdbrains record. Here’s Wooly Wolly Gong –rye
10. And it’s not the 31st of October until you’ve fended off evil spirits with some Zamrock – Dark Sunrise by Rikki Ililonga and Musi-O-Tuya -caitiebee
11. “Hammer Horror“, one of the chilling highlights of Kate Bush’s “Lionheart”, exhibits her renown as a master storyteller. The song tells the tale of an actor who accepts a role in a production of “The Huncheback of Notre Dame” in place of a recently deceased friend. She grapples with the guilt of her decision and the apparition of the actor who haunts her on set. –rye
12. In the spirit of menacing specters haunting theaters, how can we celebrate Halloween without enjoying a cut from the killer soundtrack of “Phantom Of The Paradise”, a rock opera cult film that weaves narrative elements of Faust, Phantom of The Opera and The Picture of Dorian Gray? Some view the film as a metaphor for the vampiric nature of the music business, and I’m not one to argue. The track listing credits fictional band “The Undead” as this song’s artist, though most know that Paul Williams was the chief creative force behind the film’s music. Enjoy “Somebody Super Like You” –rye
13. If you haven’t had to already, have fun scraping the jack-o-lantern sludge off your front porch! Whistle while your work to World Inferno/Friendship Society’s Pumpkin Time -caitiebee
14. As I continue to obsess over “Phantom Of The Paradise”, it makes me think of a recurring line from Scott Walker’s disturbing “See You Don’t Bump His Head“– a pummeling cut from his recent “Bish Bosch” record. “Like plucking feathers from a swan song.” –rye
And with that, we bid you adieu. Be safe, ya’ll!