Christmas can be something of a double-edged sword – sure, you might eat too much chocolate, drink too much egg nog, and then puke all over the dancefloor at the office party and be regarded as an embarrassment to the company until you hand in your notice in mid-February, but at least it’s not boring.
One person who enjoyed a particularly memorable holiday season would be Ben Folds, whose festive tune ‘Bizarre Christmas Incident’ is today’s little treat in our BAMM Advent Calendar Countdown. As for what the incident actually is – well, we’ll let you discover that for yourselves.
Is there a better album title than ‘Funky Christmas’? It’s a tough one, isn’t it? The ninth seasonal greeting on our BAMM.tv Advent Calendar Countdown comes from a man so showstopping he actually died on Christmas Day – funk legend James Brown. ‘Go Power At Christmas’ is the opening track from ‘Funky Christmas’, the cover of which features James himself dressed up as the world’s coolest Santa.
One of the saddest musical events of the last few years was the announcement that L.A indie-rock troopers Rilo Kiley were to call it a day. The band’s folksy harmonies – coupled with the luscious tones of lead singer Jenny Lewis – caught the attention of the mainstream press for a short while roundabout 2007, yet (despite notable success) they never quite lived up to the world-conquering ‘next big thing’ label. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is entirely up to personal taste, but no-one can deny it’s a shame we won’t be hearing any more tunes as good as ‘Portions For Foxes,‘ ‘The Execution Of All Things’ or ‘Xmas Cake’ – today’s entry in the BAMM.tv Advent Calendar Countdown.
Once you strip away the apocalyptic paranoia and existential angst, it seems that the Arcade Fire are actually quite a fun group of guys. Don’t believe us? Check out this perfect example, which also happens to double-up as the special Xmas treat on Day Seven of our Advent Calendar Countdown. ‘A Very Arcade Xmas’ sees the band jamming away on a yuletide-themed improv session, and apparently having quite a blast in the process. Even if you’re not a big fan of the holiday season (what’s wrong with you?) the sheer goofiness of this shouldn’t fail to put a smile on your face.
Christmas is that time of year when even the most hardened among us feel a warm glow inside – and why should the guys over at Death Row Records be any different? In 1996, the frankly remarkable ‘Christmas On Death Row’ album hit the shelves, and began its aural assault with opening track ‘Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto’ – an Isaac-Hayes-sampling funkfest from Snoop Dogg featuring Daz Dillinger, Nate Dogg, Tray Deee and Bad Azz. It’s our gift to you, right here on Day Six of the BAMM Advent Calendar …
Half-Man Half-Biscuit. Nope, that’s not the name of an ‘inspirational true story’ your Tivo forgot to record off the Lifetime Channel – it’s the moniker of one of Britain’s most curious national treasures. Half-Man Half-Biscuit have been delighting fans with their unique brand of satirical and smart indie-rock for almost thirty years now. And – get this – for a band so often labelled as a ‘comedy’ or ‘novelty’ group, they’ve actually got a killer grasp of pop melody to go alongside song titles like ‘Bad Losers On Yahoo! Chess’ or ‘Venus In Flares’.
So, to mark Day Five of the BAMM Advent Calendar, here’s a festive contribution from their huge back catalogue: ‘It’s Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas.’
If we asked you to make a list of acts most likely to release a Christmas song, chances are you wouldn’t include brooding slowcore college-radio darlings Low. You’d be utterly and unforgivably wrong, however (okay, maybe we would forgive you, seeing as its the season of goodwill and all that) – the moody Minnesotans actually released a whole EP of Christmas tunes in 1999, presenting the whole shebang as a gift to their loyal fans. Highlight of the lot is today’s entry in the BAMM Advent Calendar: ‘Just Like Christmas’.
Okay, okay, so the mere mention of Phil Spector these days tends to bring up unpleasant (and decidedly non-festive) images of court cases and murder and firearms and the like, but let’s brush all that aside and remember the days when Phil was better known as a record producer than a maniac. Day Three of our BAMM.tv Advent Calendar, and we’re pilfering Spector’s wonderful ‘A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records’ to bring you The Ronette’s ‘Sleigh Ride’. Fun fact: if you don’t like The Ronettes, you may well be as insane as Phil is now.
Day Two of our festive countdown, then, and we’re going to showcase one of the best Christmas tunes ever made. Picture the scene: it’s 1981, and this new-fangled thing called ‘rap’ is all over the place. You’re the new-wave post-punk outfit The Waitresses. How do you react? By releasing a yuletide song titled ‘Christmas Wrapping’ of course, in which awesomely cool (and much-missed) frontwoman Patty Donahue narrates the story of a very mundane holiday season – with, naturally, a happy ending to round things off. Enjoy!
In case you hadn’t noticed (or unless you’re one of those hyper-organized freaks who does all their present-buying in July, and can freely cast such worries to the back of your mind) this little thing called ‘Christmas’ is fast approaching. We’ve decided to help you get into the festive mood with our very own BAMM.tv Advent Calendar!
Now, because technology has yet to grant us the opportunity to throw chocolates through your monitor (soon, Apple, soon), we’re giving you the next best thing. That’s right: a classic Christmas tune, every day from now until the 25th of December.
And we’re not going to be really obvious with the whole thing, either: we’re hoping to show you a selection of underrated, unknown, unappreciated but still genuinely great Christmas songs. Think of it as a public service – when you hear Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ blasted out of the shopping mall one too many times, this little place will be your safehaven for awesome Christmas music.
But, yeah … we’ll be throwing in a few of the classics too. Just wait and see.
Today, we start with a real curiosity. You may know Harvey Danger from their crossover hit ‘Flagpole Sitta’ (which reached a new audience as the theme tune to hit sitcom ‘Peep Show’). Sadly now defunct, the band released a Christmas song in the late-nineties: ‘Sometimes You Have To Work On Christmas’, a gloriously twisted tribute to anyone who’s ever had to pull an Xmas shift in a job they hate. It should be far more well-known, and hopefully that’s a journey which starts right here.