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Fense’s Radio Show: It’s An Indie Christmas

Kishi Bashi Christmas Flexi Disc

Each year I shun Christmas music like it’s the plague. It begins too early, is far too repetitive, and, quite frankly, is a bit boring. That is, until this year. It began with “The Week Between”, a new track off One Christmas at a Time, an LP that finds Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick (The Long Winters) collaborating for a full album of original Christmas music.

My thoughts began to change. If this song can be so amazing, what about other indie Christmas tunes? I then discovered Sufjan Stevens’ Silver & Gold, Songs for Christmas ten-volume box set. From there, I was hooked.

It’s An Indie Christmas Playlist

For my December 21 show, then, it had to be all about Christmas and the holidays. And that meant starting out with the only Christmas album I found acceptable as a child: The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album.

Unlike other radio playlists, this one gets true list treatment due to the holidays… I scoured the internets to see if I could locate each song so you, too, can enjoy them.

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“Little Saint Nick” by The Beach Boys off The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album (12″ LP)

I played “Little Saint Nick” off the original LP my parents had as a child. It has migrated into my collection as the only traditional (if you can call it that) Christmas album I have. Here’s the band performing the song live way back when.

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“Christmas Unicorn” by Sufjan Stevens off Silver & Gold, Songs for Christmas, Vol. 10: Christmas Unicorn

Sufjan Stevens’ epic near-thirteen minute song combining Christmas and Unicorns. You can’t get much more awesome that this during the holidays. Stream and download the mp3 below!

The song made my 5 Quirky Songs That Make Me Immensely Happy list from last week.

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“Kalla Hus” by Damien Jurado and Kyle Zantos

This list includes songs by Pedro The Lion and Bright Eyes. However, the brand new song by Damien Jurado and Kyle Zantos takes the cake for being 1) way more depressing than the songs by those bands, and 2) a hell of a lot more beautiful. We covered it earlier this week. Read about it here and stream the tune, download the mp3 and/or watch the song’s video below!

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“Some Kind of Christmas” by Johan Hedberg

I also covered the new original Christmas tune by Johan Hedberg of Suburban Kids With Biblical Names earlier this week. It ties “The Week Between” by Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick and “Kalla Hus” by Damien Jurado and Kyle Zantos as my favorite indie Christmas song of 2012.

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“The Week Between” by Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick off One Christmas at a Time

This is the song responsible for my 2012 Christmas joy. It doesn’t particularly sound Christmasy, but it is. Gotta love John Roderick’s voice on the tune. Roderick is known for his Christmas spirit and dresses up as Indie Rock Santa each year.

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“Santa Claus is Back in Town” by My Morning Jacket

From My Morning Jacket’s 2002 EP Does Christmas Fiasco Style is this awesome bluesy rendition of “Santa Claus is Back in Town”.

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“Christmas is Going to the Dogs” by Eels

Listen to the lyrics on this one, they’re pretty funny…

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“I Was Born on Christmas Day” by Saint Etienne off Christmas ’93 (Cassette Single)

From their 1993 Christmas single is a great Christmas tune from Andi’s favorite band, Saint Etienne, “I Was Born on Christmas Day”.

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“What the Snowman Learned About Love” by Stars off Heart

I’m not sure this is actually a Christmas song, but whatever. It’s a great one off Stars’ 2002 LP Heart. Here’s a montage someone put together for the song.

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“Christmas Reindeer” by The Knife

This is about as creepy as Christmas gets. What else would you expect from Swedish duo The Knife?

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“It’s Christmas Time (and I’m Still Alive)” by Deep Sea Diver

A beautiful track by Seattle band Deep Sea Diver.

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“It’s Christmas but It’s Not White Here in Our Town” by Kishi Bashi off Christmas Flexi Disc (Limited 7″ Single)

I was lucky enough to snag a copy of this limited pressing flexi-disc before is sold out (pictured at the top of this post).

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“Boxing Day” by CYNE off The Never Ending Beginning

I’m not typically a fan of hip hop, but then again I’m also not typically a fan of Christmas music. This song throws both of those trends to the wind.

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“Another Christmas at Home” by Eux Autres off Christmas Single 2006

Before 2012, there was one Christmas single on my radar: this one by San Francisco by way of Portland band Eux Autres. Watch this video. Seriously.

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“I’m A Snowman” by Bears off Snowman (7″ Single)

Charlie from Bears was nice enough to get this single in the mail right away after I ordered it the other week, arriving long before my last night’s show. I’ve always been a fan of Bears’ music and this one is no different!

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“The Blizzard” by Camera Obscura off The Blizzard b/w Swans (7″ Single)

This is a great little winter/holiday 7″ single from Scotland’s Camera Obscura that follows their legacy indie pop sound.

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“Christmas Blues” by Saturday Looks Good to Me off Christmas Blues b/w Will U Still (7″ Single)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this one to include here. It’s off a little 7″ single I have, which is likely out of print, but you can also find it on the band’s LP Sound on Sound.

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“Long Way Around the Sea” by Pedro The Lion off The First Noel b/w Long Way Around the Sea (7″ Single)

I visited my parents in Portland for a week around Thanksgiving and ended up snagging a used copy of this rare single. This is by far my favorite song on it.

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“Blue Christmas” by Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes is usually much more depressing than this. In fact, I’m a bit shocked that this song isn’t as sad as I would expect from Conor Oberst. Still, it’s a pretty good version of the classic.

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“No Such Thing as Santa” by Whistle Jacket

Not many people know about this band. They boast a whopping 54 fans on Facebook. I stumbled upon this little gem and will be checking out the rest of their Christmas album (as well as their 2010 LP) a bit later.

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“A Carol Before Christmas” by Drakkar Sauna off Drakkansasauna

I truly love this quirky experimental folk band. And I’m truly sad that I couldn’t find the song online to embed for you to enjoy.

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“Snow Blow” by Breathe Owl Breathe off The Never Ending Beginning

A great holiday song by Hometapes folk band Breathe Owl Breathe! It’s been a while since we’ve received anything new from this group, so let’s hope they have something exciting planned for 2013!

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“Christmas Time (is Here Again)” by The Blank Tapes off Black Apple. Holla-Dayze

This song finds The Blank Tapes donning a playful sound much folkier than much of their library. I like it!

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“Silent Night (Give Us Peace)” by Teen Daze off Silent Night (Digital Single)

This holiday song by Teen Daze surfaced yesterday and I just had to throw it into the mix!

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“Angels We Have Heard on High” by Ormonde off The Never Ending Beginning

One of a few tracks that appeared from Hometapes’ 2012 holiday compilation The Never Ending Beginning. Grab it and tracks by Collections of Colonies of Bees, Matt White, Ape School, Slaraffenland, and many more here!

hand-picked vinyl recommendations

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