Happy New Year!

Happy new year, bonne année, glückliches Neues Jahr, gelukkig nieuwjaar, from all of us @ CAGG. Thank you for your visits and comments. See you in November 2012 !

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve

Various versions from Bandcamp

By the Asylum Street Spankers, from a Holiday album I seem to have missed completely:

From merry carolers Caleb & the Caroling Caravan:

Free version fom trio Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh (of course), a version that starts with a telephone conversation (of course)

Dynamite Christmas

Five years ago, we lost the hardest working man in showbusiness. Certainly not forgotten:

Santa's got an uzi!

Sucks when Saint Nick steals your shit instead of dropping off gifts. Hence the fact that me and my boys went to the North Pole to buss a cap in datazz. Unfortunately, when we arrived at Santa's headquarters, he was strapped with major heat and had plenty of backup. Merry Christmas muthafuckaz! Don't play with guns!

Christmas in Ecuador

Want to know what that's like? Listen to Buffalo Moon:

Stubby's Christmas Mix

When Stubby makes a Christmas mix, you better go and grab it (for free) HERE

Inbetween days

No, not a cover of The Cure, but between Christmas and New Year's Eve, CAGG continues to post winter-, Christmas- and end-of-the-year-songs and -mixes on this blog. NOTE: some of the tracks aren't available anymore!

Thanks to CAGG-fan André, here's a gorgeous version of In the Bleak Midwinter by dreampop band Lanterns on the Lake. Download from HERE

Unavailable for download, alas, is this version of Rocking Around the Christmas Tree by Swedish duo My Bubba & Me. HERE

Funky funky Christmas Mix by Ronny Hammond. Stream and/ord download via Mixcloud via HERE

Dr Rubberfunk also mixed his fave funky seasonal songs together. Go HERE

Oh My!

UK Girl duo Oh My! (Jade and Alex) recorded a great version of The Waitresses' disco wave-classic Christmas Wrapping. LIsten on Soundcloud. Go HERE. Or go HERE to download.

There've been several Christmas Wrapping covers this year. Like this one from Summer Camp. And this one from Dog is Dead. This one from Exohxo.

The Blues Are Still Blue Christmas Compilation 2011

For the seventh year in a row The Blues Are Still Blue Presents:

Christmas Compilation 2011(download here)

001 Camera Obscura - The Blizzard
002 My Bubba & Mi - Pumpkin Pie
003 Summer Fiction - Christmas Eve for Two
004 The Kik - A Christmas Song For You
005 The Very Most - Wombling Merry Christmas
006 The Winston Jazz Routine - Through the snow
007 Caitlin Rose - You Never Come Home For Christmas
008 The Head And The Heart - Winter Song
009 Beta Radio - The Song the Season Brings
010 Birdy - White Winter Hymnal
011 Breathe Owl Breathe - Snow Blow
012 Chris Bathgate - Auld lang syne
013 David Bazan- Just Like Christmas (Low)
014 Marike Jager - Frosty The Snowman
015 Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler - Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing)
016 Megafaun - I Saw Three Ships
017 Renee & Jeremy - Sunny Christmas
018 Rick Fines - Country Christmas Blues
019 Rue Royale - What Next Dear One
020 She and Him - The Christmas Waltz
021 Smith & Burrows (& Agnes Obel) - The Christmas Song

If you like it, you gan still download my mix of 2010 and 2009 .

Merry Christmas!

José Is Bugging Me

I've been working at the distribution center of the Dutch postal service for the last couple of weeks, so I've been up to my neck in Christmas cards. For days on end, I've been listening to Sky Radio aka the Christmas channel, so yes I'm sick and tired of generic Christmas standards such as Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano.

As an antidote, I listen to this great Feliciano song. Works every time... I don't care if José thinks I don't know him now.

Christmas Is About Getting together

A message Harvey Averne clearly understands.

This song was posted on Funky16Corners as part 5 of a series on Christmas songs. Read more here

The Honey Trees

Californian dream pop duo The Honey Trees made two seasonal tracks, that are downloadable for free via their Facebook and Reverbnation site. The, indeed honey-voiced Becky Filip is a real treat for these dark days.

The Honey Trees - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Coconuts on Christmas

Fellow Christmas song enthusiasts Festive! had a short talk with Kid Creole & The Coconuts singer August Darnell about the song 'Christmas on Riverside Drive' , they consider to be the best Christmas song of all time. Read the interview here.

Parenthetical Girls

'A little late', yes, but the yearly Christmas EP by Parenthetical Girls is still worthy to light up your day. Name your price!

A Laid Back Christmas

Laid Back, the best cloudcaster on mixcloud, offers us this jazzy Christmas mix by Croatian DJ TomE.

So This Is Crisis

Dutch band Pondertone wishes you a Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2012... honestly.

A Kiwanuka Carol

Like The Kills, below, this version of Silent Night was recorded for BBC Radio 6. See the full session on the video above.
Download the wav. file of Michael Kiwanuka's carol HERE

The Kills

Silent Night by The Kills, live recorded by the BBC

Download directly from HERE

Italian Christmas

As you've noticed, a lot of Holiday compilations are traditions already, like mistletoe and holly. Italian blog Polaroid posted their annual Christmas comp last week, featuring regulars like the the Ian Fays (another very good entry), Le Man Avec Les Lunettes and a really sparkling, spacey track by Welcome Back Sailors, a highlight if you ask me. Go HERE to download'm all.

Souldiers' Balls

Dutch popsoul band The Souldiers made a special Christmas song, and a video. This is how we do in Holland, baby.

Arbor Christmas 12

First time I bumped into the Arbor Christmas series, going on since 1999 (!). The 12th installment was just made freely downloadable on bandcamp. If titles like The Battle of Snowmeng Mountain or Toys Don't Cry make you think of other songs, well, keep on listening...

The Holidays Don't Have To Be So Rotten (2)

'Another Catholic Christmas at the Federal Women's Reformatory in Alderson, West-Virginia for Iva Toguri' is probably the most intriguing title ever for a Christmas song. It's one of the tracks on the second installment of The Holidays Don't Have to Be So Rotten, a 'name your price' compilation on Flannelgraph Records. Only instrumental, moody, brooding tracks, by artists like Dolorean and Dirty Beaches (a personal fave). Try and find out more HERE

In a Foxtails mood

More? HERE

It's beginning to sound a lot like KDHXmas

Local radio station KDHX in St Louis put together a varied mix of Christmas songs by local and national acts, all recorded live in the KDHX studio. Brave Combo probably is the best known band, the Funky Butt Brass Band was already featured on this blog. Really dig the Hammond-a-gogo-version of Jingle Bells by The Civil Tones, and the funny song by Lucky Old Sons. Most of the tracks are downloadable for free. Go HERE

Sweet Songs

Two sweet seasonal songs from Bandcamp

Free Johnny Marr Christmas Song!

OMG! The illustrious guitarist from The Smiths made a Christmas single with his band The Healers. No lyrics, just spirit!

Download on his site (via Soundcloud)

The Burt Carols

Gwen Thomas, she of this great Winter Song, wrote a beautiful piece on her favourite Christmas carols for this blog:

I first heard the Christmas carols of Alfred Burt when I was a teenager. I’d stumbled across the sheet music and plunked my way through at the piano. The graceful melodies full of surprising twists and the lovely jazz voicings instantly struck a chord with me. The carols seem to surface every year around Christmastime for me and yet, oddly enough, it wasn't until this last week that, after years of calling them my faves, I actually became curious about where they came from. Who’s Alfred Burt, anyway? What I discovered was a story that provided me with some good, old-fashioned Christmas inspiration.

The Alfred Burt Carols were the result of a charming family legacy. Between 1942 and 1954, Burt wrote these fifteen carols (roughly one per year), as a Christmas card to send his loved ones. It was a tradition his father had started, and Alfred carried it on through the rest of his short life. He sadly passed at the early age of 33, but not before leaving us this well-rounded collection of utter Christmassiness! The lyrics read sacred, but for me these are outshone by the hallowing harmonies and divinely crafted melodies, which remind me that music really can be simply magical. That, in itself, is sacred, to me. And this is exactly how I want to feel this time of year: that there is such a thing as “sacred” or “magic,” available to us in the form of something as simple as music!

Well, if I’m waxing too mystical for you, let me come back to earth. In 2011, the carols speak louder than ever to me, because prior to digging up this stash of carols this year, I had actually written my own, first-ever seasonal song– a completely unrelated project… or so I thought. When I view my song in the light of these carols that have quietly influenced me each year at Christmas, I see that in my “carol” I’ve actually gone ahead and used Burt’s style of tight, parallel-moving melodies (in places in "We'll Dress The House," “Nigh Bethlehem"), a few unexpected, jazzy chord changes (found in all his carols, but I’ll point you toward my favourite, "Sleep, Baby Mine”), and lyrics that– from within clichéd imagery– reveal a broader concept that aims to bring us all together ("Some Children See Him"). Burt crept into my own wintry music!

There are other ways I feel connected to Alfred Burt’s life. For one thing, he went by “Al” and his wife's name was Anne. My mom and dad are an “Ann and Al,” so that's a nice, li’l coincidence. But moreover, his vocal arranging reminds me of my dear, late mentor Chris Dedrick. Chris’ band, The Free Design, was another “family legacy” type group, consisting primarily of Chris and his siblings. Both Alfred and Chris were jazz trumpeters who served time in big bands of military branches. Both men also clearly treasured the beauty of the human voice and stories brought to life through thoughtful vocal arranging. I like that these two great jazz composers have a bit in common, it feels cozy to me– like a good legacy to settle down into and call “home.” And that’s exactly what I intend to do, by continuing to let the arrangements of both these composers seep into my musical mind.

I’ll start by listening through the Alfred Burt Carols for the 20th time this week!


Sleep, Baby Mine
Some Children See Him

Are You Lonely Tonight, Mrs. Claus? :: Dan Wilson

Distinctly Jamaican Christmas

Pick up this year's mix of Jamaican Christmas goodies, AND all the other mixes John from Distinctly Jamaican Sounds blog made.

Lovers & Poets

Originally by Margo Guryan, later redone by Claudine Longet and St Etienne, this cover of I Don't Intend to Spend Christmas Without You by Lovers & Poets is just as pretty.


Download for free at Bandcamp

Cowbell for Christmas

I got a fever and the ONLY cure is...

Can't see the video? Go HERE

Great finds

Of course you check the greatest Christmas blog out there, Stubby's, as religiously as we do every day. But in case you don't, here's a round up of a few fantastic (FREE) songs you just can't afford to miss.

Norwegian producer Torkelson sprinkled his electronic magic all over Judy Garland's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and then it sounded like this

UK Rapper Wiley never got the same attention as fellow grime-star Dizzee Rascal, but the latter never recorded a grand xmas song. Go here to check and download Cheer Up, It's Christmas

And finally, former Slits-guitarist Viv Albertine (pictured above) released a Christmas single that's just that. LOUD! Go HERE.

Christmas soul some more

Checked on Bandcamp for some nice (free!) soulful Christmas tunes, and this is what I came up with:

Country Christmas

31 country heroes sing christmas classics: Johnny, Merle, Loretta, Emmylou, they're all HERE

Tin Christmas

Dutch jazz-pranksters Tin Men & the Telephone renamed themselves Tin Men & the Telephohohone for the season, 'cause they made a Christmas-album. But not as we know it. If you make tracks like these, you know that their version of classics like Jingle Bells and All I Want for Christmas sound, well, different.

But make no mistake, these guys are really, really good musicians. They invited singer Paul van Kessel (plus a very agitated route planning device) for their take on Chris Rea's immortal 'Driving home for Christmas'.

Tin Men & the Telephone - Driving Home for Christmas

The X in X-Mas

Really want to know who put the X in Xmas? See Wikipedia.

Let's put the X back in Xmas, Candye Kane and Country Dick once sang (see here).
Now the Dutch Tiny Little Big Band sings: You put the X in Xmas. Let's make Xmas mean something this year, I say!

Funky Yuletide Mix

In addition to this great compilation (sound quality debate aside, it IS a great compilation), Jan Kohlmeyer made a VERY funky Christmas mix for the Paris DJS blog. Go HERE to see the tracklist and download the mix for FREE.

Christmas: DIY style

What's more fun than receiving Christmas wishes (or maybe even better: presents!) that are handmade by the sender? Our Twitter friends @karinjeurink (kazoo/vocals) and @martijnen (guitar/vocals) did just that: in 2010 they recorded their own cute little xmas video for all their friends. One year later it's here for everyone to enjoy:

Lauren Laverne giveaway

Every day, until December 20th, BBC Radio6 presenter Lauren Leverne gives away a free Christmas song mp3. So far, My Morning Jacket and Lucy Rose songs were made downloadable. Check her site.

Lex Land

Husky singer (think Julie London) Lex Land recorded two heartwarming versions of Christmas classics, for all to enjoy for free. Go here to download her This Year's Santa Baby (orig Eartha Kitt) and the loungey Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Ho Ho Hoes!

Can't see the video? Go HERE

Curt Smith

Curt Smith, one half of Tears for Fears, recorded a Christmas song (like he did last year) and put it on Bandcamp for all to enjoy. Name your price (can be 0 too):

The soothing saccharin sounds of Winter Wonderland

Hiding under boxes of faded Christmas balls your mom keeps with the Christmas crafts you made back in grade school, Schnauzer Radio Orchestra pulled out an orange and brown Bakelite version of Winter Wonderland, complete with a SuperNES, a Stylophone, a Wurlitzer and an all girls 60s choir. What more could any mortal want for Christmas, besides a dry Martini and a big fireplace, I ask you.

In the words of keyboard player and all around Dutch cheese master Rob Geboers, "Do with this track as you please. Blog about it, remix it, give it away to your worst enemies, or just do a little nerdy dance to it."

Schnauzer Radio Orchestra - Winter Wonderland

Kids Christmas Album Links Still Active

I just looked back at some Christmas postings from 2006 and 2007 on Check The Cool Wax. I was surprised to find a lot of links to downloads still working. Click on the album cover above if you want to recapture a little of that childhood Christmas feeling. Get them while the links still work!

Merry Christmas!

Last Christmas

The header of this blog reads: 'You won't find any Wham! here'. True that, but it doesn't mean we can't post nice Last Christmas-covers, right? There's a great blog dedicated to covers of this seasonal smash. On Bandcamp, you can pick up some really cool covers for (almost) free. Here's a list:

Not on Bandcamp, but still free:
Last Christmas

(Thx Stubby)

Shonen Christmas

Everyone's favourite Japanese girlie punkateers released a special Christmas single. Featuring their rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas, and their own Sweet Christmas. Gotta love these gals.

Shonen Knife - Sweet Christmas