Joyful Noise

Tons of tunes for your holiday mixtape

Illustration by Bob AulAs the rare time of year that has a built-in soundtrack—too bad Halloween tanked at "Monster Mash" and 80 percent of everything that ever came out of Danzig's mouth—the holidays are a nice time for a little reflection, for a Jungian sleigh ride over the hills and through the collective unconscious toward songs and sentiments that—thanks largely to elementary school sing-alongs and three or four TV specials—a lot of people sort of share. Or a time for those few recalcitrant misanthropes—the same people who like to explain in detail just how and why they don't even have a TV set and why the homemade soap carvings they give as presents are much more meaningful than the iPod cozy you were so excited about—to demonstrate just how out of it they really are. Either way, we asked our own favorite out-of-it misanthropes—and our favorite closet holiday softies—just what songs they get to thinking about once daylight-saving time disappears (and actually, it was pretty much always the Charlie Brown Christmas album).

Andrew W.K. George Winston, "Thanksgiving," December (Windham Hill, 1980). "Around the holidays, I like to be cold and blue. I like to think of birch trees and gray-stone moons in the clear daytime sky. I like to imagine my breath in the air against a wet window and the light being too white and thin to be warm. The song that makes me feel the most this way is 'Thanksgiving' by George Winston. It's from his December album, which is definitely weighted toward traditional Christmas tunes. However, 'Thanksgiving' is different because it is both proceeding Christmas and anticipating its arrival. As a young child, my world was built around anticipation. Christmas morning was the mother of all moments for a young boy. It's something you look forward to perpetually, even as it happens. You look up from one gift and on to the next; you enjoy the inscription on a new book, only to put it down for breakfast, and then dinner is prepared as the sun sets—a few awkward silences—and then it's dark out. You go outside for the first time that day, and it feels colder than expected—you feel older, even though you know you're young—and it's all over. Each experience of the day rolling into the next and knocking it down—like bowling pins—until the day is done. And you instantly snap back into anticipating next Christmas." (Dave Clifford)

Andrew W.K.'s latest exploits can be found at andrewwk.com or awkworld.com.

Kerry King, Slayer Elmo and Patsy, "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer(Epic, 1984). "It's a little morbid, so I take that one. It's kind of Slayer-esque." (Rex Reason)

Slayer has just finished an international tour and will be releasing a new album in the summer of 2005.

Jesse Wilder, Littlest Man Band Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmassoundtrack (Fantasy, 1965). "At the time [this was recorded], I'm sure those tiny tots had no idea what an impact they'd make on so many of us. I imagine a slightly balding version of Schroeder playing in a giant church or school along with about 20 kids recorded on one microphone, and you know what? That's how it should be fuckin' done. If you're like me, you LIKE the way the vocals can be slightly out of tune, you LIKE the fact they didn't mic every string on the piano. This song injects the feeling of a warm cup of cocoa, the smell of cinnamon and pine needles, and the feel of those new Christmas slippers you got from Mom into one happy syringe. That, my friend, is a drug you should never kick." (Michael Coyle)

The Littlest Man Band will perform with Reel Big Fish and the Matches at the House of Blues in LA on Wednesday. See the Out of County listings in Calendar for more info.

Matt Pond, Matt Pond PA Lindsey Buckingham, "Holiday Road," National Lampoon's Christmas Vacationsoundtrack (Warner, 1983). "A couple of years ago, I rented a bunch of vacation movies on Christmas and got TV dinners and avoided my family and friends, just to put myself in a total state of despair—I was waiting for the girl most of our last record is about to call me on midnight on Christmas Eve, and I knew it wouldn't lead to anything, and it didn't. It was miserably cold, and it was a 3,000-square-foot loft that wasn't really heatable, so I was in a sleeping bag, sitting up, with a TV dinner in my lap and a hat on, and I got drunk and watched these horrible—well, they're good in a certain sense, but . . . Well, it was a five-minute call. She just didn't understand. It was hard to explain, you know: 'We should be in love!' And it was a pretty brutal Christmas. But this year's gonna be good. Nothing could be worse." (Chris Ziegler)

Matt Pond PA will release theWinter Songs EP in January.

Damian Edwards, Geisha Girls Prince, "Another Lonely Christmas," The Hits/The B-Sides (Paisley Park, 1993). "My girlfriend said to pick it. I won't be lonely this year!" (RR)

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