By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
The Geisha Girls released their latest single in November.
Blag Dahlia, The Dwarves Maurice Chevalier, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," Gigi soundtrack (Sony, 1958). "Nothing says 'the holidays' like squealing girls opening boxes. In fact, it's the only tolerable thing about the holidays except for A Charlie Brown Christmas, a true classic of Yuletide misery. Anyway, my favorite song for the season is 'Thank Heaven for Little Girls' from the musical Gigi. Not really about the holidays at all, but it's sung by French lecher Maurice Chevalier, who apparently never met a prepubescent he didn't like. The intro is the best part: 'Every time I see a girl of five or six or seven, I can't resist the joyous urge to smile and say, "Thank Heaven for little girls."' You get the idea. Be safe and have a legal Christmas." (RR)
The Dwarves releasedThe Dwarves Must Die in September.
Travis Morrison, Dismemberment PlanVince Guaraldi Trio, "Christmas Time Is Here," A Charlie Brown Christmassoundtrack (Fantasy, 1965). "I never fail to tear up when Linus reads from the Gospel of St. Luke during A Charlie Brown Christmas. I think that, in general, Linus has a lot of soul. The way he's drawn with that slightly worried look always kills me. He looks like he can't believe the complicated and heartless games the people around him play—most of all, his sister Lucy. He seems passive. But when the time comes, he delivers the goods on the big stage at school. He tells everyone what it's all about. 'Christmas Time Is Here' reminds me of that, and it always sends shivers down my spine." (DC)
Travis Morrison's solo debut,Travistan, was released in September on Barsuk Records.
Jon Brion Nat King Cole, "The Christmas Song," The Magic of Christmas(Capital, 1960). "It's super-obvious, but Nat King Cole's song needs no explanation. This is an odd thing for me to say, but I don't care about fidelity much when I'm listening to music. Nat King Cole's song is an example—Nat King Cole singing through a telephone would still rock your fucking world. The song is so simplistic and heartfelt. It really is beautiful any time of the year." (Antero Garcia)
Jon Brion was nominated for a Grammy for scoring the filmEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Brandon Werts, the Orphans Little Richard, "Lucille," Little Richard (Specialty, 1958). "Each year, I listen to Little Richard's 'Lucille' single over and over because it reminds me of playing the DJ at our family Christmas party in 1993. I watched all the grown-ups in the family get wasted on spiked eggnog and dance around the tree. I thought my grandmother could barely walk. Turns out she could do the monkey like no other. Uncle Paul, it turns out, had two left feet and a low tolerance for alcohol. He drenched both left feet—and a handful of presents—with his creamy bile. Ah, memories." (RR)
The Orphans releasedEverybody Loves You When You're Dead in March on Unity Squad Records.
Sam Velde, Bluebird Jose Feliciano, "Feliz Navidad," Feliz Navidad (BMG, 1989). Growing up in Costa Mesa, my friends and I would congregate every year during break from high school and go down to Balboa Island to the local liquor store and buy a bottle (and this is no joke) of 'Tom and Jerry's Christmas In a Bottle,' along with a gangload of beers. Armed with acoustic guitars, we'd sing Christmas carols along the harbor. The only two songs we could muster up would be 'Jingle Bells' and 'Feliz Navidad' by Jose Feliciano. By the middle of the night, people were afraid to open their doors to us. By the end of the night, the gutter was our mattress. Because of those memorable times, 'Feliz Navidad' has always been close to my heart." (DC)
Bluebird is currently recording soundtrack material and working on a new album. Sam Velde started the Cold Sweat label this year, releasing albums by WIVES, Starlite Desperation and Battles.
Caleb Followill, Kings of Leon Ray Charles, "That Spirit of Christmas," The Spirit of Christmas (Rhino, 1985). "We love, love, love Christmas music! Our mom was big on Christmas, but we never had a lot of presents. One year when I was 10 and Nathan was 12, we were in Arkansas living in a Sunday school in a church. Our parents made no money, so it ended up that we had no tree—we had nothing. And me and Nathan borrowed a saw from our neighbor—there was snow up to our knees—and we cut down a tree, got a paint bucket and filled it with rocks, and all the people from the church brought us their extra decorations. Even though we didn't get any presents that year, that's still my favorite Christmas." (Kim Bennett)
The Kings of Leon will release a new album in March.
Ikey Owens, Mars Volta and Free Moral Agents Kanye West, "Family Business," College Dropout (Roc-a-Fella, 2004). I have to first preface this statement by letting y'all know my family doesn't celebrate Christmas on account of it not being Christ's real birthday and this little get-together the Romans had in the second century called the Council of Nicea, but anyway, I digress. This song reminds me of my family, whom I see mainly around the holidays. It makes me remember when my mom's family all got along, and me and my cousins would do dance routines to the Jackson 5 and the Fat Boys. It also reminds me of all the friends I have who are like my family, whether it be the Mars Volta or my brothers in the Skunk Records family, or all the amazing DJs and beat makers and artists in Long Beach that I'm lucky enough to know. Or my best friend Colin, who is also my brother. This song reminds me that family is important and I'm lucky to have so many people who care about me." (MC)