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
Ikey Owens and the Mars Volta will release a new album next year.
Adam Green, ex-Moldy Peaches, now solo Mariah Carey, "All I Want for Christmas Is You," Merry Christmas (Sony, 1994): "When I was 10 years old, I sang 'All I Want for Christmas Is You' in a local talent show, and in the middle of my performance, Mariah—who was there to see her niece—stood up in the audience and sang along with me! After the concert was over, I asked her out on a date. She said she would [go] when I was older." (DC)
Adam Green's third solo album,Gemstones, comes out March 1 on Rough Trade.
Joe Knapp, Son, Ambulance REO Speedwagon, "Keep On Loving You," Hi-Infidelity, (Sony, 1980): "I don't know the title of this song, but it comes to mind. It has the lyrics 'And I'm gonna keep on loving you/'Cause it's the only thing I want to do/I don't want to sleep/I just want to keep on loving you.' People around Christmastime start to get really lonely or horny, and they look for someone to cuddle with. This is a very emotional song stuck in my head right now. I think I am having winter emotions, so I thought of this tune." (DC)
Son, Ambulance released its sophomore album,Key, on Saddle Creek Records in October.
Sara Quin, Tegan And Sara Cypress Hill, "I Wanna Get High," Black Sunday (Ruffhouse, 1993): "I was going through my rebellion stage in grade nine: dressing in baggy Army clothes, dying my hair, and listening to L7 and Bikini Kill. My friend Chris made us hold onto his pot so his grandparents wouldn't find it when they searched his room, and he lent me his copy of Black Sundayover the holidays. I'd blast it while I wrapped Christmas presents in my bedroom with the door wide open, my mother shaking her head downstairs. Then she found a bag of Chris' pot and threatened to make me smoke it with her. I almost died of embarrassment. She flushed it down the toilet as I tried not to burn out and pass out to prove I'd just been holding it for him." (EG)
Tegan and Sara releasedSo Jealous in September.
Melissa Auf der Maur "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" (traditional): "Essentially, it's a sweet song about an underdog—or underdeer, if you will—plagued with a bright-red nose. Some would call him special, others would call him freaky! So it's a heart-warming humanitarian song about a being that has to learn how to embrace the thing that makes him cool and silly at the same time—and doesn't he eventually get rewarded for it? Great! He is cute as hell, and I'd like to hug him. Throw in a little 'Silent Night' outro to pull the heartstrings with the ultimate soaring melody and chord progression. A choir at your front door would be the best way to experience it. Although I have never had that, I did sing it in my children's choir and loved it!" (DC)
Melissa Auf der Maur's self-titled solo debut was released on Capitol Records in June.
Donita Sparks "Oh Holy Night" (traditional): "When I was in junior high, I sang in the school chorus. We had a Christmas concert every year in which we sang Christmas songs, both secular and religious. Being the rebellious atheist I am, I would roll my eyes at the Jesus songs. When we did the song 'Oh Holy Night,' I got all my friends in the choir to sing the words 'shining' and 'pining' in a diving, stretched-out descending note—kind of like a barbershop quartet would—and in the middle bridge, we would fall on our knees during the line 'fall on your knees' and drop out of sight. But when we actually performed the concert, we didn't want to humiliate the music teacher, so we did it the correct way. It reminds me that I've always been an instigator and ringleader. And even though I was the little atheist, I still love that song and the melody." (DC)
Donita Sparks, formerly of L7, makes her solo debut in early 2005.
Matt Adams, The Blank Tapesand Part The Clouds The Beatles, "I Am the Walrus," Magical Mystery Tour (Capitol, 1967): "When I was 14, I got the Beatles' red and blue albums on tape as a present. It seems that most people have been absorbing the Beatles since they were children, so discovering them as a young musician was very exciting. It felt like opening an old treasure chest, and 'I Am the Walrus' was the gnarliest jewel inside. Lyrics about eggmen, sitting on a cornflake, yellow-matter custard and even a few made up words like 'snied.' I asked for Beatles CDs every Christmas after that." (RR)
The Blank Tapes' next album,Landfair, is due out in early 2005; Part the Clouds has nothing to say about Christmas. Check www.enupicrop.com for more info.
Mike Watt Fear, "Fuck Christmas" (Slash, 1982): "I like the contrast—the tenderness and then the realistic view of the whole fucking thing about it. The modern Christmas comes from a Hallmark card 100 years ago, and it was kind of designed to sell stuff. I got the seven-inch when it came out. It's funny: one side is for the radio, so it's all beeps. First, it's really soft. It's sort of like when I'm on tour and I see cars with all these bumper stickers, 'United We Stand.' They're cutting you off and cussing at you. If that's what patriotism was—just being nice to one another on the freeway—I'd be way into it. Maybe the same thing with Christmas: if people were actually nice to one another, I'd be way into it. But the crass commercial stuff about it . . . the Fear song really makes that profound in my mind. All those sentiments that build up inside me Lee Ving visualized in a one-minute song." (RR)