Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My favorite (Christmas music) things of 2014

Here it is the last official day of Christmas and I just realized that I haven't posted my Christmas Album of the Year for 2014. Honestly, it wasn't all that great of a year for new holiday music, but there were a few standouts. The best would have to be...
Chris Farren - Like a Gift From God or Whatever I began listening to the Feliz Navipod podcast a couple of months ago and Farren was a guest on one episode. I had never heard of him before and he gave a good enough interview. Tacked on at the end was the title track of his new Christmas album and I was sold. That afternoon I gave Bandcamp my $5 and those twelve songs were mine.

These days you rarely find a Christmas album containing only original songs, let alone one where the hit to miss ratio is high. This is one of those albums. I'd go into depth about how it runs the gamut of seasonal emotions, but Farren has given a track by track commentary that you can read here. Just like I did with Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler's stellar effort several years ago, I have a feeling that I'll be returning to this one for my annual Christmas mix over the next few years.

Nick D' & The Believers - "Christmas in the City" The easy pick for my Christmas Single Only Release of the Year is this song by a band from my previous hometown of Columbus, OH. It's just a big, tinsel-laden ball of fun.

I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up in a commercial sometime down the road.

Samson Trinh & The Upper East Side Big Band - The Christmas Project Earlier I posted about seeing these local folks live and my feelings for them haven't diminished since that time.

The whole album is well worth a purchase, but their take on "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is something very special that I keep going back to.

Matty Ride - "Holiday P.D.A. (Underneath the Mistletoe)" He ain't talking about personal digital assistants.

I found this jaunty little paean to Yuletide make out sessions when doing one of my periodic new music sweeps online. It was too late to be included on my mix, but the song will definitely appear on A Very Micah Christmas 2015. The overall EP is just okay, but this track I had on repeat for a couple of days straight. (At the time of this posting it is a free download from Noisetrade.)

Jon Windle - "A Wonderful Christmas Time" I haven't seen the low budget UK indie movie (yet!), but I absolutely love the title track.

I like it so much that I can even forgive the presence of children singing along with the chorus. (Kidz Bop is the product of Satan, forged deep within the bowels of Hell, FYI.)

Tony Thaxton - A Very Merry Navipod To You, Your Friends and Family and Everybody Else! Lastly is this EP of mostly original, mostly funny songs from the podcast mentioned earlier. (Now re-recorded with live drums and guest vocalists!) You can't go wrong with this stuff.

I donated to the Kickstarter that funded this EP and am greatly anticipating the mug I should be getting any day now.

Having a cup of cheer.

It defies my no coffee after noon rule, but there are precious few hours of Christmas left and I hadn't had a chestnut praline latte yet.

I never eat December chocolate.

It turns out that the biggest promoter of tooth decay is actually Charles Schulz.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Here we come a-wallowing among the leaves so green


Got the post-Christmas blues? I feel ya. Why not wallow in this playlist I made, chock full of depressing Yuletide tunes? There’s a tear in my eggnog…

Sunday, December 28, 2014

He must be a heavy sweater.

It seems that I find something new during each annual viewing of It's a Wonderful Life. The thing that jumped out at me this year: my second favorite character* is wearing TWO undershirts - a wife beater and a crew neck tee. (I never said that these revelations were exciting.)

*My favorite character being the "We'll wait for you, baby" guy, of course.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Obligatory post-Christmas funk sad bastard song



We're older now
Old and blue
How many wishes of yours came true?

You can buy The Weary Band's "Christmas Mourning" here.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

MILF on the Shelf: Day 25

MILF on the Shelf: Day 25. Somewhere along the line this old nativity set lost a king. Thanks for filling the gap, MILF.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

MILF on the Shelf: Day 19

Feeling a bit peckish this morning, MILF? You're all up in my nuts!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Another controversial opinion.


I do not enjoy the music of Bob Dylan. His voice is displeasing to my ears. If pressed to choose a favorite song of his, though, I would pick his cover of "Must Be Santa." It's fun and I want to live at the Christmas party in the video.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Podfort and joycasts II

More Christmas podcasts are rolling in! This morning I awoke to find these three in my iTunes:
  • Feliz Navipod - Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon guest. Also host and one time RVA resident Tony Thaxton previews a song off of his new EP A Very Merry Feliz Navipod To You, Your Friends and Family and Everyone Else! I got it a little early because I gave to the Kickstarter that funded it. Give the EP a listen. You'll like it.
  • This Week with Larry Miller's "The Retelling of 'Does He Drink Coffee?'" - If I have one podcast that I consider to be audio comfort food, it's this one by legendary comedian Larry Miller. Every year he tells this story about one time he bought presents for his extended family. Strange as it may seem, my holiday isn't complete until I hear it. Miller recites A Visit From St. Nicholas (a.k.a. Twas the Night Before Christmas) in the Poetry Corner. This is a double dose of Christmas classics, I tells ya!
  • U Talkin' U2 to Me?'s U2 Holiday Special - My favorite *anything* this year is this podcast. It's brought me hours of joy. I love it like its my child. As for this episode, I haven't listened to it yet - I want to really savor it - but the description says they touch on U2's Christmas songs. Probably just in passing, though, since that's about U2.
Hopefully that won't be it, but if so I'm a happy camper.

A Very Micah Christmas 2014

Finally ready for public consumption is my Christmas mix for this year. It’s got grooves! It’s got reverence! It’s got Rachael Ray forever linked to a crushing sensation of holiday melancholy!

For your streaming convenience, I put my mix into Spotify, but they don't have licenses to all of the songs. What you see is what you get:



The full A Very Micah Christmas 2014 experience goes a little like this:

1. "Christmas in the City" - Nick D' & The Believers
2. "Angels We Have Heard on High" - Quiet Company
3. "I Know What You're Doing for Christmas" - Nerina Pallot
4. "Snow Falls Down" - Good Old War
5. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" - Citizens & Saints
6. "Every Day's a Holiday" - Piney Gir
7. "A Wonderful Christmas Time" - Jon Windle
8. "Countdown to Christmas" - Glam Chops
9. "Must Be Santa" - Bob Dylan
10. "Up on the Housetop" - The Gospel Whiskey Runners
11. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox
12. "I Don't Need No Santa Claus" - Fiction Family
13. "Jingle Bells" - Ben Rector
14. "Christmas Threw Up All Over You" - April Smith & The Great Picture Show
15. "Best Kind of Friend" - Christabel and The Jons
16. "Santa Have Mercy" - CALICO the Band
17. "Lumberjack Christmas/No One Can Save You From Christmases Past" - Sufjan Stevens
18. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - 8mm
19. "Joy to the World" - Andrew Ripp
20. "Christmas Party" - Dr. Dog
21. "Christmas at the Airport" - Nick Lowe
22. "The Smile of Rachael Ray" - David Mead
23. "Daniela Andrade - "Santa Baby"
24. "Away in a Manger" - The Innocence Mission
25. "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" - matt pond PA
26. "Silent Night" - Branches
27. "Last Day of the Year" - Loudon Wainwright III
28. Surprise!

I have not yet uploaded the entire mix yet. If you want it, give me a gentle prod!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Podfort and joycasts

One of the many things I look forward to this season is the multitude of Christmas episodes of my favorite podcasts. Music, comedy, history, interviews... they've got your earholes covered this season. Some notable ones have been trickling in over the past week or two:

  • The Dana Gould Hour Holiday Special - Gould's show is one of my favorite podcasts, as it picks up the "expertly produced/extremely funny" reigns of the much missed Pod F. Tompkast. This episode runs a whopping three hours long and delves into the true story behind Tim Burton's Christmas release Big Eyes, superhero creator origins, dog dentistry, and other topics.
  • The Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular 2014 - Andy Cirzan - the hardest of the hardcore Christmas music enthusiasts - returns to unveil his annual mix full of long forgotten gems. The theme for this go round is '60s and '70s pop. (Until January 1st his compilation can be downloaded here.)
  • Comedy Bang Bang's 2014 Holiday Spectacular - Hot Saucerman and Underworld maestro Len Wiseman (Paul F. Tompkins) wrangle a rotating round of guests that include Bjork (Matt  Besser), Orson Welles (James Adomian), and Ho Ho the Naughty Elf (Lauren Lapkus), among others. Music is provided in studio by Aimee Mann and Ted Leo's project The Both.
  • Doug Loves Movies' 12 Guests of Christmas - Doug hosts his annual extra-long version of the Leonard Maltin Game. Laughs are had. Tears are shed. Someone wins. This episode was followed by the first annual 8 Crazy Guests of Hanukkah, where some oddball characters - "Mark Wahlberg", "Jesse Ventura", etc. - try their hands at the game. Funny stuff.
And of course there are some Christmas-specific shows that are mainstays of my feed:

  • Feliz Navipod - A recent episode introduced me to my Christmas Album of the Year and for that I am grateful. Details about that soon!
  • The Christmas Stocking - When looking for fun facts and history about the season, look no further than this show. And it's bite sized, for those afraid of lengthy time commitments. Score!
As podcasting gains more and more legitimacy among the general populace, I'm confident that each year the above will become as greatly anticipated as the Heat Miser or Yukon Cornelius. But not Charlie Brown. No one dethrones the king, baby.

BONUS!!!  Here's a revisiting of three Mike and Tom Eat Snacks (my go to food podcast) segments where the guys talk about candy canes, chocolate babka, and fruitcake.





Sunday, December 14, 2014

A spirited defense of Macca


It's time I wade in on this controversy and take an unpopular stand: I enjoy "Wonderful Christmastime." There. I said it. Yes, there's a big dollop of holiday fromage topping it, but you folks are just judging it against his other output. Sure, it's no "Hey Jude" or "Let It Be," but he's written worse songs, for Pete Best's sake. Any artist with his extensive body of work is going to produce songs of varying quality. And yes, John Lennon's Christmas song is better, but that guy was also behind "Revolution No. 9" a.k.a. The Worst Beatles "Song" Ever. Does that invalidate the rest of that hippie's songbook? It's not like Paul wrote "Christmas Shoes." Haters gonna hate, I guess.

And if it's good enough for De La Soul to sample, it's good enough for me.

OMG! An ill reindeer!

No one said running was one of the reindeer games. Pass. Christmas and a running buddy makes the act a bit more bearable. It's still dumb, though. (And please excuse my crazy eyes in the first picture. They're filled with wonder!)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Mariah who?


I saw Samson Trinh & The Upper East Side Big Band do a Christmas show at Hardywood last night and they were fantastic. Their rendition of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is now my current favorite. RVA peeps, do yourself a favor and catch them if you can this season (and beyond). 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How perfectly adequate are your branches.

My first real tannenbaum in ages! I didn't trim it and it's not especially full, but I refuse to engage in tree shaming, nor do I want to perpetuate unrealistic standards of tree beauty. It's just fine as is. No H8.

Enjoy the Silent Night

Oh, how I was this was a thing.

The Christmas movies were isolated from the library with care.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas came early!

Well, actually Kwanzaa, as Day One of Cards Against Humanity's Ten Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa arrived in today's post. Who wants to play?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's a Festivus miracle!

Yesterday I went Christmas tree shopping and sometime during the selection process my class ring fell off. (Thanks, dramatic weight loss!) I realized this as I was leaving the parking lot and raced back. Nothing around the trees. Nothing in the garden department. Nothing at customer service. Losing the ring was devastating. There was no point in replacing it as any new one would lack the sentimental attachment. And the thing wasn't cheap. This afternoon I went back to see if anyone turned it in. I figured it wouldn't hurt to check the trees again. BOOM. My ring was in plain sight on the ground under the trees. It's amazing I missed it. It's even more fantastical that no one pocketed it. So, the point of this story is that God answers prayers.

MILF on the Shelf: Day 1

MILF on the Shelf is super busy doing MILFy things this year, but she said she may pop up from time to time this season to elicit some Yuletide "schwhings." But first she needed an eye-opener.