Ooooooh, D’Angelo just returned from exile with a surprise album dropped online in the back half of December! Big deal; I too do situps, sometimes, and I too have released a surprise December album. It’s my ninth surprise album in nine consecutive Decembers. Kindly react with due awe.
One thing remains as apparent as ever: I am obsessed with old shit. The Yule Analog – Vol. 9 in my apparently unkillable Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable series, subtitled Cowboy Santa Claus – is imbued with the music and radio and pop culture of the 1940s through the 1970s. The last song I chose – a song I loved the first time I heard it on KCRW in 2001 and then forgot about for years until I heard John Hodgman play it at Aimee Mann’s Christmas show at The Birchmere last night – is just barely from the current century. My mixtape makes a few reluctant sops to the present day, but only a few. I am The Ghost of Christmas Long, Long Past.
Particularly the 1960s. I’ve made a mixtape every Christmas since 2006, the year James Brown, of James Brown’s Funky Christmas fame, hit it and quit it forever on Christmas day. The 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions all remain available for your streaming, hall-decking, merry-making pleasure. (Vols. 1-3, are all, I’m relieved afraid, out of print.)
I know I say this every year, but I really tried hard to keep this one tighter than the last several so that each half would fit on one side of a Maxell XL II High Bias 100-minute cassette. If your computer does not have a tape deck but you would still like to have your own play-anywhere copy, just ask me. Continue reading
We’re going in a radically different direction with today’s Musical Advent Calendar selection, debuting the cover of a Christmas record yet to come.
That would be the eighth in my unstoppable series of holiday mixtapes, Children, Go Where I Send Thee! Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable Hard Eight: The Desolation of Nog. My only goal was to staunch the 2009-2012 trend of these things getting longer each year — last year’s installment weighed in at a truly obnoxious 130 minutes, only two minutes shorter than the classic holiday movie Die Hard. Which is not to say I wasn’t proud of the goddamned thing. I was.
Anyway, that grand ambition of brevity flowered only, uh, briefly. When it drops in a week or so, my new yulemix will be another feature-length epic to comfort and amuse you through your car trips, your long layovers, and your interminable sleepless nights of loathing and regret. I think you’ll really dig it. Merry Christmas!
On Friday I had the honor of doing 35 minutes of live radio with Andy Cirzan, the great archeologist of obscure holiday records who provided much of the inspiration for my own Yule-Tunes Eclectic and Inexplicable series. (I interviewed Andy a month ago for an essay about my mixtape project that ran in the Washington Post just after Thanksgiving.)
Anyway, Minnesota Public Radio’s The Daily Circuit invited us both on to talk about our mixtapes and recommend some yulejams that haven’t been played to death. I was afraid no one would be in the mood for this silliness when I realized our segment would follow an hour of reaction to the NRA’s spectacularly tone-deaf press conference about the Newton, Conn. school shootings, which the station had carried live a little over an hour before we went on. But I thought the segment turned out well. I had a great time.
You can listen to the whole segment here. Should it happen to pique your curiosity, my 2009-2012 yulemixes are on the upper periphery of your frame of vision, on the Musics of Christmas page of this site. You can grab Andy’s 2012 mixtape, Santa Soul, from Sound Opinions.
Happy holidays, everybody!
I don’t have a Christmas tree in my apartment yet. My friends haven’t seen me in weeks. My editors are all ready to fire me. I’ve been avoiding mirrors, but I assume I look like Ted Kaczynski.
It’s all for a noble cause: Every November & early December I fall into a four-to-six week time warp attempting to create the funniest and most reverent, most entertaining and most beguiling Christmas mixtape possible. (You may have read the essay I wrote about this project recently in the Washington Post. If you haven’t, please do.)
It is my great pleasure to unveil now for your hall-decking enjoyment entry No. 007 in my Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable series. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the future of Christmas merry-making enforcement, Stay Hungry to Feed the World. In keeping with the perpetually inflating ethos of this project, it’s the longest one yet. When it comes to Christmas, less is less. And more? Is just the most. (Hear the mix after the jump.) Continue reading
I’m so honored and excited I’m sweating. Yes, it’s 70 degrees and muggy here in DC this December 4th, but it isn’t the climate that has me — svichting? Swatching? Whatever. It’s the fact that Andy Cirzan, my yulemix-making senpai, sent me his 2012 Christmas mix CD.
When it comes to holiday mixtapes, I am a mere padawan to Cirzan’s wizened Jedi master, dispensing ancient wisdom via oddly structured sentences he splashes around the swamps of Degobah. (He’s from Chicago, actually.) As you may recall if you happened to read my recent Washington Post essay about my yulemix, the seventh installment of which shall drop forthwith, Cirzan has been issuing compilations of obscure and often inexplicable seasonal gems for more than 20 years. Continue reading
I was asked to provide a sidebar for my Washington Post essay (in today’s Sunday Style insert, with Helen Mirren on the cover, which actually came out Friday) about making my annual yulemix. We didn’t have room for my brief rationales for choosing the Twelve Songs of Christmas that I did, so I’m posting it here. Bow your heads and tremble before Twelve Songs of Christmas!
(Not the twelve songs, as if there could be such a thing. Merely a dozen yule-sides that ring my Christmas bell, presented chronologically.)
My essay about making my Christmas mixtape is in the Style section of today’s Washington Post, the pullout section with Helen Mirren on the cover. I was surprised how difficult I found it to write about this silly little project that’s come to claim so many
tens hundreds of hours of my time and moxie every fall. Continue reading