Saturday, May 31, 2008

Christmas for the Outcasts Part 4

Sorry for the late timing on this post this week. It's been a little busy, trying to get work done on the Wayside Waifs Charity CD and all. (Which, by the way, if you know of anybody who would like to contribute or simply want to spread the word on your own site/blog, PLEASE feel free! I will make it a two disc set if I have to!)'s to the final installment of my Christmas for the Outcasts compilation...

16. Chris Flew-Christmas on Ward #7

This song was originally recorded and released under the name "The One Who Flew," which gives the song a bit of reference to the Jack Nicholson movie, though the song isn't about people in an insanity ward celebrating Christmas (and how cool would it be if it was!) but the name of the artist who created this song is Chris Flew, a greatly talented musician from Glasgow, Scotland. I like his style and hope to hear more Christmas music from him in the future! This track comes from his album, Kingston Bridge.

17. Felice Brothers-Murder By Mistletoe

For all that I've said about the Felice Brothers, this it the first song I listened to by them, and it was the song that got me to get everything they had. If they could make a Christmas song this compelling, they were bound to make awesome music. And they have not let me down at all.

18. Calexico and Iron & Wine-16, Maybe Less

Calexico should do an entire album of Christmas originals... This comes from In the Reins.

19. The Handsome Family-So Much Wine

I've seen this song pop up on a few blogs posting off the beaten path Christmas music, but it deserves to be listened to again here. This is one of the few bands I like EVERY song I hear by them...I have all their CDs and every song is ripped to MP3 for portability and to enjoy anywhere I go. If only they did a CD of Christmas originals too.... This version comes from Live at Schuba's.

20. Handsome Family-Stupid Bells

A Christmas song the band found on an old cassette tape that they recorded years ago and released on a CD only available from their website.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Christmas for the Outcasts Part 3

Just a slight update to share: In part one of these themed posts, I said I had 22 tracks. Well, as I often do, I tinker a bit with these compilations after I start posting them. Some tracks came to my attention that just HAD to be on the collection, and while I tried to remove what I could, the total running time (which I want to keep under 80 minutes total so these can be made into a CD compilation) was too long. After much picking and deleting, I am down to 20 songs. But I feel 20 VERY good songs. And if you are wondering what you missed out on...I believe some of them I shared previously on this blog back in December or I will fit them in at a later date.

So...on to the next five tracks:

11. Momus-Christmas on Earth

This is a track from Timelord. I really like this song. Kind of a David Bowie/Space Oddity type feel to it, some how...very off beat, and certainly a Christmas song about somebody who is truly outcast!

12. White Birds-Possessed by the Stars

From Chantons Noël: Ghosts of Christmas Past. So I guess this one was on a Christmas compilation, unlike most of the tracks I am sharing on this comp, but a quite offbeat, outcast compilation at that!

13. Bruce Springsteen-Pilgrim in the Temple of Love

Oh, Bruce...why haven't you recorded a studio version of this song? So....SO much better than his version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town (IMHO!) Recorded at the Brixton Academy, London, on the 24th April 1996. And it is this track you can thank for the sacrifice of two others. I honestly feel the sacrifice of two for this one was well worth it.

14. Captain Beefheart-There Ain't No Santa Claus on the Evening Stage

I know I've seen this track shared on other Christmas blogs, so I realize I am not treading any new ground in sharing it here, but I thought it fit in well.

15. Evangelicals-The Last Christmas on Earth

I wish I could tell you where I found this wasn't on a Christmas compilation, that much I am positive of. It very well could have been from Obscure Sound, but I am not positive. One thing I am sure of it was one of the first tracks I decided to put on this compilation.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Christmas for the Outcasts Part 2

6. Pernice Brothers-Pisshole in the Snow

I really can't remember how I discovered Pernice Brothers...I believe I downloaded one CD by them from a Russian MP3 download site but not exactly sure why. I discovered I really liked all their music. I soon sought out the rest of their CDs and found they had a pretty similar sound to all their albums, which was good and bad (some of their stuff begins to sound similar to previous releases.) This particular track comes from their CD Discover a Lovelier You. It isn't particularly a Christmas song, but fits well in a collection for outcast Christmas music, as it has a wintery feel in a Claudete Longet "Snow" kind of a way.

7. Matthias Rowe-A Different Scarf

I shared music by Matthias Rowe's music back in a post about music I discovered on My Space. I recently went back to his My Space page to see what he was up to, as I was really impressed with his song "Northern Lights" and also to invite him to contribute a track to the Wayside Waifs Charity CD. I heard this song posted on his page, and it also had a touch of a Christmas theme to it. He's got a good sound...I hope you enjoy it.

8. Lyle Lovett-Christmas Morning

While not a new song, while not exactly obscure, it's not something I commonly see on compilations. From The Road to Ensenada.

9. Felice Brothers-Ruby Mae

Another track from the Felice Brothers, which I introduced here last week. This comes from their 2008 self titled release.

10. Okkervil River-Listening to Otis Redding During Christmas

This is another artist I discovered recently, and was greatly impressed with their sound. Certainly worth searching out more from this band. This comes from their CD Don't Fall in Love With Everyone You See.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Christmas for the Outcasts Part 1

One of the benefits of my menial office job is the privilege to get to sit there all day long and listen to music on my MP3 player. Every day. As a result, I expose myself to a great deal of music, podcasts, other downloaded fun off the Internet.

And as a result, I listen to a lot of music that is not Christmas music. I guess I've trained my ears to pick up on certain things in music that I would have other wise overlooked, such as hints of Christmas themes/references in songs. And, much to my surprise, there are Christmas songs hidden in plain sight on regular albums by mainstream artists. Songs that will likely never see the light of day on compilations that feature Bing Crosby and Burl Ives, that is for certain, and unlikely to show up on play lists of radio stations devoted to playing Christmas music during the holiday season.

It occurred to me that others might get a kick out of my finds. So this month I am going to to be sharing tracks I selected for a compilation called "Christmas for the Outcasts." This is Christmas music so far off the beaten path of Christmas music that I seriously doubt this is the stuff people think of first when you say you like Christmas music.

And there might be some debate on a few of my choices, but I think you will enjoy them. If you are the type of person who is reading a Christmas music blog in the middle of spring...yeah, I think you might enjoy these tracks.

1. Van Morrison-Glad Tidings

I know, I are thinking, Van Morrison has never put out a Christmas song! But consider the lyrics starting out the song... " And they'll lay you down low in the easy/And the lips that you kiss will say Christmas./And the miles that you traveled the distance." The lips say Christmas, so it's a Christmas song! From the CD Moondance.

2. The Byrds-Pretty Boy Floyd

I recently listened to Sweetheart of the Rodeo for the first time in my life. I know, I know...I often wonder why I waited so long as well. So imagine my surprise when, after searching and searching for Christmas music from the 60s by bands like the Byrds, this came around on my MP3 player! The song is about an outlaw in Oklahoma who is committing crimes on Christmas. I know it's not Suzy Snowflake or Frosty the Snowman, but it IS a Christmas song!

3. Iron and Wine-Sodom, South Georgia

Papa dies at Christmas. Not a happy Christmas song, but certainly not something you are going to hear your local Christmas music station play immediately after Jingle Bells! From their CD Our Endless Numbered Days.

4. Felice Brothers-Roll On Arte

Felice Brothers is perhaps one of my most favorite finds this year. I came across them completely by chance, by doing a search online for songs with "mistletoe" in the name while searching for some Christmas music (and that song I found will be shared later.) I got their CDs because I loved their sound, and imagine my surprise when I found a handful of tracks that were Christmas related. This is one of a few that will turn up on this compilation. From their CD Tonight at the Arizona.

5. Brazzaville-Christmas in E.C.

About a couple's Christmas vacation that is destroyed when they discover heroine. I told you this was Christmas For the Outcasts! From their CD Welcome...To Brazzaville.

This is only the beginning...I have 22 tracks in total to share with you over the next month!

Thanks for listening!

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Blog, New Announcement

Ever have one of those ideas where you think it would be great if somebody did it, but you realize probably nobody ever will? I had one of those ideas earlier this year: produce a CD compilation of Christmas and holiday tracks by independent artists to raise money for Wayside Waifs, a local animal shelter in Kansas City, MO.

I see plenty of charity CDs raising money for toys for kids, feeding families at Christmas and such...CDs focusing on people. Now that's a good thing...I applaud and support those charity CDs! I have bought quite a few myself, in fact, glad to get new Christmas music and glad to know my money is going to a good cause.

And I know animal shelters have their own fund raisers at Christmas time, but I have yet to see anybody make a CD to sell to raise money for the charity.

So that's my announcement, what I've been working on so I wasn't able to complete the artwork for all of Deep, Crisp and Even. Instead of sitting around waiting for somebody to take on this project, I am donating my time, my efforts, my creativity to over see this project, and see it through all the way to completion, with the goal to raise money from the donations brought in from selling 1000 CDs and from online downloads.

The new blog I created is for the Wayside Waifs Charity CD. Please take a moment to check it out. While I am seeking the best of local Missouri and Kansas artists, I am open to submissions of tracks from all interested contributors from all over. In fact, I think it would be AWESOME if I could get contributors from other places outside of Missouri and Kansas. If you are an artist and your life has been touched by an animal, then please consider contributing a track.

Please visit the new blog and download the rules and guidelines and the release form for the project.

Since this is a charity CD, NOBODY will get paid for their work, I won't even keep any profits from the sale of the CDs at all. 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit Wayside Waifs.

I started sending out emails to local artists on Saturday and am happy to announce I have three artists interested in contributing! Please get the word out there! I want a full 80 minute CD! If I have to make it a two disc set, then that's a problem I welcome figuring out!

In the mean time, I also want you to know I will be back tomorrow posting a new theme for May's collection of Christmas songs: Christmas For the Outcasts, featuring some of my favorite Christmas songs that are so far off the beaten path that most of then NEVER appeared on any Christmas record! You won't find these tracks on compilations along side Bing and Frank, that's for sure!