‘Merry Crassmas’: Have an anarcho-punk holiday (or Santa died for somebody’s sins, but not mine)
12.26.2013
06:33 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Christmas
Crass


 
Considering that this is the only Christmas song I can thing of that hopes you choke on your turkey, it’s probably better to post this one the day after Christmas….

In 1981, anarcho-punk heroes Crass had had about enough of the increasingly commercialized holiday season—not to mention the mass slaughter of turkeys each year—and decided to protest musically with a Casiotone medley of some of their best-loved numbers. The two-sided single, “Merry Crassmas,” was the result.

“Merry Crassmas” was credited to “Creative Recording and Sound Services.” On the picture sleeve, ringing Gee Vaucher’s distinctive art were these words:

COLD TURKEY ONE. VERY MERRY CRASSMAS. HERE’S AN AMAZING XMAS MEDLEY OF CRASS’S GREATEST HITS. SUPER FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY. PLUS…SUPER FUN TIME COMPETITION THAT EVERYONE CAN JOIN IN. HERE’S WHAT YOU DO…IT’S EASY. JUST LIST, IN ORDER, THE TITLES OF THE EXCITING CRASS SONGS ON THIS RECORD. THE FIRST THREE CORRECT POSTCARDS TO BE RECEIVED WILL BE SENT THE FOLLOWING GREAT PRIZES…1ST PRIZE… BATHSALTS, 2ND PRIZE…ONE EXPLOITED SINGLE, 3RD PRIZE…TWO EXPLOITED SINGLES. HAVE FUN. SEND ENTRIES TO “CRASSMAS COMPETITION.” PO BOX 279. LONDON N22.

Please note that back in 1981, kids, “bath salts” actually meant bath salts like you would put in your bath—not a drug that will make you want to eat people’s faces off—a shitty prize, in other words. I like how third place gets two Exploited singles!

Side A:
Jingle Bells
Big A, Little A
Punk is Dead
Big Hands
Contaminational Power
I Ain’t Thick, It’s Just a Trick
Nagasaki Nightmare
While Shepherds Watched

Side B:
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Securicor
Darling
G’s Song
Banned from the Roxy
Tired
So what
Silent Night

One of only two Christmas records I own. True!
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
A progrock Xmas: ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’
12.25.2013
08:13 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Christmas
Greg Lake


 
In 1975, Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Greg Lake and ELP/King Crimson lyricist, Pete Sinfield wrote a darkly pretty number about the over-commercialization of Christmas. At least that’s what Greg Lake said the song was about. Sinfield, who actually wrote the lyrics, begged to differ and has stated the song is about the loss of childish beliefs.

It could go either way: “I Believe in Father Christmas” is most certainly unique, a Christmas song that could be taken to heart equally by a Christian or an atheist. Most often, the song was interpreted as being anti-religious: “And they sold me a fairy story until I believed in the Israelite.” The vocal performance straddles the line, at turns wistful and sincere or just blunt, foiling easy interpretation.

Greg Lake has always maintained surprise that it’s turned out to be considered somewhat of a Christmas season classic due to the dark tone of the song (It wishes listeners a “hopeful Christmas” and a “brave” new year). The original video, with its “heavy, man” scenes of American bombers in Vietnam (not included in this edit), was shot in the Sinai Desert and was apparently controversial in some quarters when it was shown on television. ELP re-recorded the song in 1977 on their Works, Volume 2 album and have returned to it again over the years.

“I Believe in Father Christmas” did not make it to #1 on the British chart, a spot Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” kept it from, but the song has been covered by numerous performers, including U2 and Sarah Brightman. It was even (slightly) parodied by “Weird Al” Yankovic in “The Night Santa Went Crazy.” The orchestral motif is from Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kije Suite.”
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
The Monkees want to wish you a Merry Christmas, 1967
12.25.2013
07:50 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Christmas
Monkees


 
The Monkees singing a beautiful a capella version of the traditional Spanish Christmas carol, “Ríu, Chíu,” from their TV Christmas special in 1967.

And no, that’s not a joint that Peter Tork is holding, it’s a stick of incense.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Merry Krautrockmas: Can do ‘Silent Night,’ 1976
12.24.2013
09:49 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Christmas
Krautrock
Can


 
No, seriously, Can recorded “Silent Night”! Not even they were immune to the siren call of a calculated yuletide ploy, I suppose, but “Silent Night”?

Just now I played this for my wife and asked “Who do you think this is?”. Without missing a beat, she said flatly “Can.”

I’m a very lucky man!
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Wham!‘s ‘Last Christmas’ is much better when it’s slowed…way down
12.23.2013
07:54 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Christmas
Wham


 
This is exactly how I like my Christmas music. Totally unrecognizable as Christmas music.
 

 
Via Nerdcore

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘A Synthesizer for Christmas’: Your new claymation holiday classic, with keytar!
12.21.2013
07:57 am

Topics:
Animation

Tags:
Christmas
synthesiers

moog
 
Me, I’m all about creating “new traditions,” so can we add this cute animated ode to synthesizers to our yearly holiday viewing? My Christmas wishes were always full of DEVO and New Order!
 

Written by Amber Frost | Discussion
I saw Santa being crucified: Have a gawk at the most controversial Christmas decoration in Texas
12.20.2013
05:23 am

Topics:
Amusing
Current Events

Tags:
Christmas
Santa Claus

santacruci.jpg
 
It must have been a quiet day at 6 News when they reported on complaints over the bloody effigy of a crucified Santa Claus, exhibited outside a house in Corpus Christi, Texas. According to a local news report, the nailed-up Santa is being described as offensive and inappropriate by some local residents.

But Aaron Olivares, who created the display, claims his crucified Santa is just “a Christmas ornament.”

“It’s December, it’s Christmas time. It is just a Christmas ornament.”

6 News were not to be so easily fobbed off by such festive excuses, and reporter Heather Jackson probed deeper, wondering if there was not something far more sacrilegious (perhaps even something Satanic?) going on with this bloody-faced, “zombie” Santa, nailed to a cross and topped with a crown of barbwire. But Olivares proved to be intransigent to questioning:

Aaron: “The crown of barbwire? A little more decoration. That is about it.”

Heather: “You never thought about the Jesus reference or..?”

Aaron: “Naw, it really, it didn’t come to me like that, I didn’t see nothing offensive on it…It’s nothing Satanic it is just decorations for Christmas.”

When asked whether it could be construed as being offensive to Christians, Olivares said no, claiming he was religious:

“I’m Christian, I mean there is a God and there is a devil.”

But some local residents do think it is offensive, like Rick Mesa:

“The cross is the big thing. The cross. Santa Claus is you know well, you can put Santa Claus on a hood, put Santa Claus on your roof, put Santa Claus in your yard, why put him on a cross?”

Though some neighbors don’t seem to mind, like Blanca Perelta, who lives directly across the street.

“It doesn’t really bother me. Everyone likes it who brings me home. My friends all joke about it.”

Either way, Aaron Olivares isn’t moved:

“Get out of my yard. If you don’t like it ... don’t drive by here.”

Aaron’s a Gadsden flag in human form. Don’t tread on him! Dude don’t care what you think.
 

 
Via Arbroath

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
The Dangerous Minds foolproof last minute shopping guide for hard to buy for ‘rock snobs’
12.19.2013
02:48 pm

Topics:
Books
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Christmas


 
There’s less than a week left before Christmas. You’ve got someone on your list who is really difficult to buy for? A sophisticate?

We’ve got you covered.

Yesterday I remarked to my wife that if I stacked up all of the amazing stuff I’ve been sent in just the past two months alone from publishers, publicists, and record labels, it would far surpass my best Christmas haul… ever. Some of it I asked for, but most of it came unbidden. Every day’s post saw a crazy new treat arrive.



Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult Dayal Patterson (Feral House). I found this book as fascinating as I found a new issue of RE/Search or Mondo 2000 when I was younger. I’m putting this book at #1 on my list because, believe it or not, I think it would appeal to the largest cross section of people. Me, I didn’t give a shit about Black Metal, but when I opened the package and pulled this book out, I sat right down and read the majority of it in one sitting. If you want the satisfaction of seeing your rock snob friend, lover or relative sit down on Christmas day and bury their nose in YOUR gift, go with Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult. You’ll find a more in-depth review here.



Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: The Complete Series (Shout Factory) I received this a few weeks ago and we’re already, as of last night, 81 episodes into it. If I only got the MH, MH box set (38 DVDs, 325 episodes, plus ten episodes of Fernwood 2Night with Martin Mull and Fred Willard) this year, it would still be my best Christmas ever. It is astonishing how well this show has aged, and just how far ahead of its time the humor was, too. In a longer post about Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, I said that this long lost, fondly-recalled series was arriving just in time for the binge watching generation and owing from the way Tara and I have been ravenously devouring it, I’d have think that there’s going to be a full-on MH, MH cult revival coming soon. By the time it gets onto Netflix streaming, well, forget about it. (I also predict “Mary Hartman” will be a popular Halloween costume next year for hipsters—male and female alike—mark my words…)



White Light/White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition The Velvet Underground (UMe) The second installment of Universal’s “Super Deluxe” VU reissues, White Light/White Heat has surely never sounded better, but it’s the inclusion of the stunning 1967 live show from The Gymnasium that’s the crown jewel of this set. Read more here and listen to “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore,” one of the most amazing VU performances you’re ever going to hear.



Fanfare Jonathan Wilson (Downtown) I’m already on record as calling Fanfare the best and most important album of 2013 and I will stand by those words (and direct you to my original review here). I do want to mention here, though, that Wilson is a total analog freak in the studio and his vinyl releases are done to a very exacting standard (and weigh a lot). Vinyl head on your shopping list this year? Go for the two-record set of Fanfare.



Instant Replay Deluxe Edition The Monkees (Rhino Handmade) I played this so many times in the weeks after I got it that I thought my wife might break it if I didn’t let up. Instant Replay came out after the Monkees TV series was cancelled—and Peter Tork was gone by then, too—although many of the numbers were recorded prior. The album, as originally released in 1969, was somewhat uneven, but with the inclusion of several great extras, I’d give this an A-. It’s not the best Monkees album, no, but it certainly still deserves to stand alongside their earlier albums that everyone knows. “Someday Man,” “You and I” (a Davy penned song with backing from Neil Young on guitar) and the inclusion of nearly all of Mike Nesmith’s “Nashville Sessions” made this, for me, a must have.



Moondance Deluxe Edition Van Morrison (Warner Bros.) I posted about this the other day, so I’ll keep it brief. Classic album, one of the all time greats of the rock era, but you already knew that. Four CDs of a nicely remastered stereo Moondance, alternate mixes, discarded takes and mono versions. For me, though, the glorious 5.1 surround mix by one of the recordings’ original engineers, Elliot Scheiner, is the main event (on a Blu-ray in high quality HD DTS so you can really hear the difference, too).



Comme à la Radio Brigitte Fontaine (Superior Viaduct) This album is one of the most far out things I’ve ever heard. The (to say the least) eccentric Fontaine teams up with The Art Ensemble of Chicago, employing their unique talents to realize her bohemian Beatnik musical vision—a kind of wild, arrhythmic, Arabic free jazz—that brings to mind PiL, Serge Gainsbourg and The Master Musicians of Joujouka in various measures. If you want the satisfaction of seeing your giftee forcing this album on all their musically inclined mates, go with Comme à la radio, on CD or deluxe vinyl from Superior Viaduct.



Theres a Riot Going On: Gold Edition Sly and The Family Stone (Get On Down/EPIC) Well-known for their super creative packaging, the folks at Get On Down did not disappoint with this deluxe gold disc release of this mind-crushing classic. There’s a Riot Goin’ On is never going to sound truly “great” from an audiophile point of view—the tracks of the master tapes were recorded and re-recorded on too many time for that—this is probably the best sounding version there is. With a nice full color hardback book essay on the album and an embroidered cloth patch of the cover’s black, white and red flag, this is a sweet collector’s trophy piece.



Recollection “Le Ducks Box Set” Neil Innes (Neil Innes.org) One of the things I listened to the most in 2013 was this absolutely stellar three disc, one DVD collection of material from the Innes Book of Records TV series. I did a long interview with Neil Innes over email about this release—only available at his website—so I will direct you to that post, which has plenty of fantastic video clips. If there is a Monty Python fan on your shopping list, this one is, for sure, a knockout of a gift.


Cal Schenkel’s amazingly cheap art sale: Long associated with Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, American artist Cal Schenkel has created some of the most striking, freaky and enduringly classic images ever seen on album covers. I’m a big admirer of his work and I was floored to find out how inexpensive his prints—and even his paitings—are going for on his site. Any Zappa or Beefheart nuts in your life? They will love you long time for a piece of art from the great Cal Schenkel!



The Rock Snob’s Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Rockological Knowledge David Kamp and Steven Daly (Three Rivers Press) Evocative title, eh? An amusing A-Z of exactly what you think it’s about. Co-author Daly (who did a guest turn on the Dangerous Minds Radio Hour and was the original drummer for Orange Juice) is an old pal of mine. He told me when the book was published that it was 1/3 based on my record collection, so with that in mind—and since they coined the phrase—I can recommend this one unreservedly as a sweet stocking stuffer.


SONOS speakers. Like I was saying earlier, this has been a wonderfully bountiful holiday season pour moi, and (by far) the biggest reason for that is the two rooms worth of wireless audio gear that SONOS’ ace marketeer Austin Brown sent my way. I’ve got a SONOS surround system in the bedroom (it would have been very awkward to use wired speakers in that particular room, so these were quite welcome, I can assure you) and two SONOS Play:5 speakers that are flanking me on either side as I type this. The first thing I played when I hooked these babies up was “The Suit” by Public Image Ltd., a song that’s practically a part of my DNA I’ve listened to it so many times, and sure enough, I heard things I have never heard before with the Play:5s, which are just incredible. The SONOS subwoofer weighs about 40 lbs! They have SONOS listening stations at Target, so you can check them out there. I reckon they’re some of the best sounding speakers I’ve ever heard, engineered from the ground up by some very smart people. (A big thank you here for Mr. Chris Holmes.)


Speaking of speakers and smart people, Alexander Rosson is the CEO and chief scientist/inventor behind the high end Audeze headphone line. While Audeze headphones are pretty pricey—the top model, the LCD-3 sells for $1945.00—they are actually worth it. A bit like having tiny Magneplanars strapped to your head, it could be argued that for someone who aspired to own a $20,000 dollar stereo, but will never be able to afford it, that these puppies are actually a bargain. The Audeze cans are featherlight and covered in supersoft leather. If Audeze are the Bentley of headphones, then Beats would be like the Pinto.

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Color photos of Nazi Christmas party attended by Adolf Hitler
12.19.2013
06:11 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
Christmas
Nazis

Nazi X-Mas
 
My original plan for this post was a silly little holiday essay, something to give us a laugh, something flip.

I love flip. I excel at flip. But these pictures elicit such a deep discomfort. LIFE never published them, and there’s no date or context for the party. The mood seems, er, cheerful and the colors are seasonally bright; I’m just not sure I’ve ever seen something so apparently mundane manifest with such implied menace.

Don’t worry. I’ll write you something flip tomorrow.
 
Nazi X-Mas
 
Nazi X-Mas
 
Nazi X-mas
 
Nazi X-Mas
 
Nazi X-mas
 
Via The Wall Breakers

Written by Amber Frost | Discussion
This dude has a lock on ‘Christmas song of 2013’
12.16.2013
06:57 pm

Topics:
Kooks

Tags:
Christmas


 
“Is it Merry Christmas Or Happy Holiday?” asks Larry Massey, in song and in verse.

Nine days left. Who can possibly top Larry’s heartfelt war on the war on Christmas? Beyonce?

Get real.

I do think he could have done a little bit more with the video, though. If Larry is this handy on a Casiotone, just imagine what he could do with After Effects (or the Video Toaster for that matter).
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
How The Sex Pistols saved Christmas
12.16.2013
08:26 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Christmas
The Sex Pistols

nodylxeshudders.jpg
 
For the families of the striking fire fighters, Christmas 1977 was going to be a difficult one. With little or no money coming in, celebrations, presents, and even food were on ration. But something quite wonderful happened on that Christmas Day in Merrie England, when four of the country’s allegedly most reviled people brought happiness and festive gifts to the firefighters and their families.

This was Christmas Day 1977, when The Sex Pistols played a benefit gig for the families of striking fire fighters at the Ivanhoe’s club, Huddersfield, in the north of England.

As has often been recorded, The Pistols were the most hated and feared group in the country, portrayed by the press as the biggest threat to any nation’s children since Herod slaughtered the innocents. They had been banned from nearly every civic venue in the UK and were on an MI5 blacklist. For many a politician or council member, the very mention of The Sex Pistols could cause the veins to ominously throb on their sweaty, flabby brows.

But it wasn’t just The Pistols who these politicians and their obsequious press feared, it was the unions—in particular the fire fighters who were striking for a 30% wage increase.

For two years, the fire fighters had waited for the Labour government to negotiate a pay raise, but nothing had happened. As the cost of food, fuel and taxes skyrocketed, the pay-in-the-pocket of the average worker was worthless. Therefore, a ballot of the 30,000 strong Fire Brigades Union was held, which received 97.5% support for strike action. On the 14th November, 1977, the fire fighter’s strike began.

On Christmas Day, 1977, the Pistols quietly organized a benefit gig for the Fire Brigade Union. This was done as surreptitiously as possible, for if the council discovered the Pistols were playing (especially on the Lord’s birthday), the venue would be closed immediately. Two shows were arranged at Ivanhoe’s club: the first was a matinee for the children, at which cake, food, presents were distributed by the band, as John Lydon later said:

”Huddersfield I remember very fondly. Two concerts, a matinee with children throwing pies at me, and later on that night, striking union members. It was heaven. There was a lot of love in the house. It was great that day, everything about it. Just wonderful.”

While drummer Paul Cook recalled:

”It was like our Christmas party really. We remember everyone being really relaxed that day, everyone was getting on really well, everyone was in such a great mood because it was a benefit for the kids of firemen who were on strike at that time, who had been on strike for a long time.”

The Pistols paid for everything, and according to one young audience member “you could just have anything you wanted!” It was a Christmas Day to remember, as another young attendee Jez Scott later wrote about the gig in The Guardian:

Johnny Rotten came out in a straw hat and they had a cake with Sex Pistols written on it, the size of a car bonnet. He started cutting it up but it soon degenerated into a food fight. He was covered head to foot. It was fantastic. I took a photo of Steve Jones, who did a rock’n'roll-type pose. I took one of Sid and he asked, “Do you want to put Nancy [Spungen] in as well?”

Eventually the Pistols came onstage. I think they only played about six songs. I remember they did “Bodies,” but omitted the swear words because of the children. Steve Jones’s guitar sounded very raw and exciting. During “Holidays in the Sun,” Rotten held out the mic and people were shouting out their names, but because I was probably the only punk there I tried to shout the lyrics: “Cheap dialogue/ Cheap essential scenery.”

The gig itself was great. Sid had his leather jacket open and was hammering the bass. They were really on form and I was a bit overcome, really. I’d taken my album along but I was so excited talking to the Pistols, I forgot to get it signed. Sid was the easiest to talk to because he was like one of us, like a kid. I asked him what he was doing next and he said they were going to America. I’d like to think I said, “Don’t go, it’ll all go pear-shaped,” but I didn’t. Within a few weeks the band had split, Sid had been remanded for murdering Nancy and then he died. I wore a black tie with a Sex Pistols badge on it for a year in mourning.

The following clips are from a longer program, but contain the memories of the fire fighters and their families who attended, as well as some actuality from The Sex Pistols and a very prissy politician. The Huddersfield gigs were the final time The Sex Pistols played in Britain before going to America and splitting-up.
 

 
More of “How The Sex Pistols saved Christmas” after the jump….

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Reindeer in Blood’ SLAYER parody Christmas card
12.10.2013
08:43 am

Topics:

Tags:
Christmas
Slayer


 
What better way to spread holiday cheer than with this “Reindeer Blood” Christmas card by UK-based artist Dominic Sohor. It’s a fun (and most evil) take on SLAYER’s 1986 “Reign In Blood” album cover.

They’re $2.80 per card at Red Bubble
 

 
Via Cherry Bombed

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘Santa the Hutt’ mocks Christmas gluttony and excess


 
The BetaBrand store, located in San Francisco’s Mission district, has a vile, blobby yuletide greeting I can totally get on board with: Santa the Hutt! 

According to Chris from BetaBrand:

Our aim: To poke fun at holiday excess and explore anti-Santa sentiment. Our achievement: Over a thousand people have taken holiday photos at our Valencia Street store since rolling him out last week.

snip~

He now begrudgingly poses for holiday photos with Valencia Street shoppers if only because he’s too obese to move.

Santa the Hutt seems unlikely to be posing for Playgirl anytime soon…
 

 

 
Via Boing Boing

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Milo goes to the North Pole: The Descendents’ annual Christmas sweater is here
11.19.2013
05:51 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Music

Tags:
Christmas
Descendents


 
The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party is fast becoming one of the most annoying rites of American whiteness, but lately, thanks to one of your favorite bands, you can give that new tradition the finger. If you have to go to one, why not go in your Descendents Christmas Sweater Sweatshirt?

GOOD NEWS DESCENDENTS FANS! You guys have been asking for it, and now we have it! We are proud to present the 2013 Holiday Sweater. The Descendents started this craze a few years ago and you guys cant get enough! As always, these are only here for a limited time so grab one while you can! Happy Holidays!

They’ve been making these for a few years now, but this year, they’re taking pre-orders so that fewer fans get shut out of these limited items. You can order yours from Kings Road.

Now rock out.
 

Written by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Righteous Motörhead Christmas sweater
11.07.2013
10:47 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music

Tags:
Christmas
Motörhead

Motörhead Christmas sweater
 
It’s a little early to be grooving on Christmas merch, but this was too good to resist. The online store Shredders was offering this fucking fantastic Christmas sweater with the Motörhead hell-boar on it, but it’s been yanked. (They used to have a Wu-Tang sweater too, but that one too is no longer available.)

I’m guessing a stern message from Motörhead’s legal representatives put an end to that.

So hey, Motörhead—why don’t you offer an official one? I don’t want to support copyright infringers if I can help it…. I just want my own Motörhead Christmas sweater. Is that too much to ask?

Thank you Annie Zed!

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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