Gini Mascorro’s Holiday Anthem airs Christmas day on KERA (90.1 FM) from noon to 2 p.m. (you can listen to a live stream here). We asked Gini to send us a setlist of the show, and she did us one better. Enjoy Gini’s liner notes for the whole set below, and be sure to tune in to hear all these great songs on Christmas Day.
STREET DRUM CORPS, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”: This L.A. punk percussion collective takes the ‘Stomp’ approach and uses various and sundry items – hand drums, aluminum garbage cans and power tools, just to name a few – to make a joyful noise. Thought this would be a nice way to start the show off with a bang.
MATT POND, PA, “Holiday Road”: OK, I’m one of those cuckoo-for-cover-version nerds, and this song is in my personal top 10. The original – as many of you will remember and recognize – was the theme song for National Lampoon’s Vacation, recorded by Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. Matt Pond, PA’s harmonious little rendition is guaranteed to lift your spirits, and certainly won’t harsh your holiday mellow.
AIMEE MANN, “Calling On Mary”: From Aimee Mann’s Christmas album, One More Drifter in the Snow, comprised of mostly covers but containing two standout originals, including this one. Achingly bittersweet, it seems like a snug fit for those who remain ambivalent toward the holiday season, and offers up a bit of validation and hope for the disillusioned.
THE RAVEONETTES, “The Christmas Song”: This Danish duo struck gold with this song, which gleefully channels Roy Orbison and makes you want to melt under the mistletoe with the object of your desire.
BJORK,”Icelandic Christmas Song”: Just to keep it in the Scandinavian vein, right? This was recorded in 1995 for L.A. radio station KROQ’s Kevin & Bean’s show, and their holiday compilation, How The _____ Stole Christmas. Other goodies on this cassette-only gem include songs from Bad Religion and the Stone Temple Pilots, and holiday messages from David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson from The X Files, Adam Carrolla, and Jon Stewart in his pre-Daily Show days.
THE DECEMBERISTS, “Please Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas”: This John Denver track received a previous reworking from Alan Jackson, and the Decemberists’ version can be found on the 2006 Connect Set EP. “Please Daddy…” goes out to those of you who steel yourselves for the yearly onslaught of insufferable relatives and those who suck all the oxygen out of the room with their alcohol-infused blathering, and serves as a reminder that the holidays tend to bring out both the best and worst in our loved ones and friends. And yes, it’s OK to sneak down to the garage for that beer every once in a while.
THE POGUES & KIRSTY MACCOLL, “Fairytale of New York”: Not only has this made its way into the official Christmas classic file, it also seemed like the obvious follow-up to the Decemberists song. And while drunkenness and drama may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect Christmas Eve, this track might make you re-consider. Supposedly there are even cover versions in Swedish and Catalan. Maybe next year…
ASOBI SEKSU,“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight)”: Screeching feedback and distortion are the stars of this particular Ramones cover, from New York shoegaze duo Asobi Seksu.
THE RAMONES, “Danny Says”: This buried treasure is from The End of the Century and was written about the band’s then-manager, Danny Fields, and the grind of endless touring. The song was later covered by the Foo Fighters.
THE RAMONAS, “Santa’s Got A GTO”: From the 1991 compilation, Rodney on The ROQ’s Christmas. The ear of legendary L.A. DJ Rodney Bingenheimer is the stuff aspiring bands’ dreams are made of, and San Francisco’s Ramonas unabashedly pull out the stops for this fun little ditty. And for those wondering, “Rodney who?” – go out and rent the DVD Mayor of the Sunset Strip, tout suite!
CLAUDINE LONGET, “I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You”: Recorded in the magical, mystical year of 1967. This French chantoozie was the wife of Andy Williams and made several Stateside chart splashes of her own. Later, she’d be convicted of criminal negligence for the shooting death of downhill skier lover Spider Sabich in Aspen. According to pop kid folklore, Claudine Longet spent the night in the guest bedroom of John Denver’s house the night she was sprung from jail.
THE DEATHRAY DAVIES,“I Got Coal”: From the compilation Electric Ornaments, released on Dallas-based Idol Records. The greatness of Dallas’ Deathray Davies never ceases to amaze. Kinetic and punchy, this track’s destined to be a Christmas musical staple, if it’s not already. And according to frontman John Dufilho, back when he was a wee one, he did indeed receive a lump of coal one year. So let that be a lesson to you: play nice, share your toys, and prosper! (Watch them play the song at the Granada Theater above)
FISHBOY, “A Surprise Return”: A massive thank-you goes out to Brad Ford Smith for suggesting this song when I put out a call for Christmas tunes on the Art&Seek blog back in November. If you’re searching for tunes for your future Christmas mixes, rest assured you’ll strike gold with this one, from Denton’s very own Fishboy. How could you possibly go wrong with a song about a Christmas tree who comes back to life from the landfill to terrorize the celebrants of Christmas past? If you get a chance, be sure to check out the video on YouTube. High-lair!!!
THE PIPETTES,”In The Bleak Midwinter”: From a 2004 limited edition CD. Fell in love with these gals when I first heard “Dirty Mind,” but sadly, none of the original members from this Brighton-based bundle of joy remain.
FIONA APPLE, “Frosty The Snowman”: From The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs. This 2008 Sony BMG compilation also features tracks from the likes of KT Tunstall, Sara Bareilles, and Brandi Carlile, and is a nifty addition to any Christmas collection.
THE BIRD & THE BEE, “Carol of the Bells”: The L.A. duo’s jazz-tinged version of the traditional Christmas tune came out last year on the Starbucks compilation Stockings By The Fire. Normally you can find ‘em on the Blue Note label. Get some…
SUFJAN STEVENS, “Get Behind Me, Santa!”: From the super-sized box set, Songs For Christmas, chock full of traditional songs and originals, like this one. When I put out the call for Christmas tunes on the Art&Seek blog back in November, I received two requests for Sufjan Stevens. Ask and ye shall receive…
JIMMY DONLEY, “Santa Don’t Pass Me By”: From the uber-politically incorrect compilation, A John Waters Christmas. This was definitely one of the more radio-friendly songs on the album – a 1962 recording from underrated swamp rocker and sometimes jailbird Jimmy Donley.
MY MORNING JACKET, “Xmas Curtain”: Swirling and dreamy – I thought this song would set a nice tone for the second hour. You can find this on the EP, Does Christmas Fiasco Style.
CHEAP TRICK, “Come On Christmas”: From the box set, Sex, America, Cheap Trick. All I have to say is, can you believe 2008 marked the 30th anniversary of Live at Budokan?!
LOCAL H, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: This spirited, slammin’ cover is from the 2000 compilation, Sleighed: Other Side of Christmas, which contains tracks from Beck, Sonic Youth, The Smithereens and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
VIVA VOCE, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”: You can hear songs from these former tour-mates of Jimmy Eat World and The Shins in various commercials, but this song is available on the compilation, Happy Christmas, Vol. 2.
THE DARKNESS, “Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)”: Gotta love the fiery falsetto tones of Justin Hawkins, accompanied by sleigh bells and an entire choir. This song was a contender in the UK Christmas Number One Race, but was beaten out by a cover of the Tears For Fears song, “Mad World.” Bummer. At any rate, it sounds like someone grew up listening to lots and lots of Queen!
PUNK TV, “Snowboy”: From the Siberian synth-pop trio’s self-titled 2006 LP on the AeroCCCP label. Love, love, love this song – with all its buzzsaw charm and driving guitar. I hope these guys stick around to make more records. Fingers crossed…
JULIE LONDON, “I’d Like You For Christmas (Ursula 1000 Remix)”: An ultra-classy and chill remix of the sexy Julie London standard, from the 2006 sampler, ‘Merry Mixmas: Christmas Classics Remixed.’
TELSTAR PONIES, “I Still Believe In Christmas Trees”: Straight outta Glasgow, this one features vocals from David Keenan and ex-Teenage Fanclub drummer Brendan O’Hare, and can be found on the 1995 album, ‘n The Space of a Few Minutes.
COCTEAU TWINS, “Winter Wonderland”: Recorded in 1993 and formerly unavailable – this was released on the rarities CD, Lullabies to Violaine, Vol. 2, which contains all of the Cocteau Twins’ Capitol-era releases and EP’s.
NICOLE ATKINS, “Blue Christmas”: Anyone who cites David Lynch as her biggest musical influence is, well – a girl after my own heart. I love any song that makes me feel like I’ve been sucker-punched, not because I’m some kind of masochist – but because the artist has accomplished their goal. First time I heard this one, I broke out into some major goose bumps. Elvis is smiling from the heavens. Count on it.
EL VEZ, “Christmas Wish”: The King always seemed to nail those holiday songs of longing so beautifully, and here, the ‘Mexican Elvis’ steps up to the plate and hits a triple with this splendiferous cover version, from the 1994 Sympathy For The Record Industry release, Merry Mex-Mas. The touches of Santo & Johnny’s ‘Sleep Walk’ are simply magical. Enjoy a slow dance to this one, and your partner will be putty in your hands.
REVEREND HORTON HEAT, “Santa Bring My Baby Back”: From the 2005 release, We Three Kings, which also includes some Buck Owens and Chuck Berry covers, and the most kickin’ cover of ‘What Child Is This’ you’ll ever hear in your life. So yeah, this makes three from The King. Why not?!
THE PRETENDERS, “2000 Miles”: From the 2008 ‘Holiday’ EP. This newly re-tooled version sounds just as fresh and poignant as the original. Chrissie Hynde still rules, and that’s all there is to it.
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS, “Sound the Trumpet”: I’d be totally remiss as a host if I didn’t throw in a little Bob Marley for the pop kids. Recorded in 1962, back when he was still going by ‘Robert,’ this is from the 1992 release, Reggae Christmas From Studio One.
SLADE, “Merry Xmas Everybody”: Recorded in the studio next to the one where John Lennon was recording ‘Mind Games.’ This went straight to #1 on the UK pop charts in December of 1973, and stayed in the Top 40 through February.
HOODOO GURUS, “Little Drummer Boy (Up The Khyber)”: From the 2005 re-release of ‘Kinky.’ Viva Australia!