Season's Beats

Trolling for recent Yuletide carols

Dear Santa,
Thank you for giving us copies of Diana Krall's Christmas Songs (Verve) and The Brian Setzer Orchestra's Dig That Crazy Christmas (Surfdog) albums last year. We enjoyed Krall's jazzy jams and Setzer's superb swing while getting tipsy on whiskey-laden cider and Christmas greens. This year, we've found a handful of holiday albums for our wish list that we hope you'll drop from your sleigh into our stockings.

The Mistletoe Lounge (Brash Music) is a jazzy lounge compilation that features various artists remixing Christmas classics with digital beats, à la Verve Remixed with carolers hopped up on poppers. In particular, Groovecatcher's synth-slathered version of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" (which sounds like an Enigma song) and Perfect Project's seductive, funky take on "Santa Baby" make us want to lace your eggnog with Ecstasy and take advantage of you under the mistletoe.

Speaking of lounge, hold the fruitcake this year and pass the cheese, please: Richard Cheese's Silent Nightclub (Surfdog) album has all the hokey holiday cheer we could ever want, from swingin' renditions of the Dead Kennedys' "Holiday in Cambodia" to "Silent Night," the latter punctuated with jingling ivories and Cheese urging listeners to "try the fish."

To the Left of Christmas (SoundVision Recording) makes our list this year because we just don't have enough local bands putting a spin on seasonal songs. But eight Valley bands get into Christmas covers here, from Radiance's high-energy ska version of "Frosty the Snowman" to Split the Enemy's metal rendition of the creepiest Christmas tune ever, "Carol of the Bells."

We're not sure why Twisted Sister's "one last studio album" together is A Twisted Christmas (Razor & Tie), but we're glad to see that singer Dee Snider's let his mullet down and re-donned the Tammy Faye Bakker-on-circus-crack stage makeup to rock out to traditional tunes like "Deck the Halls" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," the latter of which rips its guitar riffs and solo straight from Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It." We wonder if you're going to give Snider that new hit he's been asking for every year since 1985.

And if your sleigh should land before the mother ship, please throw a copy of Bootsy Collins' Christmas Is 4 Ever (Shout! Factory) down the chimney. The funk legend's holiday album makes us want to stomp around the tree in red and green glitter platform boots, shaking our tail feathers to his beat-crazy "Jingle Belz" and the "space bass" on "Happy Holidaze," on which Snoop Dogg joins the festive fray. We'd also like two gold front teeth, so we can sing through the bling like Bootsy.

Well, that's it for this year. Hopefully, your Christmas deliveries go smoothly and you don't break down in Bumfuck, Alabama, again. But we heard you got satellite radio in the sleigh last year, so at least you won't be stuck talking to the AAA guy about the Wynonna Christmas album. Take care and rock on.

 
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