Brooklyn DJ Maticulous offers up his "Christmas Sampler."
Christmas music has had an age problem. The classic canon started in the '40s with the first mainstream, secular Christmas single - Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" - and it arguably ended with the British Invasion. After The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, songs about dancing around the Christmas tree seemed hopelessly uncool, so much so that few songs have entered the canon since then. I'd argue that "Christmas Time is Here" (1965) has become part of the canon judging by the growing number of covers of it, and Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas" (1970) is on its way to becoming the soul Christmas standard. Wham!'s "Last Christmas" (1984) is getting more love each year, albeit more from female than male vocalists, but even it is approaching 30 years old. It's nice to hear more versions and more play on Low's "Just Like Christmas" (1999), but for years there has been an uncool divide between young bands and Christmas music.
In recent years, it seems like there has been a renewed openness to the unguarded emotionality of Christmas music that Judith Owen spoke of - this year on The Eastern Sea's First Christmas, Tracey Thorn's Tinsel and Light, Polyphonic Spree's Holidaydream and the Holidays Rule compilation. Last year, Dam-Funk figured out how to create electro-boogie for the season, and Gypsyphonic Disko has produced a couple of tracks that explore the place for Jews in the holiday season with a bounce remix of Neil Diamond's "Little Drummer Boy" last year and "The Dreidel Song" this week. The New Orleans bounce community has a mix, Kishi Bashi cut the lovely "It's Christmas, But It's Not White Here in Our Town" and Sufjan Stevens cranked out another five discs of Christmas music.
Here is another mix to consider. Brooklyn-based DJ Maticulous created "Christmas Sampler" (downloadable here) with one track that caught my attention as it subtracts the vocals from The Emotions' brilliant "What Do the Lonely Do for Christmas?"
My Spilt Milk is giving away a gift package of holiday music including Olga's North Mississippi Christmas, The Eastern Sea's First Christmas, The Polyphonic Spree's Holidaydream, Holidays Rule, Tracey Thorn's Tinsel and Lights, A Charlie Brown Christmas and more. To enter to win, subscribe on the home page to "Condensed Milk," My Spilt Milk's weekly email newsletter. If you're already a subscriber, you're already entered. Contest closes December 20 at 7 p.m. CST.