This Week's Soundtrack isn't focused solely on holiday music, but it's there's a lot of melancholy and warmth throughout.
This Week's Spotify Soundtrack:
1. "Little Drummer Boy" - Mark Kozalek: The Red House Painters' Mark Kozalek plays a solo show Saturday night at The Circle Bar. This is the title track from his new album, a live career retrospective.
2. "Quittin' Kind" - Kristin Diable: Diable performs as Three Muses Monday night.
3. "Home Somewhere" - Jules and the Polar Bears: Researching Todd Rundgren before interviewing him last week reminded me that he produced this '70s pop band that I once really liked. This is from their debut, Got No Breeding. Jules Shear would resurface in the '90s as the host for the first season of MTV Unplugged.
4. "Move/Stay" - Civil Twilight: The South African modern rock band plays The Maison Wednesday.
5. "To the Beat of a Dying World" - El Perro Del Mar: El Perro Del Mar is the band name for Swedish singer Sarah Assbring, who tends to work in shades of gray. She mixes it up more than usual on her new Pale Fire.
6. "Rocket #9" - Zombie Zombie: An electronic version of the Sun Ra classic from the new album, Rituels d'une nouveau monde.
7. "Where is All the Money Going" - Cody ChesnuTT: I keep coming back to ChesnuTT's new Landing on a Hundred, which mixes genuine insight and social concern with soul.
8. "Bossa Bika Nova" - Flavia Coelho: From the Rio-born Parisian resident's new album, Bossa Muffin.
9. "The Break In (Police Shoot Big)" - Marvin Gaye: From the 40th anniversary reissue of his excellent blaxploitation soundtrack, Trouble Man.
10. "Sprouted" - Nasimiyu: From her debut album, Rules Aren't Real. She'll be at The Circle Bar Friday night.
11. "Taking Down the Tree" - Tracey Thorn: The singer for Everything But the Girl has a lovely new Christmas album, Tinsel and Lights, and on it she covers this song from Low's Christmas among others.
12. "Tonight It's You" - Cheap Trick: Cheap Trick has never lost its touch for classic pop song with a skewed sense of humor as this song from Standing on the Edge - released earlier this year - demonstrates. They open for Aerosmith Thursday night at the New Orleans Arena.
13. "Drink the Blood of Spacely Sprocket" - The Scorseses: Friday night, the NOLA Polar Express Benefit presents a Loyola-centric collection of indie rock bands celebrating the season on the Howlin' Wolf's main stage and in the Den. The Scorseses are among them.
14. "Hippy Hole" - Th' Faith Healers: I sing this song every day with slightly different lyrics. We have a hole in our floor, and our dog goes to it and inhales so deeply as she tries to smell what's below that we refer to it as the Huffing Hole. When she goes to it, "Let's go / let's go / let's go / to the huffing hole" plays in my head.
15. "Silver Bells" (featuring School of Seven Bells) - Polyphonic Spree: The Polyphonic Spree's Holidaydream is plenty psychedelic - a magical mystery tour of the North Pole. This is the album at its trippiest.
16. "The Night The Carousel Burned Down" - Todd Rundgren: Last week, Todd Rundgren announced that he will celebrate his 65th birthday at a plantation in Louisiana next June at Toddstock II v.6.5. I interviewed him about the event for RollingStone.com.
17. "Skating" - Vince Guaraldi Trio: As moody as most of A Charlie Brown Christmas is, this piece of music and the accompanying sequence of Snoopy skating are lovely, light counterpoints.
18. "Luna" - The Wooden Wings: Another band participating in the NOLA Polar Express Benefit, this one including My Spilt Milk contributor Cherie LeJeune. The show benefits Ocshner and Children's Hospital, so admission is $10 or a toy donation. Also on the bill are Naughty Professor, Bantam Foxes, Fake Carls, Zach Lund, Something Burning, The Breton Sound, England in 1819, and Minutehead.
19. "The Devil's Food Tastes Like Cake" - The Mercy Brothers: The Lafayette hillbilly gospel group The Mercy Brothers play Friday night at Chickie Wah Wah.
20. "Black Tar" - Anders Osborne: From Black Eye Galaxy. Osborne will play his first annual "Holiday Spectacular" Friday and Saturday at Tipitina's with a number of guests including Lee Oskar and The North Mississippi Allstars' Luther Dickinson.
21. "The Auctioneer's Nightmare" - Ned Sublette: Writer/musician/musicologist Ned Sublette returns regularly to New Orleans, where he recorded Kiss You Down South last year for release earlier this year. He'll play an early show at Siberia Friday night at 7 p.m.
22. "Cajun Christmas" - John Hebert: Jazz musician John Hebert will perform Thursday night at Snug Harbor at 8 and 10 p.m. with the French and American trio he has dubbed The Trinity Project. The music is based on his experiences growing up in South Louisiana.
23. "Michigan" - Mark Kozalek: From Kozalek's 7 Songs Belfast, also released this year.
This Christmas, My Spilt Milk will give away a prize package of holiday music including The Polyphonic Spree's Holidaydream, Tracey Thorn's Tinsel and Lights, and the recent 40th anniversary reissue of A Charlie Brown Christmas. To register to win, subscribe to Condensed Milk on the My Spilt Milk home page. It's our weekly e-newsletter, bringing you the website in digest form every Friday. The contest closes December 20 at 7 p.m.