Poor Baby Jesus. Think what you will about Him, but the Dude's heart was in the right place - presuming He existed, at least. In any event, the Guy's birthday has been so clouded by consumerism, by disappointment, familial and societal obligation ... well, in that respect, why should He be any different than the rest of us? But on the other hand, who else do you know whose birthday is marked by giving other people presents? And why do we all have to share that one Birthday song, while He gets about a thousand of 'em?
Years of research at the TFGTSI labs has shown that the best way to deal with His birthday, if you're one of the millions that recognizes it, is to make it your own. Don't be a Stressy Bessy! Just tell your relatives you paid to have stars named stars them, they'll never know the difference. And then go about marking the holidays in your own stylee, yo.
One of the best ways to do that (not to tell you what your own stylee yo should be) is Phil Kline's annual Unsilent Night, marking its 15th anniversary this year. A bunch of boomboxes belching out celestial sounds, stopping shoppers in their weary tracks and giving the city a new soundtrack for the season. It's happening this Saturday (Dec. 15) in New York City and scheduled for two dozen cities around the world. The cloud of sound is joyous and indescribable; this track from the Cantaloupe CD release is just an approximation of the surround-sound streetmix.
And the lovely rendition above of the Lord Savior as a serving of buffalo wings is by Ed Mironiuk, from the "Merry Titmas" group show at the World of Wonder storefront gallery in LA.
Loren Connors's plaintive Stratocaster wail is one of the sweet-loneliest sounds on the planet, a perfect aural equivalent for days that get dark before 6 and cold nights of brandy-fueled sorrow. His version of "Silent Night" comes via the kind courtesy of the good people at Family Vineyard, who've been doing God's work making his recordings available again.
Boston's Shawn Hansen practices his own style of hermetic art known as Tangential Assertivism, and plays in Phantom Limb & Bison with Jaime Fennelly, Chris Forsyth, and Chris Heenan. He is also the artistic director of Kansas City radio station KJEA (which sounds like a hell of a commute). His record It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas trapped in Outer Space on Evolving Ear, he says, "makes clear the heretofore unknown connections between ominous synthesizer drones, tipsy Christmas caroling, and the voices in your head that you spend so much time trying to ignore."
Not a lot is known about the New England musician Ned Muffleburger. Popular accounts have it that he is something of a modern day Paul Bunyan. He's of Native American and Jewish extraction, but based on the fact that he released a Christmas record in 2004 he seems to have converted to Christianity somewhere along the line. There are many legends up in Maine about his sexual and gastro-intestinal prowess, and townsfolk say he makes "Ghenkis Khan look like Michael Bolton in a diaper." This track comes from A Ned Muffleburger Christmas: Santa's Sac on Funhole Records.
"Santa Dog" is one of the all-time great Christmas Carols. The Residents' first single in 1972, it's a charming song about a little doggy with no presents, as near as we can tell at TFGTSI HQ. They've revisited the song several times, releasing new versions. Here's the one from 1988.
Go Home Productions is one of the greats of the British mash-up artists, and he's recently put all his stuff online for free download. He's done a few Christmas tracks, including a great J.Lo / Macca mash, and this one:
Ed Shepp's was one of the finer voices on this affiliated station, and his cheery odd show is much missed. But he's issued a new holiday tidbit which we're proud to provide via this internet site.
Like The Residents and The Rolling Stones, Suicide are rock'n'roll legends, idols loved by millions, and singer Alan Vega is going to be a part of the WFMU Free Music Archive launching next year. And if the above isn't enough to get you through the season, you need this last track, a nightcap before Christmas.
Now, what are your favorite carols? Your most hated? Use the comments below. Let's make this the most wonderful Christmas ever. Like your parents and their parents before them knew, getting really drunk helps.