12.05.2008

FCM #18 - Have A Very EI Holiday

FCM #18 - HAVE A VERY EI HOLIDAY Well... Happy holidays, folks. Do you feel that wintery cold outside and the wintery warmth in your heart's hearth? Special thanks to NickD who created this stunning cover. Click here to download the entire FCM #18 or hunt and peck below. If you like something or hate something or whatever, please make a comment! Some of these files are m4a format, so you should download them all with the link above or right click and save them to your machine.

Next week's Theme - "I love this song because the video is awesome!"

"Fairytale of New York" The Pogues
Jane writes: One of my all time favorite holiday songs. A gorgeous tune with a devastating theme of how love turns cold over time -- just like the air turns bitter at this time of year. Oh, gentle fate, warm our toes this holiday season. Flush our collective cheeks with the comfort found only in the communal exchange of song. Dab our running noses with your inspiration, and quiet our unrest with cottony slumbers... What??! I don't know what I'm talking about. Happy holidays, gang.

"The Blizzard of '96" The Walkmen
Allison writes: This is a joyously wintry little tune from the Walkmen. Although I think lyrically it concerns a patched-up relationship, the music conjures storybook winter scenes: snowball fights, sledding down neighborhood hills, and my imaginary pet reindeer.

"Christmas All Over Again" Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Chris writes: Yes, it's Christmas all over again. It's hard to believe we've arrived, but here we are. Christmas was, at one time, a welcome distraction and a reason to be giddy. But with age comes pessimism and it's now more of an unwelcome distraction that reminds me how terrible I am at gift-giving and keeping in touch with family. Tom Petty's affectation is something I've always loved, but when he lends it to a Christmas song it takes on this sort of resigned sarcasm that I can really appreciate. He puts together a pretty remarkable hook that somehow makes Christmas's arrival palatable. By the end of the song I'm comfortable with my aversion but I also know why people love this season so much. Thanks, Tom Petty, for helping me tolerate another holiday season!

"Christmas In Hollis" Run DMC
Mark writes: The song I picked was Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC. I picked it because it has to be the best Christmas Hip-Hop song ever! Along with the fact that DMC's whole verse is actually how Christmas was in our house when I was coming up.

"Deck Five" Saturday's Children
Justin Step writes: I feel a little cheap for selecting another Office Naps track, but what the hey? It's a nice Christmas tune, and it's performed by a Chicago garage band. They mash up Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" with a splash of "Deck the Halls" with some nice, psych-folky harmonies.

"Place To Be" Nick Drake
TJ writes: This entire album (actually just anything from Nick Drake) makes me want to just walk around when there is snow on the ground and crank this up in my headphones. Personally it calms me, I love it.

Happy Holidays!

"King's Crossing" Elliott Smith
Brian writes: Let's face it...the holidays are equally joyous and depressing. And I don't know about you, but while I like my tunes a lot of ways I mostly like them sad. For whatever reason it's the sad ones, with a small sprinkle of hope, that make me feel warm and cozy on my insides. This, in turn, actually renders their depressing powers useless, and transforms them into uplifting songs.

When I first discovered Elliott Smith, I was still living in the 'burbs, but working full-time and going to school full-time in the city. I was in the process of selling my place that I moved into with my recently ex-girlfriend, and I had high hopes of moving downtown to start a new life. I vividly remember the train rides, late nights and early mornings spent listening to this song (repeatedly...especially in the winter months).

The Christmas references are clearly drug references in actuality, but those references, along with my winter listening habits have concretized the connection for me.

This song appears on "From a Basement on the Hill", which was the last Elliott Smith album. It was recorded before he threw in the towel, but released afterwards.

Merry Christmas!

"Christmas Song" Dave Matthews Band
Margaret writes: This is quite possibly my favorite song of all time - and I don't say that lightly.

I love the simplicity with which he tells the story, and the way he weaves the message of "love" throughout. Even if you hate Dave (which I'm sure most of you do), humor me and listen to this one - it's truly a beautiful song, and it sounds like a lullaby.

"Babylon" David Gray
Felix writes: Back when I first arrived in Chicago, fresh out of grad school, I worked my first real job at a small company in Barrington, IL, doing Flash work.

I spent a few late, late nights in the office (situated in a strip mall called The Foundry), meticulously and laboriously hand-updating Flash keyframes for a humongo project. I remember having this song on loop, and heavy snowfall out the window as my car gradually became the only one left in the lot.

This song makes me think of winter, and of being lonely. It makes me remember being the only one at the office, away from my grad school friends, a warm table lamp by my computer, and an expanse of white snowfall just outside.

"Christmas Time Is Here (vocal)" Vince Guaraldi
Tracey writes: It really isn't Christmas until you see the Charlie Brown Christmas special. I remember fighting my brother for a spot in front of the TV when this cartoon was on. However, that memory was overshadowed in the early 90's by an episode of the TV comedy show Martin Lawrence. On this particular episode, Martin was hosting a Christmas show, and had two little people ballet dancing to Christmas Time is Here, which abruptly switched to Kurtis Blow. Now, when I hear this song, I think of me and my brother dancing around the Christmas tree with little people.

"Still, Still, Still" Mannheim Steamroller
Renata writes: My most meaningful memories of the Holiday have always been music-related. I grew up in a Mennonite church where the congregation sang in 4+ part harmony every chance they had. Come Christmastime, there would be various music-based services held each week. I always took part in the impromptu choir that would "perform" one or two special Hymns during the services. One of my favorites we performed remains Still, Still, Still. Enjoy.

"Lo! How A Rose E'er Blooming" Sufjan Stevens
Ben writes: This hymn is one that I remember from my childhood as tedious, yet enjoyable. Sufjan has transformed it into something different, a delicate, and beautiful tune where the beauty of the words and story can shine through. THere's something magical about the repeated phrase, "when half-spent was the night." Also, if you like this track, ask me for a listen to the rest of Sufjan's Christmas EPs.

"Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" Elmo & Patsy
Christine writes: You can ask Kisha and Margaret... I do not like Christmas music. I just find it irritating to the highest degree. But this particular song will always be welcome this time of year for me. I still remember us begging Dad to put on the album at Christmas-time and laughing over and over at this whole thing.

"I'm Giving Santa a Pikachu for Christmas" Pokémon
Nick writes: My contribution to the holiday mix CD is a song that always reminds me of the spirit of gift-giving and togetherness that pervades the holiday season.

"12 Days Of Christmas" Straight No Chaser
Margaret writes: This is a recording from the founding members of Straight No Chaser, Indiana University's a cappella group. One of the original members dug up some old videos from a 1998 concert and posted them on YouTube for the other members to see. Around the holidays, the video for this song received over 8 million hits. The group was then contacted by Atlantic Records, and they signed a 5-album deal, to which this album is the first.

Listen for "Africa" at the end - that's the best part.I have the whole album if anyone wants to upload - it's a great one for the holidays!

"Coldest Winter" Kanye West
Kisha writes: So I was obsessed with the new Kanye album and specifically this song. He repeats a lot on the entire album, but he was clearly working thru a lot of emotions. I love the new sound!

"Long Way Around The Sea" Low
Ben writes: Ever since this record came out, this song has been one of my Christmas favorites. As a kid, I loved "silent night," particularly at Christmas eve service when everyone lit candles. For me, this has the feel of that dark night and candle-light. There's magic in the harmonies, as well as the story told.

"Lake Shore Drive" Aliotta, Haynes, and Jeremiah
Walt writes: It could easily be argued that Alliota, Haynes and Jerimiah's superb Lake Shore Drive is a summer song but I think it works equally well in the winter. So much so, that it's my holiday pick. No, there isn't any snow in it and you won't hear any bells a jinglin' and Santa doesn't make an appearance. For me, however, it always reminds me of winter as I would play it on my way home after a long night of ushering at one of many of Chicago's fine venues. Since I lived on the south side of Chicago when I was a kid, I would drive home from Auditorium Theatre via LSD to I-55. I vividly remember the gray night sky with snow twinkling in the air from the light cast by the drive's light poles as the blustery wind buffeted my Ford Maverick -- all the while with LSD playing in the tape deck.

Hey, how about a Chicago-themed FCM where people pick songs that make them think about Chi-Town?

"Snow Days" Trip Shakespeare
Jane writes: It was Christmas Eve 1992, I had just finished my first semester of college and was returning to my hometown for the first time since I'd left. What was supposed to be a relaxing 2.5 hour drive through lazy, scenic roads straight down to the heart of Illinois turned into a 5 hour white knuckle adventure as horizontal snow gusts basically blew my car over a sheet of ice all the way home. I didn't even trust myself to take my hands off the steering wheel for a moment, so when this song came on, a relaxing little ditty about snow falling, I chose it as my theme for the remainder of my journey. I hit repeat, and it guided me safely towards my mother's pot roast.

Thanks, weird 90's band I never heard from again... thanks.

"Christmas with the Devil" Spinal Tap
James writes: "The elves are dressed in leather
And the angels are in chains"

The greatest fake band of all time-arguably better than many of the ultraserious NWOBHM bands of the day-are responsible for one of the greatest Yuletide songs ever. It's like, how much more red and green could this be? And the answer is none. None more red and green.

"Shooting Stars" Ozma
Justin Sid writes: While this is not very X-Mas themed it is cold weather friendly. Ozma is a band I fell into in high school one very cold winter, the same winter I saw them with Weezer shortly after the release of the Green album. Enjoy!

"Red Water (Christmas Mourning)" Type O Negative
Brian writes: "Let's face it...the holidays are equally joyous and depressing. And I don't know about you, but while I like my tunes a lot of ways I mostly like them sad. For whatever reason it's the sad ones, with a small sprinkle of hope, that make me feel warm and cozy on my insides. This, in turn, actually renders their depressing powers useless."

Can I add that I actually also really love Christmas music. My Dad put strict start/end dates on when my brothers and I were allowed to listen to the "Christmas with the Chipmunks". To my delight, my Mom plays John Denver and the Muppet's "A Christmas Together" every year. I had more than one VHS tape with Jon Bon Jovi's video of "Please Come Home for Christmas", and also that entire "A Very Special Christmas" album. The only time of year I really listen to any radio stations is during the Christmas months (maybe I should have left that one out)... Oh, and then there's, well...there's this...

"Christmas Time Is Here (instrumental)" Vince Guaraldi
Allison writes: This one's a bit of a nostalgic pick, from the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas (which also features "Linus and Lucy", the track most people recognize as THE Charlie Brown song). The vocal version more directly harkens the TV special, while the longer instrumental version makes me think of hot cocoa, a crackling fireplace, jammies, and cinnamon-scented candles at my family's house during the holidays.

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