For the fifth year in a row, I’ve helped assemble the Suburban Sprawl Music Holiday Sampler. We got more submissions this year than ever before (34!), and while they’re all available on the website, they wouldn’t all fit on the limited run of CD’s we put together. My fellow ‘organizers’ and I had to gather on the night of the deadline and struggle over what to keep and what to cut, which was pretty excruciating.
The final product is available here, along with all submissions dating back to 2002. That works out to exactly 125 tracks of pure holiday spirit — all for free. If you place an order or make it out to any SSM shows in December, you can pick up a free copy of the actual CD, with a screenprinted cover by Lansing’s favorite poster-maker Craig Horky.
After all was said and done, some of my favorite tracks this year include:
Frontier Ruckus – “Driving Home, Christmas Eve” (MP3)
I know nothing about Frontier Ruckus aside from the fact that they’re
from Lansing. They know someone else associated with the label and
came to submit a song through them, as so often happens. I think the
well-written lyrics, the delivery, and the production aesthetic all
compliment each other perfectly. Yay.
Lickety Splits – “You Set My Christmas Tree on Fire” (MP3)
Ex-Michigander Tim Schreiber howls his way through an original R&B
Christmas song that legitimately sounds like it was recorded in 1958.
I heard via Dave that this is Tim’s ‘Favorite thing he’s ever recorded.’
The Next Door Neighbors – “How to Make Egg Nog” (MP3)
The Next Door Neighbors have been fine-tuning their holiday-specific
songwriting for a few years now, and I think this song is among their
most fully realized. A classic Christmas recipe is set to verse, and
as the instructions are followed the environmental sounds evolve into
the music. I’m all about how they took the recipe as the basis for
the song, but built a narrative story around it as well. LAYERS.
Sadly, I didn’t find the time to record a ‘Surf’ version of a christmas classic this year, as I have for the past four years (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). Unwilling, however, to let a year go by without making some contribution to the ever-growing Christmas music pool, I offer the following mix of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy the Silence’ (iTunes) and Dinah Washington’s Version of ‘Silent Night’ (iTunes), complete with cover art (mouseover to see the original I based it on). I figure the whole ‘Mash-up’ concept is sufficiently played out for me to begin taking part.