Monday 28 Jul

Planting the seed

Chelsey Cope’s new band, Elms, is as earthy and native to Oklahoma as the trees that are their namesake. The soulful folk four-piece’s debut EP, Parallel Lines, was recorded at Bell Labs Recording Studio in Norman and is on its way in September. But the band has already given us a tease, with its first single, “Burn,” going live on SoundCloud on July 14.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Commercial rock

Center of the Universe Festival featuring Capital Cities, Young The Giant, AWOLNATION & more
Downtown Tulsa 

07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Mack truckin’

9 p.m. Friday 
Kamp’s Lounge 
1310 NW 25th St. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Chevy cruisin’

Chevy Woods with Kevin Gates & more
9 p.m. Sunday 
Vibe Night Club 
227 SW 25th St. 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Rock steady

7 p.m. Saturday
Frontier City
11501 N. Interstate 35 Service Road
Free with park admission 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Eclectic · Do you hear what we hear?

Do you hear what we hear?

It’s that time of year for another Christmas album roundup. Shall you hear these on high or God rest ye merry MP3 player?

Rod Lott December 5th, 2012

Kyle Dillingham
A Very Kyle Christmas

Oklahoma’s Musical Ambassador, Kyle Dillingham, doesn’t fiddle around on his Christmas disc, as the album is no mere novelty. Solid musicianship abounds on this intimate, acoustic affair, whose 14 tracks — a couple of which are originals — come decorated with interesting instrumentation not relegated to his signature violin. “Shall I play for you?” he asks in “The Little Drummer Boy.” Yes, you shall, Kyle — this year and beyond.

The Polyphonic Spree
Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays Vol. One

One wonders why it’s taken the white-robed Spree so long to do a Christmas album. At the symphonic band’s best, majestic melodies are a specialty, so why does Tim DeLaughter slow iconic tunes like “Winter Wonderland” and “White Christmas” down to drudges? The John Lennon/Yoko Ono cover “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is a step in the right direction, but only on “Carol of the Drum” does the group whip up the collective orgasmic energy of which it is capable.

Katherine Jenkins
This Is Christmas

All I want for Christmas is Katherine Jenkins, but let’s be realistic. The Dancing with the Stars finalist is first and foremost a mezzo-soprano from Wales who wails her way through traditional numbers with a forceful, lovely voice that makes even the angels shout, “Hark!” In other words, a total class act. I only wish the occasionally trilling singer would sound like she’s having more fun. “Santa Baby” finds her at her least guarded, but this album appeals most to the classical crowd — witness the closing “Come What May,” a duet with Plácido Domingo. I call front row!

Tracey Thorn
Tinsel and Lights

Best known as half of Everything but the Girl, Thorn displays more get-up-and-go than that ’90s chill-lounge duo; her powerhouse voice remains. It sounds like a credibility-chunking idea, but her snowy disc is marked by rather unique choices, from covers of Joni Mitchell’s “River” and Sufjan Stevens’ “Sister Winter” to, most notably, “Hard Candy Christmas,” which I didn’t initially recognize as a cut from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. It works. When she does get around to recording a chestnut, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” she nails it.

Brooke White
White Christmas

I stopped watching American Idol in season one, so this marks my introduction to Brooke White. Her White Christmas — get it? — is surprisingly above average, even with its obvious sheen of mass-market inoffensiveness. Bringing a folky, homey, near-country approach to the bunch, she definitely puts her own spin on old favorites — sometimes to a detriment, as Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” is reworked to a point of zero recognition. Her jaunty take on Wham!’s “Last Christmas” is much better.

Various artists

A compilation for the rest of us, Festivus collects 15 obscure — unless you're certifiably twee — bands for a jubilant romp of originals that are equally stripped-down and hopped-up. What else would you expect from a disc utilizing the talents of Skiffle and the Piffles? A little bit of everything, from lo-fi girl rawk (Piney Gir's "Every Day's a Holiday") and atmospheric chill (The Baubles' "The New Going Out") to surf-inspired balladry (Monnone Alone's "Everywhere at Once") and smoky-bar crooning (The Real Tuesday Weld's "Song of December"). Best of all is the plucky St. Veit, whose "Still Flyin'" soars as high as the fat man's sled. Give it to your fave hipster (but not me; I already have it, thanks).

Various artists
Merry Nickmas

Nickelodeon gathers up various stars from its slate of kid-coms and other programming for a mercifully brief collection of standards rendered so studio-slick, it gave me diabetes. (Hey, that wasn’t on my list!) There’s no doubt Victorious’ Victoria Justice has pipes, but “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and others sport a lazy, Kidz Bop-level sequencing of 1s and 0s. Tween girls may swoon to the sounds of Big Time Rush, Drake Bell and the cast of How to Rock, but why encourage bad taste?

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