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IndianGiver - Understudies

There’s a difference between being derivative and being inspired by something, a line a lot of artists can’t seem to find — or at least don’t care to.
04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0
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Do you hear what we hear?


Yule love to stream these seasonal songs instead of the same ol’ claptrap heard 24/7 in dentists’ offices and department stores.

Phil Bacharach December 4th, 2013

Christmas songs are as big a part of the season as crowded shopping malls and spiked eggnog, but there are only so many times you can hear “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” without wanting to wretch just a little. Here are some suggestions for compiling a Yuletide playlist that perhaps isn’t quite so musty. Much of the music can be purchased or ordered locally at Guestroom Records, Size Records and the like.

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” Darlene Love (1963)

OK, the Phil Spector-produced classic is hardly obscure, but a song so rich, soulful and downright stirring can’t be excluded. Plus, it features Oklahoma’s own Leon Russell on piano (back in his studio session days) with a performance that was good enough for Spector to toss him a $100 bill on the spot.


“I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” Gayla Peevey (1953) 

Ten-year-old Gayla Peevey of Ponca City charmed viewers of The Ed Sullivan Show with this novelty tune. It certainly proved charming enough to initiate a fundraising campaign that culminated with the girl being presented with a 700-pound baby hippo named Matilda. Gayla, evidently a fickle child, promptly gave the hippo to the Oklahoma City Zoo.


“Christmas at the Zoo,” The Flaming Lips (1995) 

The local zoo also appears in the Christmas canon of Oklahoma City’s alt-rock royalty. In this candy-coated psychedelic pop from the Lips’ album Clouds Taste Metallic, Wayne Coyne tries in vain to liberate the animals on a snowless Christmas Eve.


“Santa Claus,” The Sonics (1965) 

The granddaddies of lo-fi garage punk serenade the big guy in hopes of winning “a cute little honey and lots of money.” As it turns out, this Kris Kringle is not so jolly.


 

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” Weezer (2008) 

Who knew that the good tidings of this Yuletide chestnut could sound like a Rivers Cuomo original?


“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (1985) 

The Boss recorded this jangly gem back in 1975 but didn’t get around to releasing it as a single until his Born in the U.S.A. heyday. No Xmas playlist should be without it.


 

“Christmas in Harlem,” Kanye West (2010) 

The Yeezus with the Santa-sized ego shows true restraint here in this hip-hop bauble, indulging in holiday cheer without comparing himself to Christmas’ illustrious birthday boy. The aural festivities include Cyhi Da Prynce and Teyana Taylor.


“Little Saint Nick,” The Beach Boys (1964) 

Santa gets the California treatment in this buoyant blast of Brian Wilsonarranged harmonizing.


 

“I Want an Alien for Christmas,” Fountains of Wayne (2005) 

In this soaring burst of power pop, lead singer Chris Collingwood pines for “a little green guy, about 3 feet high, with 17 eyes, that knows how to fly.” On the plus side, this gift should fit easily under the tree.


“Merry Christmas from the Family,” Jill Sobule (1996) 

Robert Earl Keen deserves props for authoring this wry ode to a booze-addled Christmas, but Sobule’s lovingly ambling cover is the perfect version. You might feel tipsy with just one listen.


“Presents for Christmas,” Solomon Burke (1967) 

“This is gonna be a groove for me,” Burke promises as he opens this irresistible slice of soul — and the late, great king of R&B holds true to his word.


“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” The Brian Setzer Orchestra (2005) 

Swing, swing, swing, Dr. Seuss! Only the Grinch himself could resist this big-band ode to the timeless 1966 cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas!


“White Christmas,” The Drifters (1955) 

Forget Bing Crosby. Early in their career, The Drifters transformed this Irving Berlin-penned classic into an elegant doo-wop interplay between tenor Clyde McPhatter and the bass of Bill Pinkney.


“Goyim Friends,” The LeeVees (2005) 

With a tip of the yarmulke, this Jewishcentric rocker pays homage to Christmas revelers while “we will march on with General Tso and egg foo young.”


Cyndi Lauper and The Hives, “A Christmas Duel” (2008) 

There is plenty of naughty and not so much nice in this raucous tale of a perversely dysfunctional couple at Christmastime. Just what the hell is in that stocking?


“Merry Christmas Baby,” Charles Brown (1947) 

It’s closing time at your favorite watering hole. You’re out of smokes, and there’s no telling how much whiskey you’ve thrown down that miserable gullet of yours. This is the song for you.


“Fairytale of New York,” The Pogues w/ Kirsty MacColl (1987) 

Shane MacGowan’s drunken lament is easily one of the best Christmas songs of all time — no small feat for a ditty that wrings emotional resonance from such lyrics as “You scumbag, you maggot.”


 
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