The kids picked up on Pentatonix' That's Christmas To Me. It remains a favourite with the girls, while I'm a little lukewarm on the project. After all these years of driving from one family destination to another while listening to Andrew Lloyd Webber, High School Musical, then Glee soundtracks, anything that smacks of "It's a SHOW!" is a particularly hard sell for yours truly. But there's no denying this is an outfit with chops, energy and personality, and I do not begrudge the airtime they get in this house.
The stand-out addition to last year's playlist came via DarkoV -- Butch Thompson's Yulestride. Thompson infuses a sly New Orleans sensibility to seasonal standards, injecting pep and good humour without tipping the balance toward irreverence. I see he's got another seasonal CD, with Laura Sewell. I shall definitely take a closer look.
Standouts this year include Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings' It's A Holiday Soul Party. After all these years of artists bringing their own sleepy interpretations to the hipster playlist, it's a joy to hear Ms. Jones and the Kings blasting the cobwebs off the seasonal pantheon. Man, somebody needed to provide material for that hour in the Christmas party when the conversation and laughter reach peak decibels -- and this is definitely that material. I spoke earlier about "irreverence" -- not at all a negative, I should hasten to add. If you need persuading on that matter, go on and give "Big Bulbs" a spin.*
Charlie Hunter & Bobby Previte's We Two Kings took a second spin to work its magic. Initially the Dick Dale approach left me a touch cool -- it'd been done (by the Dutch!). But these two cats have a great deal more going on than surfer-variations. Stand-out tracks include "Deck The Halls" and "The First Noel." It's sassy stuff that plays well paired up with Bela Fleck's Jingle All The Way.
And finally, I was a big fan of Nick Lowe's Quality Street. If you weren't, the live performance of that album (The Quality Holiday Revue), accompanied by Los Straitjackets isn't going to change your mind. But do give "Linus & Lucy" a spin -- you may well want to throw that into your playlist punchbowl.
And by all means -- introduce me to some swell new stuff in the comments below, woncha please?
Misheard Lyric Of The Year: my elder daughter asks, while "Big Bulbs" plays, "Is she really singing, 'Flashing innuendo tonight'?" Ha ha -- no, honey. But she may as well be (it's "flashing in your window" fwiw).