There are two ways to evaluate Less Than Zero: a standalone film that functions on its own cinematic merits, or the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel. Like most pieces of media that live in various forms, the appreciation or dissatisfaction largely stems from which one was encountered first, and the personal sentimentality placed upon that experience. But there’s a third way to approach Less Than Zero, and that is as a holiday film.
When Bob Dylan’s Christmas album appeared in 2009, it was both totally unexpected and 44 years overdue. In this instance, we’re glad he waited. Christmas in the Heart features Dylan singing songs you know by heart in a voice without restraint. There’s fun for the whole family, and all for a good cause. It’s enough to make a believer out of anyone.
As the Turkey-fare winds down and the boxes of Christmas decor make their way from the basement, a transition is needed. Ringing in the holiday season in subtlety requires a look no further than America’s finest composer and most innovative maestro of steel string. With a discography expanding beyond 40 titles, it’s possible to overlook the holiday offerings among masterworks like Fare Forward Voyagers, The Yellow Princess, and those first five Takoma releases. Smack dab in the middle of John Fahey’s first decade shifting around the tectonic plates of traditional music came The New Possibility.
Imagine songs like “Merry Christmas, Baby” or “Christmas Day,” but with new titles and lyrics removed from Christmas, delivered on a record that didn’t bear a kitschy cover of the band putting ornaments on a tree. If this was the case, would the Christmas Album get the respect it deserves?
In 2017 Aquarium Drunkard brought you Christmas Jambree: A Vintage Jamaican Yuletide Mixtape. At 28 tracks it’s an extensive collection of Jamaican reggae and ska Christmas tunes. If you’ve never heard it, do slide over there right now, but if you’re already converted, and looking for a bit more in that vein, the following companion has you covered. Dig in, dig deep, and happy holidays.
There’s something raunchy, on-point-kitsch and universal about the cocktail piano holiday soundtracks that dominate the globe. Despite all the irony, the twilight balled “Enchanted” exists as an unearthed gem of elegant ivory work fit for the season and your next cozy get together. Penned by the sultriest of swingers, Sir George Shearing, the blissful track comes halfway through an underrated, self-titled collaborative album, George Shearing and the Montgomery Brothers, recorded in Los Angeles under the direction of Orrin Keepnews for the Jazzland label back in 1961.
Stanley Kubrick’s final film is also his most polarizing. It’s been called his best and his worst, his most cryptic and his most mismanaged; an erotic thriller, a psychosexual drama, and a paranoid thriller. But is Eyes Wide Shut a Christmas film?
Here’s a little something extra in your stocking this season–the inaugural AD Holiday Special. Covered in tinsel and lights, falling down your digital screens like department store fake snow.
Feat: Wizzard | T. Rex | Ahmad Jamal Trio | Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band | Tom Waits | The Pogues & more
Fingerpickers can’t seem to resist uncovering (or just plain inventing) the folk-blues roots of these timeworn melodies. Whatever the motivation, it’s always nice to have an alternative to the treacly seasonal music that is inescapable this time of year. Frozen Fingers is playlist of (mostly) acoustic wintry music that’ll put a little wonder into the most wonderful time of the year…
Welcome to the December edition of the Aquarium Drunkard Transmissions podcast. We just published our massive and overstuffed Year in Review feature, and to celebrate, members of the AD crew hooked up to discuss the year in music and more. . .
We’re not sure who the mysterious folks behind the Bolan Boogie Bandcamp are, and even less sure how we missed the 4-track T.Rexmas! EP they uploaded last December, but here it is.
T.Rexmas! is mainly built around the stomping woulda-been hit “Christmas Bop,” recorded in 1975 for an aborted single that would have been paired with “Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru.” . . .
Yuletide sails into Jamaica each year on what the locals call the Christmas Breeze, a slightly crisper air that tends to waft through the island come December. There’s another seasonal […]
With his trademark Wall of Sound, Spector’s curated mix of holiday tunes pushes the limits of Christmas music—whether it’s tweaking the lyrics of “White Christmas” or writing his own in “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”. Spector, a Jew born on Christmas day, did what few were, or are, capable of doing. He made the largesse—both genuine and contrived—of Christmas even bigger.
There’s loneliness and companionship, joy and despair, truth-seeking and blithe celebration, all during what’s marketed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Your interpretation of the season begets your holiday spirit, whatever version it may be — bah humbug and good tidings. It’s little surprise then that Charlie Brown’s soundtrack, as well as our own, is something just as introspective and shifting. Something like jazz.
Ah yes, go ahead and inhale the fecund ether of the season. Lit Up Like A Christmas celebrates the, er, other side of seasonal tidings – holiday esoterica from the […]