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Day 8 of Operation Christmas Music

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Today’s Christmas song is “Gloria (Angles We Have Heard On High)” by A Jesus Church. This is a church out of Portland that, like so many other churches this time of year, has put out a Christmas album. The difference is that collection of musicians and producers have been doing some of the best work in the more underground Christian music world for years. This version of the song, for example, has the best take of the traditional “Gloooo-ooo-ooo-ooooo-ooo-oooo-ria” part of that song that I’ve ever heard. If interesting and creative takes on the classics aren’t your thing, this is definitely worth downloading for the original songs on the rest of the album.

Personal preference scale: 9 out of 10. It’s Christmas music for the misfit toys like me ;). Holly Jolly scale: 5 out of 10. You’d be easily forgiven for hearing these songs (especially the originals) and not thinking they were from a Christmas album.

Written by matt

December 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Posted in rock and/or roll

Christmas music – day 7

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Today’s Christmas song is “Go Tell It On The Mountain” by Branches. I was fortunate enough to stumble across this last year and then get to run sound for them when they came into town earlier this year. Great group of people and this a great version of this song.

Personal preference scale: 7 out of 10. The whole Mumford sound is wearing thin with age and imitators, but this is still quite enjoyable. Holly Jolly factor: 8 out of 10.

Written by matt

December 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Posted in rock and/or roll

Christmas Music – day 6

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Today’s recommendation comes courtesy of another friend of mine. He’s someone I wish I could spend more time with, especially as he and his wife prepare to have their first child. The song is “Silent Night” by Karl Verkade. This probably the least traditional song in terms of ability to sing along to it. That’s ok, though. This is the song (or album, really) that you need at the end of the night after you’ve spent the whole day rushing from one thing to the other. This is for your few minutes of peace after a day spent with work, shopping, family stuff, church stuff, kids stuff, etc.

Personal preference scale: 9 out of 10. Even if the genre isn’t your usual cup of tea, you have to recognize just how good this is on its own merits. Holly Jolly scale: 5 out of 10. Yes, this is a classic Christmas song, but there’s no sleigh bells and no vocals. It’s a great song though.

Written by matt

December 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Operation Christmas Music – day 4

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Day 4 of Operation Christmas Music: “Christmas Is All Around” by Sleeping at Last. It’s that catchy song from that stupid movie “Love, Actually.” I just have to give points for this band doing something quite clever for Christmas. Don’t forget to catch yesterday’s blog if you missed day 3’s recommendation. Personal preference scale: 6 out of 10. Holly Jolly factor: 7 out of 10.

Written by matt

December 10, 2013 at 6:07 pm

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Operation Christmas Music – day 3

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I don’t know if every recommendation merits a whole blog post or not, but this one does. The song I’m recommending is “O Come Emmanuel” by Colorfair. Aside from this being one of the better versions I’ve heard of this classic song, these happen to be recent friends of mine since moving to Santa Cruz. This husband and wife duo are making killer music (seriously, the whole EP is great) and are just great people too. If you do download this, please leave a tip on that site. They have a three week old to feed 😉

Personal preference scale: 8 out of 10. Fantastic arrangement of a great song. The guitar work and vocals alone make it worth a listen. Holly Jolly factor: 7 out of 10. It’s a Christmas hymn, it’ll totally put you in the Christmas spirit.

Written by matt

December 9, 2013 at 8:47 pm

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Christmas Music – Day 2

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Day 2 of Operation Christmas music.
Yesterday I started this little project and recommended a more somber yet great song for Christmas. Today, I up the Holly Jolly factor to the nth degree. This is “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year?” by Rosie Thomas. This may be the most “Christmasy” song I’ll recommend, and holy crap is it good. This immediately needs to take the place of the upbeat-dance-while-you-decorate spot on your playlist currently occupied by that Mariah Carey garbage. Seriously, click the link, spend the 8 bucks on the album even if you only want that one song, and dance your heart out while frosting those cookies. Personal preference scale: 9 out of 10. Holly Jolly factor: 10 out of 10. Prepare to have a new favorite Christmas song.

Written by matt

December 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Christmas Music Recommendations

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Yesterday I posted something on FB about the duality of man and how I feel about Christmas. That came into my mind because I was thinking about Christmas music which, similar to how I feel about The Christmas Season, I both love and loathe. I’d get into why about both of those things, but I want to take this in a different direction. What I want to do is every day until Christmas recommend a Christmas song that you likely haven’t heard. There’s so much good music out there and most playlists on the radio or in the mall consist of garbage songs are that several decades old plus the additional garbage that is “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” (Lest anyone forget, all Mariah Carey wants for Christmas is me.) Ok, veered into the loathe part too much there. Back to the point.

My goal is to make Christmas playlists suck less. I’ll recommend songs based on my completely biased and inexpert opinion, and counterbalance that with what I’ll call the “Holly Jolly Factor” to ensure these are not just good songs, but good Christmas songs. So follow along if, like me, you feel the joy of the holidays with a slight undercurrent of sorrow.*

First song: “Baby Son” by John Mark McMillan. This is the big new song in the Christian circles right now because it’s by an established and respected Christian artist, and probably because it’s free ;). This is legitimately a good song, although I’d love to hear a better vocalist sing it at least a step higher. That’s a minor complaint though. Personal preference scale: 8 out of 10. Holly Jolly scale: 4 out of 10, which may not be enough for some people. It’s not a cover of a classic Christmas song, and there’s not even sleigh bells in it. (Is that all it takes to make a song Christmasy?) Check back, and I’ll keep the hits coming.

*i don’t think those are wrong feelings, btw. i mean, the reason we have a christmas is because God sent his son to save us (yay!) to die because we’ve all sinned (bummer….)

Written by matt

December 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm