It's that time of year -
when southeast Michigan falls in love
and every song you hear seems to say:
"Merry Christmas and Happy New Beers"
December has descended upon us with her sobering chill and noncommittal flurries.
But before the snow really hits the fan, we can warm ourselves up with sonic swathes of holiday-inspired serenades from our galaxy of bands, musicians, artists and singers, who've all mailed their mp3-x-mas cards into the indefatigable elves at Suburban Sprawl, so that they could be redistributed to all of us - (regardless whether we've been nice or naughty) - For Free.
I always look forward to this - not only as wide arcing sample of the local talent round these parts, not only as a facilitator for finally getting me into some kind of cheery, jingle-bell-laden 'spirit,' - but also as a chance to hear different sides of certain Detroit area performers, getting out of their characters by dressing up their sound with a few customary elements to capture that wintry, sweater-wrapped sound. Either that or they just go off on whole other tangents - often with an air of minimalist, spontaneaety.
"You know it's true... socks are the greatest thing about Christmas," sings Derek Berk of The High Strung, as the drummer takes lead vocal duties for their synthy chant-a-long, "Bah Humbug."
You also get solo spotlights of certain players - like Gordon Smith from the Sights with Nick DuFour of Superdollar, collaborating for the sardonic and revelatory indie-pop tune "Christmas at the Airport," or Miss N (of Electric Fire Babies)'s electronica ballad, "Ghost of Christmas Past," chilly and chill...dreamy, almost-danceable trip-hop.
Particular favorites -
Chris O (from the Recital) settling down a roaring arena of fans for a live rendition of "December Rain," a synthy swayed ballad that matches O's high-register eerily to that of Axl R's in a cover of sorts... very charming.
Woodman's "Oh Christmas Time" - that buzzy acoustic guitar might give it a jaunt, but all the minor tones, clattering bells and fuzzed out vocals give it an dreamy, atmospheric quality. Plus, with that applause at the end sounding like its echoing through a living room, you feel like you just stopped over for a cup o' holiday cheer with the musical family.
48 tracks to slide.
(cover art^ by Shawn Knight)