Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Merry Indie Christmas #1

Well folks it's that time of year again: Thanksgiving has ended, and that means the Christmas season has begun. In addition to the yearly onslaught of pop star renditions of beloved Christmas carols (Soulja Boy does Carol of the Bells, anyone?) we will be bombarded with indie renditions of beloved pop songs (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah does What Child is This, anyone?). Now, this is both a positive and a negative. Positive: sometimes those speedily cranked-out carols can be unnecessary and leave us questioning the artist's motive. Other times, the merry tunes can be the perfect alternative to yet another "All I Want for Christmas is You," courtesy of yet another Mariah Carey knock-off. Since there are still a few weeks til the commercial holiday of the universe (xMaS 2k7 LOLZ!) I will have a few segments of this here "A Merry Indie Christmas" post. Oh, and to all you non-Christians out there: I will be throwing in some Hanukkah (Chanukuh? Czhanukeh? Hannukuh?) and non-denominational "holiday" (oh the easily offended...god bless. I mean, "bless") songs as well. better watch out and you better not cry because "A Merry Indie Christmas #1" is here!!!!

Yes. ok. Now that I have done that snappy lil intro. Today I have found a Christmas tune that is actually not technically indie, but indie-leaning (let the arguments commence). This band is The Killers. I will deny nothing, but (and don't disregard my taste from henceforth) I am a big Killers fan. Ever since Hot Fuss came out, I have really loved them. Anyway, last year Brandon Flowers & Co. released "A Great Big Sleigh" and, in the "it's-better-to-give-than-receive"-vein, donated all the proceeds from said song to charity. The Killers decided to do the same this year, releasing "Don't Shoot Me Santa," which is enjoyable, in a take-it-as-it-is way. Some sample lyrics:
Don't shoot me Santa Claus
I've been a clean living boy
I promise you
Did every little thing you asked me to
I can't believe the things I'm going through
Hmm. Ok. Yeah. Well anyway, I really like the song. The only, teensy little bone I have to pick with it is that, with a few lyrical changes, it could have been released at any other time of year. Is it really too much to ask for a few jingle bells? Really? Anyway, if you are an owner of Sam's Town, I will tell you that it sounds a little "Why Do I Keep Counting?"-y, which I think is a good thing, so props to The Killers for their charity work and great addition to my Annual Christmas Mix!

The borderline-bizarre yet oddly lovable (I think it's the Brandon Flowers in the Christmas sweater that makes me like it)"Don't Shoot Me Santa Claus" video follows:

P.S. please note the holiday-themed YouTube skin?????

Monday, November 26, 2007

NPR never sounded so good

So my parents always listen to NPR (National Public Radio) in the car, and it is usually just boring old news and whatnot, but on occasion there would be some stuff that interested me, at least to the point that I didn't beg them to change the channel. Earlier this past summer I discovered the NPR podcasts, namely All Songs Considered, in which the musically-enthused staffers at NPR discuss the latest albums, songs, and artists. The discussions were usually pretty interesting, and I'd listen to the podcast whenever I knew they were discussing an artists I was interested in, but what really got me going was when they would record full concerts and post them as podcasts. I live in the D.C. area, and that is where NPR is based, so 99% of the concerts they record are local shows at the 9:30 Club that I had wanted to attend, but couldn't for various reasons (i.e. school nights, lack of cash, etc...). Examples: The Swell Season, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Josh Ritter...the list goes on and on. Each show is a quality recording, and on the NPR website they include set lists. My one grievance is that because they are podcasts, you can't skip around from song to song with ease. However, I figured out a way to clip song-by-song and convert them to AAC files. So far I have only done it for Rilo Kiley and The Swell Season's shows, but I will probably be clipping Josh Ritter and Iron & Wine in the near future. To reach the All Song's Considered Live Concerts podcast, click here.