16 December 2008

Cool Yule | Little Joys

With the holidays in full force and the state of the economy, what better time to approach the holidays via a simplistic lens? Although I do need to confess: I am a tad smitten w/myself as I feel incredibly control over this holiday season. And don't begrudge me: those that know me, know the past two years were quite the "humdingers" in personal loss. So there ya have it. And gracefully stepping off soapbox now...

But truly, the holidays are for 'little joys. Not big extravagant ways of giving. But of the more quiet, heartfelt one that express your respect and love. At least that's my approach this year. The image above is from Orange Beautiful (dubbed All Things Paper) and Emily, the proprietor, hand binds these gorgeous books steeped with any sentiments or images you want to add. Her entire line is just deelish and will speak volumes to your recipient about the care and thought you put into the gift.

Being that music is gift that transcends any season, please take a moment to soak these delights in. Sure, I could have gone the expected route of posting tried and true Holiday tunes, but figure so many other blogs are doing so (and doing so very well) that I'd stay true to my theme: the understanding and appreication of small gentle gestures of giving: Little Joys, if ever. Peace. Joy

A Jagged Gorgeous Winter
The Main Drag    (itunes)
How could you not love a song that not only embraces winter, but truly celebrates it?! The lyrics are fantastically benign. Much like when I see a great TV spot and wonder how the concept got pitched (let alone sold) I often wonder how songs are created. I envision the genesis of this song occurring over these bandmates WAY deep in beers on a most dreary of mid-February nights, when one musician challenged another, "This weather sucks. Bet you can't make a great song about that..." Ha! The lil shout at the beginning (@ 0.11secs) sets the infectious energy for the tune. The "drag it out" loop at the end is just a bittersweet zing to the whole concept of winter.

Children of December
The Slip   (itunes)
Another great December tune, that gingerly weaves in and out of the Christmas spirit. I love it mostly because Mister M loves Transformers and this song whismically gives a nod to the mighty "...autobots and the decepticons." For the record, Bumblebee is my fave Transformer.

Cold December
Matt Costa   (itunes)
However if you are a nay-sayer and hate winter, here's a tune for you, Ebenezer (lol!). Great ditty but def about a non-love for the colder months. Love Matt's voice when it shifts octaves here: "If only time could slow down..."

We Can Be Good
Via Audio   (itunes)
Playing off the naughty or nice theme: this is a nice, simple song. One that stays w/me hours after listening to it. Seems like a nice fit for my Little Joy theme here, yes/no? ;)

Be Thankful for what You've Got
Yo La Tengo
Clearly you all know by now that I love YLT. Their breadth of style(s) seem never-ending. I heard this tune and just loved how it bebopped along, as YLT isn't a bebop type of band--at all. Or so I thought. Still not sure, truth be told. The tune is light, the vibe is right, and the message for these times is worthy of repeating every day during your morning rituals. Give thanks, as it is so damn easy to do. No better way to kick off one's day, in my mind (+ heart).

Be Thankful for What You've Got (original)
Here is the original song YLT paid tribute. Equally simple.
William DeVaughn  (itunes)

Some Things come from Nothing
Super Furry Animals   (itunes)
Akin to the tone above, whatever your holiday gift-giving rituals are, consider focussing on the very small, non-material things, like your time, w/your friends and family. If you are reading this, you are def in this demographic of hyper-connected folks. Unplug and enjoy real time, real conversations, real moments and memories w/those you love. I am gonna give it a whirl myself in fact. (updates on my success will be posted on Twitter... jk!)

Linus And Lucy
Vince Guaraldi Trio   (itunes)

O Tannenbaum
Vince Guaraldi Trio  (itunes)

Nothing takes me back to my childhood at Christmas time like seeing/hearing A Charlie Brown Christmas. Just hits SO many emotional chords... Upon reflection, I wonder if listening VG3's soundtrack year after year was an early impetus for my love of jazz. Could be.

Next Time Around
Little Joy   (itunes) 
Pitchfork says it best regarding newcomers Little Joy led by Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti, "Little Joy is not going to stop the world or change your life, but it's one of the sweetest, most listenable, consistently enjoyable records of the season." And man, I got a whole lotta love for these guys.

Brand New Start
Little Joy   (itunes)
Oh so twangy, those geeee-tars. Little Joy is on my hit parade big time. Granted, their namesake drew me in, but their songs made be a believer. If you are over the holidays, give them a listen as these two songs are a killer way to bring in the new year.

Get Your Shit Together for the Holidays
Deleted Scenes   (itunes)
Remember when I said I was going to keep my posts short for the holidays? Aye-yi-yi!

Lastly, if you are now in a wee bit of a frenzy regarding buying opulent gifts vs ones of a more heartfelt nature, just kick back, put on your headphones and listen to this tune: it's a blunt whammy melodically delivered. As come on... it's not like you didn't know December 25th was fast approaching. ;)
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'Cuz we are alone and we are together
(La da da da da)
Weak inside, our own heads
We can be like this for hours
And we can be good, yeah
If we try to be good, if we try
I know that we can be good

- we can be good
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