Tuesday, December 1, 2009


For those of you who are new to No Expiration: every Wednesday morning at 9 am ET, I go on the SIRIUSXM channel OutQ and talk about music on the great show The Morning Jolt With Larry Flick.
Anyway, as I said when I wrote about Christmas music last year, I'm Jewish and not much of a Christmas music guy. That said, last year I came up with some great Christmas music: Little Steven's collection of garage rock Christmas tunes, The Reverend Horton Heat's christmas album We Three Kings, the We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year compilation and the all time classic, Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift For You. I won't even try to beat that lineup, and if you don't have those albums, go get them. But here's some other good stuff, starting with my favorite pick of this year:

I actually wrote about The Hives' holiday collaboration with Cyndi Lauper last year, but I didn't find out about it until after my OutQ holiday music episode. It's called "A Christmas Duel," and it is just as awesome as you would hope it would be. Trust me.

Next up is Bob Dylan's Christmas In The Heart, which I've written about. So much has been written about this album. Is he kidding? Seeing what he can get away with? The album is so straight - New York magazine compared it to Andy Williams! It's not far off - it's done very straight, so to speak. But if you listen to Bob's Theme Time Radio Hour on SIRIUSXM's here, you know that Bob loves that straight up old-school American pop music from the '40s and '50s. As big of a Dylan fan as I am, I didn't feel the need to get the whole record. But if you do, the proceeds go to Feeding America. Actually, having said that, now I feel guilty, maybe I will get it.

Pretentious time! Stewart Copeland must be having field say with this one. After a few years of reminding people of how cool he used to be with The Police reunion tour, Sting is back on the semi-classical music tip with his seasonal album, If On A Winter's Night. Actually, the album sounds like it was made to be made fun of, and of course Sting doesn't care. He can do anything he wants. The two songs I've downloaded, "Soul Cake" and "Christmas At Sea," are quite good, I like them despite myself.

Years ago, I saw Melissa Etheridge at a radio station Christmas concert at Madison Square Garden. It was more of an alt-rock thing with Green Day and Hole headlining. Melissa actually had her own sold-out headlining gig at the Garden the week after, so to make this show different, she did it solo acoustic. Which could be intimidating in a huge arena, in front of a crowd that may not be your crowd. Unless you're Melissa Etheridge. Truth to tell, she blew Green Day and Hole and everyone else away. She did a great cover of John Lennon's "Happy XMas." She's exactly who you want playing Christmas music. She's sometimes a bit too earnest even for me, but I have a soft spot for her. Her Christmas album, A New Thought For Christmas, came out last year, and I didn't get to it, but I figured I'd get it this year. "Christmas In America" is classic Melissa, a great song about someone whose loved one is serving their country overseas on Christmas.

Tori Amos has a holiday album, Midwinter Graces. I was surprised at that, given she's been a huge critic of religion over the years. On the other hand, her dad is a priest! While I haven't enjoyed Tori's last few releases, her first four or so albums are classics, and I am a fan for life. I like the song I heard from the new album, "Star Of Wonder." Will Larry let me discuss her? We'll find out tomorrow. He is not a fan.

Rob Halford has reunited his other band, Halford, for a holiday album, Halford 3: Winter Songs. It is hard to imagine Judas Priest doing this album, but it makes sense, kind of, for Rob. He's like an opera singer. It has elements of metal, but isn't a metal album really. Good for Rob to be able to stretch out between Priest projects.

Last year, Weezer released the EP Christmas With Weezer, and it had a version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" which sounds just the way you'd expect, it's fun.

Here's a weird one: Eban Schletter's Cosmic Christmas. He does the music for Spongebob Squarepants, among other shows. I am bringing a thermin-based version of "We Three Kings," I don't know if Larry will want to hear it.

Also, if we get to it, the followup EP to last year's We Wish You A Metal XMas. It features Steve "Lips" Kudlow of Anvil singing "Frosty The Snowman," former Coal Chamber singer Dez Fafara singing "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer," Doro Pesch singing "O' Christmas Tree" and the reunited Girlschool doing "Auld Lang Syne."

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