Xmas music that doesn't suck
At this point in the season, we've all been subjected to a smorgasbord of Xmas muzak that, frankly, is way lame. Gift yourself with holiday sounds that rule. Right now, I'm listening to DJ Mello and DJ Tahnee's holiday-themed Afternoon Freeform on KUNM. These ladies know Christmas music. Listen at kunm.org or tune your dial to 89.9 FM. If you stumble on this blog in an eggnog haze after 4 p.m., access it via KUNM's two-week archive.
If you're in the mood for obscuro Xmas tunes, check out my Jingle and Jingle playlist from last year. It features boss tracks by The Dirtbombs, Mono Men, Nadroj & The Wolrats, The Honeymoon Killers, Thee Headcoatees, James White, Alien Sex Fiend, Culturcide, The Magnetic Fields, Maddox Brothers and Rose, Johnny Cash, Bumble Bee Slim, Jimmy Witherspoon, Victoria Spivey and Vera Ward Hall. Stream it below. Happy listening, y'all!
Balloon-y tunes for all your fiesta needs
I like making mixes. It started with a Christmas music obsession and snowballed from there. I'm not a DJ, but I get obsessed with themes. I readily admit my thematic mixes are indulgent and perhaps even a tad autistic, but I know—or maybe hope?—that at least one other person digs each obsessive attempt at theme-casting.
Last year, I made a balloon-centric podcast to celebrate the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. When you start searching for balloon-themed tunes, you find yourself running into a lot of children's music and a couple of songs smack you in the face over and over again. Jimmy Webb's “Up, Up and Away,” as performed by The Fifth Dimension, is the classic balloon song. German pop-rock quintet Nena's protest song “99 Luftballoons” and its English-language version, “99 Red Balloons,” are catchy, imaginative and overplayed.
My Balloon Fiesta mix showcases 12 lesser-known songs from bands like Twin Shadow, The Kills, Spell, Ween, Beastie Boys and Matmos and a sprinkling of stand-up comedy, vintage educational radio and spoken word. Stream it above or visit my blog for the full track list. Happy ballooning! (Depending on where you work, the opening Mitch Hedberg excerpt may qualify as NSFW.)
An academic mix
Autumn is nigh, and with the turning season come books and classrooms and new ideas and pocket protectors. Much music on the topic of school has to do with the rebellion against it, lust, alienation or nostalgia. Linked below is a seasonal mix—most of the rock and roll or punk persuasion (sorry, no Van Halen)—to put you in the mood for education, be your participation willing or begrudging. Listen/watch here.