Apart from the Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club, there are four more labels that every year release at least one Christmas 7" single. This post gives an overview of the 2020 releases of those labels: Nordpolen Musikklubb from Norway, Jump Up! Records from Chicago, IL, Kingfisher Bluez Records from Vancouver, BC, Canada and Gotta Groove Records from Cleveland, OH.
Loudon Wainwright III: Christmas Morning
(Nordpolen Musikklubb, Julepakke06, Norway, 2020, green vinyl, 33 rpm, small hole, 300 copies)
‘I’ll Be Killing You This Christmas’ is from 2014’s ‘Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet)’ and is a biting commentary on US gun laws, disguised as a relaxed folk song, using the melody of ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’. ‘This Year’, on the B-side of the single, is the oldest song, taken from 1989’s ‘Therapy’. How well the song resonates with 2020: ‘Last year was a fiasco / A real disaster / So full of sorrow”. Also this song is optimistic, and looks forward to a better new year: ‘This year will be a great year / I just can't wait, dear / Until tomorrow’. But let’s not be too negative about 2020 – like every year, it also brought good things, like this single! It is limited to 300 copies and comes, as usual, in a picture sleeve with beautiful seasonal artwork, on green vinyl.
'I'll Be Killing You This Christmas':
Roger Rivas & The Brothers Of Reggae: Christmas Time Is Here b/w Linus & Lucy
(Jump Up Records / Rivas, JUMP7XMAS10, RIV-009, US, 2020, green or red vinyl, 45 rpm, big hole)
Watch the video for ‘Christmas Time Is Here’:
Listen to ‘Linus & Lucy’:
Lollypop Lorry: Magic Moments b/w Skankin’ Around The Christmas Tree
(Jump Up! Records, JUMP7XMAS9, US, 2020, red or green vinyl, 45 rpm, big hole)
Como’s version had a subtile back beat (and catchy whistling), so it was not such a weird choice of Lollypop Lorry to turn it into a ska song. ‘Magic Moments’ is not really a Christmas song, but it’s a song about lovers remembering all the fun things they have done together in the past – like ‘The way that we hugged to try to keep warm / While takin' a sleigh ride’. It was probably this line that made Lollypop Lorry decide to turn it into a Christmas song, by filming a very festive looking video to accompany the digital release of the song last year. And now Jump Up jumped in to release the song as a Christmas single. The flipside of the record, ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ is as Christmas as Christmas songs come. As could be expected, it is a skafied version of Brenda Lee’s classic ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’, and has, staying true to the original, female vocals. The single comes on red on green vinyl (200 copies each), and includes a photo of the band taking at the set of the ‘Magic Moments’ video.
Video of Magic Moments:
Listen to ‘Skankin’ Round The Christmas Tree’:
Haley Blais / Fawns Of Love / Bookclub / Kylie V: Kingfisher Bluez Christmas Single 2020
(Kingfisher Bluez, Canada, 2020, EP, small hole)
The only original song on the single is by the Vancouver indie group Bookclub, who sing about ‘A Bookclub Christmas’, in a style that is not so different from the Fawns Of Love track, a combination of dreampop and synthpop, while the lyrics seem to touch a common theme at Christmas, missing someone you lost. The EP closes with the contribution by the youngest act on the compilation, Kylie V (self-described as nice soft nonbinary indie rock), who debuted in 2018 as a 14-year old. Last year, Kylie released a digital Christmas EP, ‘Baby’s First Christmas’, with four Christmas classics (but not the Connie Francis song the EP was named after), and here Kylie does the most classic of the Christmas classics, ‘Silent Night’. It’s just Kylie's voice and an acoustic guitar, and that is enough, as it is a beautiful and fresh sounding rendention of a song that already has been recorded thousands and thousand times. As always, the record is a benefit for 1-800-SUICIDE and Crisis Centre BC.
Watch the video of Haley Blias’ ‘Auld Lang Syne’:
Listen to the complete EP:
Couples Skate Only / Pile Of Eggs / Fyodor Novotny: Happy Holidays From Gotta Groove Records
(Gotta Groove Records, 20-0964, US, 2020, randomly coloured vinyl, 45 rpm, small hole)