If Santa strapped on a Flying V...
…he'd probably write a better tune than most of the rejects and retards who proffer us Christmas singles year upon year...
Ever since Fountains of Wayne released the delectable 'I Want An Alien For Christmas' a few years back, we've been bereft of quality indie noel songsmithery. This was brought into particularly sharp focus when The Killers announced that they'd knocked up a song about snow in Las Vegas, or something, for the festive season; it wasn't long before the obvious gag about 'snow', 'cocaine', 'wankers' and 'The Killers' was bandied about. The bastards. Though I do recommend new single, 'Bones'. It's gak-catchy, boys and girls.
But who then, should offer us a festive musical treat? Step up to the plate and serve a steaming turkey of a santa song? With brussels sprouts basslines?
Obviously it couldn't really be The Flaming Lips, because as fun as it'd be – who'd be able to discern any difference from what they normally do? In Wayne Coynia, it's like Christmas EVERY day. The frickin nutter. Nor would we allow The White Stripes to do something. Because they'd cover a Victorian-era Christmas carol in such a faithful way that they'd probably have a malnourished boy with rickets on backing vocals. Then shove him up a chimney. No, Jack… No. Equally you'd get little mileage out of Oasis. They'd probably accidentally write Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody' without realising it. Hang on, a quick Google shows me that they have ACTUALLY covered said atrocity. How ironic.
Now, without further ado, here's my made-up but hopefully one day will come to fruition tracklisting of...
The Best Indie Christmas Album Of All Time… Ever!... Ever!
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – 'Christmas Is For Everyone (Not Just White People In Britain, Think About Muslims And People In Iraq And Others Less Fortunate Than Ourselves For God's Sake)'
In which over a series of hand-plucked guitar notes, Sam Duckworth sings earnestly. Occasionally bellowing.
¡Forward, Russia! – '377'
Over a squalling sound of feedback, arhythmic guitar and clattering drums, Tom Woodhouse punctuates the year before next year's 12 days of Christmas. It'd be great, naturally.
Thom Yorke – 'Santa Baby'
In which, above a propulsive rhythm section and strings of ethereal guitar feedback, Thom wriths cheekily whilst crooning about what he wants for Christmas. Or more to the point, what he wants from Santa. Baby. Yes. World peace, the beheading of George Bush, the jailing of Tony Blair, and the abolition of the right-wing tabloid press.
The Automatic – 'Bastards In The Pub (at Xmas)'
An Interpol-like verse sees lyrics describing a festive gathering in a small pub in Wales, before the chorus comes in and explains HOW IT TURNS INTO A REALLY BIG FIGHT AND EVERYONE'S PISSED AND HITTING EACH OTHER. Because that's what happens in their world, which is a totally unique observation. Small town. Fights. Well I never, eh? That bastard Pennie will also shout "CRIMBO!" and "FIGHT!" alternately over the chorus. Forever.
Interpol – 'Miracle on First Avenue'
Cold, poignant and irrevocably sad, Interpol sum up the perils of Christmas with a piece that references crackwhores, homeless people, solitary drunks and angry policemen, whilst reflecting that it was all the girl who broke Paul Banks' hearts' fault.
The Strokes – 'Sleazebag'
Dryly and wittily, like a man singing to his drunk mate down the phone, Julian Casablancas tells a tale of how one Christmas Eve, he got really drunk in a series of bars before getting sucked off by a model in a telephone booth. And he didn't give a fuck, because "those girls are so cold, her friend was so easy, I need a space for my head and New York is dead".
Pavement – 'Sheriff Santa'
A reformed Stephen Malkmus, Spiral Stairs and co write a jaunty, angular and unfathomable effort that mentions nothing about the festive season nor the law, instead proffering a chorus of "and the spoons go in the pan, and the cars in the garage, I need a hot summer for Beirut". Marvellous. It'd also be cherry picked to appear on Uncut's monthly CD and hailed as "a return to form".
Keane – 'Christmas in Afghanistan'
Clumsily and incredibly embarrassingly, cherub boy wails about there "being no snow in Afghanistan this year" whilst scooping large amounts of Crimbo Gack up his nose. Sobbing. Fortunately, we're distracted by the elegant tinkle-tonkle of Rigby Farthing-Fyce-Hubert's lovely piano sounds. It sounds like a flock of angels in musical form.
Placebo – 'Filth And Christmas Cards'
A repetitive, yet catchy, riffing Fender screams away, whilst Brian Molko nasally expresses his love of Christmas through the tale of two midget ice skaters who send each other dirty Christmas cards and then meet up for gay sex. Whilst on the telephone. We're shocked. How can Placebo be so downright dirty?
Kaiser Chiefs – 'Christmas in Leeds'
Ricky Wilson allows Peanut to take vocals on this one. However, he did pen the lyrics:
"The kids are walking through tooow-nnn
there's a lovely girl in a Christmas goowww-nn.
The students are singing the songs of carolll
we're drinking beer by the barrrelll.
We've been bought Quality Street byyy Muuum
I like the reeeed onesss.
Don't you love Christmas in Yorkshirrrrre?
It's better than Christmas anywhere else thaaat's clear!"
Cat Power – '(Have Yourself) A Merry Little Christmas'
Well, it'd just be really nice, wouldn't it?
The Fratellis – 'Mum's at Christmas'
Der ner ner Der ner ner, der ner ner ner ner ne ner. Der ner ner Der ner ner, der ner ner ner ner ne ner. Der ner ner Der ner ner, der ner ner ner ner ne ner. Der ner ner Der ner ner, der ner ner ner ner ne ner. Der ner ner Der ner ner, der ner ner ner ner ne ner. Cuntrags at Christmas!
Album liner notes by Russell Brand.