Unwinnable Presents: Strange Stories from the Edge of Christmas

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  • Don’t Open ’Til Christmas

    “All I Want for Christmas is Glue” – Okkultokrati

    “Black Xmas “ Venom

    “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” – Sirens & Sailors

    “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” – Korn

    “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” – Bad Religion

    “Unrest for Melancholy Men” – J.J. Hrubovcak

    “The First Noel” – Orion’s Reign

    “Carol of the Bells” – BaptismOnFire

    Black Christmas

    “The Snow Miser Song” – 45 Grave

    “Christmas Treat” – Julian Casablancas

    “Run Rudolph Run” – The Yobs

    “Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” – Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

    “‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” – Louis Armstrong and The Commanders

    “We Three Kings” – Reverend Horton Heat

    “Christmas Morning Blues” – Kansas City Kitty and Georgia Tom

    Krampus Vs Santa

    “Das Krampus” – The Drastics

    “Isn’t It a Pity?” – Her Majesty’s Orchestra

    “Don’t Believe In Christmas” – The Sonics

    “Silent Night” – Ween

    “St. Stephen’s Day Murders” – The Chieftains and Elvis Costello

    “Happy New Year” – Frank Turner

    “Reggae Christmas” – Bryan Adams

    Christmas Evil

    “Blue Christmas” – The Misfits

    “Christmas Wrapping” – Summer Camp

    “Reindeer” – The Knife

    “Christmas Without A Prayer” – Sparks

    “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa” – De La Soul

    “Snoopy Vs The Red Baron” – The Hotshots

    “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” – NSYNC

    Silent Night, Bloody Night

    “Silent Night, Deadly Night” – The White Coffin Terror

    “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” – Devil Dogs

    “Stuff the Turkey” – Alien Sex Fiend

    “Red Water (Christmas Mourning) – Type O Negative

    “Christmas with the Devil” – MX-80 SOUND

    “Rise Up Shepherds & Follow” – Odetta

    “Black Christmas” – Poly Styrene

    “Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant” – Siouxsie & the Banshees

    To All A Good Night

    “It’s Gonna Be a Punk Rock Christmas” – Majorettes

    “Do You Hear What I Hear” – Spiraling

    “Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – The Crüxshadows

    “Johnny Died On Christmas” – Nitro II

    “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” – Dokken

    “All I Want for Kreigmas Is You” – Woods of Trees

    “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Fear

    Curated and mixed by Kursse

    Bad Religion – “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

    Given the band’s history of in your face atheism, I’ve always assumed Bad Religion’s Christmas Songs was supposed to be some kind of snide joke. The thing is, the whole album soars. It makes my little secular heart beat a little bit faster, a testament to the power lurking in some songs of faith. Since its release, it is the only thing that consistently gives me a dose of Christmas spirit. So, maybe the joke is on Bad Religion?

    At any rate, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is my favorite lick off the album, if for no other reason than it is in E minor, and E minor songs are inherently better than all other songs.

    Happy Holidays!

    – Stu Horvath

    Kansas City Kitty and Georgia Tom – “Christmas Morning Blues”

    Kansas City Kitty and Georgia Tom’s “Christmas Morning Blues” reminds us that sometimes Christmas isn’t such a grand affair for the poor in spirit and downtrodden. In the song, a woman mourns her lover’s incarceration for a minor crime that has been spun into a major felony by the authorities in Georgia. By the end of the tune it’s clear that the woman simply wants to lay down and die because there’s no hope or light left in the world for her.

    The song  reminds me of a character in Gremlins who loathed Christmas. A tragedy in her family that revolved around the holiday ruined it for her forever. She notes in one moment in the film that, “While everybody else opens up presents, they’re opening up their wrists.”

    Christmas Morning Blues is a timeless tune that reminds us that sometimes there’s no cause for celebration and that hope is often fleeting. (lyrics, for those interested)

    – James Fudge

    The Drastics – “Das Krampus”

    It is noted that these Chicago dub rockers play roots reggae from 1982’s future of 2187 and it shows. This track can easily fill the void between Augustus Pablo and Lee Perry with it’s classic dub style, but really sounds contemporary next to Ernest Ranglin. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you if the few lyrics have anything to do with Krampus, but the title alone swayed me to include it on this mix. Besides, it’s some really solid reggae.

    – Ken Lucas

    Her Majesty’s Orchestra – “Isn’t it a Pity?”

    For years now, Ed Donahue has been recording a full album’s worth of original holiday music, performed by him and his musical cohorts, under the name Her Majesty’s Orchestra. This slightly creepy tune is about Santa Claus becoming trapped as he tries to enter a Santa-proof home with a chimney that is too narrow for his rotund frame. It is sung by the equally amazing Olivia Mancini, who is involved in far too many musical endeavors to list here. However, I will name one, because together, Ed and Olivia are a musical dynamo. I strongly urge each and every one of you to check out their fantastic folk-rock act where they perform as Ed & Donna.  They released an eponymous debut album earlier this year which reveals the disgusting amount of talent these two have.  Enjoy!

    – Ed Coleman

    Ween – “Silent Night” and Odetta – “Rise Up Shepherds & Follow”

    They’re two sides of a coin. One is hella sincere and the other taking the piss. Sorta sums up my attitude towards the holiday.

    – Gus Mastrapa

    The Chieftains & Elvis Costello – “St. Stephen’s Day Murders”

    I don’t like Elvis Costello. I definitely don’t like the Chieftains. They are to music what Love Actually is to film. But I still love this song.

    – Declan Taggart

    Frank Turner – “Happy New Year”

    I love Frank Turner. He has an undeniable character that’s hard to come by and even his playful songs and covers are done full of heart. A B-Side featured on his “Third Three Years” compilation, “Happy New Year” is a fun little duet with Jon Snodgrass to help celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year.

    – Erik Weinbrecht

    “Christmas Without A Prayer” – Sparks

    Sparks continually creates songs for voids you didn’t know were there. With clever and whimsical lyrics, Sparks creates offbeat backdrop for any holiday party.

    – Chuck Moran

    The Hotshots – “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron”

    I’ve been trying to include the Royal Guardsman version of this song since the first Unwinnable Holiday Mix and sadly it was bumped from every single one. Until now. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Reggae and Holiday songs, so to have a song that encompasses both is a no brainer for me. The Hotshots delivery is eerily similar to the Royal Guardsmen original, with one exception, it contains a blazing rocksteady beat that will turn the biggest Grinch into a yuletide advocate.

    – Ken Lucas

    Spiraling – “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

    It’s a song for peace, wholly appropriate in 2015. And it’s mixed with a classic rock staple performed by a local band (vocalist/keyboardist Tom Brislin is the pride of Dunellin, NJ). Why Q104 in New York doesn’t play the hell out of this every December I have no idea.

    – Don Becker