Storied indie label Kill Rock Stars has released a compilation of holiday covers (and some originals), titled It’s Hard To Dance When It’s Cold And There’s No Music: Kill Rock Stars Winter Holiday Album Volume 2. It’s the label’s first holiday release since 2006 (with its epically droll title drawn from one of the Tom Waits covers therein). One look through the tracklist reveals some of the compilation’s wry pleasures and inspired deep-cut pairings: Bitch and John Cameron Mitchell playing Guster’s “Tiny Tree Christmas”; downtown NYC collective God Is My Co-Pilot AF covering John Prine’s “Christmas in Prison.” But the most captivating picks appear late in the running order — courtesy of recent KRS signee Shaylee and, in a duet, Johanna Samuels and Fruit Bats.
If there was ever a year to go ahead and start the Christmas music early, this might be it. Christmas music means it’s almost Christmas means 2020 is almost, finally, over. And what better way to get started than with everyone’s favorite Christmas song “Little Drummer Boy”!
If you’ve been keeping tabs on the always quirky rockers The Flaming Lips, you’ll discover a not-so-hidden trend: they like covering the Beatles. Last month they released their track-for-track cover of the classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (titled With a Little Help from My Fwends), but a quick search of Cover Me will bring up 5 other Beatles/John Lennon songs they’ve covered, going all the way back to 2010. You can’t really argue with the formula, though, because it seems to be working.
An unlikely pair has chosen to enter the holiday music fray. Jason Segel – who starred in I Love You, Man – and Jack Black – who needs no introduction – reenact the Bing Crosby and David Bowie duet “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.” Bing and Bowie recorded the medley in 1977 for Bing’s last Christmas special; he suffered a fatal heart attack a few weeks later after a round of golf that was apparently more invigorating than most. Black and Segel may not be the first names that come to mind when you think about the holidays, but then Bowie is hardly jolly old St. Nick.
If you regularly read Cover Me, then you know all about the A.V. Club’s Undercover series, where they commissioned artists to cover songs off of a list of 25 tracks with no repeats allowed. In the latest incarnation, Holiday Undercover, the guests perform a holiday song of their own choosing. Maybe the no-repeat rule should return, because only three songs in we already have one! And no, it’s not “Silent Night” or any other cliché. Instead, both Brendan Benson and Kate Nash took on the Slade rocker – a classic in its own right – “Merry Xmas Everybody”!
We told you it was coming! Now it’s here. The AV Club’s Undercover series jolts back to life with a seasonal program. Ten bands entered the studio to cover a holiday song of their choosing. First up: The Walkmen. As you may recall, last time they rocked some R.E.M. This time around, they dragged a chestnut out of the attic (hmm, mixing Christmas metaphors there). It’s Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road,” a song best known for its use in National Lampoon’s Vacation.
The Walkmen keep the peppy bounce, but thankfully do away with some of the dated ‘80s production. My only gripe is: no one has any right to look that good in a Santa hat. Watch the video and download the MP3 below. The new Holiday Undercover series runs every Tuesday and Thursday until Christmas, so be sure to check back!