Christmas Zone / Winter Lives
production: kid rolex produced every song on his record, and the l. contra band every song on theirs
year of release: 2004
Kid Rolex : Christmas Zone
1. Zone Theme
2. Santa Claus
3. Rudolph
4. Betty Boop Indubb
5. The Grinch
6. Takeshi Kitano
7. 4am
The L. Contra Band : Winter Lives
1. Three Wise Woman
2. Gingerbread Soup
3. It's Not Snowing
4. Funk Rot
5. Sad Amy's Stocking
6. Kabooby
7. I Sold My Soul To The North Pole
8. Next Year
9. Presents
10. Fat Reindeer
11. Tree's Out
12. Jolly Trolley
13. Frosty Window
14. Snout
It took us a little while to come to terms with that we have to review Christmas records. Christmas records, the worst of the worst of recordings. So Kid Rolex' "Christmas Zone" and L. Contra Band's "Winter Lives" were hidden on a pile, with us hoping they'd go away. Or if not go away, at least turn into non-Christmas records.
But now it's March, and where this reviewer lives, the area just experience a record breaking amount of snowfall. So, looking outside, it could easily be mid December and that kinda reminded us of these two records again.
The good thing about both, that - like in Kid Rolex' case - for a "Santa Claus", there's also a non Christmas song. And in his case, those are the real jewels anyway. Especially "4am" a song that has a certain winter twist to it, with the choral singing and the overall colder vibe. But it's also a really great song. This can carry you like a dream and you're flying. Almost as good and also very good is "Takeshi Kitano". Named after the Japanese real life super dude, Rolex put a sample of his talking about Christmas over a piano and an excellent horn section. The good thing even, listening to these two songs will eventually get you interested in the Christmas tracks as well (and in general interested in more music from the man).
Of course the 'we wish you a merry Christmas' sample used on "Zone Theme" is annoying. But after that, when the drum and some chopped orchestra takes over, you again hear pure talent and excellence. Same goes for "Santa Claus", with another annoying voice sample, but with more instrumental moments of pure bliss. And besides, you struggle to really be able to tell what kind of Christmas song this is anyway. Something you'll have no problem with with "Rudolph", as we all know that red nosed sucker. Kid, however, doesn't stress the origin, while in many ways and later parts stays true to it. So in all, this might not be the right song for March. Because otherwise you'll catch yourself to agree too much with what The Grinch says on, well "The Grinch".
It's a little harder to make up your mind with the L. Contra Band. What demands a detour on us introducing them. L. Contra is Colin Asquith, Michael Hutcherson, Eric Dahlman, and at times Luke Rocha. Colin is a roommate of Record Company Records' Jeep Jack, what explains the connection to Villa Magica Records. That puts the L. Contra band in the Boston Area and into an Electro Rock universe. That pseudo-genre name, however, isn't saying much. Especially as we get a b-boy break type sound on "Funk Rot", a very jazzy horn on "Kabooby", a lot of 80s glitter on "Sad Amy's Stocking", spacey-ness on "Next Year" and Punk on "Snout".
Most interesting though is: there's no Christmas smash hit on here. And if any traditional Christmas tunes were covered, then they are unknown to me. What is no reason to complain for us really. Actually nothing really is. The record is even mocking things with the title of "Three Wise Woman" or with the haunted and "Fat Reindeer". Instead we get winter themes songs in a more or less minimal and repetitive alt-rock, while the melodies more or less only exist of chord changes and slight rises and falls. There's nevertheless something about tracks like "Gingerbread Soup" or "I Sold My Soul To The North Pole" that includes a certain jam session quality to 'em. In general there's very little if any jolly good cheer on here. "Frosty Window" sounds the most happy. But still, this record is much more in theory than reality a Christmas record.
So in any way, you might as well stack up on these records, because the next Christmas will inevitable come. And then, if you are forced to play a type of Christmas music, because your girl, mother, grandmother, gay friend, nags you to do so, then this is as good as Christmas music can get and in few cases as good as music can get.
review: tadah
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