The Ironbath hates Christmas. Really hates it. It is the time of year when you have to be pleasant to the people who you spend most of the year trying to avoid. And presents…. yuck!
Back in the day when the Ironbath worked in a record shop it was the time of year when civilians – people who would never venture near a CD for the rest of the year – took over the shop and bought a truck load of CDs & DVDs that are produced simply to fulfil the societal need to give presents. Most will be played once and forgotten, and frankly that is the best thing that could happen to a lot of the trash that the music industry churns out in December.
The big thing in the Christmas when the Ironbath was working was Robson & Jerome – a couple of actors that produced a tirade of saccharin cover versions of songs that civilians hum under their breath and think that it equates to music. The shop sold every copy it could get onto the shelves and the Ironbath is still suffering shakes from being made to release so much bad music into the world.
Turn on the radio and you’ll hear the same 20 songs on rotation. Okay, turn on the radio at any time of the year and you’ll hear the same 20 songs on rotation, but at Christmas it is the same 20 songs that have been playing at Christmas since the mid 70’s. The Ironbath has a lot of respect for Noddy Holder …. but if he wishes me a Merry Christmas one more time … I’ll…. I’ll …. (deep breath).
However if you dig deep enough there are some gems. Heather Browne who compiles the excellent I Am Fuel You Are Friends blog produces a mix tape every season, but it is her Christmas compilations that are the finest. She has a knack of finding the best indie Christmas songs and makes the most beautiful compilations. She has just produced her 2011 mix and it is guaranteed to instil a seasonal post-ironic depression (in the nicest possible way). You can stream individual tracks or download the whole album from her website.
Alternatively for a fiver you can download a great Americana/folk Christmas compilation produced to raise funds for a cancer centre in London. ‘For Folk’s Sake: It’s Christmas vol 2‘ is available to stream from Bandcamp as well as download. This year’s album features Caitlin Rose, Devon Sproule, Kathryn Williams amongst some names previously unknown to the Ironbath. It has all the essence of Christmas but with a minimum of glitter. Last years compilation is also available from Bandcamp. Just as good but with fewer famous names.
The Ironbath produces an Anti-Christmas compilation each year but you’ll have to wait until Christmas is a wee bit closer (aka less avoidable).