The Meaning of XMAS

First, a short PSA:

THANK YOU to the gracious, kind phone-answerers at apartment complexes across the KC metro over the past two days.  I am humbled by your patience with my efforts to extract information from you, offering no immediate benefit in return.  As long as we share such courtesy with each other, there is hope in the world.

Howie, C******* Real Estate (this week).


I was flipping through records at a thrift shop in Raytown last week, and was struck by the sheer volume of Christmas albums.  Probably 1/3 of the vinyl in the crates was holiday-related.  Why do artists make this music?  Why do people buy it, then get rid of it, in such great quantities?

And why would Mr. Furious even think about crashing that party?

With the release of our XMAS 2K6 fast approaching (three new tunes from Tape/echoes, DJ Josh-O, and howie&scott) I recognize that our effort may be in need of a defense.  Or justfication, at least.

Despite the superabundance of Christmas albums, the official holiday canon is restricted to about 30 old chestnuts, which is A) stifling, and B) threatens to strip these great tunes (Bing Crosby, etc.) of their meaning and effect through repetition.  XMAS is our attempt to create some diversity in your yuletide listening habits (but that’s the goal of every other record, too).

It’s hard to find “blue” Christmas music, sounds that express the sadness, loss, and darkness that accompany the season for all of us one year or another, if not always.  XMAS doesn’t shy away from that.

Most important to me is the contrast between what I percieved in the record bins as artless commercial product, and what I hope we can create – which is 100% free, in no way a commodity, and as artful as we are capable of.  I’ve written before about how being a netlabel, a “free record label,” changes something fundamental about the concept of “pop” music (which is necessarily commodified).

That’s the real meaning of XMAS.  Scraping away the commercialism, the religiosity, the cliches and the tired chords and the sentimentalism – salvaging and recasting a few of the old signs, and forging new works out of our own, true, experience of Christmas.  -h