Various Artists – A Damaged Christmas Gift For You!

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Various Artists

A Damaged Christmas Gift For You! - Damaged Goods Records

Well the season is upon us, the disappointment of opening the first door on the advent calendar is over, the shops now resemble the worst kind of day glo hallucination and it’s cold. Some are looking forward to Christmas Day like no other day in the year, others are utterly dreading enforced bonhomie with their family. Whatever your own personal opinion of Christmas is there will always be Christmas songs and there will be something for everyone on A Damaged Christmas Gift For You!, a seasonal compilation album from Damaged Goods Records. Whether you are the grinchiest grinch on your street or are chock full of the Christmas spirit, or just full of chocolates and Christmas spirits, this is an album that will make you want to deck the halls, or possibly deck anyone who mentions Christmas, anyway let’s get this selection box opened.

On this particular Christmas gift you can get your festive fix, whether it’s twists on the traditional carols, new takes of familiar alternative seasonal anthems or that rarity of the truly original Christmas gift, everything that makes Christmas Christmas is in here, old, borrowed, noisy, wonderful, heartwarming and even the odd bit of schmaltz. First out of Santa’s sack is the discordant Christmas 1979 from the UK garage legend that is Wild Billy Childish And The Musicians of The British Empire, a track that sums up the festive season during the winter of discontent. This is followed by The Courettes who channel Phil Spector, his production skills rather than his later activities that resulted in nineteen to life, on Christmas (I Can Hardly Wait). To keep the eclectic feel of A Damaged Christmas Gift For You! going this is followed by the jaunty twisted country of Christmas Tree On Fire from Holly Golightly.

There are some traditions that are almost compulsory, enter Helen Love with their bubblegum take on the Ramones Christmas classic, Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight). For those who long for those Christmas’s depicted in cheesy old movies there are a couple of carols, Cuckooland deliver a sprightly pop punk take on Silver Bells whilst Wat Tyler mangles God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in under a minute. But if we’re talking vintage Christmas songs then there are few finer than The SonicsSanta Claus that is perfectly delivered by Thee Headcoatees. To top off the selection of traditional delights you get Severe delivering an oddly jarring version of Jona Lewie’s annual seasonal paycheck, Stop the Cavalry, that drops several references to vintage punk and new wave bands into the mix.

Moving back in the latter day Christmas classics you get the late Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex) teaming up with Goldblade on the spaghetti westernesque City Of Christmas Ghosts and Holly Golightly returns with Little Stars, and this time she’s bought some unexpected guests in the shape of The Greenhornes. The Cute Lepers bring some power pop to the party with their very own Christmas Song and TV Smith (The Adverts) delivers Christmas Bloody Christmas, a song that defines the dichotomy of the festive season perfectly. For the final layer in this eclectic section box The Singing Loins do something strange yet oddly traditional with Ding Dong Merrily On High, the latter word may have something to do with this. Monkhouse ditch the mistletoe and instead serve up the much more pleasing Guinness And Wine, a bit of vintage punk rock to wake you up after the inevitable overindulgence. Finally we get The Buff Medways, Wild Billy Childish’s second appearance, who hit you with raucous Merry Christmas Fritz, a reference to the football match played in no mans land countless wars ago.

A Damaged Christmas Gift For You! summarises Christmas in a nutshell, which is appropriate as it’s the only time that anyone seems to have unshelled nuts in the house. You get the sublime, the weird, the memorable, the traditional, well sort of, a few welcome surprises, old friends and invitations to excess. If I had to pick from this eclectic and unpredictable selection box then I’d choose TV Smith, The Courettes, Goldblade Featuring Poly Styrene and Thee Headcoatees but I’d defy anyone not to find something that brings them some seasonal joy, or confirms that there’s nothing joyful about it whatsoever. Now as it’s that time of year I’m going to think about putting the tree up so that my cats can destroy it, some things are traditional.

You can pre-order A Damaged Christmas Gift For You! via Damaged Goods Records ahead of its release on vinyl on the 10th December.