There are some Christmas traditions we can do without—like opening new credit cards to afford buying presents for 20 step-cousins you know absolutely nothing about.
But instead of grinching over those parts, let’s look at one of Oklahoma’s most original and fun holiday traditions: Listening to the new Fowler VW* Christmas album.
This special collaboration, produced by Fowler VW and recorded by local musicians at Blackwatch Studios in Norman, is on its 9th annual volume. And it’s free. You can look for a copy of Christmas in Color (A Blackwatch Christmas Vol IX) on vinyl at Guestroom Records or download the whole collection here on Bandcamp.
Last year’s album had a sexy, funky tone to all the tracks. This year’s installment to the series is all over the map, sonically and emotionally. LCG & The X get the Christmas party started with ‘Last Christmas,’ a smooth, rave-up cover of Wham!’s modern-standard. Local stalwarts follow up with ‘Christmas Dreams,’ in which they urge the listener to ‘smoke a yule log’ and ‘make a baby,’ and the funky backdrop makes you want to do both of those things.
Twiggs brings the tempo down a notch with ‘Meltin With You.’ The Mazzy Star vibes are perfect backdrop for lying on a bearskin rug next to the fireplace with your lover and enjoying a glass of port. Or at least curling up on the couch and eating your way through that giant tin of flavored popcorn your parents got you as a gift that never seems to go bad.
But what about if you wanna just dance instead? Well buddy, this comp has got you covered. RVRB’s ‘Fireside‘ has enough bass and backbeat to get the party ripping along. Thankfully for old people like me, Mini Trees has the next track to take your heart rate back to a normal level. ‘Signs & Wonders (Holiday Cocktail Edition)‘ has a tempo that allows the synths and saxophone to breath and ooze all over the track as your brandy sour brings flush to your cheeks.
Now that you’ve had a rest, it’s time to hit the dance floor again. Goldenface gives us ‘The Santa Hop,’ an upbeat art-rock jam that’s both tight and damaged in an Ariel Pink kinda way. This album refuses to let you wiggle your butt too much though, because it follows that song with Husbands’ ‘Santa Is A Lie,’ which very appropriately mimics the seasonal affective disorder that many of us are feeling. I’m a scrooge, so it sums up my holiday sentiments accurately.
Samantha Crain takes things down another notch with her sparse cover of ‘Christmas For Cowboys, originally by John Denver. It’s somehow both spooky and comforting, like being alone in the snow outside of a cabin in the middle of nowhere.
But weren’t you wanting to hear about Santa Claus more on a Christmas album? Don’t worry, The Wurly Birds do just that on their jaunty indie jam ‘Look At These Christmas Trees.’ Just look at em, why don’t you! The album comes to a close with Jake Tittle’s ‘Captain Morgan.’ It’s a sentimental and poetic remembrance of Christmas mornings past, referencing store-bought pumpkin pie and watching your relatives drink liquor.
Make sure to pop into Guestroom Records or Fowler VW to pick up your vinyl record, if you’re old-school like that—or stream it on Bandcamp during your holiday proceedings.
*Fowler VW is a longtime TLO supporter, and we love them for that.