The Last Month of the Year


December has been unusually busy, as you can see from how quiet it has been around the Pimps site this month. Between holiday shopping, travelling, drama at work, getting hired out to make mixes as presents for a friend of mine, DJing and all other sorts of distractions, I haven't had much time to check in here.

Because of this lack of attention, I'm going all out in this post with a big bandwidth buster. This will likely be my last post before the 1st of January, so enjoy it while it lasts. I have a bunch of new tracks I want to share but no time to write about them, so tonight I'm going to succumb to topicality: this post contains the Christmas mix I've assembled for friends and family this year.

I highly recommend putting these tracks on a CD in the order in which they're presented here. Then you can pretend I made you a CD, and you can start thinking about what gift you're going to get me. What's that? Nothing? That's okay, too.

Some of these tracks were culled from my favorite blogs, so I can't claim to be the one to have unearthed some of these gems.

PIMPS OF YULE: Christmas 2005
1. "Five Wishes for Christmas" by STEVE MARTIN
2. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by DARLENE LOVE
3. "Father Christmas" by THE KINKS
4. "Merry X-Mas Everybody" by SLADE
5. "Christmas at the Zoo" by the FLAMING LIPS
7. "Christmas in Hollis" by RUN D.M.C.
8. "Christmas Rappin" by KURTIS BLOW
9. "The Christmas Massacre of Charlie Brown" by DJ JOHN
10. "Santar Klaws" by POJ MASTA
11. "White Christmas" by CORPORAL BLOSSOM
12. "The Christmas Song" by THE RAVEONETTES
13. "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight" by the RAMONES
14. "Santa Claus" by THE SONICS
15. "Merry Christmas, Baby" by OTIS REDDING
16. "Christmas Comes but Once a Year" by AMOS MILBURN and CHARLES BROWN
17. "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" by BRENDA LEE
18. "Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!" by SUFJAN STEVENS
19. "Christmas Eve" by GORKY'S ZYGOTIC MYNCI
20. "Old Toy Trains" by ROGER MILLER
21. "I'll be Home for Christmas" by ELVIS PRESLEY
22. "Blue Christmas Lights" by BUCK OWENS
23. "Christmas Time Will Soon be Over" by JACK WHITE
24. "Blue Christmas (To Whom it May Concern" by MILES DAVIS and BOB DOROUGH
25. "Merry Christmas Mary" by JOHNNY CASH
26. "The Last Month of the Year" by VERA WARD HALL





I think you'll find that a lot of bloggers (at least the music bloggers) out there are what I like to call Attention Whores. They're out there trying to rack up big numbers, attracting readers with the latest big thing or remix of the latest big thing. They're posting Neutral Milk Hotel demos or deep tracks off of Sufjan Stevens' "THE ILLINOIS YELLOW PAGES AS SUNG ALPHABETICALLY BY A LARGE COLLECTION OF TWEE SWEATER WEARING MINIONS." They run the music sites that scoop even Pitchfork before they can run a snide, rarely funny dis review.

And then you have guys like me. Guys who post about albums that are 12 years old, trying to get one last copy sold before the record and its memory fade like a million No Hit Wonders that came before. Guys who are so unhip that when they finally do post a song that winds up being a bandwidth buster, it's not a WOLF PARADE exclusive track. . . it's a dusty old nugget from the Traveling Wilburys (their biggest hit, no less!).

With that in mind, get ready to hop into the Way Back machine for another dusty one. This time I'm taking you back to Pittsburgh, PA in the mid-1990s. Back to a time when the term Alternative Rock was just about to lose all meaning entirely. This is the era of THE KARL HENDRICKS TRIO, 3 skinny post-SUPERCHUNK rockers who made beautiful dischord out of every indie geek's worst nightmare: dealing with women.

While two albums and an EP preceeded it, "A GESTURE OF KINDNESS" is -- in my opinion -- the complete realization of the band's sound (and therefore its masterpiece). The guitars are jangly and explosive, the lyrics full of regret, embarassment, bitterness and quite frankly, a little bit of misogyny. From what I've heard, Karl Hendricks looked a bit like Steve Albini if he'd turned out more like Mark Borchardt and dressed more like Garth from "Wayne's World." I like to think that this album is what Robert Crumb would sound like if he'd made a punk band.

The album opens with the tone-setting "Foolish Words of a Woman in Love," which sounds like an exact combination of the aforementioned Superchunk and the ARCHERS OF LOAF. The band is on a roll that continues through the rest of the album, starting with "The Official Shape of Beauty" (a great DINOSAUR JR song, if J Mascis took out 3 minutes of guitar solos and just made a pop song). Following that is the jazzy "The Scoffer's Reply", where Hendricks takes on his biggest critic, his ex-girlfriend ("The scoffer's reply: 'It's not jazz when you play like that'").

My favorite track on the album comes 7 songs in, "King Beds Morning Coffee." Even if you hate the rest of the record, you've got to love this one. It has a really cool opening bassline that leads into a great descending guitar part, and some great sad lyrics that -- even if they were in some made up language -- sound exactly like what the guy is feeling. If you only spoke Spanish and heard this track, you'd still know it's about a bitter geek and his lost love. (Unrelated trivia: Does anyone know if there was actually a coffee brand called King Beds' Morning Coffee? For some reason, I've always thought there was.)

- The Karl Hendricks Trio at Merge Records. Stream a few more recent tracks here.
- "A GESTURE OF KINDNESS" was out of print for years, but was just rereleased on Spirit of Orr Records. If anyone out there has the reissue, I'd love to hear the bonus tracks.





I'm literally and figuratively running on a low battery right now, so tonight's post is going to be brief. The three songs (plus one tengential cut) posted here were going to be my last three songs of my November quest to get 60 songs up in 30 days. I made it to 57. I guess there's always next year.

I did have a few readers who ponied up with offers of bandwidth space, but I wound up being too busy this weekend to take them up on their generous offers. I think these guys deserve a shout out at the very least, so go check out Rob's blog and Sean's Liturgy site.

Now, on with the music...

I spend most of my days working in one of Omaha's finer indie record stores, and it's pretty rare that we get good promo CDs from record labels trying to pimp their wares. Usually, you can only hope at most to get a CD you can put in and ignore for 45 minutes. Typically, you're not that lucky and you wind up buried under a pile of half-baked, half-assed records.

Such is not the case with the new album from THE KINGSBURY MANX. I'd largely ignored the band's catalogue until a music blogger out there posted a few months ago a song of theirs called "Pelz Komet". I immediately started tossing the song on every mix I made. What I really like about the song is that it has this homemade charm while still sounding like a lost radio anthem. The vocals and music also reminded me of another fine indie band, VERSUS. That band's "Lose That Dress" was one song that came to mind.

A few weeks ago, we got the new Manx album in the mail and I've been popping it into the store's player every few days. That's more than you can say for a lot of the discs we have behind the counter. I've been doing similar championing of THE STANDARD's new album, along with SUN KIL MOON.

Aside from the Versus comparison, I'm also hearing a good deal of that old KINKS sound on The Kingsbury Manx's "The Fast Rise and Fall of the South" (the name of both this song and the album itself). My current favorit track on the album has to be "I0008". The only things I can't figure out is how these guys sound so goddamned British when they're actually from North Carolina, and how I've managed to sleep on them until this, their 5th proper album.

- Get more downloads from their official site.
- Buy super cheap downloads of all their records at Emusic.com.