I’ll Stay ‘Til After Christmas
A Christmas Album to Benefit Amnesty International
Animal World Recordings
Born out of a yearly tradition where Animal World Recordings’ head Daniel Gill and his wife would give Christmas mixes out to friends and family, this original, and very sweet (it must be said), idea has expanded into an album of original recordings of Christmas-themed and wintry music compiled and released with all profits going to Amnesty International. Well done. No coal in these stockings, to be sure.
As a thematic piece, I’ll Stay ‘Til After Christmas is one of the best “alternative” Christmas comps in this reviewer’s recent memory. Whereas many such collections (Maybe This Christmas comes to mind immediately for some reason) seem just like random grab bags veering wildly between musical styles and relative quality, I’ll Stay is musically consistent (and excellent) in its evocation of icy wonder, crystalline snowdrifts, happily winking Xmas lights, and the happy/bittersweet sensations that December 25th brings about for folks of all ages, more than any other day of the year. Thus I’ll Stay works best as an unbroken listening experience from start to finish, a twinkling, icy wash of mysterious electronics alternating with barebones folk singalongs, but there are most definitely highlights. Au Revoir Simone’s update of the Vince Guaraldi/Charlie Brown Christmas classic “Christmastime Is Here,” is utterly perfect. Parenthetical Girls’ “Festive Friends (Forever)” is a glittering, chiming, glistening delight — like walking through a holiday party in a clockwork toy shop. Blitzen Trapper’s “Christmas is Coming Soon” and Arthur and Yu’s “My White Elephant,” are bleary-eyed acoustic delights, perfect for singalong OR self-pity, whatever your Xmas Eve choice. Turk Dietrich’s “Blue Christmas” and Au’s “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” are excellent deconstructions, like hearing the songs through the wall at your parents’ big party and then trying to rebuild them from that snippet of memory.
Between this compilation and The Raveonettes’ Wishing You A Rave Christmas EP, this has been a banner year for good, solid “new” Christmas music that won’t leave you in a diabetic coma and will definitely get much play at holiday parties in years to come. Plus, if you buy this it will make you a better person! Good lord, how many other records, besides the Suicide live box set, can you say that about?
I’ll Stay ‘Til After Christmas: www.myspace.com/illstaytilafterchristmas