December 24, 2007
As a holiday treat, I asked the members of New York city's the Shondes to share their favorite winter holiday music.
Ian: The Pogues – Fairytale of New York (from the LP, If I Should Fall from Grace with God)
I grew up with no Chanukah music (being the non-jew in the band, natch) but every year, come December, my family would listen to a f*ckload of xmas music. Honestly, I hate xmas music of pretty much all kinds – but I love this song. The city, snowfall, whiskey, xmas, Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan – priceless. This entire album is perfect for the fuzzy days of December, that feel much colder than they actually are.
Louisa: Elliott Smith Self-titled; Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
There’s something wonderfully creepy about winter holiday-time in New York; I kind of love it. It’s a good time to use music to block out the city sound and just walk around in the cold, taking in the whole surreal scene: lights, capitalism, chaos. I find Elliott Smith s/t to be an ideal soundtrack for a day spent this way. Though, to be honest, my favorite Chanukah record of all time is really Christmas Eve On Sesame Street, just for the moment when Bob whispers (literally, whispers) “and happy Chanukah to you, Mr. Hooper.”
Temim: Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow, La Mar Enfortuna
I’m a complete sucker for winter whimsy, hot toddies, and fried things, thus Chanukah being up there among my favorite times of the year. I get all vampiric and want to do things that involve blankets, beverages, and heartbreak music. Last winter circa Chanukah time, an album I had on repeat was La Mar Enfortuna, a project of Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles that explores Sephardic Jewish music between the 11th and 16th centuries – it’s quietly gorgeous. Typically, though, when it’s snowing and grey out, I’m never without Lucinda Williams.
Elijah: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, PJ Harvey
Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea by PJ Harvey came out not too long after I moved to New York, so I always get excited about listening to that around winter time. It reminds me of getting to know the city for the first time, growing up, and figuring out what I wanted my life to be about. I really connected to the urgency of it (and of course, I was already a fan). I think that felt really connected to the sharpness and immediacy of winter and New York, and I love listening to it walking around in the cold.