12 Days of Christmas Music to Improve Your Playlist (Day 6)

Here’s another Midnight Syndicate track for you today, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” It’s a song I’ve always kind of enjoyed, and I really like what they’ve done with it. MS makes excellent background music, I think — though it’s also fun to focus on it while you’re listening — and this morning I’m back at work on my novel edits now that my semester is over. (And there was much rejoicing!)



12 Days of Christmas Music to Improve Your Playlist (Day 5)

School let out for the holidays today, and all afternoon it was like the entire city was out traveling the same four streets I needed. It took twice as long to get anywhere. Good thing I had my iPod in the car with me.

In honor of everyone and their dog headed out to visit people for the holidays, I’ll leave you this nice little U2 video to enjoy.


12 Days of Christmas Music to Improve Your Playlist (Day 4)

Remember the band R.E.M.? Remember how fantastic they were? Their music was a huge part of my high school and college experiences, yet I had no idea they’d recorded any Christmas music until about a year ago. Go fig.

I like this track. It’s a lovely rendition of a song that I have a complicated relationship with. It always makes me feel melancholy but a little bit comforted at the same time; it has since I was a child. I’ll just post it here for you to enjoy while I go bake cookies for my kids’ teachers and grade finals.


12 Days of Christmas Music to Improve Your Playlist (Day 2)

So recently I found out about this Gothic music duo called Midnight Syndicate; they’ve been around for a long time, making (usually) instrumental albums generally to significant acclaim. One thing they like about having no vocals is that the listeners are free to let their minds wander and to make up the stories on their own, inspired by the music. Think of their work as a soundtrack to your darkish daydreams, I suppose.

I like what I’ve heard of their work so far. Their Christmas album, A Ghostly Gathering, feels very much like what you might hear wandering the snowy avenues of Dickens’ haunted world. The electronic music sometimes has the same feel, to me, of Depeche Mode’s album Violator — not because the two albums are similar thematically or melodically, but because it feels like the same depth of synth, if that makes any sense. Midnight Syndicate’s music does not feel orchestral, but it is satisfying.

Anyway, I love music in a minor key, and I also love Tchaikovsky. Here are two great sounds that sound great together.


12 Days of Christmas Music To Improve Your Playlist (Day 1)

It’s that time of year again, when the Houston’s Christmas Music Station bombards us from mid-November on with the most tired collection of Christmas songs day and night you can imagine.

(Though, to be fair, this year a few new pop songs have made it into the rotation which aren’t as dreadful as the rest of what they usually play. More on that later this month, maybe. We’ll see.)

In response to this general dearth of good music, I’ve been posting to my blog every year a variety of songs which are typically better than the ordinary, prepackaged stuff. I read recently that some of my readers have started building a playlist of the music I post here — so, you know, no pressure or anything to do a good job — just kidding! I love it — and that has inspired me to do it again. You can click here for past years’ choices: 2013, 2014, and 2015. Then go almost to the bottom of each page, right above the comments, for the “previous” and “next” buttons to explore.

You’ll notice that those links above all start with Day 2. That’s because on Day 1 every year I start with one of my all-time favorite songs — a little consistency to kick things off again because, after all, what’s a holiday without a tradition?

So here you are, that happily ending anthem to our crazy-busy lives, The Waitresses with “Christmas Wrapping.”