A new documentary called Jingle Bell Rocks! hopes to tear away the wrapping on a unique underground scene: alternative Christmas music junkies. This is a label not to be worn with the shame of an ugly holiday sweater, as discovering or even producing an alternative to the well-worn jingles of the days of yore can be fun and even lucrative. (Just ask Mariah Carey, whose All I Want For Christmas Is You has kept her rolling in diamonds and Hello Kitty toys for the last twenty years.)
Jingle Bell Rocks! turns its lens on the avid collectors who scour record stores for heaps of discarded vinyl, in hope of finding an amazing gem for their annual Christmas mix tape, and even talks to the talents who put together some of these jams, including Reverend Run of Run D.M.C, whose Christmas In Hollis can soothe even the most frenzied shopper in a department store when it comes on. John Waters, Wayne Coyne and other contributors to holiday fun also get their moment in this celebratory doc that screens Sunday and Monday, December 14-15, at the Boedecker Theater in The Dairy Center for the Arts and also December 17 at the Sie FilmCenter. While you wait for those screenings, enjoy the Top 5 craziest Xmas tunes selected by Shawn Morrison, a local Christmas enthusiast who knows a thing or two about some of the holiday's musical deep cuts.
5. Lights Out, Black Friday - shawnM Shawn Morrison, aka shawnM, is a connoisseur and creator of Christmas music as seen through his own bent lens. For the past eighteen years, he has written and recorded a yearly Xmas album that runs all things sacred and secular through the juicer and spits it out in one big mashup, sardonic mess. "Tis the season opener filled with fistfights and five-dollar flannels," says Morrison. "It inspired me to write maybe the only ode to Black Friday out there. My favorite Christmas ditty out of all that I have created and laid waste to." Listen to this ditty on SoundCloud.
Continue on for more Christmas music deep cuts4. Christmas With Satan - James Chance
"If you invited Mr Bungle to play your office Xmas party this is what you might get," advises Morrison. "At a blistering ten minutes filled with ricocheting saxophone and guitar licks and some of the angriest horn lines I've ever heard, this tune is best served as a soundtrack at your folks house with your ear buds on when the dinner conversation gets tense."3. Back Door Santa - Clarence Carter
"This little blues gem from 1968 is chockful of more sexual innuendo than nuts in a fruit cake," Nuff says. "I ain't like old Saint Nick, he don't come but once a year. On the cool tip, the horn lick was later sampled by Run DMC forChristmas in Hollis
Continue on for more Christmas music deep cuts2. It's Christmas Time (Jingle Bells) - David Banner
"It wouldn't be Christmas time if we didn't throw a little rap slant in there," he adds. "The greatest use of theGod Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
melody is the sonic glue for this groove. The ghetto has no Christmas time!"1. Jingle Bells - Esquival
"It's Christmas from the space-aged bachelor pad! A must for your playlist while you're entertaining this season. Esquivel himself tells you he likes the cut of your suit during this jam. It gets no cooler."
Jingle Bell Rocks! screens at 4 p.m. December 14 (with an Xmas vinyl sale and holiday reading by Andy Schneidkraut) and at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. December 15 at the Boedecker Theater in The Dairy Center for the Arts. For tickets, go to TheDairy.org. The film also screens at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, December 17 at the Sie FilmCenter. For tickets, go to DenverFilm.org.
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Dear Constant Reader, you can learn more about Keith Garcia on Twitter: @ConstantWatcher