Monday, December 21, 2015

My Musical Advent Calendar

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" /
The Jigsaw Seen

Okay, I'm starting to get into the mood for Christmas carols, the real stuff.  But I'm not ready yet for the full-on jubilation of "Joy to the World" and "Angels We Have Heard on High."  No, I'm still easing into things with my favorite minor-key carols --  you know, the brooding stuff like "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and "We Three Kings" and ""What Child Is This." 

And of course -- "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." But with a twist, and I do mean a Twist (though I'm not sure Chubby Checker had this in mind...)

Gotta love this band. Based in LA, for nearly 20 years they've been cranking out witty alternative music that's steeped in 60s rock history -- an intriguing mash-up of British Invasion, surf guitar, and flower-power psychedelia. Every song is full of subtle musical references that the band earnestly hopes you'll pick up (catnip to a music nerd like me).

And yes, I do know that three of the band's members -- guitarist Jonathan Lea, bassist Tom Currier, and drummer Teddy Freese -- have been touring with Dave Davies of the Kinks for the past couple of years. Given their crunchy, infectious sound, it's a match made in heaven.)

This holiday track was first released (on red vinyl!) as a single in 1989, only a couple of years after front man Dennis Davison and guitarist Jonathan Lea first founded the band. Dig that sitar-like intro, which then kicks into a thrashing drumbeat that could segue at any minute into the Stone's "Paint It Black" or the Seeds' "Pushing Too Hard."

They may be purveying tidings of comfort and joy (or so the lyrics promise), but the comfort and joy sure haven't happened yet. "Let nothing you dismay"? Sorry, it's 2015, and there's dismay everywhere I look. "To save us all from Satan's power / When we have gone astray"?  Oops . . . too late.

Or is it?

It's a dark world, drawing to the end of a troubled year, and it could go wrong at any moment. With the Jigsaw Seen at the wheel, though, we're driving helter-skelter through that dark night, looking for a red neon "Vacancy" sign up ahead. Even a stable would do....

No comments: