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TLO Album Review: A Blackwatch Christmas Vol. VI

5:42 AM EST on December 6, 2016

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I am not the biggest fan of locally produced indie rock, but I absolutely adore holiday music, so every year, the ever-present Blackwatch Christmas album presented by Fowler VW always manages to win me over despite any aural prejudices I might have to the area’s hipster-based music-makers and tune-weavers.

This year’s album—free to stream or name-your-own-price download here or available on vinyl at your friendly neighborhood Guestroom Records or available at the official vinyl release party at Stash (412 E. Main St.) on Friday in Norman!—is their strongest release yet, collecting a roster that’s heavy on the synth-pop and light on the intestinal droning, the way yuletide tunage really oughta be and, if that’s not enough, 100% of donations go to Norman Public Schools elementary music programs.

The LP gets right down to business, kicking out the jams with Steven Drozd’s Teutonically atmospheric werk-out “Christmas Snowflakes on the Autobahn,” a drowsy bit of noodling that manages to accomplish a beautifully late-night Xmas feeling in 2:20 that Drozd’s employer, Wayne Coyne, couldn’t achieve on the full Christmas on Mars soundtrack.

Slipping and sliding on the black ice right into Munch’s yearningly chaste “Kissmas” is a Wham!-worthy attempt at getting to second base under the mistletoe, while Chelsey Cope’s “Holiday Party” adds a much-needed husky-voiced cigarettes and eggnog jangle-cholia to the proceedings. BRINKA’s “Christmas Spirits” is about one minute of pure trapped in a snow-globe rapture and Andrew Belle’s “Back for Christmas” is a genuine thing of six-pointed snowflake originality, crystalline and sharp in its true translucent beauty.

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With a little holiday sumptin’ sumptin’ for the believers in Christ out there, represent, Boondice’s ultimately gorgeous Vangelis-esque instrumental of the traditional tune “Ave Maria” will not leave a dry eye, be it in your house or the Lord’s house. For the greedy sinners, however, Prettyboy’s deliriously sexy take on “All I Want for Christmas” is absolutely on par with Mariah Carey’s version, even more so if, like me, you’re a worshipper at the altar of Erasure. All I want for Christmas is a 12” single of this tune with at least six remixes, including a Perfecto.

Boondice show up again with the raucous “The Holidays Have Changed” (and later on again with the couples-only ice skating lip-locking majesty of “Ice Circles”), as does BRINKA contributing the fleeting moment of “Behold.” Labrys shoegazes their way into our cold hearts with the frozen night that is “Holiday” and Delphino’s “Islands” is the conga-beated two tickets to paradise that we’d all love to find in our stockings. Drink it down like it was eggnog made with coconut milk, son.

Like ol’ Kris Kringle himself, once again, the yearly return of the Blackwatch Christmas album doesn’t disappoint, a big bold check off in the definitely nice column of any music-fan’s Christmas wish list. For 2017, however, howsabout Santa and the Blackwatch guys to consider maybe my own yuletide wish of including my own holiday tune on Volume 7, a cover of Cheech and Chong’s “Santa and His Old Lady”? Talk about your Christmas miracles!

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Last Xmas, I gave her my heart but the very next day, she gave it away. Follow him on Twitter at @LouisFowler.

(Editor's Note: Fowler VW is a member of the TLO Ad Club.)

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