It's that time of year again when, everywhere you go, you hear the same old holiday music over and over again—the standards you know by heart, ones you've heard since you were knee-high to an elf. They're regurgitated ad nauseam by pop stars, country acts and torch singers, often with no discernible effort to make their versions stand out from the rest. They say the same things, the same way, every year, until the songs are just reminders that we still have a ton of crap to buy and not enough money to do it. So, if all you want for Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa-Festivus-Solstice-whatever is a break from that aural tradition, I got you.
Rudy Ray Moore, "Night Before Christmas, Part 1" from This Ain't No White Christmas! (Norton, 2001): OK, gather around the campfire and let party-album comedian Rudy Ray Moore—aka Dolemite, muthafucka!—tell you a little story. "Ho-ho-ho! From the North to the South Pole, you know it's awful damned cold. But I gotta get outta here and take these presents to all these bad muthafuckas that I know. Rudolph, wit' your nose so red, come on over here and pull this muthafuckin' sled!"
Vulfpeck, "Christmas in L.A." from Thrill of the Arts (Vulf, 2015): Contrary to popular belief, Vulfpeck isn't a phonetically spelled German pronunciation of "wolfpack." Like some foreign words, it doesn't translate directly to English. It signifies a vibe, an unrelenting joy that is best described by referencing a sound—namely, that of the Jackson 5 (see "ABC," "The Love You Save"). Cross that with Christmas cheer, and you can almost hear this song without clicking "play." (P.S. I made up that German jazz.)
The Rodeo Boys, "GHB in the Eggnog" (single, 2004): As of press time, it's less than a week since these beloved indie rockers reunited for a one-off show and we all got blissfully 'faced for the occasion. This is an unreleased tune I discovered on YouTube as part of an old holiday special by local TV show 3.2 Percent. Don't worry—it's not as rape-y as it sounds: "They put GHB in the eggnog/ she got high/ and I passed out/ I woke up in the driveway/ under the car/ with my pants pulled down."
Meshugga Beach Party, "Hot Rod Hanukkah" from Hot Rod Hanukkah (Halakahiki, 2011): Do your Jewish buddies ever remind you that their holiday lasts for eight days, all of which include gifts? You know, while we goyim blow our wads on a single day and ride around in our fakakta sleighs while they burn rubber and candles in their Menorah GT with the 440 engine en route to shtup a nice girl in the tuches? No? Mine don't, either. It's probably not a thing. But this happy little '50s-inspired surf number will make you shep naches. (Look it up.)
David Hasselhoff, "Feliz Navidad" from The Night Before Christmas (Shock, 2004): No disrespect to the great guitar hero and songwriter José Feliciano, but this might be the best version of this song—because of the corny funk that Hasselhoff lends to the tune while singing in a perfect accent but still sounding hopelessly white bread.
Gwar, "Stripper Christmas Summer Weekend" (single, Slavepit, 2009): It shouldn't be surprising that Gwar, the Scumdogs of the Universe, would make a cock-rock song—late front-monster Oderus Urungus did wear a huge fishy dong, after all. But this isn't just an arena-rock anthem; it verges on the kind of beachy power pop you'd hear in '80s titty-comedies. That's a surprise, since most of Gwar's music sounds like combat ambience. But it's damned fun, and Dr. Oz says there's nothing like summer mammaries to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Robert Lund & Spaff.com, "Make Christmas White Again" (single, thefump.com, 2017): They're not lamenting an increasingly toasty planet and consequent lack of snow. This brand-new single from Utah's premier parodists tweaks "Winter Wonderland" to suit the Trump administration and the mouth-breathing true believers who love them and fear anyone whose veins aren't visible through their skin.
The Soul of John Black, "Santa Claus Needs Some Lovin'" from The Soul of Christmas (Yellow Dog, 2011): TSOJB main man John Bigham brings some funk to Albert King's Christmas classic, which says what many of us have always wondered: Santa's a grown man with needs. And with a doting wife like Mrs. Claus, he surely doesn't want for cookies. Are you sure he didn't ask for milk and nookie?"
Palace of Buddies, "Dammit Baby, Merry Christmas" from Summertimes (palaceofbuddies.bandcamp.com, 2011): This track by local duo Timothy Myers and Nick Foster—opening for Birthquake Dec. 14 at Metro Music Hall (615 W. 100 South, metromusichall.com)—is a sweet, dreamy recollection of falling in love while holiday shopping: "She looked me in the eyes/ and I could not accuse her/ as she asked me what my name was/ I totally dismissed that/ she had screwed me out of three whole dollars." I defy anyone not to wish desperately to know what magical, radiant beauty would cause you to forgive something like that. I mean, three bucks is three bucks.