Green Monkey Records is a Seattle-based record company that specializes in punk and underground artists, and for the past five years they've been putting out a holiday music compilations each December. This year's release is called Merry Krampus, and it includes both edgy original songs and offbeat versions of holiday classics. The cut that immediately caught my attention is "No Lou this Xmas," by Tom Dyer and His Queen's Pajamas. It's a tribute to the great Lou Reed, who died on October 27, 2013.
Putting together these Green Monkey compilations involves a certain amount of luck, as the songs for each release are solicited by way of a public call for submissions. When the call goes out around October 1 each year, the producers never know what sorts of tracks will be sent in. If you ask me, this year's batch sounds awfully good. Oh yes, this year's proceeds will benefit MusiCares, an organization that provides financial support to musicians in need of assistance. Order your copy of Merry Krampus HERE.
Incidentally, the title of this album deserves a quick explanation, as it references a character who's unfamiliar to many of us in the United States. Krampus is a monster-like figure who serves in many European communities as the antithesis of Saint Nicholas. Where jolly old Saint Nick rewards good little boys and girls with presents and candy, Krampus's job is to terrify and punish the bad – usually by tossing them in a sack and dragging them off somewhere to be beaten with sticks. Delightful, no?
Learn more about Krampus from NPR Radio
Learn more about European holiday traditions from David Sedaris, whose outrageously funny piece "Six to Eight Black Men" describes Christmas in the Netherlands
Thanks to Stubby's House of Christmas and Lie in the Sound.