December is the month of longer days and colder nights. Whenever I fail to make it back home to Texas for the holidays, nostalgia hits hard. In this playlist I included some Texan friends along with a couple weird Christmas classics like Sparks' "Thank God it's not Christmas". There's oldies, newbies, and in-betweenies. Hope you enjoy!
1. "Summer's Gone" by Gene Defcon
Gene is a genius from Texas who released two extremely long albums (they've got about 45 songs each) and also played in the band The Carrots—see track #4. He is really special and has an epic garden in his backyard that he takes extra-special care of. I highly recommend listening to his music; there is a song for every mood and situation you could feel, and his albums were the perfect Walkman CDs when I was in high school.
2. "Quelqu'un m'a dit" by Carla Bruni
I found this song via the classic movie 500 Days of Summer. I highly recommend everyone rewatch the film so they can see that the guy was actually the real asshole all along and stop blaming Summer for her non-commitment. This movie is also really important for that IKEA scene, shot at a location which has since been closed down and turned into apartments. R.I.P. to walking around that exact IKEA in L.A., but hello to the new giant IKEA that's literally across the street from the old one!
3. "Alaska" by Maggie Rogers
Throwing this cold-themed song in for my winter mix. All of Maggie's videos are shot outside, and this one looks like it could be chilly! Also love Zia Anger and all the videos she's directed. I recently saw Maggie play a sold out show in L.A., and girls in the audience were crying during this song.
4. "Gloria" by The Carrots
An Austin band I grew up seeing. They used to play really fun shows dressed as girl groups with matching outfits, and I once saw them play at Justine's, a French burlesque-y themed space that sometimes had girls in lingerie hanging on swings. Recommend stopping by if you're in Austin!
5. "Designer Genes" by Amoebas in Chaos
Wanted to throw in a weird song to break up anything too fast-paced.
6. "Offa My Hands" by Jessica Lea Mayfield
The most cheerful song off of Jessica's newest album. I highly recommend listening to the entire album in order for all its ups and downs. I hadn't listened to Jessica till I got to work with her on a music video, and I am now obsessed with this new album. She's touring right now, so be sure to check out her dates! She plays L.A. in January.
7. "Denis" by Blondie
I recently watched the movie CBGB on Netflix starring Alan Rickman (R.I.P.) and Rupert Grint—it was great to see them acting together again one last time—and I started re-listening to Blondie's greatest hits.
8. "Winter's Ballad" by Cuco
Another winter-themed song name! I recently got into Cuco, a 19-year-old musician from L.A.. He has a really cool style and sings dreamy-sounding ballads.
9. "He's Gone" by The Chantels
Sad oldie from 1957. (Insert broken heart emoji.)
10."Thank God it's Not Christmas" by Sparks
My all-time favorite band Sparks sings this Christmas (or non-Christmas?) tune from 1974. My dream is to direct a music video for Sparks. If you have any free/bored time this break, check out all of their music videos—they've had videos directed by Sophie Muller and David Lynch.
11."Human Being" by Stef Chura
Love Stef's voice and the tone of this entire song. The slower speed is really nice to listen to when you're working, which is what I always end up doing during the holidays.
12."Jaded" by Winter
Love the music video for this song by Winter, who is currently on tour in Brazil!
13."Otra Dimension" by Alaska Y Los Pegamoides
A love song about being lost in another dimension. Alaska is an idol.
14."Blasting" by Pataphysics
Pataphysics is this insane band from Austin whose lead singer, Patrick, has spasm attacks onstage; I highly recommend checking out this crazy video of them singing about Jesus growing a mustache on the children's show Chic-a-Go-Go. They once released a mini CD that apparently got stuck in a bunch of people's MacBooks back in the day.
15."Dark Come Soon" by Trashique
Grimes and Hana have teamed up to form this dream band. Grimes and Hana covering Tegan and Sara? What more could anyone want!!!
16."Country Christmas" by Loretta Lynn
I don't really like Christmas albums, but I love anything Loretta Lynn puts out. I once got to visit her ranch in Tennessee in which she built a fake coal mine and installed "dummy" replicas of her dad as a coalminer throughout the mine. She also had a pair of slippers Patsy Cline gave her as part of her house museum tour—it was totally worth the $10 or however much I paid to visit. They also blast Loretta Lynn songs in those fake speakers disguised as rocks throughout the place.
17."It's Okay to Cry" by Sophie
Sophie's breakout coming-out song. She truly reveals herself, physically and spiritually, in the music video; you should watch it.