An Audio Diva Christmas: It's A Holiday Where Things Fall Apart

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quite the find this little oddity is. While digging around looking for holiday sound bites, I came across this quirky collection by the infamous 80's No Wave label, ZE Records. My music nerdery sort of went into overdrive when seeing the track list that featured some favorites like Nona Hendryx, August Darnell (of Kid Creole & The Coconuts fame), The Waitresses, Was Not (Was) and Miss 'Disco Clone' herself Cristina. So yeah, I had to scope this one out, not to mention share this find with all my readers out there, as this is the season of 'giving' ya know?

Released in 1981 (and sadly out-of-print), A Christmas Record, is one of those off-shoot holiday collections that strives to not to follow in the traditional fa-la-la of the season. As ZE Records is known for housing the "mutant disco" and "No Wave" music genres, this set succeeds at showing the spectrum of those genres. Mostly the album is known for housing The Waitresses' classic "Christmas Wrapping" (which the Spice Girls would later cover), but there are some other gems buried here. I've always loved the tropical-soul-funk sound of Kid Creole & The Coconuts (not to mention adore their sarcastic humor) thus August Darnell's "Christmas On Riverside Drive" isn't a let down as it's a reckless abandon 'sleigh ride' that is mega fun.

August Darnell - Christmas On Riverside Drive

Nona Hendryx with Material give us some icy prog-disco that feels meant for cruising down a lighted street way. If you're already familiar with Hendryx (LaBelle, hello!) then you know what kind of energy and unique flavor she brings and she brings a lot to this dense dance cut that is one of the earliest collaborative efforts between them. If you want to get technical this track sort of pre-dates what Madonna would surface up with "Holiday"...just something to consider...

Material (ft. Nona Hendryx) - It's A Holiday

Cristina (who one day will get the 'wipe off the dust' treatment) is the one who brings sort of the pessimistic 'glass-is-half-empty' approach to the holiday on "Things Fall Apart" which from the title you can guess what it's about. With her usual "You're standing on my neck" bored tone on she sounds wonderful against a backdrop of some real meaty electric guitars.

Cristina - Things Fall Apart

A very cool yule this is indeed.


  1. You've really got a jones for new wave don't you? I think that is fascinating personally. ALways great to see people of color embrace their music, but not be limited by it.

    That is cool, as a Spice head, to know where CW came from. I knew it was a Waitresses' song, but not where it came from. Kudos on being festive for Chirstmas, but tasteful & witty at the same time.-QH

  2. QH:
    LOL! Yeah, I do. Love a lot of bands/singers in that genre like ABC, The Police, Talking Heads, Scritti Politti, Blondie, Missing Persons, Cristina et. al --somehow these bands don't really seem 'new wave' now esp. ABC, Scritti, and Police as they had a lot of Soul tones to them. Still they are well worth the check-out---I totally suggest ABC and Scritti Politti as they are more 'sophisticated pop' esp. in their later careers.

    Since you're a huge Duran Duran fan (*smile*), I suggest hearing Japan---who DD were influenced by. They are a bit 'whoa! wtf is this!' when you first hear them and it's an acquired taste. I was drawn to them by the old 'if you like Duran Duran (which I do) you'll like Japan'. They are also a bit dreary, and the lead vocalist's voice can get a bit tiring, but YouTube, "Quiet Life" to get started as it's their best song to me next to "Nightporter". They had a pretty nice cover of Smokey Robinson's "Second That Emotion" as well.

    You know how it is being 'that' Black kid who was listening to something other than R&B and Hip-Hop and Black musicians and being looked at weird for it---or maybe it was just me, LOL.

    Yeah, I had no idea where The Waitresses' "CW" came from either till I found it on this...we learn something new every day!


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