Remember last year when Fowler Volkswagen sponsored the totally free “Checking It Twice: The 2010 Nice People Holiday Companion” and gave out a ton of free copies of it, both digital and vinyl?
Well, this year, Norman’s Blackwatch Studios decided they wanted in on the action, so now we’ve got “A Blackwatch Christmas
” (which Fowler is sponsoring) and
“The 2011 Nice People Holiday Compilation
” to soundtrack the annual festivities.
And in a move that surprised no one, they both feature Chrome Pony.
Both albums are currently available as free digital downloads below. There are 1,000 copies of the Blackwatch record (also free!) that will be available starting today at Fowler Volkswagen of Norman and several other locations throughout the OKC metro. Also, you can score the Nice People companion in cassette tape form in Norman in the coming weeks.
As far as the actual content and quality of the music on these, it’s definitely several steps above novelty, but still just as fun as any Christmas recording I’ve ever heard. On the Blackwatch compilation, several of the artists — especially Sam Crain and Ben Kilgore — stretch outside their comfort zones into cheesy pop or erratic indie-jams. There’s even a hilarious Beastie Boys-inspired thing, “Chris Cringle,” from something called Hector Camancho.
With Nice People, the goofiness comes in the zig-zaggy melodies and moods that alternate between true-to-the-band (Lizard Police’s “Xmas Song,” Depth & Current’s “Lonely Special Day”) and genuinely charming (Luna Moth’s “Winter Light,” The Wurly Birds’ “Way Up North” and Kite Flying Robot’s “On Your Merry Way”).
Watch Nathan Poppe’s expertly edited “Making of a Blackwatch Christmas 2011 Holiday Album,” which I helped shoot some footage for.
I can testify that it was as much fun hanging around inside the studio as it looked: