Some Traditional Christmas Music

Some Traditional Christmas Music

Christmastime has a lot of traditions associated with it, so allow me to share one of mine.

Back in, oh, 1984 or so, my best friend in High School and I went down to Barcelona for summer vacation. Aside from the usual stuff you’d expect two teenage boys on vacation away from their parents to do, like trying to pick up girls in night clubs, smoking joints, and plotting to crash the China Crisis/Simple Minds concert, we stopped at a used record store (remember record stores? Remember records?) and picked up something called Navidades radioactivas.

It was a compilation. A Christmas compilation. A punk Christmas compilation. A Spanish punk Christmas album. Naturally, we had to have it. And until YouTube stops being the repository of all music everywhere, you can hear an approximation of what it sounds like:

I made a point of listening to this every year, as a way of countering the endless barrage of Ecksmas Muzak played in every goddamn store throughout November and December, until my tape player died. I eventually converted my tapes to MP3s and have resurrected the tradition. Except that by then, online shopping had been invented, and became less necessary to put up with brick-and-mortar crap. I found out a while back that my friend also, once a year, pulls out his vinyl copy and plays it. I like that. It makes me feel that even though we don’t correspond much anymore, we’re still somehow connected.

So yeah, this is quite personal. So even if you’re listening to it now, I don’t expect you to make it to the end, unless you’re morbidly curious.

Some notes on the album

Unless you were a DJ in Madrid in the mid-80s, the only artists you have any chance of ever having heard of are El Aviador Dro and Derribos Arias (no, the Alphaville that performs Un día de diciembre is not the same band that did Big in Japan). I think Dro, who were big enough to have their own label, were trying to promote some bands they thought deserved wider recognition.

El Aviador Dro — El nascimiento de la industria: This is not the version from the LP. Apparently the track listing was changed when the CD version was released, so this is a different recording. Try to forgive the performance. It was the 80s, after all.

T.N.T. — Ratatata: a punk cover of The Little Drummer Boy. Back before we had things like YouTube, College Humor, and Boing Boing, this was considered some pretty weird shit.

Los Iniciados — El abominable hombre de nieve: This is a dark variant on Frosty the Snowman: it tells of how the children build a snowman, which then lasts all winter. Spring comes, and it doesn’t melt. Seasons come and go, and the snowman is still there. Years pass, boys grow up to be men, their children grow up and have children of their own, and still the snowman remains there, casting its unholy shadow over the town.

Agrimensor K. — Resurrección blanca: This may very well be a racist white power anthem. Sorry about that.

For anything else, Google — both its search engine and automatic translator — is your friend.