Courtney Collins

Welcome to Christmastown

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Looking for something fresh to soundtrack your yuletide beyond the same old grab-bag? (Elvis, Beach Boys, Phil Spector's gals, and Vince Guaraldi don't fatigue, but still.) How does this eclectic assortment grab you? The solo sultry chanteuse and ex-Voltress singer from Madison, Wisconsin had already re-imagined songs recorded by Idlewild, Cheap Trick, Julie London, OMD, Emilio Pericoli, and Ann-Margaret on 2007's Violet Night; so with collaborators like Andrew Bird guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker and his bassist Mike Lewis, she downshifts from jazzy, cocktail-shaker versions of standards such as "A Marshmallow World" and Guaraldi's chilly "Christmas Time Is Here," to a weirdo folk "I'll Be Home for Christmas" like an alternate universe Rosemary Clooney, to neo-shoegaze and non-traditional covers of Dr. Seuss' Grinch, Low, Neil Young, and Ron Sexsmith. Like 1962's ace bebop Jingle Bell Jazz, Welcome to Christmastown is as mistily moody as it is celebratory.

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