Record Store Day

25 Days of Christmas Records – Day 22

Imagene Peise – Atlas Eets Christmas [Warner Bros. Records 545311-1, 12″ LP, Limited Edition Red Vinyl, 2014.]

Imagene Peise frontSay it out loud: Imagine Peace. At Last It’s Christmas. Those guys in the Flaming Lips impart their weirdness on Christmas. But it’s really quite beautiful weirdness. We’re getting closer to Christmas Day and it’s getting more difficult to narrow down my last few selections for this 25 Days of Christmas Records extravaganza. I figured I’d go with some music from Oklahoma today, and something relatively new on vinyl, albeit something off the beaten track.

“The Flaming Lips secret 2007 Christmas album, Atlas Eets Christmas, was previously released in a very limited physical quantity on CD only under the pseudonym Imagene Peise (with a sticker that read “Love Is The Answer – Merry Christmas From The Flaming Lips 2007″). This Black Friday release will mark the first time the album is available both widely and on vinyl.” – The Flaming Lips Online Store

Imagene Peise backThe Flaming Lips presented Atlas Eets Christmas as the lost recording of Christmas songs by 18-year old female Iraqi jazz pianist Imagene Peise. You have to admire their creativity. As far as I have been able to find out, this is the work of Flaming Lips band member Steven Drozd. The tunes are mostly straight-forward piano arrangements of well-known Christmas tunes with some slightly odd string accompaniment on each track that gives it a hint of Middle Eastern flavor and Flaming Lips strangeness. They even added some vinyl static and pops for effect. They uploaded the whole album for all to enjoy; listen to Atlas Eets Christmas on YouTube. Read the liner notes included under the “Show More” tag on each song page for the whole imaginary back story.

Imagene Peise vinylMy copy pictured here is a limited edition of the album released on beautiful red vinyl for Record Store Day in November 2014. I couldn’t pass that up! Not knowing exactly what to expect from this album since I hadn’t heard anything on it, I was pleasantly surprised by its balance of familiar melodies and the eccentricity that is a hallmark of the Flaming Lips’ sound. I know it may be a little far afield for some folks, but it suits my eclectic tastes pretty well. Take a listen and see what you think!

Have yourself a spaced out little Christmas…

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25 Days of Christmas Records – Day 6

Frozen – Side A – Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn, Katie Lopez – “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” / Side B – Josh Gad – “Summer” [Walt Disney Records D002102521, 7″ 33-1/3 single, 2014.]

Frozen A sideFrozen B side Frozen spinningHey, it’s not all vintage vinyl in my collection! I thought it’d be fun to toss in something brand new just in case any of my kids are reading this. The music from the Disney film Frozen is big in our house: the kids love it and my wife, Sarah, loves it and will avail herself of any opportunity to belt out those catchy tunes, especially when she’s baking.

This is a beautiful little 7″ single picture disc featuring two songs from the film. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” is not quite a Christmas tune, but it has a wintry enough theme and I thought it was apropos for the season. I’m not sure this will enter the Christmas music canon as other snowman songs have, but it’s a great tune and it’ll likely become a winter holiday staple at our house. This picture disc was just put out in a limited edition for this year’s Record Store Day special release celebration on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s interesting that this 7″ plays at 33-1/3 rpm and not 45 rpm as most 7″ records do. I’m not sure why they chose to format it that way.

I think it’s cool how many new picture discs are being released these days as vinyl makes a resurgence in popularity. Way back when in my youth, a picture disc album was something you didn’t come across all that often and they were typically extremely limited releases. There are some really fantastic looking picture discs being produced these days. I couldn’t resist picking it up when I saw this lone copy sitting there on the rack at one of my local record stores! Many retailers are sold out of it at this point.

I had really thought of buying it for Sarah as a little Christmas present, but even with her love of the movie and its music, I knew she’d only feel lukewarm at best about having a vinyl record, even this swell looking picture disc, so I gave it to myself as an early gift. It was the right thing to do!

Here’s a nice little video on the Disney site about how the song almost got cut from the movie: “Snowman” Clip – THE STORY OF FROZEN: MAKING A DISNEY ANIMATED CLASSIC

I can’t imagine the movie without that song. And it really is an excellent movie. It’s a great story – funny and smart and moving, in all the best ways – and it has great music and songs. The songs were written by the husband and wife team of Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who appear to be continuing the long tradition of superb songwriting at Disney. Here’s a nice interview with them on NPR’s Fresh Air radio show in April of 2014: Songwriters Behind ‘Frozen’ Let Go Of The Princess Mythology

Just in case you don’t know this song as well I do, you can take a listen now:

As they say at Disneyland, “Have a magical day!”