“Christmas Time is Here” from Khruangbin

Following up on yesterday’s post, here’s another Christmas tune from today’s generation. I’m finding that modern original (and listenable) Christmas music is pretty much non-existent. Everything’s essentially a reinterpretation of the standard catalogue of Xmas stock. Guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, considering we live in a franchised culture of remakes, reboots, and regurgitations. But I digress …

This is about finding unique and interesting contemporary music for the holidays. And it does exist. So this antepenultimate day before the Big X comes courtesy of Houston’s Thai-inspired psychedelic soul trio Khruangbin with “Christmas Time is Here.” They’ve recorded two versions of this one, both very similar. But the one I seem to gravitate more towards is the “Version Mary” version. It might have something to do with their play on words. It’s also a super-groovy minimal effort with a funky bassline, some stripped down percussion, and the requisite vocal bits that make me think of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” And their cover art invokes a similar sentiment.

In some ways, Khruangbin’s Xmas carol is very faithful to the original. But in others, it’s firmly rooted in the psychedelic haze of the lo-fi ’60s and ’70s. There’s parts of it that feel inspired by their love of Thai funk, but played really slow. And there’s others that make me think of the Italian cinema from that era, also played really slow. I realize those countries are world’s apart. But if you’ve seen any of those films, and listened to any of those soundtracks, the rhythm section would slot right in.

There’s not a whole lot else to say about this one except to give it a listen. It’s well worthy of the holiday season, Texas-style, of course.

“Christmas Time is Here (Version Mary)” from 2018 single “Christmas Time is Here..