For those of us who worked, the holidays can be a curse of the most epic proportions. No, I’m not talking about the crazy shoppers; I’m talking about holiday music. To the utter horror of some, it seems like it starts earlier and earlier every year. If you’re lucky though, you’ll be treated instead to holiday music curated by the likes of someone like, ahem, myself -- or some other similarly minded winter-wonderland connoisseur.
I’m not necessarily saying I own an extensive record collection of holiday classics (I do), I’m just hoping you’re around someone who appreciates the art of a great Christmas song. And to be sure, for every gem, there are a million duds. You need a discerning ear, folks. I’m not talking Celine Dion and Kenny G. I’m talking Prince’s "Another Lonely Christmas" or Otis Redding's "White Christmas"-- the most definitive version ever recorded.
That said, feast your earholes on my newest favorite, the ‘60s-garage-pop-inspired sounds of "Please Santa" by local buzz band Flaggs. Featuring guitarist/singer Lindsay Matheson (of the Nervous Wreckords), Leslie Schultze (formerly of the New Kinetics) on bass and drummer Matthew Franco, this San Diego supergroup-of-sorts toe the line between mod-rock enthusiasts and jangly, lo-fi, girl-group pop tarts.
"The song was intentionally supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek punk Xmas song," Matheson said. "However, it [turned] into more of a heartfelt song. It related to what I was going through at the moment and hoping I had someone to spend Christmas with."
"Please Santa" starts off rather pensively, with sleigh bells jingling in the background (a must!), before easing into a sweet, melodic sway complete with the chorus refrains of "Please Santa, I promise to be a better girl." Hey, nobody wants coal in their stocking, right? All the niceties go out the window, however, around the 3:15 mark, when the song erupts into a modest punk march.
"It makes me think of what the holidays are really meant to be: Hanging the garland around the tree, cranking the heat up and kissing underneath the mistletoe," Matheson added -- Santa might blush but he’d definitely approve.
Recorded recently at Earthling Studios with production wiz Mike Kamoo manning the boards, the band has another gift lined up for us.
"We're returning [to Earthling] all of January to record our first full-length album," Matheson said. "I am so proud of my little band; we’ve come so far musically and personally in less than one year, and I can’t wait to share our new songs with everyone."
Now that we can look forward to the first Flaggs long-player, only one question remains: Besides "Please Santa," what are the band members' favorite Christmas songs? Schultze went naughty with "364 Days," by Murder City Devils, but Matheson chose a nice, tried-and-true holiday staple: "I recently heard Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ at a bar the other day. That brought back so many memories for me -- it may not be the best song ever, but the whole point of holiday music is nostalgia. You're totally lying if you tell me you hate that song."