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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: Joe D’Amico’s “I Got You For Christmas”

Joe D'AmicoWell, well, well—look at Joe D’Amico over there. It’s Christmastime, but he doesn’t want the gift of money. He doesn’t want any gift, actually—especially anything that requires his little special someone to go “running around chasin’ all those things that we don’t need.” Why? Because he’s got LOVE—and who needs silly material possessions packaged in goofy wrapping paper and stuck beneath a slowly dying pine tree when you’ve got love in your heart, amirite? Ah yes, such heartwarming selflessness truly is the spirit of Christmas. Well, Joe, it’s really nice of you to wish that all of us lost, lonely souls will also find the same kind of love you have this Christmas. But, you know, a handful of Xbox Live points or a sweet vintage copy of the Return Of The Jedi: Battle At Sarlacc’s Pit board game would go just as far in terms of filling the cold, empty void where our hearts should be. Hell, I’d even settle for a nice pair of Christmas socks.

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: Andrew Lipke’s “Xmas Buddha”

Andrew Lipke

What would Buddha think about Christmas—in particular, the tradition of exchanging expensive material goods with one another to show just how much we care (despite having spent the other 364 days of the year neglecting and arguing with each other)? Probably not much. Andrew Lipke, meanwhile, doesn’t seem sure what he thinks. “Xmas Buddha” features Philly’s favorite piano-pounding singer-songwriter musing over the feelings of “hopeless hopefulness” and “beautiful intentions” the holiday season beats us over the head with. (And when he sings “kill them all with love / kill them all with ornaments,” it’s not clear if that’s what he’s expecting at the Lipke family Christmas later this week, or if he feels that’s something everyone does to one another year after year.) Finally, Lipke asks, “Who’s right? Who’s wrong?”—but the song ends before he has a chance to offer an answer. Andrew Lipke And The Prospects perform with Hezekiah Jones and Chris Kasper at 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 29th, at Sellersville Theater; tickets are $19.50-$29.50.

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: Hiding From Andy’s “Christmas Through My Window”

Hiding From AndyIn the last two weeks or so that we’ve been running our 12 Days Of Christmas series, there’s been a fair share of songs that really bring on the holiday blues. (Ben Arnold’s tale of drunken, sad-sack loneliness on Christmas night, in particular, left us wanting to reach for the bottle as well.) So we thank Hiding From Andy for sending us a song that pretty much features every image of a classic, happy family holiday: a neighborhood lit by sparkling Christmas lights, a party full of old friends, bottles of wine and winter beer, gathering firewood on a snowy night, and a picture-perfect scene of togetherness. (Maybe Hiding From Andy should invite Ben Arnold over.)

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: Hoots And Hellmouth’s “A Song For Solstice”

Hoots And HellmouthDear Hoots And Hellmouth:

I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with current events, pal, but this year’s winter solstice coincides with a friggin’ TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE. Which, you know, IS TONIGHT (specifically, 2:41 a.m.), when THE MOON WILL BE SHROUDED IN THE SHADOW OF THE DAMN EARTH. More from the AP:

Weather permitting, sky gazers in North and Central America and a tiny sliver of South America will boast the best seats to this year’s only total eclipse of the moon.

The eclipse will happen Monday night on the West Coast and during the wee hours Tuesday on the East Coast. Western Europe will only see the start of the spectacle while western Asia will catch the tail end.

The moon is normally illuminated by the sun. During a total lunar eclipse, the full moon passes through the shadow created by the Earth blocking the sun’s light. Some indirect sunlight will still manage to pierce through and give the moon a ghostly color.

Since the eclipse coincides with winter solstice, the moon will appear high in the sky – a boon for skywatchers. With recent volcanic eruptions around the globe dumping tons of dust into the atmosphere, scientists predict the moon may appear darker than usual during the eclipse, glowing an eerie red or brown instead of the usual orange-yellow tinge.

The Huffington Post also mentions, “NASA reports that this is the first time an eclipse has coincided with a solstice since December 21, 1638, and the next one won’t come around again until 2094. The extravaganza in the sky doesn’t end there, however, as the Ursids meteor shower will also be taking place.” Did you hear that? METEORS.

It’s not that we don’t appreciate you sending “A Song For Solstice” our way for our 12 Days Of Christmas thing. It’s a great little ditty. But, given the rarity of this combination of events, don’t you think a little something extra was in order? “A Song For Solstice: TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE (End Times) Remix,” maybe? I bet the folks in The Asteroid No. 4 would have been down for it.

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: Madi Diaz’s “Silent Tonight”

Madi DiazThe title of Madi Diaz‘s “Silent Tonight” is every bit as deceiving as the band name itself. Though it suggests a solo singer-songwriter, Madi Diaz is actually the moniker of the Nashville-based indie-folk duo composed of Lancaster, PA-raised Madi Diaz—whom you might remember from her appearance in Don Argott’s 2005 documentary Rock School (about the The Paul Green School of Rock Music, which she attended)—and her mustachioed, guitar-slinging buddy Kyle Ryan. “Silent Tonight,” meanwhile, does borrow a melody or two and some lyrics from the classic Christmas carol “Silent Night”—but it actually has just as much in common with “White Christmas” as it does “Silent Night” (if not more). Consider it a mini-Christmas-song-medley of sorts, with plenty of original material sprinkled in for good measure. That’s a lot of music for a song that’s primarily made up of nothing more than Madi’s voice and a pair of acoustic guitars.

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: Joshua Park’s “Home”

Joshua ParkJoshua Park makes one thing very clear in the song “Home”: Wherever his titular “home” is, the dude really, really wants to go back there. Why? Well, for starters, the weather’s starting to get pretty damn cold—and “home” apparently has good heating (plus a nicely made bed and lots of warm love). More importantly, home is a place where he can leave all his troubles behind; and judging by the song’s lyrics, the local singer-songwriter has a bunch of things weighing heavily on his mind. So much so that he’s “given up,” he “can’t take any more,” his “feet drag the floor,” and his “balance is unsure.” That last bit makes us wonder if he’s currently living in a freezing apartment with sinking floors somewhere in South Philly; if that’s the case, it’s no wonder he wants to return to where he grew up so badly. After all, “home” really does sound like a swell place—a magical wonderland where all of life’s difficulties simply melt away.

Maybe it’s in Gladwyne.

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: The Roddies’ “Christmas Cheer”

The RoddiesThere’s a lot of peace on earth and good will toward men going on in the Rodowicz household during Christmastime. Not only does the all-in-the-family quartet known as The Roddies comprise three brothers (including a pair of identical twins) AND a cousin, but it’s responsible for “Christmas Cheer”—a holiday tune jinglier than Santa’s sleigh-bell strap and sappier than any Christmas tree. It’s certainly a credit to the fraternal foursome’s ability to work with one another; most bands featuring a pair of siblings (much less, three siblings and a cousin) probably would have torn itself to shreds arguing over who got to play the xylophone. Perhaps the compromise the band worked out during the songwriting process was that vocals, guitar, bass, and xylophone would all play the exact same melody during the final chorus? (Talk about people working in harmony in the City Of Brotherly Love.)

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas (Bonus Stocking-Stuffer Edition): The Sky Drops’ “Christmas Feels Like Halloween”

Originally released last December as a limited (and secret) download, “Christmas Feels Like Halloween” is the b-side to The Sky Drops‘ new single, “Explain It To Me” (which we posted last week). And, unlike “Explain It To Me”—which we described as “sounding a lot like pretty much every other The Sky Drops song we’ve heard”—this acoustic-guitar driven track is relatively different territory for the Wilmington, DE-based shoegaze duo.

Thanks to the band for passing this our way.

Christmas feels like Halloween by theskydrops

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: Ben Arnold’s “Reindeer Game”

Ben Arnold

It doesn’t get a whole lot more depressing than stumbling home alone through the snow after a late night at the bar, where you were just another sad-sack drunk with sob story about losing the girl he loved. Unless, of course, it’s Christmas night—in which case you probably are better off drinking yourself into oblivion. So why does Ben Arnold‘s “Reindeer Game”—which follows a nostalgic, inebriated slob through the bluest of blue Christmases—kick off with a jaunty whistle melody, and contain an almost jovial tone that belies the song’s melancholy lyrics? Maybe because the handful of happy memories he mulls over are the kind that can send a smile creeping across one’s tear-streaked face. Or, perhaps, Ben simply can’t disguise his upbeat nature (heart-crushing lyrics aside). Either way, we thank him for it. “Reindeer Game” could easily be the soundtrack to your own Christmas of alcohol-fueled misery and solitude; instead, it’s the kind of song you want to listen to while slow-dancing with the one you love across your Christmas-tree-lit living room (all the while thanking your lucky stars you’re not one of the lonely schlubs you can see slumping their way down the street from your apartment window).

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: The Tell Alls “Bright Lights Of Christmas”

The Tell AllsWhen The Tell Alls‘ Ken Buono first released his Bright Lights Of Christmas EP back in 2008—before he left Philadelphia for Nashville, TN—it probably didn’t occur to him that the snow-centered lyrics to the album’s title track would be just as applicable to Music City as it was to The City Of Brotherly Love. But here we are, in December of 2010—and, while Philly is enjoying a mild 37-degree morning with a few flakes of snow, Nashville is already covered in more than half a foot of it (with more on the way). That’s probably great news for all the “kids playing in the snow” Buono sings about in “Bright Lights Of Christmas,” but not such great news to anyone dealing with the numerous flight cancellations and road closures currently plaguing his new hometown. On the plus side, at least Buono’s given the city of Nashville a pleasantly carefree holiday song to listen to while stuck in traffic all morning.

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