As you may have gathered from my weekly podcast, “Feeding Ducks, with Zack & Quackers,” I maintain a pretty low-key lifestyle. Of the punk life trifecta—sex, drugs, rock and roll—only that last element sounds appealing, because it conjures up images of me enjoying a warm roll. Actually, our mutual fondness for bread is the only reason Quackers and I can still do the podcast, and if I were honest with myself there’s really nothing left for me in that relationship.
Hence, there was no small amount of shock and chamomile tea spilling when I received a call from the gem-encrusted cell phone of bona fide rock star John Roderick (of The Long Winters fame). Evidently, he and fellow guitargonaut Jonathan Coulton had grounded their golden pleasurecopters long enough to collaborate on an album of Christmas music, and wished to secure my services for the front and back covers. Having met the two under totally normal circumstances a month prior, I knew this was a great opportunity to work with a couple of swell guys who—if I played my cards right—might just share with me the secret of facial hair husbandry (Note: they did not).
Now, I realize for many of you, Christmas music is Proustian invitation to bask in the warm memories of yuletides past, to be quaffed with nogalcoholic abandon as soon as the last fiber of Thanksgiving turkey is pried from the bone. I understand. I have a similar reaction Marvin Hamlisch’s score for Seems Like Old Times. However, I nonetheless find 99.4% of all Christmas songs to be cloying miscarriages of sound, and spend most of December wishing my superpower was “retractable ears” instead of “parellel parking.”
Not so with Roderick and Coulton’s “One Christmas At A Time.” Whether it be the anthem to video game gifting, “2600,” or the universally-applicable “Christmas In Jail,” every song on the album gets me right in my two sizes too small heart. My only misgiving is that the meeting of Jonathan Coulton and The Long Winters wasn’t christened “The Jonathan Winters.” Missed opportunity, that.
To get your copy of “One Christmas At A Time,” sally forth to the order page. And while any edition of the record is a Christmas miracle, word on the sleet is the special edition box set is especially suffuse with holiday cheer.