AUDIO JUNKIE: The Itchyworms, Norah Jones, KaMuning want you to get into the Christmas vibe

Published December 18, 2021, 7:02 PM

by Punch Liwanag

By this time next weekend, we’ll all be knee deep in all things Christmas. Here’s a listing of some of the new Yule-themed music releases you can listen to to get you in the spirit as we count the remaining days until the Holidays.

Veteran alt-rock band The Itchyworms dropped a four-track EP titled “Christmas Starts When the Ber Begins” early this month. As far as how a Pinoy Christmas should look like and feel, the band nails it on the head with the novel sounding “Halo Halo.”

Itchyworms is at their best when it seems that they’re not taking things too seriously, hence their lyrics that go, “Mainit ang Pasko dito sa Pilipinas, walang reindeer dito, meron lang aso / Hindi nag-ii-snow dito sa Pilipinas, pero pwede tayong magbatuhan ng halo-halo, ho!” The image of knockin’ somebody else’s noggin with a glass full of Halo-Halo is funny enough (if it weren’t too violent), but the sentiment is right on. Especially if it’s going to knock sense into our heads on this little truth that drummer-songwriter Jazz Nicolas, guitarist-vocalist Jugs Jugueta, bassist Kelvin Yu, and guitarist Chino Singson illuminates us with on the latter part of it when they go “’Wag na tayong mangarap ng white Christmas sa Pasko, dahil ito ay pinauso lamang ng kano / making ng OPM, para hindi tayo malito.”

The very local sounding band KaMuning also got in on the Yule spirit with “Sana Lang (Ngayong Pasko).” This wistful original ballad is not your typical Holiday-sounding song. It’s kind of a downer actually, with the song more of a sentimental thought rather than your usual happy sounding carol. But we know that not all Christmas songs are built the same way, so we’ll let this one slide. The premise from the singer’s point of view is simple; that this Christmas, his special someone remembers him at this most special time of the year. KaMuning is a concept band that includes “Morgana, Joel, Teta and Max” as band members.

Norah Jones just released a new music video for a song titled “I Dream Of Christmas.” The song is one of the original songs Jones wrote for her first ever Yule-themed album of the same title.  Said song sounds almost like an alt-pop song, which is something you will never say of a Norah Jones song. But as with everything that has to do with Norah Jones, we already like it. 

The new release is a full-length affair that includes new songs and some well-known classics. First track “Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones)” with its twinkling pianos and just Norah Jones’ vocals immediately conjures the holiday feels. Norah’s Jazz chanteuse vibes always gives any song she sings a classic touch. And it’s put to good use on “Christmas Don’t Be Late” (yes, that Chipmunks song), “White Christmas,” and “Blue Christmas.” Meanwhile, new songs like playful and jazzy “Christmas Glow,” and bluesy “Christmastime” already has that well-worn feel. Like you already know these songs from way back.

Lovely sounding “It’s Only A Christmas Once A Year” in particular sounds yearning and wistful while the country-cum-gospel-like sound of “You’re Not Alone” is stirring. A personal favorite is electric piano decked “A Holiday With You” wherein we can clearly hear Norah Jones’ tasty piano chops as well as that soothingly warm voice of hers. 

Now that’s what we want to hear this Christmas.

 
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