Christmas Album

edited September 2012 in JoCo Music
From the blog:
I don’t know how soon I can let you hear it, but I’m excited to announce
that John Roderick and I will be putting out an album of original
Christmas songs sometime this Fall. I was in Seattle for a stretch of
time around PAX, and we decided to get together and write and record and
see what happened. What happened is that we experienced a legitimate
CHRISTMAS MIRACLE, and also wrote one Hannukah song. It’s mostly just
the two of us playing all the instruments, except that we got a little
help on a few tunes from our friend Jason Finn, who likes to play the
drums. Mixing is happening now. I’ll be sure and let everyone know the
moment you can listen and obtain these soon-to-be-classic holiday songs.
I'm curious to see what that's going to be like.  He has a couple Christmas songs already (Podsafe Christmas Song and Chiron Beta Prime).  "Original songs" may just imply that he's doing material he's written himself rather than holiday standards, in which case the two songs I cited might be included, or it could be that he's doing new material.

I'm also curious what sort of Christmas songs to expect from John Roderick.  That could easily get interesting.  I'm kinda expecting some family holiday angst material, like Shop Vac or Alone at Home but with jingle bells.


  • When GLaDOS Met Santa.
  • edited September 2012
    He has a couple Christmas songs already (Podsafe Christmas Song and Chiron Beta Prime).

    Don't forget Christmas is Interesting!

  • D'oh! Of course! Christmas Is Interesting.  Yeah, he has a fair fraction of an album already in the can.  I'm not sure what sort of holiday material Roderick has already.
  • Roderick hasn't released any holiday songs, though he may have some unpublished stuff done for kicks.

    So this one time Roderick mentioned to me in passing that Jonathan was staying with him before PAX, and they might work on this Christmas album—which had started out as a joke (on Twitter?) but was gradually becoming a more serious proposition. I asked if they'd spend all week writing songs and a thoughtful smile crossed his face. "I assumed we'd be covering standards," he said. "I hadn't thought about *writing* songs..."

    I told him that Jonathan had already written a few Christmas songs, which was news to Roderick. As Jonathan said later: "I don't think he's really listened to my deep catalog."

    So there. I'm totally taking some unjustified credit for putting the idea in Roderick's head! (For all I know original songs were JoCo's plan the whole time.)
  • Roderick tweeted this info.
  • As much as I love the idea of an album full of Coulton/Roderick Christmas originals, I think I love even more the idea of Coulton and Roderick covering Christmas standards.  

    Trying to imagine the two of them belting out Jingle Bells or Go Tell it on the Mountain, or perhaps a lovely rendition of Silent Night.  This really has to happen.
  • Paul and Storm have a lot of Christmas songs; they could cover those!

    And then Paul and Storm could do nemeses.
  • I'm thinking it'll probably be a bunch of originals. I'm hoping so, anyway, because I can hear a billion renditions of every standard anytime I like, but a proper Coulton and Roderick (Coultoderick? Rodericoulton? Roulton? RoCo?) christmas song is a rare gem indeed.

    Also, RoCo, doesn't that sound a lot how Scooby Doo would say JoCo?

    "Like zoinks, Scoob! Check it out! It's like that famous Internet Superstar Jonathan Coulton!"
    "Ronathan Roulton? RoCo! Rooby roo, heheheeehehehehe!"
  • edited September 2012
    As this article points out, the drummer JoCo mentions (Jason Finn) is from The Presidents of the United States of America. Jason is also friends with Paul & Storm. These are some interesting connections I never knew about.
  • Finn is at almost every show I go to in Seattle (w00tstock, Nerds & Music, JoCoJoRo tour, Molly's graduation, PAX...) so I forget he's not a universally-known part of the Jonathan Coulton Circle of Quasi-Celebrities. Is he in the wiki yet?
  • edited November 2012
    The preview video is up.
  • John Roderick and Jonathan Coulton - There's Even Christmas in Jail (Live 10/29/2012)

  • Once the album is officially out, I'll post my videos from the Game Changers show, I just didn't want to put 'em up before stuff was out (and Hodgman seemed inclined to discourage too much sharing of the show). I managed to get There's Even Christmas in Jail and Christmas in July - both kind of terrible shaky handed videos, but no matter how many copies of a thing I buy or how many shows I see, I still enjoy seeing live versions. That first one, btw, boy is it an earworm! I hope there will be many fan-made videos, too!

    I may still also be a tad over-excited from the show. *cough*
  • ROFL! Roderick channeling Johnny Cash.
  • Most times when you get lightning previews of something like on TV ads for albums, it all sounds the same and sounds pretty boring.

    Not so with RoCo. Dear God I want that album now. How am I supposed to wait six days? D:
  • edited November 2012
    In the meantime, we'll have to make do with things like this bit of JoCo Christmas Karaoke:

  • One Christmas at a Time will be available later today—according to JoCo's latest tweet.
  • Hanging tight!
  • Digital download on November 15th. Dammit. I WANT IT TODAY.
  • Later today is NOW!
  • international ordering is currently disabled while we attempt to negotiate lower rates with our shipping provider. We willbe shipping products internationally--we just need to confirm our shipping rates.

  • Sweet!  I'm loving 2600!  Gonna have that on repeat all day.  I missed out on Level 4 way back when, so I'm excited about the DGB! :D
  • You can now sign up to find out when international shipping is ready and/or downloads are available instantly.
  • Oh my god. 2600 LITERALLY describes every single Christmas I ever had as a child. This is the single most relatable christmas-song I have ever heard.
  • At first listening to the previews I have to say I am thoroughly unimpressed and on the strength of them I wouldn't be in a hurry to buy the album. The fact is seems to contain at least one old song as well doesn't help as that is three I either don't like or own already. 
    I quite like Christmas in Jail though. 
    I think I'd be happier if it was available like his other music and I could preview it before I bought it, maybe this is to do with it being a collaboration with Roderick. 

  • IDK, I don't really think you can judge the album based on the quarter-second previews. When I have it in my hands and on my hard-drive, then I'll render verdict :P
  • @Skyen That would be my preferred choice if I didn't have to part with cash first. 
    If the odds were I would like the album then I would go for it. It wasn't just the previews I am judging on, I have listened to both the full songs and neither of them set that spark like his other stuff. The little previews are all there is to judge the rest of the songs on, there are no 20 second previews of entire songs. I don't want to spend the cash and have an expensive coaster. I know that I like Christmas is interesting but I already own that so I am not going to buy the album based on that. There are 10 tracks and 3 of them are already not much use to me. I like Christmas in Jail if that's going to be on there so that means there are still 6 that could disappoint and I have no way of judging currently/
  • @St_Trousers I'm 100% certain that full previews of all songs will be available once the album is actually released, so you'll be able to get a better idea then. The limitations now are because it's still preorders.

    As for me, I can tell from the preview track that I'll like four, maybe five of the songs. The others may or may not grow on me. Funnily enough, Christmas in Jail is the one I took an immediate dislike to!
  • Interesting discussion.  And it is interesting that JoCo no longer follows his old "post if both for free and for sale" model.  All his music is harder to get for free than it used to be.  Not a complaint, just noting a change in his philosophy.

    Funny but I never even considered whether I would actually like the music on this Christmas album or not.  I'll buy it because it's made by Jonathan Coulton, and he's built up enough good will with me, that I assume anything he puts out is worth buying.  I guess I'm a JoCo completist.
  • Like Jmonkee, I like the artists enough that I will buy it sound-unheard, and would very likely still buy it if I heard it and didn't like it.

    I also want the t-shirt.
  • edited November 2012
    Yep, I'm a sucker too. I hope they get international shipping details up soon.

    ETA: does anyone else automatically read the name of the album to the tune of 'one finger at a time' from Todd the T1000? And when I look over he is making a gift: One Christmas at a Time.
  • Well, now I do!
  • @chicazul That makes me feel better. I will certainly want to investigate their worth!
    @Angelastic I also do now! 
    Everyone else, I own or have owned too many cd's I don't like to buy any more without being sure! I used to be a completist but one day I realised I was filling my cd rack up with stuff I never listened to.

  • @jmonkee I'm not sure if he's actually changed his model. I mean, Artificial Heart is basically available for free if you just check the page code for direct links to the mp3s - and hell, there's probably even an easier way to do it. Plus you can listen to everything for free, so it's not like there's really a paywall blocking the content. Anything on YouTube is way easy to rip as well.

    None of the tracks on Artificial Heart are free by default, and the simple explanation for that is that it's a full studio-album with a producer and a crew and studio-musicians and everything. Music legalese on dividing profits and royalties make it seriously difficult to offer anything for free because rights and obligations criss-cross like someone tried to crochet it on LSD and Speed. "Free" is not a word the last 50 years of music industry has had any love for, and the law is generally designed to prevent it.
    JoCo alone can do whatever he wants - as soon as it's JoCo plus Anyone Whatsoever, shit gets complicated, so charging the really rather reasonable fee of one dollar for things is probably just easier.
  • Links from the Thing A Week blog posts no longer go to mp3s, though. It does generally take a little more wiles/effort to get his stuff for free now, even though it's under the same license as before (actually… will OCAAT be Creative Commons? I'll bet one and a half M&Ms that it will be) and he's just as happy for us to share his music around (I've even seen him on Twitter recommending BitTorrent to people who had trouble buying his music for whatever reason. Maybe sarcastically but he knows it happens and is still happy about it as far as I can tell.) I suppose he no longer needs the sort of publicity he got from making it really easy to get his music for free.
  • Yeah, he has enough of a dedicated audience that the signal-boost from free content probably isn't what pays his bills any more - and that probably has a role to play as well. Which is entirely fair, when you think about it.
  • Has anyone received download codes yet? November 15 is already over in some places. I guess I have no reason to be impatient about download codes since I haven't even ordered yet, but somebody has to lead the charge on the impatience front. What are the songs like?
  • No, haven't received codes yet, but thanks to John Roderick mentioning the location and date for the NYC show, I was able to buy tickets for the show on Dec 14 at the City Winery:
  • edited November 2012
    Just got mine!

    (email with download link if that wasnt apparent)
  • Just got mine, too!
  • Me, too!
  • Download done, first listen commencing.

  • I'm planning on ordering the signed CD only. Does anybody know if this is coming UPS or USPS?

  • "I've even seen him on Twitter recommending BitTorrent to people who had trouble buying his music for whatever reason. Maybe sarcastically but he knows it happens and is still happy about it as far as I can tell."

    He posted this one just a few weeks ago.
  • edited November 2012
    Here's my own fanvid for 2600.

    You can see information about the video on the YouTube page.
  • edited November 2012
    First impressions are... it's like if Weird Al wrote a Christmas-album, except it was JoCo and Roderick. Most songs are pretty good - 2600 remains my favourite, Christmas in July playing close runner up. Christmas in Prison could be a cover of an actual Johnny Cash-ish country/western Christmas-song for all I know, that's how authentic it sounds. Wikipedia Chanukah is... I'm not sure.

    Generally it's more than worth the $10, and definitely worth your time throughout December :)
  • ... Oh, and Christmas With You Is The Best is basically Sweet Home Alabama with different lyrics.
  • y'all need to update your wiki.

    go go go!

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