Episode 248: Old Jim’s Christmas Podcast

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RJ and Ian are back from Tokyo and celebrating their jet-lag with songs from decades that have never been featured on the show before. First, 1898’s “Sleigh Ride Party/Jingle Bells” by the Edison Male Quartet becomes the oldest song we’ve every talked about on the show by several decades, while also proving that there is no such thing as a “standard” version of Jingle Bells. Then, 1904’s “Old Jim’s Christmas Hymn” by Albert C. Campbell and James F. Harrison provides a much more moving story than we expected given the goofy title.

This week’s ranking music is “Swingin’ Them Jingle Bells” by Fats Waller.

Episode 247: Opposite Temperatures Attract

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We’re still in Japan, celebrating our anniversary, and this episode is all about love! I mean, and holiday music, because that’s the show. Two winter love songs help us mark the occasion – “Love In December” by Club 8 and “Warm In December” by Julie London.

This week’s ranking music is “Sea Urchins” by Yo La Tengo.

Episode 246: Japanese Christmas Experience

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Greetings from Japan! We recorded this episode early because we’re currently on our long-anticipated vacation in Tokyo, and we picked songs to suit the occasion. We journey from Canada to Japan with “Last Christmas (English/Japanese Version)” by Gunnarolla featuring Micaela Braithwaite and then just have a real nice time – you know, it’s just nice – with “Sweet Christmas” by Shonen Knife.

This week’s ranking music is “Party Hard” by Andrew WK, and this episode also features clips of “Canon in D (Pachelbel’s Canon)” performed by Marnie and Patrick Laird and “Triangle Foods” by Gunnarolla.

Episode 245: Here We Come A-Podcasting

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Knock knock! In this week’s episode, we celebrate the ancient tradition of wassailing with two listener requests – “Here We Come A-Wassailing” as performed by Kate Rusby and “The Wassailing Song” as performed by Blur.

This episode’s ranking music is “Here We Come A-Caroling” as performed by the Sesame Street gang.

Thank you to Liam for these requests!

Episode 244: It Sure Doesn’t Feliz Like Navidad

This week, we tackle a pair of punk-adjacent requests from listener Kevin. “Feliz Navi-nada” by El Vez is, despite the title, a joyful reimagining of the Jose Feliciano original, and “X’mas Time (It Sure Doesn’t Feel Like It)” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones is an extremely sad and also surprisingly nostalgic experience.

The ranking music this week is “The Impression That I Get” by the aforementioned Bosstones.

Thanks again to Kevin for the requests!

Episode 243: Underneath the Birthday Lights

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IT’S RJ’S BIRTHDAY AND THEY’LL ALL-CAPS IF THEY WANT TO

That’s right, it’s Birthday Boi’s Choice once again, and RJ has selected two songs that we’ve discussed before… but only behind a paywall. John Legend’s 2018 original “Bring Me Love” is a strong contender for a new Christmas radio standard, and Sia’s 2017 album closer “Underneath the Christmas Lights” is an ethereal experience to savor.

DO NOT @ US

Episode 242: Troubling Pumpkins

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RJ and Ian are back, and just in time for Halloween! This week, in our annual spooky episode, we tackle our first Halloween winter song (and also revisit the world of Homestar Runner) with “Decomposing Pumpkins” by Brainkrieg. Then, we discuss “It’s Halloween (A Christmas Song)” by Randy Brooks, as well as the troubling revelation that the man responsible for bringing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” into the world might also be funny sometimes, the implications of which we’re not even remotely prepared to consider. 

This week’s ranking music was “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. and the special intro and outro music was “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

Episode 241: Science Gone Wrong

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By request, we’re covering two songs that feel like experiments. “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year” by Rosie Thomas feels like a blend of Christmas music conventions tweaked and polished into uncanny twee perfection, while “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” by Rhan Wilson is a shambling nine-minute-forty-five-second abomination.

Thank you to Travis for these requests!

Episode 240: Once More, With Canada

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This week on HARK, it’s Canadian Thanksgiving, and while we’re always thankful for all of our listeners, we’re feeling particularly thankful for the ones who live north of the U.S. border. To celebrate, we cover two songs suggested by a long-time Canadian listener making his first request. “Jacob Marley’s Chain” by Aimee Mann is interesting, if only vaguely Christmas-related, and “Jack Gets Up” by Leo Kottke is perhaps even more interesting (and perhaps even less Christmas-related).

The ranking music this week is “Springtime” by Jeffrey Lewis.

Thank you to Ben for the requests!

Episode 239: Hanukkah Noir

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As we did last week, we’re adding two more Hanukkah songs to our list – but this time we’re contemplating some more solemn selections. “Light the Lamp” by Emily Kurn is a folk tribute to family connections, while “Chanukah Prayer” by Carole King offers tradition mixed with atmospheric jazz.

The ranking music this week is “Eight Candles (A Song for Hanukkah)” by Dave Koz.