INDIE CHRISTMAS: DOG ORCHESTRA - CAROL OF THE BELLS
The thing about Christmas music is it’s unavoidable. Doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, after Thanksgiving there’s no escaping the tsunami of Holiday songs coming for us all with a surrealness that only death and taxes share. You can either make peace with this or be consumed by the abyss. ‘Cause whether you like it or not, you’re going to hear at least 10 different renditions of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” this week alone.
Which brings us to Dog Orchestra’s cover of the Christmastime classic “Carol of the Bells,” a welcome reminder that Christmas music doesn’t have to suck. The Berlin-based electronic dream-pop duo have done the absurdly difficult task of making something ubiquitous and immediately recognizable fresh and excited without altering its identity.
Originally written by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych with lyrics by Ukrainian-American Peter Wilhousky, Shchedryk or “Carol of the Bells” came to life in 1904 but did not premiere until December of 1916 when it was performed by students at Kiev University. Based on the (you guessed it) Ukrainian folk story about the coming of the New Year. The pre-Christian era story tells of a swallowing soaring into some families household to tell them about all this glorious shit that’s going to happen to them in the coming year.
In these days the Ukrainian new year was associated with the coming of spring, so the Shchedryk chant/story was usually performed at festivals taking place in April. However, when Christendom made its way to the Kievan Rus, the early inhabitants of Ukraine/Russia, the Julian Calendar was implemented and so the new year was moved to January, which began the song’s association with winter and eventually Christmas.
(Side Note: A short time after revolting and overthrowing their Viking oppressors, the many tribes that made up the Kievan Rus descendant into constant conflict with one another leading to an outbreak of a multi-pronged civil war. Things got so chaotic that they invited the Vikings back to establish order and rule over them.
You may be like the writer of this humble post and find this anecdote satisfying and relatable.)
Dog Orchestra put out this gorgeous cover in 2017, but we’re re-upping it now because seasonal music is actually really great when it’s not a complete ass.
DOG ORCHESTRA - CAROL OF THE BELLS
We’re all still waiting for new music from Dog Orchestra, but until then, go listen to their debut EP Meow.
And … you can experience our full Indie Christmas compilation here.
Calvin Paradise is not any one thing. The half-hearted vagabond and forgetful luddite currently resides in Los Angeles and how he spends his time is none of your damned business.