News that SantaCon is kicking off in Williamsburg this Saturday and then heading to the East Village is sure to terrify those who loathe the invasion of sloshed Santa dilettantes struggling to keep their red pants up. But Brooklyn-based band Vassals didn’t let the annual shitshow discourage them from creating what is arguably this year’s best Christmas album, Here We Come a Vassaling. Our recommendation? Give er a whirl on the ol’ iPhone this weekend while you’re fighting your way through the wave of humanity (or something barely resembling it).
Holiday tunes have been haunting our store sound systems since at least the start of November, and it’s natural to already be tapped-out of merry hymns and cheerful carols. But Here We Come a Vassaling, with its perfect balance of cheer and chide, may just be the perfect antidote for your weary, chipper-saturated soul.
The EP features three tracks that are the perfect alternative to the stale Christmas Top 40. “Krampus Came for Me” is a lively number centering on the folkloristic antagonist of Santa Claus, with catchy electric guitar riffs courtesy of Jeff Fettig. “Happy Holidays (War on Xmas)” celebrates the havoc wreaked by the polemics of political correctness on holiday vernacular, while making fun of this saccharine-speak as well.
Last, but certainly not least, is “SantaCon (Is a Magic Night),” which commemorates SantaCon not as the local nuisance that we know, but as a platform to find love. The charming ditty showcases sleigh bells and twangy guitar slides to take you through a hazy trip to find that special someone in a crowd of holiday hooligans, all the while on a heavy dose of sedatives.
Lead singer Shay Spence said the EP “came about when we were in the middle of recording our non-holiday music, and I guess this was really a fun diversion.” Shay drew inspiration for “SantaCon (Is a Magic Night)” from local headlines. One part, he explained, is about “the looming threat of it taking place in Bushwick last year,” while the other refers to “the infamous SantaCon Duane Reade hand job incident.” For those of us who can’t recall SantaCon 2013, a viral video allegedly showed a Santa getting a hand job inside of Duane Reade at 14th Street and 3rd Avenue. “I’ve always wondered if those two were still together,” Shay said.