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Various Artists | Hanukkah+

A roster of cool indie artists unwrap a wonderfully weird collection of holiday fare.


WHO ARE THEY? A musically, culturally and religiously diverse crew of indie artists from Flaming Lips, Haim and Yo La Tengo to Adam Green, Loudon Wainwright III and even Jack Black.

WHAT IS THIS? A wonderful (and wonderfully weird) collection of traditional and original compositions that pay tribute to the Jewish festival of lights — all helmed by Grammy-winning producer (and frequent Wes Anderson collaborator) Randall Poster, and partly inspired by Yo La’s annual slate of tongue-in-cheek Hannukah concerts.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The long-awaited and very welcome antidote to the yearly blizzard of snow-white, ultra-reverent Christmas albums. Although the 12-track disc encompasses everything from acoustic-guitar fare and oddball indie-pop to glammy space-rock, most of the artists keep the mood warm and upbeat. Exactly as it should be.

WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Festival of Lighthearted Entertainment.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? Any way you like — thankfully, you don’t have to know your Torah from your Hora from your Menorah to enjoy these numbers.

WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Unorthodox, entertaining, playful, varied, mischievous, witty, welcoming, mellow, irreverent, inspired.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Green’s Menorah mythbuster Dreidels of Fire (“How the heck do you explain that shiz?”); YLT’s silky samba Eight Candles; Wainwright’s envious Eight Nights a Week; Black’s typically over-the-top bookends Oh Hanukkah and Chad Gadya.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘If the producers really want to give us a present, they’ll make this an annual event.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? It’s certainly good for at least one spin during the holidays every year.


SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? The title is so generic that it’s hard to find on the streaming services, so do yourself a favour and spend a few Shekels.