One Track Mind: Iggy Pop, “White Christmas” from Psych-Out Christmas (2013)

Appropriately subtitled “Guitar Stooge Version,” this meth-freak version “White Christmas” is enough to have Bing Crosby spinning at coffin-melting speeds.

Iggy Pop opens things up with a gravel-gargling intonement, making the most of a completely inappropriate (and, yes, completely delicious) buzz-saw riff, and already it’s clear: This ain’t your parents’ kind of carol. Then, somehow, it gets weirder — as Iggy switches from a monotone incantation that would have humbled Thurl Ravenscroft into a spoken-word segment that goes from dark to just plain weird. Can anybody else, really, make the words “white” and “Christmas,” as Iggy does in the fade, sound so much like a threat to bodily harm?

But, there’s more. “White Christmas (Guitar Stooge Version)” closes a newly issued compilation of trip-rock coolness called Psych-Out Christmas, issued just in time for a Yuletide binge by Cleopatra Records. Featured elsewhere are Psychic Ills, the Vacant Lots, Elephant Stone, Dark Horses, Sons of Hippies and others.

Together, they do similar damage to time-honored favorites (from “Frosty the Snowman” and “What Child Is This?” to “Jingle Bells”), as well as newer items (the Beatles’ “Christmas Time [Is Here Again]” and “Run Rudolph Run”) and original material (“Jul Song”). How crazy is this thing? This crazy: “Little Drummer Boy,” in the hands here of the Swedish band the Movements, is presented — well, of course it is — without even a single drum. And the Fuzztones’ wailingly demented “Santa Claus” simply must be heard to be believed.

[amazon_enhanced asin="B00BLYFDO2" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B000000WH8" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B00EP22QAG" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B00383ZTXO" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B0009275M0" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /]

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has also explored music for publications like USA Today, Gannett News Service, All About Jazz and Popdose for nearly 30 years. Honored as newspaper columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section that was named Top 10 in the nation by the AP in 2006. Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.