M Ross Perkins gives the big man up north—that’s right, the one and only Santa Claus– the hipster makeover he didn’t even know he needed with a slick new holiday hit, “Cool Santa.” Perkins is releasing the single on the heels of his self-titled debut LP, released on SofaBurn Records in October.
Born, raised and still based in Dayton, OH, the singer/songwriter’s debut is a long time coming; back in 2007, he was offered a touring slot with MGMT, who liked his similarly psychedelic sound, but was held back by severe anxiety. But despite that setback, his desire to perform never diminished, perhaps a trait he picked up growing on Titus Avenue, a few houses down from The Snake Pit, the basement studio of Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices). So a stint as a roadie and at least one serious LSD binge later, he set to work on M Ross Perkins, a psych-rock effort imbued with the sounds of the ’70s. Perkins went fully DIY for the critically lauded release, not only playing every instrument himself, but also mixing and engineering the album himself in his home studio.
With winter drawing near, Perkins had a new goal in mind, and set about getting in the spirit: “For the “Cool Santa” sessions, I ordered a wholesale lot of Precious Moments Christmas figurines and arranged them all around the studio so that no matter where I was standing or what instrument I was cutting, I’d be staring down some prime holiday Presh-Mo. After the recording and mixing, I sent all the figurines away to be melted down.”
The jolly, jangling tune is a throwback to the beachy pop instrumentation of the Beach Boys, with tight, swinging harmonies and a laidback vibe. Perkins’ vintage warble brings a touch of kitsch, but also cheer and a little comedy, as he speculates about Santa’s skateboarding habits and his sleeve of tattoos.
Perkins tell us of the track, “”Cool Santa” is my small contribution to the war on Christmas. I wanted to create a postmodern Santa, one whose principles are born of infinite nothingness and whose year-long desire to party flushes him once annually from his icy estate to throw down with us, to the window and to the wall, with total enthusiasm.”