Friday Five: Iggy Pop, Jacob “Spike” Kraus, The Chopped Liver, Christmas, Dead Schembechlers


Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week jazz-tinged Hanukkah tunes by Jacob “Spike” Kraus, lo-fi Xmas classics by The Chopped Liver, an industrial-techno mix by Christmas, a violent holiday clash by Dead Schembechlers, and Iggy Pop covering several seasonal faves.


Jacob “Spike” Kraus, Light Up the Night EP
There's a long tradition of great Christmas classics written by Jewish people, but Jacob "Spike" Kraus wanted to switch it up and make great Hanukkah tunes in the Christmas song tradition. In 2019, as the artist-in-residence for West Bloomfield's Temple Israel and then an Ann Arbor resident, Kraus released the four-song, jazz-inflected Light Up the Night EP.


The Chopped Liver, Pictures of Yule 
The best thing about The Chopped Liver's new EP, Pictures of Yule, is The Cure-referencing pun in its title. The quirky, lo-fi interpretations of six Christmas classics by this Ann Arbor artist aren't something I'd like to find in my stocking, but maybe I'm just a Grinch.


Christmas, Exposure Mix 065
Starting this comp with jonatan leandoer96 and Oliver Coates' droning "Black Moon"—which sounds like a demonic invocation—makes it seem like the 65th edition of MEMCO's Exposure Mix series will be a soundtrack for a Sol Invictus celebration rather than Christmas. But the blend is more of an industrial-techno-noise exploration than a Satanic ritual, and the mysterious Christmas—a pseudonym of someone in MEMCO—doesn't even pretend this is a holiday mix despite the DJ handle, or the Instagram blurb stating, "CHRISTMAS got off of their SLEIGH (SLAY) to record this very very special track for you. … Tune in to be moved by the holiday spirit and transported to a bunker in the North Pole." If Santa was a prepper, this is what he'd be jamming as he piled cans of beans in the bunker.


Dead Schembechlers, "The Ann Arbor Chainsaw Massacre Christmas Song"
This 2006 oldie but not really a goodie by Columbus, Ohio joke-punkers Dead Schembechlers is another rager in the long-running band's anti-Wolverine anthems, but this time with a heart-warming Xmas message about Santa going off the rails in A2.


Iggy Pop
In a post I wrote a couple of years ago titled "Featuring Iggy Pop," I linked numerous collaborations the Ann Arbor icon had recorded over many years, including his duet with William Shatner on "Silent Night," which was kinda like a modern-day Bing Crosby and David Bowie duet but with zero redeeming qualities. Despite the epic number of collabs I found for the column, I somehow missed Pop with Kylie Minogue performing The Waitresses' stone-cold classic "Christmas Wrapping." My Christmas wish is to somehow go back in time and undiscover this cover song, along with the other Iggy Xmas tunes I found, but I dunno if I've been a good enough boy in 2023 to deserve such a luxurious gift.

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.