One of the most fun traditions in indie rock is Yo La Tengo throwing a concert every night of Hannukah, a practice that began at their storied hometown venue Maxwell’s and carries on now at Bowery Ballroom in Lower Manhattan. They’ll return to the Bowery this December with another residency during the Festival Of Lights, with lots of surprise guests and no shortage of holiday cheer. Tickets for this year’s run from 12/22 to 12/29 are available here, though some are already sold out.
Yo La Tengo’s annual celebration was the partial inspiration for Hannukah+, a new compilation of originals and Jewish standards assembled by Randall Poster in hopes of expanding the canon of Hannukah music. The comp’s mix of Jewish and Gentile performers includes Haim (covering Leonard Cohen), the Flaming Lips, Jack Black, Loudon Wainwright III, Adam Green, and more. And it’s only right that it features a new Yo La Tengo song especially for the season.
As the band explains in a statement, their Hannukah+ track “Eight Candles” was actually written by Sam Elwitt:
When our old friend Randy Poster asked us to contribute to an album of Hanukkah songs he was putting together, we were kind of stumped. As non-practicing Jews (and non-Jews), truthfully the holiday has little meaning for us (that’s the meta joke behind Yo La Tengo’s Hanukkah shows), but we were open to inspiration. We thought maybe another friend, Sam Elwitt, could crack the code, and we think he did a fantastic job with his composition “Eight Candles.”
Hear “Eight Candles” below.
Hannukah+ is out 11/22 on Verve Forecast. Pre-order it here.