Jason: Jeff, I’m in a bad mood today. I don’t know what it is. I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something. I’m just…pissy.

Jeff: Where’s your Mellowmas spirit, pal?

Jason: And I feel especially bad, because I think I’m going to take it out on you.

Jeff: Buck up. We’ve got a whole new — wait, what?

Jason: I think I’m going to take it out on you. And our readers. I think I’m going to make you listen to some really, really bad shit today.

Jeff: What did we listen to yesterday? And all the days before?

Jason: That stuff was bad, sure. But I’m talking, like, Earmageddon-level bad.

Jeff: Oh, THAT bad.

Jason: Yeah, you see what I’m talking about.

Jeff: You really are in a bad mood.

Jason: I know.

Jeff: I’m a little excited. Did Lou Reed release A Metal Machine Christmas when I wasn’t looking?

Jason: If we listen to what we’re about to listen to, we have to accept the risk that people may not come back tomorrow. I’m warning you. I’m in a bad mood. Like, subversive.

Jeff: You listen to Richard Marx. I think I can handle your “subversive.”

Jason: So you’re just going to have to go along with me, or I’m going to throw a temper tantrum. And you can ask anybody who’s reading this that’s met me in person, if those people even exist — you don’t want to see me throw a temper tantrum. I’m like, six.

Jeff: All right, Bruce Banner.

Jason: But you say you can handle it.

Jeff: Let’s see what you’ve got.

Jason: Fine. You’ll be sorry. YOU’LL ALL BE SORRY.

Jeff: You’ll be DEAD! ahem

Jason: Let’s listen to Julian Koster’s new album, aka The Singing Saw.

Jeff: Julian whathefuck? The Singing Who?

Jason: The Singing Saw. Turn on “The First Noel.”

Jeff: I don’t want to.

Jason: DO IT.

Jeff: Saws don’t sing.

Jason: Jeff, I’m three seconds away from throwing a dish at the wall.

Jeff: All right, all right.

Julian Koster — The First Noel (download)

From The Singing Saw at Christmastime Amazon iTunes

Jeff: Oh.

Jason: Right? You see? You see what I meant? BAD MOOD, Jeff. Apparently this is a singing saw.

Jeff: Hey, listen…my wife is calling me, or something.


Jeff: Uh…

Jason: Sit the fuck DOWN. SIT. DOWN.

Jeff: Oh, don’t worry. I can’t stand while this is on.

Jason: Listen to the singing saw. Now, I don’t know if this is one singing saw, or two, or three, or what. I just know that it hurts my ears. Like, a lot.

Hey! You reading this! TURN IT BACK ON! I saw you click the play/pause button! Stop that! You’re going to get through this if it kills all of us!

Jeff: Hey, you know who covered this album already?

Jason: Florence Foster Jenkins?

Jeff: Ha ha ha ha ha! Close. Stereogum.

Jason: Are you serious? This year?

Jeff: Ugggggggggggggggghh…this is painful. Yes, in July.

Jason: I haven’t read Stereogum in at least 6 months.

Jeff: Best comment: “And I thought it didn’t get any better than Sufjan Stevens singing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” while I trimmed the tree. I’m getting choked up just thinking about December.”

Jason: Wow, a Stereogum post with only three comments? And this is by a HIPSTER?

Jeff: I guess there are some things too hip for even Stereogum listeners.

Jason: Oh, fuck me. You’ve gotta be kidding me. These are the same people that like…what’s her name? Holy shit, I’ve forgotten. Fuck, what’s her name?

Jeff: I wonder if that isn’t really a saw, but Joanna Newsom singing.

Jason: Joanna Newsom! That’s it!

Jeff: ZING!

Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

The track is over.
Thankfully for most of you.

Jeff: Oh, it’s over all right.

Jason: But guess what?

Jeff: No.

Jason: Yes. We’re moving on to “Jingle Bells.” I told you. I’m in a subversive mood.

Jeff: Can’t you just go beg your wife for sex?

Jason: Jeff, I have a knife to a kitten’s neck right now, and I swear I’ll cut her if you don’t turn on “Jingle Bells.”

Jeff: Okay, okay.

Jason: I will bleed kitten blood all over this computer if you don’t listen to more singing saw.

Jeff: Stupid cute little kitten.

Jason: “Jingle Bells” it is.

Julian Koster — Jingle Bells (download)

From The Singing Saw at Christmastime Amazon iTunes

Jeff: AHH!

Jason: Right? Right?

Jeff: Wasn’t this on the soundtrack to The Shining?

Jason: Don’t worry. Our readers will get their Shining moment later in the Mellowmas season.

Jeff: I love how the ID3 tag lists the genre as “Alternative.”

Jason: Listen to that chorus! Listen to it! It’s awful!

Jeff: It’s all awful!

Jason: Jeff, you’re not going to believe this. My frown. It’s turning…upside down. I’m starting to…I can’t believe this…smile. This chorus is changing my mood, somehow. I’m…happy.

Jeff: “Singing Saws sing all by themselves. The idea that a Human Being could play one, as one might a cello or a tuba, is a common misconception perpetuated by the saws themselves for their own amusement.”

Jason: Oh, isn’t he a clever little hipster!

Jeff: I was thinking “pompous douche,” but to each his own.

Jason: Wait, I think the chorus is coming around again. Hang on…hang on…here it comes!

Jeff: sigh

Jason: CHORUS!

Jingle bells!
Jingle bells!
Jingle all the way!
Singing saw style!
It’s awful!

Jeff: Oh my God.

Jason: Some hipster is sitting in his apartment on the Lower East Side, pretending to love this! Yaaaaaaaayyyy!

Jeff: I think I just popped an eardrum on that last note.

Jason: Oooh, big finish! Big off-key finish!

Jeff: Ow.

Jason: I love it! One more!

Jeff: WHAT?

Jason: ONE MORE. Jeff, I’ve got a toothpick, and I’m about to stab it into a goldfish if you don’t do one more.

Jeff: Why, why, why?

Jason: Because you love me.

Jeff: You know what you are? You’re the Mellowmas Grinch.

Jason: Isn’t that redundant?

Jeff: Good point. Let’s get this over with.

Jason: One more it is! Hark! I hear something! It’s Herald Angels! They’re singing! Saw-like!

Jeff: Saw V, even!

Julian Koster — Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (download)

From The Singing Saw at Christmastime Amazon iTunes

Jason: Listen to that!

Jeff: Bells?

Jason: I don’t think so!

Jeff: That’s cheating!

Jason: I don’t know what that sound is, exactly.

Jeff: It’s creeping death!

Jason: Yes! Creeping death! I’m so happy now! I’m doing cartwheels! My ears hurt, but my heart is warmed.

Jeff: There’s something wrong with you. I blame myself.

Jason: I know. I warned you before we started. I told you. You didn’t listen. You chose to come on this journey with me. I didn’t force you.

Jeff: Before we started this, you were listening to Lionel Richie and loving the holiday season.

Jason: I don’t remember those days at all. That was a different person. That’s not me anymore.

Jeff: Now you’re a Singing Saw fan.

Jason: A Singing Saw fan? Hell no! I’m not loving this!

Jeff: So we can stop?

Jason: I’m loving the torture that it’s bringing! To you, to myself, and others!

Jeff: Oh.

Jason: We’ll stop when I say we’ll stop. Join the triumph of the skies, Jeff!

Jeff: There is no triumph here.

Jason: With angelic singing saws proclaim! Big finish!

Jeff: Those bells…they sound like Salvation Army volunteers.

Jason: The ones that hate gay people, yes.

Jeff: I wonder if Julian Koster took their bells. With their hands still attached.

Jason: Damn, the song is over.

Jeff: Damn the song is right. Vomits in relief

Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha! That’s 3 out of 12. Rest assured, readers, the other 9 are just as bad, if not worse.

Jeff: I found them painfully similar.

Jason: If you like shitty music, or Joanna Newsom, you’ll love this album.

Jeff: Ha ha ha!

Jason: You will also love this album if you love singing saws.

Jeff: And just remember: Someone at Merge Records decided it would be a good idea to give Julian Koster money to make this album.

Jason: Did I tell you that there’s a woman in the subway that plays the singing saw? I’ve seen her at the 59th Street stop.

Jeff: Are you sure it isn’t Julian Koster in the skin of a woman he murdered with his horrible saw?

Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! You know, it could be! I’ve never stopped to look, for fear I’ll turn into a pillar of salt. But I’ll tell you this: she always looks really, really happy.

Jeff: Apparently, the singing saw has a rich tradition. Many not-so-famous musicians have played it.

Marlene Dietrich, for instance.
David Weiss, the retired oboe player from the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Filmmaker Terry Zwigoff.
And, of course, noted hipster douche Julian Koster.


Jeff: She has a BLOG? Goddamn, New Yorkers have a lot of change.

Jason: I have to be honest, I kind of like seeing her. She seems really nice. And the music on her webpage is nicer than stupid Julian Koster’s.

Jeff: She’s appeared on the Andy Milonakis Show, of course. And recorded with…John Hiatt?

Jason: !!! You HAVE to like her now! You LOVE John Hiatt!

Jeff: I do, it’s true. I love him a little less now, but still.

Jason: Well, I like her and I like her music. Not Julian Koster’s, though.

Jeff: I guess I just need to learn how to play the cordless drill, and I’ll be invited to appear on one of his albums.

Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Happy Mellowmas, everybody! Enjoy your singing saw! And if it puts you in a bad mood, send this webpage to everyone you know. I promise you, you’ll feel better.

Jeff: It didn’t make me feel better! Now my head hurts and I don’t think of John Hiatt the same way!

Jason: That’s because you didn’t send it on to anyone, stupid. Send it to your wife.

Jeff: Oh, good idea!

Jason: See? Mellowmas is about GIVING.

Jeff: You’re right. I DO feel better now.

Jason: Told you!

Jeff: Happy Mellowmas to all, and to all a singing goddamn saw!

Jason: You SURE you don’t want to do a fourth track? I might come full circle and get into a bad mood again.

Jeff: Jason, I have an actual saw in my hand, and I will cut off my own head if you don’t let this end here.

Jason: Fair enough.

About the Author

Jeff Giles and Jason Hare

Two people, separate rooms Trying to hurt the other Bound together by destiny Is there nothing they won’t do? Will we never see them through?

View All Articles