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When "Christmas In July" took place over at FaLaLaLaLa.com, someone posted this rather obscure album. I quickly downloaded it onto the pile and didn't pay it too much attention.

I didn't know much about Blackbean & Placenta when I downloaded it nor did i know much about Ned Norland, the person who uploaded the album.

From the limited information I was able to gather from Google, Blackbean & Placenta was an indie label created by Mike Landucci out of his home. He created his own compliations, welcomed contributions from bands, started a Blackbean & Placenta Tape Club (closed now) and over time amassed a nice-sized catalogue of indie bands.

Mike, if you're out there... if I've left something out, please add a comment. I would love to know more of the whens, whys, hows, and history of your label. And if any of the bands on the album want to share their comments on this album, on the whole Blackbean & Placenta experience, I would love to know more!

As for Ned Norland, this one-man gang has been involved in free form radio for many years. He was with the Rutgers University station WRSU from 1999 to 2001 (archived shows from WRSU can be heard here) as well as having his own online radio show No Love For Ned since 2002 (archived shows can be heard here). Ned also has his own blog at MySpace where you can hear his catchy theme song!

Ned, if I've left out any vital info, please feel free to comment!

Ned was gracious to send me a pix of the album cover - ordinary Christmas wrapping paper and a handwritten label by Mike Landucci. As far as I know, this might be the only place online where you can get a good resolution pix of the cover.

As for the music, it's a grand mix of alternative rock, electronica, pop, ambient, and experimental sounds. Here's the playlist (click on the band name for more info):

1.) Flowchart - Lettin' It Snow
2.) The Cannanes - Six White Boomers
3.) Watoo Watoo - Les Visiteurs de Noel
4.) Celesteville - Away In A Manger
5.) Mandorris - Christmas Time Is Here
6.) Beanpole - Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (no info out there that I can find)
7.) The Shermans - Last Christmas
8.) Steward - Do They Know It's Christmas Time?
9.) Holiday Flyer - Christmas Song
10.) Wio - Once Upon A Long Ago (no info out there that I can find)
11.) Metronome - Greensleeves

I'm very grateful to Ned for posting this album. I knew indie labels were out there plugging away, trying to bring new music to the public eye, and helping bands get valuable exposure. However, I had no idea Christmas music could be found there as well. It's a search I hope to continue to earth as the years go by.

On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...