Ready for another Christmas playlist? This one’s full of surprises.

So far, we’ve heard from Joe Henry, Ashley Cleveland, Sara Zarr, Alissa Wilkinson, and Over the Rhine.

The Portland improvisational punk-rockers and worship-songleaders Agents of Future are hard to sum up. Their Bandcamp description describes them as…

Jesus-loving, jalopy-gospel way-backers get 2gether & do cre8ive things: Shrieking, speaking, flailing, failing, storytelling, fear-quelling. In the process, songs & stories R smithed & written, friendships & families R stretched & shaken,stirred & strengthened. Genre-gender-class-past-death-defiers & town-crying demystifiers of mystery history lead these pacifistic, full-frontally ballistic missives.

I could rattle off the occasions that they’ve made the news… like the time when NPR noticed their “Beer and Hymns” project, reported on it, hosted a chat about it, and then got schooled on doing their research about it.

I could rave about the tremendous heart known as Angie Fadel, who is a musician and a spiritual director specializing in intensive journaling, Enneagram, conflict styles, and active listening. And I could recount the influence of Todd Fadel in teaching, in church leadership, and in helping Portland become a vital community of artists and a region exploding with great live shows. I could talk about Todd’s other musical inventions — like The Beauty, a band honored by Rolling Stone in 2006 as “one of the top 25 bands on MySpace”; or Meow Meow, an all-ages music venue that he managed in Portland for years.

agents2I could go the personal route: I’ve known Todd since the two of us were toddlers playing with hand-puppets. (I fondly remember my first covetous sin: I envied Todd his hand-puppet of Sesame Street’s The Count.)

Since then, we’ve organized and starred in high school productions based on Late Night with David Letterman (I was Dave, he was Paul); attended college together at Seattle Pacific University; and collaborated in an improv comedy band in which we recorded over 1,000 songs. He’s been, quite literally, a lifelong friend.

Be sure to find, play loudy, and download Agents of Future’s latest album Ballistic Mystery at Bandcamp.

And now, here’s what a Christmas party DJ’d by Agents of Future might sound like…


“O Holy Night,” by Burl Ives

“Born to be our friend…” A lyrical fave from the old guard


“Ice,” by Daniel Lanois

Last heard this literally stuck in a snowstorm.


Heat Miser’s Song from “The Year Without a Santa Claus”

The kids sing this one all year long.


“Little Drummer Boy,” by Bing and Bowie

The lords of smarm.


“See Amid the Winter’s Snow,” by Annie Lennox

“Hail the ever blessed morn / Hail redemptions happy dawn…”

Power throat.


“Running Up That Hill,” by Kate Bush

“Make a deal with God / And get him to swap our places…”

The whole package.