On February 3rd, I placed an order through Amazon.com for four Christmas CDs and promised reviews of each of them. This was the first CD to arrive - one that I already had in my collection that I wanted to upgrade.
This Christmas compilation was released in 1994 by Tim/Kerr Records of Portland, Oregon - not too far down the road from Seattle whose grunge music was the flavor of choice on the radio at that time. This album is chock full of grunge, pop, metal, and psychedelic bands with names like Flaps Down, Caveman Shoestore, Hitting Birth, and Smegma.
1.) Swoon 23 - Merry Christmas To Me
Sounds like someone listened to the Velvet Underground a wee bit too much...
2.) Pond - Gloria In Excelsis Deo
A straightforward rendition of "Angels We Have Heard On High" that could have done without the bizarre guitar breaks and the 45 second final feedback filled note.
3.) Dandy Warhols - Little Drummer Boy
Before they were even known... One of the better rock versions of this song out there.
4.) Dead Moon - Christmas Rush
Recorded in someone's basement obviously... The song's not bad but the homemade quality gets in the way.
5.) Meg Hentges - Christmas Time Is Here
The classic Vince Guaraldi - Charlie Brown tune... Done very nicely with a minimum of distractions.
6.) Poison Idea - Santa Claus Is Back In Town
A straightforward rendition that's real... and it's fun... but it's not real fun.
7.) Oblivion Seekers - Christmas In The City
Imagine if Tom Waits was sober and could sing... Might sound like this! One of the best songs on the CD.
8.) Caveman Shoestore - The Grinch
They try so hard with the whistles, the toy sounds, and weird music that the distractions choke and kill this song.
9.) Hitting Birth - The Little Drummer Boy
One part Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2", one part Christmas, one part industrial, one part metal. By the third and fourth minutes, you're pleading for a gunshot to the head. It finally ends 5:29 seconds later... Anyone left alive gets their money back.
10.) Ray & Clover - I'm Mad At The Fatman
I wasn't sure if the Pacific Northwest knew what the blues sounded like... This is my standout favorite of the disc! A nice bayou rendition!
11.) Iceburg Slim - Christmas Dressed In Blue
I can hear him sing 'Christmas" now and then... but what is this song about? Not sure if I care...
12.) Flaps Down - Hey Santa
A grunge ode? A grunge ballad? This salute to the Big Guy is all over the place... Pass this one up Santa no matter how loud they play and scream!
13.) Svelt - I Wonder As I Wander
I wonder if this wander was used as filler... Got all the grunge sound... ho hum.
14.) Calamity Jane - Hannakah Song
A instrumental grunge version of a Jewish song... Light the menorah and have some Manischewitz!
15.) Sugarboom - Ave Maria
If Schubert composed this song with a electric rock girl trio, it might have sounded like this...
16.) Smegma - Happy Holiday
If you want to know why this compilation's not that great, listen (if you dare) to this one...
17.) The Violets - Rebel Jesus
We sound like Heart... we drone on and on... we're happy to have this gig at all... Ouch!
18.) New Bad Things - Shoplifting You Something For Christmas
Sounds like a junior high garage band singing at the karaoke music studio at Six Flags... Sad because It has flashes of brilliance.
19.) Whirlees - The Grinch
This song is foolproof - you can't possibly screw it up. However, these guys did and it's a sad way to end a CD.
Overall, I can see why many of these bands never hit the big time. But the hits outweigh the misses. This is by far the best 75 cent Christmas compilation I've ever purchased. If you go without lunch one day, you can probably pick up this album at Amazon.com for the price of a Big Mac combo meal. Try it... you might like it!
On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...