Wednesday, March 28, 2007

JohnsCDs 2005-0960-026 - I Got A Rock For Christmas

We've reached the midway point at our look at the 21 comps Martin Johns sent to our P.O. Box. This is comp number 11 - ten more to go over the next five days (I think I can, I think I can...).

This comp was chosen out of all the rest by my wife who stood in utter disbelief when I brought home the shoebox full of Christmas comps.

She looked at it and was impressed by its lineup and graphics. Instinctively, she went to our kitchen CD player and played parts of it.

I don't remember much of what I heard on that first listen - I was too busy cataloging and categorizing all the other comps.

I do remember the sound - sharp, strong beats, heavy guitar. It was a Christmas rock comp after all. And looking at the artists, it should be a cut-above-the-notch comp at that.

This is the part of the review where I ask Martin about his special insight into the comp. It's reserved for him here in a segment called...


This one was a gift, though I doubt he realized it, for one of the folks I trade comps with. This fellow is a rock and roll guy. And I hadn't done a straight rocker in a while. So I said, "Let me see if I can do something that he would groove to."

Generally, I feel my Bubblegum roots tend to make most of my stuff sound like pop/rock - even the genre mixes - which kinda makes me feel a rock mix is somewhat redundant, at least without some other unifying theme.

But I had a few cuts I'd been sitting on and was anxious to use (The Acres, Billy Idol, Davie Allan - a gift from Dr. Jim) and I had wanted to have a mix open for a Marshall Tucker cut anyway (a relatively late release that year).

I like this one. It's not a classic or anything, but it rocks a bit and it's playful. It also has enough familiar names to hold the interest of those who get tired of saying, "Who are these people?"


(Click on image to enlarge)

1.) The title says it all. The Acres have a solid sound and a good Christmas song on their hands.
2.) Nicholas Markos has a catchy tune here but when the song is 70% repeating the chorus and "la la, la la", the song needs a trim. From his 2001 "Holiday Pop" CD.
3.) This sounds like a Radio Disney song. Whaddya know? I called it! Everlife is a Disney product and this came from "Radio Disney Jingle Jams".
4.) Anberlin covers the great Darlene Love / Phil Spector song quite well! Darlene Love is from my father's generation, U2 is from my generation, this one's for my kids. The tradition carries on...
5.) This song (taken from "Devil's Playground") planted the seed in Billy Idol's head to record a FULL Christmas album last year - the train wreck of the 2006 holiday season.
6.) Refreshing! A simple rock song about a Christmas tree, not too heavy, not too light! Canada's Universal Honey recorded this back in 2003 on their "Can't Stop Thinking About Christmas" album.
7.) WOW! Very, very reminiscent of The Cars! This Adventures of Jet song came from an obscure but highly impressive Christmas comp called "Fossil Jeans Presents 13 Tracks V4" with quite a lineup of music!
8.) The third song from Lisa Mychols' Christmas album I've heard in the past month and WOW! Has that 1960s bouncy feel with Phil Spector touches! Great, great stuff!
9.) Oh yeah! The Four Imperials still had that 50s doo-wop sound and added some 1960s car rock to make this classic! Easily accessible via the "Rockabilly Xmas" CD from Buffalo Bop - pricey but it's worth it!
10.) This should have been named "Hey Setzer!" A tad overdone but very listenable song from "Dig That Crazy Christmas".
11.) A lovely song by the always good Marshall Tucker Band. This one's off their 2005 "Carolina For Christmas" CD.
12.) Funeral For A Friend is quickly becoming a favorite band of mine and they snuck this impressive Christmas song under my nose on the "Taste Of Christmas" comp - added to the wish list!
13.) "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a letter saying goodbye..." 2-3-4, BAM! Morphs into a loud, whiny lament over a breakup (they never come close to the actual "Twelve Days of Christmas" melody - could have helped). This got dull real quick. Next...
14.) Nicholas Markos doing his best James Brown! And it's close! This is where being repetitive can actually help you! Fine song from "Holiday Pop" (see #2 above).
15.) Nice to see Dwight Twilley is still around! This is a rockin' tune from his 2004 Christmas EP.
16.) Gwen Stefani before she became Gwen Stefani. I miss the old No Doubt and this track from "A Very Special Christmas 3" captures their sound before they hit it big... sigh.
17.) Like an ice cube down your back, this one will wake you up... even if you're dead! Bedlight For Blue Eyes' contribution to the "Taste Of Christmas" comp (see #12 above).
18.) A Merry New York Christmas? Didn't know they held the patent. I liked this Rob Thomas song for a time but I've heard it so much over the past year or so that I'm not sure what I think...
19.) Caleigh Peters' godmother is Barbra Streisand in case you were wondering. It's sad that all these Radio Disney songs all sound the same (see #3 above).
20.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! Davie Allan & The Arrows have been fuzzing their brand of music for years! This was brilliant! From their sumptuous 2004 Christmas CD "Fuzz For The Holidays"!

Well doggone! This comp had enough Christmas rock power on it to keep several Christmas trees lit for an entire holiday season!

Dwight Twilley, Funeral For A Friend, and Davie Allan were all great surprises. It was good to hear from Lisa Mychols, The Four Imperials, and No Doubt again. Then there's the Radio Disney stuff... Too much of it can cause sugar shock, just so you know!

In all, another solid comp. Martin hasn't really had a bad clunker out of the bunch. And I'm saying that now not to jinx him - I'm fully confident that the second half of the bunch will be as equally good or better than the first half. Stick around and see!

UP NEXT: JohnsCDs 2005-1061-015 - Great And Small


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