Monday, January 14, 2008

Oh Santa! New & Used Holiday Classics (Yep Roc)

One night last month, my wife and son huddled around the computer, shopping for my Christmas gifts. When they came across this one, my son laughed out loud at the artwork and selected this one for me.

Yep Roc Records was founded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina back in 1996 and has grown to be a quite reputable independent record label. Some of the artists who have released albums for them include Robyn Hitchcock, Los Straitjackets, The Minus 5, Paul Weller, Nick Lowe, The Fleshtones, Marah, and The Reverend Horton Heat.

To quote from their website:

"Every family has one, that Grinch who hates Christmas music, the humbugger that snarls at the mere mention of Rudolph or silent nights. During the holidays we here at Yep Roc have more than a few of these curmudgeons roaming the halls, so we decided to do something about it.

"Oh Santa! New & Used Holiday Classics from Yep Roc features our favorite Christmas tracks from twelve of Yep Roc's best and brightest including The Apples in stereo, Los Straitjackets, Reverend Horton Heat, Marah and many more. Oh Santa! is the perfect gift for the hipster on your list and it's guaranteed to be the soundtrack to your most rocking holiday soiree!"


1.) Los Straitjackets - "Holiday Twist"
A new track from one of the best bands in the land! If you haven't checked out their "Tis The Season", you're only hurting yourself.

2.) Jason Ringenberg (featuring Kristi Rose) - "Lovely Christmas"
Kristi begins with a sweet Christmas tune, Jason interjects with some raucous garage Christmas sounds. I'm amazed they both made it through with straight faces - hilarious!

3.) Jake Brennan & The Confidence Men - "Santa Gave To You What You Gave To Me"
Had to listen to this one twice because I missed some of the clever lyrics thanks to the great sound of this band!

4.) Marah - "New York Is A Christmas Kind Of Town"
The quasi-title track from their excellent 2005 Christmas release (which I picked up last year - watch for a full review soon).

5.) Chatham County Line - "O! Santa"
I didn't expect bluegrass at all! Chatham gives us a wonderful new song that's the right mix of bluegrass, country, and Christmas! Brilliant!

6.) The Apples In Stereo - "Holiday Mood"
GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! Part power-pop, part psychedelic, this is a fantastic song that might make my annual Christmas CD! Great stuff!

7.) Th' Legendary Shack Shakers - "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
What if Tom Waits recorded an uptempo blues-rock Christmas song? It might sound like this... lotta fun from the Shack Shakers!

8.) The Moaners - "Something Funny In Santa's Lap"
Melissa Swingle and Laura King's Christmas song is hard, edgy, and full of garage band goodness. Clever title and lyrics await you on this one...

9.) American Princes - "This Business Of Christmas"
WOW! Rock is alive and well and in the hands of these Little Rock rockers! An amazing song that doesn't get old after repeated listenings!

10.) Reverend Horton Heat - "Santa On The Roof"
Selected from their rockin' 2005 Christmas release, these guys can run rings around Brian Setzer's head any day of the week! I chose this song for my 2006 annual Christmas CD...

11.) Cities - "So Cold This Christmas"
Breathtaking sound from this Chapel Hill band! I can't wait to hear a FULL Christmas album from these guys!

12.) Minus 5 - "Your Christmas Whiskey"
Does whiskey really make "the mistletoe greener"? This song makes a strong argument around some fun lyrics and power-pop sounds!

This is what compilations are meant to do: introduce you to new artists you've never heard before to showcase their talents. After listening to this stellar comp, I'm very interested in hearing what other sounds several of these bands have to offer!

The music industry can take some lessons from Yep Roc - stop trying to shove formulas and soundalikes down our throats and let new bands do what they do best. I hope Yep Roc will continue to seek out the young up-and-comers and continue to put out music (especially more Christmas albums!).



PDMan said...

How do you come across these unusual comps? I always seem to miss out on these.

CaptainOT said...

PDMan - Randy's Rodeo always posts a list of new Christmas releases at his website.

I never start the holiday season without printing off his list and checking it twice!