So, as you can read on Elle's site, Detroit Riot ...we were both planning on writing individual song-by-song write-ups for the Suburban Sprawl Holiday Sampler for Christmas 2008...but it was just too crazy...there's other things we both needed to get to on this snowy first-afternoon-of-December...so we combined efforts... -here, you get spastic, spilled out word-soups of quick one-two sentence takes on each song... As Elle also did...I'll refrain from ID-ing each review's writer...Elle's are probably funnier, mine are probably more rambling..., that's the easiest way to tell - plus, I can take credit for writing the review of her and Brad's song
Cheers to all - here's to a happy season and a long month of insanity and camaraderie!
The Sururban Sprawl Holiday Sampler 2008 !!!
1) Jailhouse Angels - Adam Kempa --- A sweet, surfy mash-up of two classics.
2) Stood Up on Christmas - Arranged Marriage - Lot of flavors here, from father-son duo, Brad and Scott Allen – kinda got a country-tinged bluegrass thing going on…but also a bit of a piano-pranced waltz with wispy heartfelt vocals that swirls into a cornucopia of synthy/jingle-bell/backwards-guitars-and-a-bit-o-brass towards the finale.
3) Third Grader Confronting The Possibility That Santa Doesn't Exist - Will Yates --- This song might come off as silly, but it begs for some debate: will anyone ever catch the real Santa Claus on their Webcam?
4) Meet Me On Christmas Eve - Sea of Japan Ahh, sweet shoegaze-y atmospherics, set to a rolling expressive drum beat that pulls the song into interplays between feedback flares chugging under gossamer choruses that hang like tinsel over excited hearts falling in and out and back-into love…
5) What Child - Daniel --- A beautiful take on a standard Christmas carol. Way more laid back and less dramatic than what you are used to hearing in church, if you even go to church. The stripped-back feel to the song is a lot more humble, and it's lovely.
6) Le Manteau de Noel - Honest Man - Synth-pop may have chilly perceptions, but this echoey, punchy ballad feels (and somehow tastes) just like a marshmallow-laden mug o' hot cocoa…albeit sipped while wearing sunglasses at night, at a stand-up keyboard, tapping one foot while wearing shiny pants.
7) Mele Kalikimaka - Mr. Sprinkle's Fabulous Cupcakes ---- Funny. With a robot voice. Haha. Cupcakes.
8) All I Want For Christmas is What I Can't Take Back - Love Axe --- Another amazing contribution from Love Axe, whose "Happy New Year" song from last year's comp got played year round on my computer.
9) Red Nose Leads the Parade - Dave Lawson --- Rudolph's got a tough gig, and Lawson is on the nose with his plight: "they can't see without me, without me, they can't see."
10) School's Lights - Em News - Drum master Rickle and sequenced-drum-n-synth master Naud with master-hypnotic-wispy-heartbreaking-vocalist Bracken – end up forming something that truly feels like 3 distinct flavors surging all at once – but in a beautiful, lulling euphoria, never dissonant.
11) A Kenberton Christmas - Korin, Augie, Dave And Emily --- Leave it to these four stars to have one of the best vocal arrangements out of all 44 songs.
12) Wonderful Christmastime - Cale Parks --- Another X-mas song I can't stand, but it is made more palatable by one of the biggest names on this compilation.
13) Gifting - Friendly Foes --- I've got no money, but I'm not freaking out because I got the Friendly Foes album for free.
14) The Ghosts of Christmas Whenever - Andrew Dost --- This song reminds me all the things wonderful about Christmas: hot cocoa with tons of marshmallows, roasted chestnuts, drinking heavily, and reminiscing about past Christmases. Soothing vocals and a pretty piano carry the song.
15) I Saw Kwame Kissing Santa Claus (Live On Dick Hurtin's Morning Show) - Downriver Dan --- Watch out, Santa! Christine Beatty looks crazy enough to kick your ass.
16) Holidays - Lightning Love --- Dear SubSprawl, How did you get Zooey Deschanel to contribute a track? AWESOME! (Leah Diehl is a doll.)
17 'We're a Couple of Misfits – Shawn Knight & Christian Doble – Jeff says: I could see the Muppets interpreting this…certainly a new jam for the next generation of carolers. Elle says: A song from one of the best Christmas movies of all time recreated by two of the nicest bearded dudes in Detroit. Burl Ives would be proud.
18 The Death of Santa's Farrier – Silverghost – nice and surfy sway going on here with Marcie's oh so pretty vocals…with some piano freakouts, a bit of an R.E.M.-ish chorus and a bit of Marcie on the trumpet at the end wiggling away to the heart-beat sampler…
19) Jolly Man - Zach Curd -- Zach Curd using autotune is completely unnecessary, but this could very well be an R&B hit. Watch out, Akon!
20) Letters to Santa (From Four Real Girls) - The Next Door Neighbors --- When I heard the concept, I lol'd. When I listened to it, I awww'd.
21) Midnight Visit - K & Ju – kind of a funky/soul drum beat in the background with sunny guitars mixed with feedback fuzz – and dreamy crooned vocals…what can we say? It just sounds real cool.
22) Oh Dear - Kiddo --- Freaking precious! There is nothing more to say. I'm going to listen to it again. And again. And again. Christian and Lizzie's vocals go together like candy canes and hot cocoa.
23) Happy Xmas (War is Over) - Jon Cendrowski & the Nine Mile Choir --- How did you find people to hit those high notes, Jon? Was there castrating involved?
24) Deadbeat Christmas - Everthus The Deadbeats – dig the bewitching choir opening, and all those rousing get-up-and-go-guitars…a sad swooner of a ballad, that, by its title hints at a bit of theme-song-ness for the band…great atmosphere, a nice spread…they better be joining us at Christmas dinner, especially with that saxophone! ("You should feel guilty for not buying me a present…!")
25) Christmas Vacation - Blase Splee --- Randy Newman's Christmas Special.
26) Procedural Claus - The Paincakes – best way to close out disc one: ultra-heavy metal-punk-spaz-freak-out! Incomparable…and kinda scary!
27) Happy Xmas (War is Over) - Teleportation Please – solemn and exceptional cover of a vital song. Can't say anything cocky…I dig it! A fine, poignant, boy-girl duet. War is over if you want it…
28) I Hear Angels - Jeremy Vallender – Oh man, to be in a tinsel-laden, light-twinkling-giant-mirror-on-the-wall, soggy floored, wooden-walled bar on Christmas eve, on my 5th Strohs, with Vallender as a veritable crooner on a tiny stage at his keyboard – so romantic.
29) Give It To Me on Chrismas - Superfast --- I don't know who Superfast are, but I want them to give it to me, Christmas-style.
30) Jesus – Prussia – ohhh Prussia…reverb-loving, all-over-the-map-rock-quartet sneaks their way into a Beatles cover by strategically replacing the name…splendid and atmospheric with fuzzy enthralling vocals and sweet chimes and a devastating acoustic strum.
31) The Freudian Gift – Daditudes – one of the more unique entries, to be sure…opens up quiet but slides quickly into booty-rap about food and diapers…and potty training…and name dropping Big Bird…and diarrhea… and…..hmm…wow
32) I Heard the Bells - Allan James & the Cold Wave – sighs and lovelorn reflection and great vocals over minimalist guitar-and-(synth?)-churns. Can't find the mistletoe fast enough for a cheer-up-peck.
33) Christmas Mist - Timmy Tumble – wavy vocals over guitars that sound like a burnt-out spark spurting music box…vocally it feels almost like an epic hair-band ballad at points – counteracted by the minimalist instrumentation.
34) Something Something Christmas - Elle and the Foe – I get goosebumps from these vocals and it makes me sad, then it makes me wanna hug…from anybody…even from the dude who sells the walking/barking/battery-operated dogs at Somerset! Sweet and sad like crumbled gingerbread over melted candy-canes.
35) Large Christmas - Eat Sleep --- Here we jump from Brad Elliott to Ryan Clancy... I guess drummers really are musicians after all!
36) It's a Dr. Pepper Christmas, Charlie Brown - Fun With Teeth – Easily one of the top-2-best-titled songs on the comp, but also with a fantastic Tom Waits-fronting-Beat Happening vibe (with maybe some Ween?)…zigzaging melodies and verses!
37) Zach Curd and Santa - Joe Ging – "I saw Zach Curd take a turd on Santa…they were totally boning under the Christmas tree…" "Zach Curd like to turd on people…" I'm not sure how much I can add to this review in order to give you a better picture…a herky-jerky-pop-classic! This'll be you put on when you're decorating the tree with grandma nearby in the rocker…
38) Christmas Surprise - The Magic Tones – awesome robot-vocal-effects…rambling about things it(he/she) likes…with fuzzy drums and bass…somebody pull its batteries out, its creepin' me out.
39) Warm it Up - Hugs and Kisses – beats!!! - wouldn't a band named thusly just have to have a song…also named thusly? One of the hotter dancefloor tracks on the comp. Crank it up and turn the black lights up…slam some egg nog and start grinding…hopefully not at the family gathering…
40) Christmas Cookie Capers - The Cartridge Family – this band is pure fireball energy, and they deliver on this one…hardcore punk dressed up in frilly green and red, bringing the mosh-pit into the living room, leaving no great Aunt un-offended and no remote control car un-stomped.
41) Sore Afraid on the road to Bethlehem – Flatfoot – Spanish guitar? Man, this slow shaker-sprinkled, accordion squeezed, acoustic ballad puts you right in the manger…like, I feel like Jesus is right next to me…and he needs to be changed. I'm not touchin it!
42) I'm Not As Drunk As Santa - The Darts – this is nice. Feels like 90's sugary pop revivalism – while echoing a very identifiable sentiment…I think we'd all want to get drunk with Santa, at least once…who knows how many more presents you could scam out of him. But, oh shit…what if he's an angry drunk? What if he starts talking shit about you – but to your face, instead of just to the sweet little elves when you're not around…
43) Christmas Death March (Manger of Death) - Mark Teachout, Ryan Teachout, and Ian Saylor
44) Feliz Navidad de Ridiculoso - Oscillating Fan Club – build it up with clashing symbols and calypso clickety-clackers…then let the feedback, pick-up-laden surf guitars rise up with the drums. The Fan Club closes it with an instrumental that just grows more and more cacophonous, with this beautiful, oozing guitar that transports us out into the desert on Christmas eve…hanging ornaments on cacti and gazing up at shooting stars.