Each year, when the weather starts to turn colder and A to Z starts scrambling to find shows to write about, a Very Bert Dax Christmas compilation arrives in our hands to soothe our stressed heart.
This year's model -- volume six in a series -- showcases some of the best up-and-coming and established local bands in the city. Christian Schaeffer examines the newest edition in this week's paper:
"...while these are all technically "Christmas songs," there ain't a lot of reverence for the holiday season here — and there's nary a sleigh bell in sight. Instead, the thirteen bands represented here let the holiday spirit guide them, from the cutesy (the 75s' "Cliché Christmas Song") to the political (the Help's fabulous "All I Want for Christmas is a Billion Dollar No-Bid Contract").
The ladies in Maid*Rite offer a klezmer-inflected take on Spinal Tap's "Christmas with the Devil," promising a "silent night/violent night." Wooden Kites pick up on this theme with "A Christmas Song for Jenny," striking a balance between Pavement and Bright Eyes as Brian Potts sings a disturbing song of seasonal revenge...."
(My personal favorites are Stella Mora's iceblink swirl, Tape Deck Sonata's Weezer-meets-R.E.M. rock gem "Hockey Drinking Games on Christmas Eve" -- hear it at its MySpace! -- and the gorgeous, melancholy Museum Mutters track, found below.)
To celebrate the release, Matt Harnish (the curator of the comp) is throwing several release shows around the city. Stella Mora, Tape Deck Sonata and the Museum Mutters play on Friday, December 7 at Lemmons (5800 Gravois Avenue); Strawfoot, the Rum Drum Ramblers (and out-of-towner Pokey LaFarge) play at. 9 p.m. tomorrow night at Off Broadway (3509 Lemp Avenue) for a mere $7. Plus! For good measure, the Way Out Club (2525 South Jefferson Avenue) presents a show next Saturday, December 15, featuring the 75's, the Wooden Kites and Chico Maciunas.
Oh and beware: This is kicking off A to Z's Holiday MP3 blitz. You've been warned.
-- Annie Zaleski