Kill Rock Stars Winter Holiday Album (2006)

Kill Rock Stars Winter Holiday Album

Kill Rock Stars
Buy: BandcampiTunes

Back in 2006, Kill Rock Stars was sending out CD-R copies of their brand-new Winter Holiday Album with a purchase of $50 or more through their webshop. This was the only physical release of the compilation, which is easily found now through most digital retailers. Its certainly not the most obscure independent release to review, but I do find it necessary to throw a bone out there to those who are just getting into this unfortunate obsession, and might not have heard of everything yet.

Kill Rock Stars Winter Holiday Album is the kind of idea that makes you super excited, which inevitably (in most Christmas music cases) leads to disappointment. I certainly don’t want to scare off KRS from another comp, but this record is all over the place. The pace, however, never picks up – it maintains a slow-to-mid tempo nearly the entire time. There are moments of gloom (Gold Chains & Jillian Iva: “Winter Kills”), drone (The Mary Timony Band: “Hapi Holidaze”) and silliness (Phranc: “Hannukah Snowman”) that activate my “skip track finger.” There is really only one track that I truly enjoy. The Everyothers cover of the Pretenders’ “2000 Miles” is done wonderfully – their voices certainly do it justice. They don’t reinvent the wheel, but if you are someone who 1) likes the song and 2) doesn’t want to include the original or the ubiquitous Coldplay version on your mix, this may be the one for you.

Bottom Line: The potential of a great label releasing a Christmas comp is tough to live up to, but I can’t bring myself to give it too much slack. I also haven’t got much sleep this week, sorry KRS, that might play into this too. 2/5


Fletcher C. Johnson “Merry Christmas” (2010)

Fletcher C. Johnson "Merry Christmas"

Burger Records
Buy: Bandcamp

Fletcher C. Johnson has a great pop sensibility, in a garage-rock sense of the word. “Merry Christmas” is the B-Side to his Happy Birthday 7″. It has a truly excellent groove – certainly a groove good enough to be in the running for a mix. Fun, happy lyrics that I genuinely enjoy (believe it!) with the kind of pretty (yet still dirty around the edges) production quality that I am a sucker for. I just have to get over the children’s choir that is low in the mix of the chorus. Certainly worth a listen… I’d imagine you could edit it down to not have such a long intro too…

Bottom Line: Certainly better than most, this tune is solid, though I’d be a much bigger fan if there was a childless version. Oh, and I’d love a download… anybody know if you get an MP3 or FLAC download from the actual 7″? It doesn’t appear to be so on Bandcamp… 3.9/5