Chosen by DJ Monk
We’re gonna let you into a little secret… we don’t really like Christmas here at ÜRHQ. Yep, we actually could see it far enough. Don’t get us wrong, we love our Brussel sprouts, mince pies and strawberry and cream flavour Baileys as much as the next person… but as for decking the halls and all that crap – well, the wolf ate the tinsel and pissed all over the tree, so there’s none of that nonsense around these parts. What there is, however, is a damn fine collection of Christmas-themed songs that we have been sitting on over the past few weeks, waiting for the appropriate time to share with you, our beloved readers (even though Astrocreep somewhat jumped the gun last weekend, but ‘tis the season of forgiveness and he has promised a bottle of mead to make up for his faux pas)…
And what better way could you mark the festive season than with the first new material to be released by Terrorvision since 2011!? Yes, it’s been eight long years since we’ve had a release from the Bradford power pop maestros – but, now they’ve emerged from the darkness of the recording studio and into the harsh light of winter with the hysterical ‘Our Christmas Song’. The band describe it as “a festive present to our fans, and anyone else with a love of the heady days of pop music, when the Christmas No.1 mattered and the main event on Christmas Day was settling down to watch Top of the Pops with the last few segments of your chocolate orange, washed down with a cheeky swig of your gran’s Snowball!” And, it is indeed glorious throwback, and comes complete with an equally brilliant video:
Talking of goofy songs and videos (which we sort of were), we have another throwback in the form of ‘Emo Christmas’ from pop punks Tug Of War Machine, which is a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of those inane festive tunes which clutter up the speakers in every shop you dare venture into at this time of year:
We keep the fun factor turned up 11, thanks to beer-swilling, Jager-shooting Chicago comedy rockers Psychostick, a band you probably describe as a trans-Atlantic version of our very own Evil Scarecrow. ‘Zombie Claus’ is a well-presented and suitably inane parody of Rob Zombie’s ‘Dragula, and is just what is needed to scare away those dreaded carollers (should they make it past the dire wolf guarding the gates to ÜRHQ):
Everyone has one Christmas song that they absolutely hate. Mine is a tie between the truly awful ‘Last Christmas’ and the vastly overplayed ‘Fairytale Of New York’. But, Birmingham power-proggers Dakesis have teamed up with fellow metallers Fury to present their own take on the Pogues/Kirsty MacColl “classic” – and, you know something, it’s not a half bad rendition, if somewhat mellower than the original, as they have resisted the temptation to “metal it up” and definitely does put you in the Crimbo spirit (mine’s a JD, thanks):
It has been a traumatic year for Seventies-inspired classic rockers Cats In Space, what with the departure of original singer Paul Manzi to join The Sweet and his replacement with Departed frontman Mark Pascall. The band brought the curtain down on this eventful year with their ‘Christmas In Narnia’ tour, which wrapped just this past week, and a suitably retrospective single, in the form of ‘My Kind Of Christmas’, the accompanying video for which combines Charles Dickens and those aforementioned TOTP Christmas specials in an affectionate homage:
We change tone completely now, thanks to Manchester punks Glue Ear! and their manic alternative take on the image of a certain bearded fat bloke in a red suit, by presenting us with irrefutable proof that ‘Santa Is A Cat Burglar’ with their manic take on the Christmas single ethos. We wouldn’t play this one while the kids are in the room, though, and we don’t mean because of the explicit lyrics:
Another variation on the tradition image of Santa as a kindly old gentleman who just wants to deliver good will to all comes from New York alt-rockers Big Stick, who emerge from something of a hiatus with their tale of a ‘Sauced Up Santa’. The song is apparently based on a true story, as John Gill explained to us: “I honestly never thought I’d write a Christmas song, but I felt compelled to share the story of what happened to me at the age of five. There was even a photograph taken (featured on the record cover) to prove the slightly humorous, though somewhat heart-warming childhood story, of the day when my folks took me to the local shopping mall and I wound up sitting on what was a visibly ‘Sauced Up Santa’s’ lap. When the photo of me sitting on an extremely inebriated shopping mall Santa’s lap surfaced in my family photo album many years later in my life, I simply had to write a song about it. I activated my memory banks to recall that distant December day of my childhood and put it into song.”:
A change in pace, and message, next up, with a single that is not a Christmas song per se, but epitomizes what is supposed to be the actual spirit of this time of year, and that is reaching out to our fellow man (or woman) and especially to those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s ‘Cold Outside’ from Duff McKagan, with the Guns N’ Roses bassist donating all profits from the single (which is from his latest solo album, ‘Tenderness’) to the Union Gospel Mission, who provide emergency care and long-term recovery services in his home city of Seattle. “In my early days I was in similar situations,” recalls McKagan “so I know what it’s like to not have anyone to turn to and sometimes need a helping hand to get back on my feet. I know many know others in need and I am hoping that, if we come together, we can help make a real difference.” Although with the prices GN’R are charging for next summer’s tour, there’s no danger of McKagan himself being homeless again any time soon…
OK, another change in mood is called for, and it comes courtesy of Toronto punks PUP, who last week appeared on Canadian television with a reworked, and slightly more wholesome, version of their single ‘Kids’, complete with more Christmas jumpers than a squad of Santas taking part in a charity abseil:
We keep the punk vibe going with a band who literally live up to their name – The Kids! Well, they are all under the age of 17… and they are one of the new breed of Australian punk bands who are determined to keep the flame alive and burning brightly, while at the same time remaining true to the roots of the genre. Singer Jagger Alexander-Erber gave us the gen on ‘My Shitty Christmas’: “[it] is the harsh truth of what Christmas is all about, for poor kids and even the rich kids. That sense of magic within the day will always seem to disappoint as you grow older. But that feeling of being a child who always looks forward to the day, as every child in the world loves Christmas, seems to never die out but the expectations grow lower. But other than that, this song is a piss take, a crappy but well-constructed punk song with a catchy hook which is unfortunately very Christmassy. It has lyrics about the stereotypical situations of living in the slums and celebrating the day. If it’s either financial problems, an alcoholic mother, or an abusive father. Whether the lyrics are comical or not, there is aspects of the song that everyone can relate too. Even if it’s just being a spoilt little bitch not getting your BMX on Christmas!”
Now raise your fake Mjolnir high and shout ‘Valhalleluja’ as you give thanks to the gods of IKEA. Yes, previous ‘Video Of The Week’ winners Nanowar Of Steel are back in da house, and this time they’ve brought Angus McFife of Gloryhammer (themselves known for occasionally planting their tongues firmly in their cheeks) along for the ride – and the mead, course. This will have you grinning from ear to ear at its magnificent inanity, which is cheesier than that block of cranberry-infused Wensleydale stashed at the back of the ÜR fridge! It’s brilliant stuff and just the thing to cheer you up as you fight your way back from the shops with those bags of brussel sprouts:
Our penultimate offering comes from New Hampshire garage punks The Connection and their cheery ‘I Feel Fine (It’s Christmas Time)’, which was co-written with the one and only Andy Shernoff from the legendary Dictators. The song is taken from their seasonal album ‘A Christmas Gift’, released via our good friends at Rum Bar Records:
We finish off with some more damn fine punk ‘n’ roll, this time courtesy of Boston’s wonderfully named Stop Calling Me Frank and their piss-take of Marilyn’s Monroe plea to ‘Santa Baby’ – except these lads don’t want to sit on the big man’s lap…. All they want is for him to buy them a beer. Message received, dudes: there’s a couple of cold ones waiting for yez in the well-stocked fridge here at ÜRHQ!
Well, there you have it, our round-up of the Christmas singles which have been tickling our eardrums in the run-up to the dreaded day when everybody wants to be your friends only to end up throwing a bitch fit and burying you under a mound of discarded wrapping paper. But, whatever this coming Wednesday brings you, stay safe, have a drink on us and we’ll be back next week with our look back at our favourite singles of this past 12 months. Until then, keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and keep on rockin’ with Über Rock.
- All content © Über Rock. Not to be reproduced in part or in whole without the express written permission of Über Rock.