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Recently in Punk Category

spinteeth.jpgThere's a magazine called Spin, and these guys sent an email with a logo that looked an awful lot like the magazine's nameplate, so I was scratching my head. A click-through revealed this Philadelphia band was the real thing, and so is this 2017 punkish dash through this old pop chestnut. It's free, so go grab it from Bandcamp. Oops, just noticed they did the same thing in 2015 on an EP called Christmas Time Again, with "Silent Night" (vocal and instrumental versions), "Little Drummer Boy," "The First Noel," and "Christmas Time Again (I'll Be Good Next Year)," the latter a solid pop-punk original. This one you'll have to pay for, but it's worth it.

missiletoads.jpgThis Philadelphia punk group dropped this 2017 EP that features three songs by such punk groups as the Hanson Brothers, Screaming Sneakers and the Wretched Ones, with the lyrics repurposed into something Christmasy. (Not familiar with the original groups, so I can't tell you which is which.) The title song has Santa doing his holiday thing undercover because something akin to The Man is after him. "Selfish Ways" pokes at Christmas shoppers passing by needy homeless people and Hanukkah Alert, "The Good Old Dreidel Game" makes the traditional game sound like the Jewish equivalent of shooting craps. The band knocks out an original, "North Pole Riot Squad," which recasts Santa's North Pole compound as the South Side of Chicago. A bit earnest-sounding, but it's all tongue in cheek, so it's OK. We all need a little holiday thrash in our lives.

"Last Christmas," The Dollyrots (self-issued)

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dollylast.pngPop-punk rears its head once more as this fab duo gives its heavily Ramones-influenced treatment to the Wham! classic. It's free at Bandcamp.

We've had this informal grouping of punk superstars operating under the rubric of the Misfits on the site before, as they appear to love doing holiday tunes, in this case a twisted punk ode to a holiday under strict conservancy. From 2016.
Hot Press is an Irish music magazine of long standing. In 1978 and 1979, the magazine sponsored the release of several rock Christmas singles, and now they've put together an EP with all of them available in one place. (They're pushing this in 2016, but the Amazon listing indicates this has been up since 2014.) "December 24" is a midtempo rocker that takes a jaundiced look at last-minute shopping, with a nod to the spirit of the season mixed in there somewhere. "Christmas in the Cookhouse" is a Little Richard-via-garage-band ode to a missing holiday turkey (inspired by a true tale of the dog stealing it), "Gobble Gobble Gobble Hey!" mungs together 70s British punk with a purloined Ramones title while celebrating holiday excess, "Eight Reindeers (Santa Was a Trucker)" takes its inspiration for a mid-70s trucker song from Little Feat, and the title song is a Bruce Springsteen homage, right down to the downbeat lost-love topic of the lyrics. It's not clear from the promotional materials, but it appears at least some of the folks involved with these tunes were magazine staffers, and I gotta say, good on ya's, not just for doing this in the first place but for resurrecting it in the modern age so we can rock out old school for one more holiday.
Not much to say beyond that this fun pop-punk duo doubled the speed and brought the guitars to the fore on this 2016 cover of the Mariah Carey tune. It's a name-your-price download at Bandcamp, so go on and grab it. UPDATE: Video!

Carol of the Bells, The Melvins (self-issued)

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Long-running punk provocateurs The Melvins let rip with the popular carol for 2016, an Amazon exclusive that was added to last year's "Indie For the Holidays" playlist. Considering how many heavy rock, metal and punk bands have done versions of this, it's not surprising that this doesn't stick out in any meaningful way compared to past rock versions, though it inarguably sounds like the Melvins. Check it out yourself.
This is one of four singles in the Snowflakes Christmas Singles Series for 2016. This band does a driving punkish thing to start the song, which then slows down into a dreamy Christmas interlude before kicking back into overdrive. The flip is a kind of emo version of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer." Available on vinyl or stream them at Soundcloud.

Regifted Vol. 1 and 2, Jingle Punx (self-issued)

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We've featured many Jingle Punx holiday albums and singles here at Mistletunes over the years. If you missed those reviews, the band name tells you everything you need to know; holiday tunes cranked out punk-rock style, mostly covers of the Christmas repertoire but a few originals thrown in along the way. For 2016, this is your chance to be a completist; the (virtual) box set of the Punx discography is available for download. Every tune they ever did, from "Peanuts" covers to "Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas," from "A Visit From St. Nicholas" to "Christmas in Hollis," from "Holly Jolly Christmas" to "12 Days of the Urban Dictionary Christmas," is part of this two-volume collection. This may be more thrash than you actually need for a rockin' holiday, or you may feel there's no such thing as too much thrash. Get the complete set from iTunes, or you can graze their Bandcamp page if you prefer.

"Xmas Has Been X'ed," NOFX (Fat Wreck Chords)

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NOFX.jpgHere's another one that slipped through my grasp; it's from 2012 and it's a great, if profane, skate-punk anti-anthem about the worst aspects of the holiday. Party on with them as they hammer out the additional tunes "New Year's Revolution" and a different version of "Wore Out the Soles of my Party Boots" than was on two of their other collections.

Pretty much what you'd expect, but fun nonetheless.

Music She Blogged is essentially a woman named Sarah who, wait for it, blogs about music in and around Toronto. She's compiled this lengthy set of music as a benefit for Toy Mountain, a Christmas charity in her home country. This is a mostly punk collection, all pretty well-played stuff, and it appears to be mostly original songs except for No Doubt's "Oi to the World" covered by The Stragglers and a thrashy "I Heard the Bells" by Quick and the Dead. Many of these songs appear to be non-Christmas, however, so I'll stick to the holiday tunes. Carly Thomas' "Hold You" is more of a pop ballad, and as such sticks way out from the rest of the lineup. Audio Visceral's "Wonderful Life" plays off the movie, Last Imprint hammers out a speedy "Through These Eyes," Rebuilder screams about "X-Mas PunX," and Redambergreen does a crunchy, almost 70s rock "Christmas List." The Good Boys do a more pop-punk take on "It's Christmas Time and I'm In Love With You (Haven't You Heard)," and You Big Idiot offers the punk shuffle "A Christmas Song." My suspicion is that a lot of folks are going to want the Carly Thomas song and not the rest of the album, but if you're interested in contemporary Toronto punk, the album makes a good snapshot of the scene, though the Christmas highlights are few. Music She Blogged apparently did this a year ago with Holiday Headbangers, and the rundown of that album is straight punk Christmas with thrashy covers of familiar carols. Both albums are at Bandcamp, and the Headbangers set is free to download.

Another female punk group takes on Chuck Berry, and the result is good fun, with the driving punk crunch taking precedence over the Berry riffs. Yes, I know there are similar versions of this practically growing on trees, so whether you go for this probably depends on whether you're a fan of the band or you actually don't have a similar version of this song. But I like this 2015 single without reservations. It's on Bandcamp and NoiseTrade.
Cleopatra Records takes two bites at the punk-rock apple for 2015 with this collection of female artists taking on the Christmas songbook. Yeah, it doesn't actually say "punk rock" anywhere on here, but a fair number of these folks have the sound and the attitude down, though this is a slightly more eclectic collection. And definitely a majority British collection, judging by the song selection and little hints like The Ethical Debating Society substituting "motorway" for "freeway" in "Run Rudolph Run." But punk kicks things off with PantyChrist's amped-up and profane "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Diploid renders "Silent Night" as a drone and a shriek, LIINES puts some hard rock crunch into Mud's "Lonely This Christmas," Matagot strips down the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping," and Husbands n Knives liberally rewrite the lyrics of Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody." Snap-Her appear to have the only original song, "I Hate Christmas," which is as punky as you can want, Thee Merry Widows punk up "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," and more of the same for Kerosene Queen's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." Frightwig hits the Hanukkah tip with South Park's "The Lonely Jew On Christmas," Majorettes cover the Ravers' "It's Gonna Be a Punk Rock Christmas," Charla Fantasma gets girl-groupy on "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus," and Lez Zeppelin tops the album off with a medley of "What Child Is This/Frosty the Snowman" set to the melody of "Stairway to Heaven." If you don't have time for anything else on the album, grab that one.
Not the most original title for an album in 2015, but certainly one that's accurate and descriptive of this 19-song collection. A good number of the artists on this collection, furthermore, are veterans of the original 1970s punk explosion -- Slaughter & the Dogs, the VIbrators, UK Subs, Anti-Nowhere League, Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Members, and there's an appearance by the Godfather of Punk himself, Iggy Pop, although that's the same semi-loungy "White Christmas" that's been compiled several times before. Everybody else came along later, like Suicide Machines, Unwritten Law, Smash Mouth and Reel Big Fish. Information out in the real world is sketchy, so I can't say with assurance that the original period punks' songs are from that time or were recorded later. This is a good collection, although it's best when the artists stretch the meaning of "punk" a bit, like Reel Big Fish's ska take on "Little Drummer Boy," Suicide Machines' punk-via-Broadway version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," and Anti-Nowhere League's poppy if gruff "Let It Snow." Elsewhere, UK Subs do a version of Kevin Bloody Wilson's partially spoken-word (and profane) "Hey Santa Claus," Slaughter & the Dogs crunch down on "Run Rudolph Run," the Vibrators run with Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody," Unwritten Law cram "Please Come Home For Christmas" into a square wave, and Eddie and the Hot Rods recorded "It Feels Like Christmas" new in 2015. Smash Mouth gives us "Snoopy's Christmas," 45 Grave takes on "The Snow Miser Song," Bankrupt covered the Cheap Trick self-parody "I Want You For Christmas," and Batfoot! drew the short straw, taking on Mariah Carey's signature holiday tune "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Good fun for punk fans, and even if you're not, feel free to graze it for highlights.

From Pittsburgh, this guy wanted to do some punk rock Christmas songs, so he started knocking them out until he ran out of time. Literally; this dropped on Christmas Eve 2014 on Bandcamp. "Good King Wenceslas" gets a driving thrash rhythm, "Feliz Navidad" is rendered in a punk-ska arrangement, "Two Front Teeth" is a midtempo rendition with plenty of scratchy guitars, "Blue Christmas" is pretty close to a typical rendition, and "Father Christmas" is mostly faithful to the Kinks original. Vocals are a little pitchy and it definitely sounds home-recorded, but the energy is good and the collection is listenable.

"O Holy Night," Osaka Popstar (Caf Muzeck)

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These guys are nominally a punk rock supergroup (their term), as their membership is a rotating cast of former associates of the Ramones, Misfits, Black Flag, the Voidoids and others. Although they got together in 2006, they persist to this day with this pop-punk take of the classic carol released in 2014. It's a good production, and you'll want it if a punk rock carol is what you need for your mix disc.

"Father Christmas," Bad Religion (Epitaph)

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Following on from last year's full Christmas album, this long-running punk band couldn't leave it lay, coming back for 2014 with this single, a strong cover of the Kinks' holiday classic. If you've somehow missed out on this song over the years, this version's as good an introduction as any.
bowlsoup.jpgThis comic pop-punk band, probably best known for their hit "1985," seems to be sneaking this out for 2010; there's only the slightest mention of it on their MySpace page. The boys threw together eight familiar holiday songs, heavy on the punk and light on the comedy, extending from such standards as "Frosty the Snowman" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" to rock favorites like the Kinks' "Father Christmas" and the Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)" and the nearly obligatory assault on Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You." What appears to be an original (UPDATE: No it isn't, it's a Merle Haggard song, thanks Stubby) is "Bobby Wants a Puppy Dog For Christmas," a fairly straightforward plea for a particular gift. Also on this collection are "Feliz Navidad," starting off with the obligatory off-key kid vocals, plus "We're a Couple of Misfits" and "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy." Not a bad collection, and not a slow tune in the bunch. FURTHER UPDATE: Somehow missed out on Vol. 2 for 2011. Inexcusable, since Vol. 2 is where the title song resides. They broke out the songwriting pen for this one, along with three others, "Even Santa Needs a Break Sometimes," "I Miss You Most on Christmas," and "The Corner Store on Christmas." The collection wraps up with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," all at breakneck pop-punk speed. If you are even slower than me, never fear; the band mashed the two together for subsequent releases, and I've updated the Amazon link so you can download the whole mess.

Horror Xmas, the Misfits (Cyclopians/Misfits)

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The long-running late 70s punk band, founded by Glenn Danzig before he went out on his own, is still a going concern in 2013, as evidenced by this EP, or should we call it a double B-side single, as there is a limited vinyl release in exactly that format in colored vinyl. It's downloadable too, which is the format I received. No surprises in sound, this is classic late 70s punk applied to three classics, the A-side "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," "Island of Misfit Toys" and "Blue Christmas." Misfits fans will want the vinyl, punks will be happy to have this and it's quite listenable for the rest of us as well.

Christmas Songs, Bad Religion (Epitaph)

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badrelig.jpgProbably don't have to introduce this band to punk fans, as they were one of the original California punk rock bands, and they've stayed mostly intact through the years to the present day, with the current incarnation featuring most of the original lineup. This 2013 album is just what you would expect of a punk rock band circa 1980; eight classic holiday carols and pop hits, none over 2:08, with the ninth song being a remixed version of their 1993 classic "American Jesus." Everything is relentlessly uptempo, as you would expect, and the only fly in the ointment is that there have been so many punk rock Christmas performances over time that there's not much new to be found in a collection of Christmas covers. Nevertheless, a band with as long a pedigree as Bad Religion demands attention; while the style may be familiar and maybe even duplicated, these guys do loud-fast punk as well as anybody ever and the performances are very good. Also, Bad Religion has long had strong group vocals as a cornerstone of their sound, and that remains true here, kicking off "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" with a cappella vocals and keeping the group vocal sound going throughout the album. I especially like the way "White Christmas" starts with the riff from "I Wanna Be Sedated," and the way-uptempo approach kind of suits "O Come O Come Emmanuel." All told, a nice job.

jpunx12Days.jpgLooks like we lost track of these guys after featuring one new Christmas album of theirs after another for several years. For those who don't remember, they're a punk band exclusively dedicated to Christmas music. They're a bit less prolific nowadays, but I'm still annoyed that I missed out on this 2010 release of theirs, which takes the 12 Days song and replaces the gifts with terms from the Urban Dictionary. The cover art shows a Parental Advisory warning, and I think I'll let that speak for itself, as typically anybody who refers you to the Urban Dictionary for a word meaning is trying to avoid making a NSFW reference out loud. In other Jingle Punx news, they had a new song out in 2012, "The Parting Glass," an Irish traditional song with a similar theme to "Auld Lang Syne," but don't worry, they punked it up real nice; and an archive release of their version of "Jolly Old St. Nicholas." They've also expanded to Halloween and other holidays, and you can check all this stuff out at their Bandcamp page.

helenlove.jpgDamaged Goods is a label that carries on the torch for 1977 punk, and this 2012 song's sound is right in that period, if a bit more pop-punk, with a few orchestral touches to approach the grandeur of the holiday. Lyrically it starts with the singer down in the mouth about her situation, but the sounds of the holiday eventually get to her anyway. It's a double-sided single, the same song twice with a "Disco Mix" straight out of the 80s. Grab it here from Amazon, or if you're a vinyl junkie, the label's site offers 7 inches of heaven in a limited edition.
cashing3.jpgLike the previous edition, this is 18 hard rock/punk takes on the holiday for your 2011 delectation and playlisting. Among the familiar songs are the Chosen Ones' "White Christmas," in which a few unscheduled expletives and stimulants appear; The USM makes "The Little Drummer Boy" hammer out a boogie shuffle; The F.U.s' "Father Christmas" is a noisier but otherwise faithful cover of the Kinks; and Al and the Black Cats get thrashy with Elton John's "Step Into Christmas." Most of the tunes heard here are originals, kicking off with Evacuate's "Holidays With You," a fairly mainstream companionship song; the Keefs rail against lengthy Christmas preparations with "Christmas Crock," and Last Seen Laughing cover similar ground in "The Great Christmas Plot"; Cracks and Scars take aim at Santa with "Fake Beard Bastard"; and the Slotcars hijack surf music with their punkish "Surfin' For Christmas." Alcohol gets its holiday due via the Fisticuffs' "Santa Smells Like Whisky," Whisky Business' "A Whiskey Christmas," the Gestalts' "Cookies and Beer," Seek Revenge's "Kegnog," Red Alert's "Having a Drunken Christmas," and Angry Snowmans' "Drinkin' Rum & Egg Nog." That latter song, along with Missile Toads' "Reindeer In the Night," are billed as CD/download bonus tracks, which means if you go for the "splattered candycane vinyl," you'll have to download those last two tracks somehow. For the hard rockers and the punks out there, not to mention the vinyl fetishists (180-gram variety, of course).
cashingin.jpgI had no idea there was a Volume 1, but this 2010 sequel is a nicely subversive punk thrash through the holiday -- and a frequently explicit romp as well, so mothers hide your kiddies. The Sheckies go nuts with "Holly Jolly Christmas," but watch out what that guy does with his zipper. The 45 Adapters (do you have to be old like me to appreciate that name?) go anti-commercial with "This Xmas," in which we are exhorted to "don't buy sh-t." Dog Company wishes us a "Merry Christmas, Better New Year" in a punky reggae style, Doomed To Obscurity gets all jangly on "Yuletide Girl, and the Jukebox Zeros aver that "Christmas In the City (Ain't Too Pretty)." The Missile Toads rat out the jolly elf in "Santa's a Boozer," "White Christmas" goes explicit in the hands of the Antibodies, and you can imagine what a "Foul Mouthed Elf" might say in the hands of Nothing But Enemies/SCFF, who render the tune in a style reminiscent of the Buzzcocks. And what can we say about the Violent Society's "Merry Christmas, I [Cee-Lo'ed] Your Snowman?" I deleted the expletive myself, btw. All told, a profane noise spree you'll want to play for your friends. NSFW, but here's the 45 Adapters:


"Feliz Navidad," The Baghdaddios (self-issued)

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The guys who brought us "Christmas at CBGB's" a few years back give us a quick punk attack on the popular Jose Feliciano Christmas song. Go to the YouTube site and they'll tell you how to request the audio file. Check out their website when you get a chance.

Xmass, various artists (Nub Country)

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xmass.jpgThis 2010 British punk-pop compilation is actually billed "The Pocket Gods and Friends," as six tunes on here are by that band, including an all-hands-on-deck version of "Auld Lang Syne" that closes the album. (Their song "The Phil Spector Christmas Album" isn't on here, but it is on the 2010 Cherryade compilation, about which more later.) The hosts have a take-no-prisoners view of the holiday, with such titles as "Wanking For Christmas," "It's Christmas and You're Still a C--t," and the angry sound collage "The Queen's Speech Impediment," based on the tradition of the monarch speaking at holiday time. They also thrash through "Silent Night" and take a lo-fi but poppy approach to "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Other guests here include The Low Countries, whose "Carry On Christmas" appears to have double meanings in regard to the bishop's activities; "Supernatural Bread" by Eddie's Brother seems to be a request for money in lieu of gifts; Grae J Wall and the Young Trash Lovers lament that "They Cancelled Christmas," then Grae himself returns with a folk ballad "Acadia Avenue," about holiday verities; Martin Bradford Gago renders a straight reading of "We Three Kings"; Uber Dramm offers a noisy admission, "I KIlled My Parents on Christmas Day"; the Electric Pheromones offer an instrumental with the provocative title "All I Got For Christmas Was This Clockwork Orange"; Bert M D'hooge also goes instrumental with "Last of Summer, Burned in Midwinter Fire"; and Kirk performs "Xmas Blues," which is exactly what the title says it is. A fair amount of variety here, but mostly in the lo-fi punk vein.

Bah Humbug, Destructors 666 (Rowdy Farrago)

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destructrs.jpgStumbled over this lately, a 2008 EP of punk rock Christmas verities, mostly original except for "Good King Wenceslas," short and to the point. This British band has its roots in the original 70s punk revolution, continued into the 1980s and reformed in 2006, grinding out a prolific number of albums and EPs over both stretches of their career. The songs here are mostly snarky and irreverent, in keeping with the style, and there's a nearly obligatory "F*&k Christmas," but everything is well played, and if you need a song with this collection's title or one called "Punk Rock Christmas Song" for your mix discs, here's where you'll turn. For those of you interested in occasion-based music for other holidays, their latest album is Helloween.
countbles.jpgThis young thrash-punk band from Waldorf, Md., threw together their own ode to the holiday for 2010. They seem to have a bit of ADD, as "Round Up the Christmas Tree" starts out with "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree," segues into "Silent Night," "O Come Emanuel" and back into rocking the tree all in three minutes. "Jingle Bell Stomp" used to have the word "rock" in it before these guys got hold of it, "A Nutty Christmas" thrashes up "The Christmas Song," then "Ode to Nutcracker" actually takes a serious stab at "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" with keyboards and other instruments, then it's back to thrashing "Too Much Eggnog," which is actually that "Grandma" song, and then "Two Front Teeth" is a punked-out version of that popular novelty. When it ends, a bunch of goofing around stretches the song from 2 to 15 minutes. The collection ends with the non-Christmas "When the Sun Comes Up." Never hurts to have a little fresh punk rock for the holidays, am I right?

"Merry ChristmaSSS," SSS (Earache)

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sssxmas.jpgThis Liverpool punk-thrash band put this out there for 2009, and there's not much to say after describing the band -- this goes by at the speed of sound, a minute and a half of cynical sentiment about the holiday. You can listen to it on their MySpace page, and they even link you to a free download from the blog page. So go crazy.

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