gullbuy music review

Xmas Snertz


Xmas Snertz


Gulcher Records

various artists CD

Xmas Snertz CD coverThe folks at Gulcher Records have done it again! Oh yeah, when your mother warned you not to bring home any Snertz, she couldn't have foreseen this fine compilation. Remember, this is the seminal label that in the '70's-'80's brought you songs by definitive Midwestern artists such as the Gizmos, Johnny Cougar, and a host of others, and in the new millennium continues to meet that demand for their special flavor of fun. Look down below. There's enough variety to entertain most any rock music lover!

  1. Angel Corpus Christi opens with Still Feels Like Christmas, an original recorded for this disc, like most of the 16 tracks here. Along with her fellow compmates, she's multifaceted and quite talented. This is a particularly warm and wonderfully listenable piece, and you owe it to yourself to get it! Once you've fallen in love with Angel, you can get yourself on the list for her new and coming releases, accordion to Gulcher's new releases list.
  2. Experienced first wave UK punks The Automatics offer another great song, Merry Christmas. Its touches of jaded sentimentality are set to music which ought to sound somewhat familiar to their enthusiasts (listen to big hit When The Tanks Roll ... at different speeds).
  3. Next get ready for Mach Bell of Boston's Thundertrain, Last Man Standing, and more. C'mon Santa! gives a nostalgic impression of a visit to the store Santa in the '60's. You'll be able to picture an off-color snapshot of a kid pulling on the jolly man's beard!
  4. Now check out that Crawlspace sound ... yes, the Crawlspace where you'll find Gizmos co-founder Eddie Flowers. You're experiencing a take on the '67 Beatles Fan Club Christmas record Christmas Time Is Here Again, recorded under the influence of the early Beatles, later Beatles, and ... a horse of a different color ... a loving tribute to the late '60's and beyond.
  5. You like The Stiffs, another original UK punk outfit? Of course you do, and here you get Phil Hendriks' supercharged performance of the classic If Every Day Was Like Christmas. Elvis' bodyguard Red should be proud of this one.
  6. And how about Gizmos co-founder Kenne Highland & His Vatican Sex Kittens? They're here with the perennial question, Can I Please Crawl Down Your Chimney? Yes, they get just a bit naughty, and they heave some knowing references with very raw power.
  7. Middle-period Gizmo Phil Hundley lets you in on his song to baby Kelsey, Your Very First Christmas. It's a sweet heartfelt treat. Check out Phil's early '80's band, Red Glance, out on Gulcher soon. Did these guys invent emo or what?
  8. Remember The Blizzard Of '78? This alternate take was laid down later the same year by The Korps, nee Afrika, slimmed down to the duo of multi-instrumentalist Kenny Kaiser and the aforementioned Private Highland, supported by members of the Slickee Boys. It sets the timeless tail of distance lust to the beat of many influences.
  9. From Scotland, Jimmy D's Monsterpop sends more UK power pop with Coming Home For Christmas. Hop aboard and ride this smooth sleigh groove, then Google this dude for his kilted shot! (Kenne Highland's got one too!).
  10. You need your dose of MX-80, and don't wait 'til you're ready 'cause you might never be. Dark and cynical, (I Spent) Christmas With The Devil may be the song that finally gets you to wash your ears out with soap. MX-80 should be pleased that they have succeeded in scaring a lot more people.
  11. Next, turn the volume up for Be More Often (Christmas Version)! This is an exercise in barely restrained excitement, delivered by Gizmos co-founder Ted Niemiec (me). You'll sense some subtly blanketed layers of instruments, including vintage Gizmos guitars, antique bells, Kawai piano, and various items such as couscous. The vocals are projected smoothly when appropriate, yet tremble with anticipation. There's an atmosphere of comforting warmth insulated by snow, with a wonderful feeling of tension.
  12. The abutting song, Homo Christmas, comes from the prolific Pansy Division. What can I say? This classic work itself is probably why I didn't see the CD on the shelves at the local megastore. Maybe those guys are up tight ... at the megastore, that is. Quite a catchy piece.
  13. Bill McCarter's Stalingrad Symphony includes players from the Lazy Cowgirls and Crawlspace. Old Taunt & Bomb, an excerpt from their 41.5 minute epic Struggle, is a heavy guitar snert.
  14. Rich The Jew Who Loved Christmas Stim appears on multiple songs, including a mischievous instrumental arrangement of Jingle Bells. Isn't it true that many people like this one? Res ipsa loquitur!
  15. The Walking Ruins branched off from the Panics, known as teenagers for their enthusiastic involvement in the early '80's Bloomington music scene, including well-received originals and covers such as Tie Me Up, Baby! Raucous rebellion remained years later, evident in this sneering party blurt, Happy Hardcore New Year.
  16. Kenny Kaiser returns on X-Ray Tango's instrumental version of We Three Kings Of Orient Are. It reminds me of some of my guitar experiments after I saw groups like the Ventures, and is a great close to the disc.

The 'XMAS SNERTZ' compilation offers incredible diversity. You're bound to like several of the tunes, and you'll have friends who'll love the others. You could spend the same money to see a boring movie once, or you can liven up your parties or travels with this! Get lucky, and get yours before they run out. Sure, Gulcher was kind enough to make a third pressing of the original Gizmos studio CD, but that was only after a lot of people had cried their eyes out and ground their teeth to stubs. Check out several of the artists' other Gulcher CDs too!

---Ted Niemiec, January 20, 2004