Holiday Jeer

Twas the night before Xmas, and all through this column, a bunch of bands you never heard of, got their names in print

One of the hardest things about this job is saying "No thanks" to a band that really wants to be mentioned in the paper. This goes double for local acts, many of which have worked their asses off for years, and whose members want nothing more than a little constructive criticism or a pithy plug. So, in keeping with the season, here is my feeble gift to them, set (more or less) to the rhythm of a classic holiday tale:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, except Mutilated Mannequins, who, if you're into industrial music and bondage, are pretty cool.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care (by Alex Wise, he of the earthy country tunes),

In hopes that the guitar-wielding riff-wrangler Doug Doppler soon would be there;

The children -- Jeff Hanson and Mark Lane, a couple of rootsy rockers -- were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of Apocalypstick danced in their heads (said visions were loud and threatening, but strangely sexual);

And sultry chanteuse Beth Waters in her kerchief, and I, Riki Chen (aka the Rixster), coffee-shop bard extraordinaire, in my cap,

Had just settled down for a Long Winters' nap,

When out on the Giant Haystacks there arose such a clatter (resulting from the grinding, angular guitars, no doubt),

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

And when I got Halfway to Nowhere, I put on its CD, and rocked out.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But Stymie & the Pimp Jones Luv Orchestra, "San Francisco's No. 1 funk band."

With a little old driver, so lively and quick -- and bearing a strange resemblance to Michael McNevin, who's signed to Universal, although that doesn't seem to be helping him all that much --

I knew in a moment it must be St. Odessa Chen, who was all, like,

"Now, Mermen! Now, Crowsong! Now, Moped and Jojo!

On, Viki! On Baywolf! On, Dondero and Shaken! -- fine, fine bands, all of them.

"To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all, including Spinning Jennies, you buoyant altrockers, you!"

So up to the housetop the hip-hoppers of Felonious flew,

With a sleigh full of toys, and trip-hopper Najè, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of Octavius (new record: Audio Noir), which, come to think of it, didn't so much prance and paw as make this really gritty electronic-noise concoction. But I digress ...

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Down the chimney whimsical singer/songwriter Will Hector came with a bound.

And Will was all, "Have you heard of these bands: Hotwire Titans, Amscracy, Ashtray, the Holy Kiss, Go Van Gogh, Or-If-Is?"

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his Bootcuts,

And his clothes were all tarnished by the gooey grooves of Porcelain;

A bundle of Drunken Starfighters -- wacky! -- he had flung on his back,

And he looked like Theo Gonzalves just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like Audio Out Send, that East Bay band that kind of, in its better moments, sounds like the Flaming Lips.

He had a broad face and a little round Belly(achers),

That shook when he laughed like a bowlful of Jellyvore (yes, Jellyvore).

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of the fact that Finding Stella's juicy rock totally shreds;

He spoke not a word -- he didn't even mention the cheery indie pop of Berkeley's Fenway Park, the dick -- but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his Fingertight (from Oakland) aside of his nose,

And giving a nod to his homie Z-Man, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew, to a Tijuana Strip Club, where Oakland's multiculti rapper Hyim did his thing.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"The San Francisco local music scene has got mad flava, fo shizzle!"

Seriously. That's what he said.

 
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