'Tis the Season ...

... to mangle a couple of holiday tunes and drop a few local band names

Last week I was talking to my little sister on the phone. She's 15, lives in the OC with the folks, and gets jitterbug excited for the holiday season, which descends on that affluent county like Vishnu the Tax Collector, hands waving in every direction to grope for disposable income. She told me she couldn't believe how Christmas sneaked up on her this year. Huh? Christmas didn't sneak up -- it announced itself like a five-sleigh pileup, with holiday hype commercials running in advance of Halloween, not to mention the too-soon arrival of yuletide Pepsi and movies like Surviving Christmas (which hit theaters Oct. 22). I have no doubt that when I'm my parents' age, the holidays will arrive in June and linger through April. Our country will be like a holly, jolly theme park, where it's Christmas all year long.

But if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

For this column I'll be revisiting a tradition I began last year. I receive hundreds of CDs every week, many from local bands struggling to get the smallest bit of ink. Obviously I can't write about them all. But since it's that time of year again, in the spirit of mirth and merriment, I'm giving it the old college try -- in the form of song. Last year it was "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" (OK, that's technically a poem; whatever). This year I've chosen two: "Blue Christmas," the most memorable version of which was performed by Elvis "Peanut Butter on My Piano" Presley; and "The Christmas Song," with lyrics by Mel Torme. For maximum enjoyment, I recommend you throw back a roast beef sandwich and six ludes and imagine Elvis singing the following:

"Blue Christmas (Without These Local Bands)"

I'll have a blue Christmas without the electro-goth quirk-pop of Secret Synthi,

I'll be so blue thinking about Matt Nathanson's major-label deal with Universal, which, as far as I can tell, hasn't earned the rootsy singer/songwriter the hot A/C radio airplay he seems suited for

Decorations of the Red Thread on a Finless Brown Christmas tree

Won't be the same, Rob Hotchkiss, if you don't play your really shitty, post-Train, I-don't-care-if-you-co-wrote-"Meet Virginia" wimp-rock for me

And when those blue snowflakes start fallin' (and then, like, totallystart melting when they land on Mozaic's edgy industrial electronica)

That's when those blue memories start callin' (memories of Those Darn Accordions, of course)

You'll be doin' all right, with your Christmas of white, and performances by the Famous, Bermuda Triangle Service, Chris Parro...

But I'll have a blue, blue Christmas

Now wasn't that fun? Let's try another:

"The Christmas Song"

Boyskouts roasting on an open fire

Garrin Benfield nipping at your taste for mellow coffee-table rock,

Yuletide indie opuses being sung by Fiver

And folks dressed up like Thin Acid Angel

Everybody knows the Urinals' dirty punk and some moody, Brian Wilson-inspired pop by Papercuts

Help to make the season bright

The Earl Brothers (spittin' images of the Soggy Bottom Boys) with their eyes all aglow

Will find it hard to sleep tonight, although not if they've "Been Sittin' Here Drinkin'," as one of their song titles indicates

They know that MC Ridic's on his way, straight outta Oakland -- west siiiidddee!

He's loaded (is he ever) lots of toys and goodies (including Matt Baulk CDs!) on his pimped ride

And ev'ry mother's child is gonna spy

To see if the Granniesreally know how to fly

And so, I'm offering this simple phrase

To bands from the Advantageto XBXRX

Altho' it's been said many times, many ways,

"Let's all go out and get drunk together!"

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