Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Gonna Be A Punk Rock Christmas

I'm not quite sure how I missed The Angry Snowmans the first time around two years ago when they released their first album full of Christmas joy, especially considering my annual search for cool and unusual holiday music for the CD mix I make for friends each year, but I did.  My bad; my head is hung by the chimney in shame.

But lo, I have been shown the light with this year's release of their follow up album.  These guys are simply geniuses!  Punk rock parody is not an easy feat; attempts usually fall flat because people forget that at the heart of the best parody you find honest tribute.  These Snowmans know their Punk Rock and play it well, and will leave you laughing (and pogo-ing) all the way as they transform old mosh-pit classics into new Christmas carols.  They carry the joke to its fullest extreme, too; from the band's name itself (hello, Angry Samoans!) to each album's cover art.  The 2009 self-titled debut pays homage to The Adolescents' first LP, with a yuletide red/green color scheme in place of the original's red/blue; this year's offering, the brilliantly titled What We Do Is Festive, takes on the appearance of The Germs' (GI), with holly wreath in place of that band's blue circle logo.

A quick scan of the song titles will bring a smile to any old-school punk's face, as many of those titles immediately reveal their source material, from the debut's "Richard Hung His Sock," "Blitzen Bop," "Ebeneezer Über Alles," and "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Halls Decked In Tonight" to the new record's title track and "I Love Christmas In The City."  In other cases, the presents are only unwrapped upon listening: "Decoration" takes on The Circle Jerks' "Operation," "Egg Nog" is a brilliant holiday reworking of Black Flag's "Six Pack," Agent Orange's classic "Bloodstains" is reimagined by these Snowmans as "Fruitcakes."

What makes it all work on both records is that, snarky humor aside, these guys are a damn good band! The music is tight, fast and loud - and, most importantly, accurate.  In a few cases you'd swear they used the original tracks and just recorded new vocals, but these guys actually play live! Dates so far have been only on the West Coast (they are from Victoria, British Columbia, so it's easy enough for them to make the Seattle-to-California circuit); wish they'd find their way over here to PA.

Both albums are available as digital downloads for a measly $8 a piece from The Angry Snowmans' site;  physical copies are also available from the band themselves (I picked up the debut on CD and What We Do Is Festive on Christmas-y red vinyl - score!).  Get yourself over there and get them downloaded, and fill your home with their special brand of Christmas cheer!

To ring in the holiday season, here's The Angry Snowmans' take on the Angry Samoans, "Lights Up." Enjoy!

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