Reviews before “Arose Such a Clatter, Letters to Santa” done by Gimpleg

“Arose Such a Clatter, Letters to Santa” compilation reviews by JustSomeMustard, Gimpleg, and Mister Substitute.

Corvair – I Believe in Christmas 

Corvair really impresses with this Christmas song. The sleigh bells dancing in the background throughout the song let you know it is a Christmas song- along with the refrain of I believe in Christmas, but the rest of the song just feels uplifting. Heather’s first verse sounds good contrasted with Brian’s second verse, but when their vocals harmonize it really makes the song feel good. Add this to any Christmas playlist to get a Christmas song that isn’t campy or over the top, but also feels warm, wholesome, and safe. 

Kinnie Starr – One Beautiful Thing

Listening to Kinnie Starr’s One Beautiful Thing is a treat. Even before the vocals begin you call tell it is a Christmas song with the soft sleigh bells a constant theme throughout the song. However, it is still subtle and pleasant enough to not be banned to the “only listen to this song in December” list. Kinnie Starr’s voice is soft and pleasant and the mood created by the song is almost euphoric- like a pleasant dream. The lyrical theme of “all I want for Christmas” might move the song to the aforementioned list, but it is definitely a pleasant and fitting addition to any seasonal playlist.. It takes you exactly where it wants to, but makes you appreciate the journey.

Matthew and the Arrogant Sea – Santa Isn’t Happy, Baby 

This track begins immediately with vocals and the premise is introduced immediately- a holiday focused on the memories of a happier yesterday. The vocals are strong and consistent over a simple melody, leading to the vocals carrying the story throughout the song. The familiar sleigh bells are subtly introduced pretty early and carry through the song until the very end where they are the only thing that remains at the end of the song. Overall this is a well executed performance of a somber Christmas song

Mr. Semmelman – X-Mas Everywhere

Mr Semmelman experimented with an unconventional mix of styles and samples in this unique cross genre Christmas song. The lyrics get a little redundant and I’m not sure all of this works together, there is definitely something catchy underlying certain aspects of the song. Whether it is the jazzy rhythm, the electronic melodies, the 80s hip hop like rhythm of the vocals, or the Christmas samples, something feels right and something just misses.

On The Upbeat – Arose Such a Clatter, Letters to Santa

Mustard’s portion 

Presented by On The Upbeat, with proceeds going to Marine Toys For Tots, comes another edition of “Arose Such a Clatter: Letters to Santa.” Opening the compilation is Chase Long Beach’s cover of The Kink’s “Father Christmas” which bluntly lets humans know that: their father most likely is Santa Clause. Some humans will find this news devastating as they expect a bearded stranger to bequeath them with gifts like Pierce Hawthrone. “Father Christmas” is a fun opener and helps set the tone for the rest of the compilation. Mustard will be seeking a conversation with their father, Grey Poupon, to confirm whether or not they are indeed Father Condiment Christmas.

Following “Father Christmas” comes the first letter on the album by On The Upbeat’s Erin. Erin wishes for all to be gifted the joy of Ska. Mustard hopes all humans receive this gift as ska is more than a mozzarella stick meme. Ska’s music unites and strives for a better situation for all humans. Humans should not suffer and Ska music brings attention to situations in which they do with solutions to better improve the human situation. 

The Pomp’s “Christmas is Melting Me” tells the story of a complicated human family with racist and homophopic aunts and uncles, an impending divorce, and a second foreclosed home. Corporations and marketing like to display the holiday as a joyous and gleeful time but The Pomp’s “Christmas is Melting Me” shows that not every family is fortunate enough to experience what is broadcasted throughout the world. 

Backyard Superhereoes “I Want An Alien For Christmas” will inspire humans all over the world to cite The X-Files in their letters to Santa. Backyard Superheroes are over bikes and basketballs and instead want an intergalactic friend in this upbeat and fun ska song. Surely Santa has come across extraterrestrial beings during his yearly flight. 

“Rudy The Reindeer” by Stop The Presses tells the tale of an independent reindeer, who frankly, does not give a shit. Stop The Presses’s take on “Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer” subverts the original and adds another layer to the Reindeer. 

Matt’s letter to Santa is a funny and honest segment. Matt hopes that On The Upbeat receives more listeners whether they are humans, the alien Backyard Superheroes wanted, or the cast of Hotel for The Holiday. 

Joker’s Republic “Carol of The Bells” may be the best rendition of this timeless holiday classic. Mustard’s front and back label melted off listening to this. It is that good. Do yourself a favor and blast this at your human holiday party. 

Catbite’s “Gritty Holiday” reminds listeners that COVID has not gone away despite what the human government may say. Please keep yourself and those around you safe by staying home if you feel ill. Gritty Holiday is a nice combination of Catfite x Catbite. It will please your human ears,

Gimpleg’s Portion

Track 09

Urban Crater- X-mas time in Baltimore

This starts off as a traditional ska-punk song and lacks everything a traditional Christmas song brings to the table- exactly as intended. There are no sleigh bells, there are no Church bells. There are no jingle jingle jingling. It’s Christmas time in Baltimore. There is no snow, but you know what, that’s just the way I like it, and that’s fine.

Track 10 

Millington- Christmas Song (Don’t want to hear another)

Millington just doesn’t want to hear another Christmas song- and they wrote a classic ska one. From the sleigh bells running throughout the song to the upstrokes and horn lines, this is exactly what you would expect from a ska Christmas song. The irony of not wanting to hear another Christmas song while writing a Christmas song and breaking the 4th wall by admitting the irony perfectly captures a 3rd wave ska Christmas.

Track 11

Danny’s Letter to Santa

Danny is so funny, and cool, and handsome, and thoughtful. I wish I could be Danny.

Track 12

The Step Daughters- Happy Holi- DUI

The Step Daughters knocked it out of the park with this perfectly executed holiday song mash up about a night gone terribly wrong that would be sure to make the fictional Garden Sisters envious. 

Track 13

Common Sense Kid- Christmas Time On The Island

This track is the official Very British Christmas. British ska punk done best with a healthy dose of oi and probably some beans and toast.

Track 14

tryingtogetby- Oi to the World

Oi to the world is a ska punk classic with a very famous cover. Tryingtogetby had huge shoes to fill and this cover sounds good and they definitely make it their own, but I fear it will come up short as it will consistently be compared to other covers within the same genre.

Track 15

Rundown Kreeps- I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Rundown Kreeps kept it simple with this ska punk take on a Christmas classic. This could play on punk Christmas radio for years to come.

Mister Substitute’s Portion.

Track 16

Courtesy of Tim’s Letter to Santa

I got the final two letters to Santa and I think I got the best two. Tim’s letter is an absolute poem of a request, sounding more like a Beatnik’s prayer that expands the mind to see gorgeous and wondrous things. As a writer, I understand that I am biased; however this is my favorite letter to Santa and they’re all adorable!

Track 17

The Taj Motel Trio- Jingle Bells

I never want to hear any other version of Jingle Bells, ever, full stop.

The Taj Motel Trio delivers a rocket of a song with their rendition of Jingle Bells. They changed the key, they got all the horns involved, and added their own ass-kicking lyrics and–GOOD GOD– this is one of this coolest tracks I’ve ever heard. The sound skates between skacore and ska punk that has this beefy bass sound to it that has my jaw on the floor every time I hear it.

Track 18

Half Past Two- Holiday (Green Day cover)

*Hears the first few chords, thinks* Is this Beer? NOPE! Half Past Two are known for their creative arrangements, Holiday is absolutely one of their finest. Almost marrying Beer by RBF and Holiday by Green Day and then adding a groovy horn breakdown, this Green Day cover is grade-A ska approved and the coolest take on a song I didn’t realize had a lot of great lyrics until the great Tara Hahn sang it!

Track 19

Meskales- Burrito Skabanero

Ay, this song scratches so many itches for me! I actually recently became obsessed with the original version of this song (heard at the end of the track) so when I saw this compilation had a ska version of Burrito Habanero it was an instant buy, not that all the other AMAZING tracks were any less convincing. Meskales brings this garage-crunch sound coupled with your traditional ska horn background. Then the song breaks down into a rap segment that is guaranteed to have your head bopping along! This song was everything I hoped it to be and more!

Track 20

Tom Nevers Field- Christmas Song

Taking a nice little break from the traditional ska route, Tom Nevers Field brings a solid rock track that pulls on a few heartstrings. Reminding us that Christmas is a time for family, this power ballad of a song is a nice bite-sized snack for Santa to get amped the hell up before, you know, delivering all the presents!

Track 21

RJ’s Letter to Santa

RJ is doing God’s work in spreading the good word of Ska in a great and memorable rhyme scheme, thank you buddy. 

Track 22

Big D & the Kids Table- Christmas in Allston

How nice of On the Upbeat to give a lesser-known ska band like Big D and the Kids Table a spot on the comp!/j This is nothing short of a classic Big D track complete with Dave’s rap lyrics telling a story that could only happen in Allston. And one of my favorite parts about this particular track is how it bookends the album with almost the antithesis of the opening Chase Long Beach track which is about robbing a Santa, Christmas in Allston is about trying to return something Santa lost and getting rewarded in the end! 

As a whole, this compilation album is one of my favorite things to happen this year. I don’t like Christmas music! THIS MADE ME LIKE CHRISTMAS MUSIC!


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