Christmas Playlists


Despite Halloween and Thanksgiving being more my favorite… I do enjoy Christmas & Christmas music, both traditional and decidedly not-so.

I resisted streaming for a long time, in favor of just popping mp3’s on to a thumb drive & listening in the car/truck. I’m still in a lot of remote areas, and I think I clung to a desktop setup for a while longer than the rest of the world.

Someday, someday, I will rip all my CD’s, corral all of my purchased mp3’s or FLAC files, & pop the stuff on some kind of server so I can call it up at will.

I use Spotify occasionally. I would use it more, but I refuse to pay for a premium account, and sometimes I swear songs vs. commercials are 1:1 if not 1:3. I refuse to pay for Spotify premium account because we have whatever all-encompassing Amazon plan gives you Prime and Amazon Music.

I’m still building my Amazon playlists… I may pay for one to move to Spotify lists over. Maybe. I’d rather just by records, CD’s, & downloads directly from artists.

I haven’t dipped into YouTube Music yet. I think I have 2 or 3 Pandora accounts, but they’re just frustrating these days when you can actively pick a song with other services.

I just reached out on a couple of FB forums asking for suggestions, and I’m still pouring through, but these are my playlists across different platforms…

I ‘m still adding/shuffling on the Amazon lists and they’re good for all-day playing. I might have to make one narrowed-down with my absolute favorites.

So, what’s on your Christmas playlist? Any glaring omissions? Any you love or hate with a passion? Tell me about your holiday music in the comments. Am I missing any good Festivus or Hanukkah songs?

AI Generated punk rock Christmas art.

Metallica – “Lux Æterna”? I like it.


So, I’ve written about Metallica before (twice). I can see all this shenanigans about the new single. Honestly, I like it. Hating on Metallica has become low hanging fruit at best to edgelording or gatekeeping at worst, As fans, we all poke fun at our favorite stuff. I’m looking at you, Star Wars and Danzig people.

Metallica Fans:  We want more sounds that sound like Kill 'Em All."

Metallica: [Releases "Lux Æterna"]

Metallica Fans:  NO, NOT LIKE THAT!
Lux Æterna

I found the new one to be a banger. It feels thrashy like KIll ‘Em All, with pop sensibilities like the black album.

I recently posted a reply to a comment of my posting of the video on Facebook, but the original comment was deleted by the author and my subsequent reply has been lost to the 1’s & 0’s I guess.

The gist of what I was getting at was as follows…

To say metallica has lost or hasn’t been good for decades? I get it, and it’s certainly a valid opinion. People have been saying they “sold out” since Ride the Lightning.

Metallica didn’t hit my radrar until …And Justice for All came out. I hadn’t listened to anything much beyond Top 40 radio or oldies at that point. I worked backwards and was caught up in the magic of Kill ‘Em All and Master of Puppets. I wasn’t aware of the punk scene in 1977 when I was born, but I wouldn’t call myself less of a Misfits fan because I wasn’t around? You could probably assume with great certainty that each Metallica album brought in new fans upon it’s release.

I could also argue that Metallic’s output is quantifiably better than most when compared to their peers or contemporaries.

Say in sheer influence in heavy music, Black Sabbath comes the closest. (OK, maybe Led Zeppelin too, but I’ll go with Sabbath here as Zeppelin ended.) You could say that there drop-offs in interest post-Ozzy & again post-Dio. Does that mean that Iommi and Geezer are any less lauded in the riff lord category? I don’t think so. Their early output is so epic and influential, they could release an album of pip farting on a snare drum and it shouldn’t detract from their legacy. James still writes killer riffs. Kirk is still a master of stringing together wah-fueled madness. Lars is a great arranger and cunning businessman. I wish they hadn’t done Newsted dirty, but Rob seems like a great fit.

In 1991/1992, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses where arguably the most lucrative and widely known hard rock acts on the planet. They were two of my favorites at the time and I still have fond memories of that epic show at Three Rivers Stadium. Look at what both bands have put out since then. Sure, Metallica dropped a Lulu turd in the sandbox, but you can scoop that out and keep playing. Guns N’ Roses pissed into the swimming pool with Chinese Democracy and everyone had to get out of the pool. This is coming from a guy that liked The Spaghetti Incident?. I liked Death Magnetic & Hardwired to Self-Destruct. Even St. (B)Anger got better with time. James, Lars, Kirk, & Rob seem on top of their game. Maybe the rhythmic chugs are more of a gallop these days. Slash has improved so much over time, Duff got sober. Axl’s voice went out the window with his grasp of reality & last vestiges of sanity. I couldn’t even tell you who else was in the band, to the end that I actually just miss Velvet Revolver at this point.

Megadeth? Sure, Dave Mustaine can arguably play guitar better than James or Kirk… may be better at writing or arranging songs… has definitely put out more albums in the same timespan… But who has heard them? There have been a revolving cast of players, each successively thrown under the bus, probably the same Greyhound that drove Dave from NYC home to San Francisco. Seriously, the only press that they have received in the last decade that wasn’t Dave commenting on Metallica has been Dave Ellefson’s whacking it on webcam. This led Dave M. to discount all of the former’s contributions over the years.

AC/DC can make the same album over & over again for decades and it can be great… but not everyone can get away with that.

I’m anxious to hear your thoughts in the comments. What do you think? I’m looking forward to the new album. Will I still poke fun at Metallica? You bet I will. Will I enjoy the rest their new stuff? I sure hope so.

Check out my Metallica related playlists. I had a good one on Spotify that I am in the process of rebuilding for Amazon Music.

Halloween Playlists.


Halloween has the coolest music. I have made some playlists on various platforms over the years, Amazon & Spotify being the most recent. I thought I’d not only put them all in once place, but also share. I’m always adding to them and changing. I’m listening to the 1st list now.

So what are your go-to’s? What would you add? What would you leave off? Share your playlists!

Streaming related bands automatically?


This stated as a Twitter post/thread, and is ending up here.

Am I weird for thinking this?

Streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music need a feature that adds in related bands. I can tell Alexa to play Rancid, but I also wouldn’t mind Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards being in there, or Transplants, or Tim’s solo stuff.  Or even Rancid covers.

Streaming needs to get smarter already.  The Spotify “super grouper” feature picks the absolute worst songs from each selected artist.

Of course, I could just make a playlist.  But, with a band like Blink-182 in the news, I wanted to dig into Angels & Airwaves, Boxcar Racer, & +44.  I don’t know which songs to add to a playlist.

Also, if I want to listen to ALL, I could want to listen to the Descendents too.  What about Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, Loaded, Neurotic Boy Outsiders, Slash, Slash’s Snakepit, Miles Kennedy & The Conspirators, all of it.

Snuff, Duncan Redmonds, Dogpiss, Guns ‘n’ Wankers would be another example.  As would Misfits, Danzig, Samhain, Son of Sam, etc.

Saying one phrase or typing one into a searchboith to be able to bring them all up.

Is that bandtoband.com still a thing?  That could be a reference for connected bands.

Teenage Bottlerocket & the Lillingtons.  Screeching Weasel & The Riverdales.  Ann Beretta, Foundation, Rob Huddleston, & Sixer.  Metallica & Megadeth.  Green Day, Foxboro Hot Tubs, The Network, & 300 other bands.

Even unrelated bands.  Can I just say “Alexa play songs by Flogging Molly and The Dropkick Murphys” and not confuse the shit out of it?

I have an Ozzy/Black Sabbath playlist on Spotify with a ton of great stuff, including a plethora of killer covers.  It took time to curate.  I have similar ones for Metallica, Misfits, Guns N’ Roses, & Rancid. I need to transition them all to Amazon Music… we have the family account there since we’re using the firestick. I like Spotify’s suggestions better… but I can listen to Amazon sans commercials. I refuse to subscribe to another service, sorry Spotify. Oddly, most of those transfer services have a paywall once you surpass an unreasonably low amount of songs. I don’t even my remember my Pandora logins.

I would think AI could have probably pretty quickly picked up what I was putting down & fleshed it out.

I wouldn’t expect it to go this deep, but it could link Flogging Molly to Fastway.

With Hip Hop too… say all the solo projects of the members of N.W.A.?  All that in one would be awesome.

Does something like this exist and I’m just not aware of it? I miss WinAmp.

I need to rip all kinds of older, local, & obscure stuff and put it on my own damn streaming server. I understand Google Music would let you do that before it collapsed? There is really a lot of stuff out there that you can’t stream, and some of my favorites don’t have their entire catalogs available to stream.

Help me out, audiofiles, music nerds, and techno geeks!

Spotify Pie & Iceburgify for AiXeLsyD13
AiXeLsyD13 Spotify Listening Habits

August is Falling :(


If you don’t know about Pat Finnerty, you should. He has a YouTube channel and he does a series of videos titled What Makes This Song Stink? among others (Now there’s a podcast too!). He has some witty observations, harsh truths, and is just lampooning guitar guy videos on YouTube. The pedal mobile is a thing of genius and pure hilarious delight. He says what a lot of us are thinking. He catches some wild connections or callbacks. He takes a joke way too far, which has always been something I am a fan of. It’s defiant. It’s hilarious.

As someone who has made art for it to mostly serve as a creative outlet that happens to have a very small circle of people who may have enjoyed it to varying degrees… It’s nice to see this guy get traction.

Writing, recording, and performing your own stuff lends itself to a certain level of judgement of others’ art. There’s probably some narcissism in there, but not at an unhealthy level. It’s not necessarily mean spirited, but it can be. I remain humble and understand that my creative output is not for the masses. I cater to a very small crowd with very similar tastes and no hang-ups about production quality. You have to wonder though… on some stuff… Why is this objectively certifiable crap popular? It’s hard to pin. It’s hard to point out.

I have played with some awesome musicians that “get it.” I have encountered many who do not. We are not on the same page. You’re not wrong in your opinions, but then again… you are. Pat gets it. Pat & I would probably disagree on a lot of things…. but we’d both have arguments to back it up. I appreciate his overall music nerdiness.

August is Falling started as a joke, and took off. I am in awe and a bit jealous. I bought a T-shirt and downloaded the EP though. This “joke” output is quality stuff.

Do yourself a favor and dive in.

The story of the Dewey Decibel FlipOut guitar.


Bert - a.k.a. ERiC AiXeLsyD - rocking the Dewey Decibel FlipOut Lit Cigarette model.
Bert – a.k.a. ERiC AiXeLsyD – rocking the Dewey Decibel FlipOut Lit Cigarette model.

OK. So, you probably know I like weird guitars. Someday I will have profiles up of all of them on another blog. You may have even read about my Dewey Decibel FlipOut before, or have seen the FlipOut before (or even the knock-off Flipped brand). While the Galveston BB Stone certainly started my weird guitar obsession, the FlipOut solidified it. Sadly, I came to it after AiXeLsyD had been done for a while, and I think even after Gasoline Dion. It some incredibly small and ancient circles I will always be known as ERiC AiXeLsyD. I did, get to gig out with the FlipOut, quite a lot, with Ernie and the Berts.

A while back, I had the opportunity to reach out to Jimmie Bruhn about the Indy Custom Flycaster, and way way back I did some research on the BB Stone. (I have to try to recover all the stuff that used to live on SquareGuitar.com, all those links are now dead.)

I thought it would be fun to try and track down Dewey Decibel (a.k.a. Joe Jerardi – or is it Joe Geradri? Stage names are fun.), and get some insight on the inception and production of one of my favorite axes!

After some emails exchanged, here’s the story from the man himself!

Line of FlipOut guitars & BottomOut basses from the Dewey Decibel website.

Hi Eric,

I’m awfully sorry there was a delay on getting back to you.  I honestly have had my hands full this year, and it slipped my mind.  Just for your patience, I can offer the most information I’ve shared about my FlipOut days to this point.  And thanks for asking.

I was performing solo in NY back in the 90s, playing CBGBs and many of the NY clubs. My stage name was Dewey Decibel, and I always performed hooked up to an IV pole.  Just a thing I did – never mentioned it on stage.  Played electric guitar, with synth sequencers for backing, plus voice. 

One day I thought of this backward guitar – Its just wood I thought – so it would play the same, just super unsettling, and deeply rock and roll to my mind.  I found one shop out of all the NY guitar techs who would follow my instruction. It was Rick from Carmine Street Guitars.  I love him because he didn’t even blink, just said “sure, I can do that”.  I went on to form a band called… Dewey Decibel, and kept doing shows, and finished up my third album “Unnecessarily Beautiful” with those guys, great players Jon Howard, and Martin Miller.  We did good work.  I always played the original FlipOut, which started its life as a Fernandes brand Strat.  I always had the IV drip by my side.

Back cover for the Dewey Decibel album Unnecessarily Beautiful | Original FlipOut prototype of a modified Fernandes Strat copy pictured!
Back cover for the Dewey Decibel album Unnecessarily Beautiful | Original FlipOut prototype of a modified Fernandes Strat copy pictured!

We did no real promotion for the album, for any of my albums, so they reside in resplendent obscurity, rarely to surface.

Here is what exists online, though there are 3+ albums and an EP somewhere:

https://deweydecibel.bandcamp.com/

Dewey Decibel | Unnecessarily Beautiful | Pictured: Martin Miller (Drums) ● Dewey Decibel (Guitar & Vocals) ● John Howard (Bass)
Dewey Decibel | Unnecessarily Beautiful | Pictured: Martin Miller (Drums) ● Dewey Decibel (Voice/Guitar/Keys) ● John Howard (Bass)

At shows, my guitar got so much crazy attention I conceived of the nutty plan to use a release of these guitars to bring attention to my band.  In 2003 I went to the NAMM show on the recommendation of a friend, to look for a manufacturer.  There I approached many confused factory reps from Asia, and ended up having luck with a Korean group who were ready to please.  I ordered some prototypes during that year, and tweaked things.  Then at 2004 NAMM I introduced them to the unsuspecting earthlings, took orders, and started shipping out of San Francisco once the container ship arrived.  That first NAMM show was funny funny stupid funny. 

Dewey Decibel - FlipOut & BottomOut
Art from the Dewey Decibel website.

The stupid part was that Fender lawyers sent me a letter on the opening day of my NAMM  launch that I was in breach of their trademarks.  This is a much longer story but I ended up licensing with Fender later, which was great for name dropping and demonstrating to folks that it was a quality guitar.

I was living in a warehouse with boxes of these guitars and my drum set.  It was a time of odd existence, taking orders, shipping, doing R&D, and lining up reviews with the big guitar magazines.  The FlipOut got strong thumbs up reviews in Guitar Player as well as Guitar One.  I did care about the feel of the neck and the pickups.  It’s self evident I think when you handle one.

I was moving forward on the BottomOut bass, having received a few prototypes which worked nicely.  Even took orders.  The problem was that the whole business had me working in too many directions, and exhausted.  I’d gone to Europe, and did a bunch of sales, there and in Australia too.  I was overworking, and getting wiped out.  This was all on my own, and I’d been living with some fantasy that these cool guitars would elevate the music, and demonstrate my sovereign rock and roll whimsy.   But alas, the FlipOut project ended at around 500 guitars because I was exhausted, the R&D was too slow, and I couldn’t parlay the thing into working for another manufacturer.  I was too much of a lone wolf for them.  So I went back to graphic design and animation.  I’m an animator today living in incredible San Antonio. I also continue writing and recording a new album, to be released secretly into thrift store bins.

The guitar colors were just my favorites at the time, the names were inspired by memories. Barry Leventhal was I think a kid I played in little league with.  Austin really had cabs colored like the guitar.

I’ve seen the FlipOut rip-offs coming from Europe/China, and they look ridiculous, all backward and stuff.  Just joking – I guess it was inevitable someone would cash in.

Hey thanks for your interest.  Hoping it fills in some detail. 

Thanks

joe

For the Raging Guitar Houdini in you!

(ddB)™

What led Dewey Decibel, Brooklyn's recording enigma, to do what he did to his guitar that night? Frustration. His friends had snubbed him, his car had been totaled, but worst of all, his reading comprehension was way down, and he could feel the stares when he entered a room. That fateful night, Dewey did grab for his guitar, slamming his bedroom door, not to emerge for countless weeks (though he did leave once to go to a class on "Appalachian Fingertip Dancing"). It was during these weeks, through a period of painstaking research, made even more difficult by an ill-fitting lab coat, Dewey did travel to the edge of insanity. But once there, decided he'd rather be at the brink of madness, so he quickly switched when no one was looking. And when at last he did emerge, witnesses reported he held in his hand something resembling a guitar on muscle relaxant. Dewey Decibel's FlipOut™ was in their midst. And now, it is in yours.

www.flipoutguitar.com Write to us at flipout@deweydecibel.com

The guitar design configuration of Dewey Decbel's Flip Out™ is a trademark owned by Joe Gerardi of Dewey Decibel Inc. Any replication of this trademark is prohibited by law.

Dewey Decibel
Until now, this is pretty much all that was out there on the FlipOut!
Dewy Decibel FlipOut models | Invisible, Lit Cigarette, Barry Levelthal, Austin City Cab, Scandalicious, Shameless.
FlipOut models & colors

How cool is that? The entire story from the man himself! I urge you to go check out the music of Dewey Decibel.

The only mods I had done to mine is the inimitable Aaron Hutzel drop in some GFS Lil Killer rails. This was not a kock at all to the original sound, but the humbuckers are more my thing.

Check out the Facebook fan page if you’re a fan, would like to share photos of yours or you with it in action, have one for sale, or are looking for one: Facebook | Dewey Decibel FlipOut

I would also, of course, love to hear from you in the comments!

If you want to see me and my FlipOut in action, check out the stuff below this list of links.

Also, check out these links if you’re looking for more:

Ernie and the Berts “Toybox”:

Ernie and the Berts – “Everybody Poops”:

Ernie and the Berts – “Kate Winslett” (A poor cover of The Silver Brazilians):

Ernie and the Berts – “Ikea”:

Me just rocking this one in the basement in 2016:

Top 25 Albums?


My cousin recently made a Facebook post asking for your top 25 albums. No restrictions. Just the thought that 25 is easier, yet more difficult than a top 10.

He’s right you know.

Opening up the post top 10 or eve 15 tier really digs into stuff. There are a LOT of great albums that I skipped that really deserve to be on here. This is what I was feeling recently. This may be a slightly different list tomorrow or a drastically different list next year.

I took it as 25 albums that I dig, that I like to listen to the whole way through.

Top 25 Albums (Right now, anyway.)
Top 25 Albums (Right now, anyway.)

They may not contain my favorite songs from the artist, or may not be my top favorite artists, but these are 25 dam solid albums that I have enjoyed end-to-end on multiple occasions and sometimes on repeat.

Because I like to talk (type/read) about music on the internet, here we are. I’ll drop a short explanation. They’re ina alphabetical order, couldn’t begin to order them. Please, share yours in the comments.

25 is harder than you think!

💿

  • 12 Hits From Hell – The Misfits | This was the album that never was, that should have been. Is it the ultimate bootleg? Bobby & Doyle on the same tracks? Probably Glenn & I think the producer too? At any rate, the songs shine. It’s inherently an unnatural entity, but isn’t that in the spirit of melding dark campy lyrics with poppy melodies over distorted guitars and driving rhythms? I wish this got a proper release.
  • …And Out Come the Wolves – Rancid | This album is frantic and melodic and gravely and beautiful. How do you not like the unapologetic frantic pop punk shenanigans infused with a bit of street and reggae and ska? I know this is the album that “cool” rancid fans pretend is not the best. Listen to it. It smacks you around for less than an hour and makes you happy about it.
  • American Cheese – Nerf Herder | I had a hard time picking, because How to Meet Girls could easily be here too. I think “Jacket” is my favorite track, so that slightly tipped the scale. These guys are fantastic, and Parry’s solo stuff is a trip. You can tell they’re fans of a lot of the same stuff I grew up on. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. They can really craft a powerful melody.
  • Appetite For Destruction – Guns N’ Roses | I wore out this cassette tape at least 3 times. I have bought the CD more than a few times. A friend gifted it to me on Vinyl. I bought the digital version of the new 8,479 “disc” set… even though I may or may not have had decent quality bootlegs of 99% of it. I think it’s the first album I dove into head first. Just listening to how Slash & Izzy play off of each other, Axl’s layers of vocals octaves apart with Duff & Izzzy singing, Duff’s guitar-like bass grooves locking into Adler’s swing. Lightning in a bottle may be a cliché, but it totally fits here. These guys had their finger on the collective pulse of punk, metal, glam, hard rock, classic rock, and pop culture. They rocked harder than most of their peers and these are great damn songs. The arcing overall crescendo of “Sweet Child of Mine” was just epic, and definitely contributed to my itch to pick up a guitar.
  • Bitter Tongues – Ann Beretta | I heard “Bottlecaps” on a Lookout! or Asian Man or some other comp and just had to know more. I think pretty quickly, I acquired all the albums and even Inquisition and eventually Sixer, Foundation, and Rob Huddleston’s solo stuff. It reminded me a lot of Rancid, and obviously pays homage to the Clash and some more street punk stuff, and even folk or honky-tonk. These guys took their influences and blended them together so well to make something in a voice all their own. It’s anthemic. It feels working class-ish and just relatable and super catchy.
  • Bloody Kisses – Type O Negative | It doesn’t sound like anything else. I think I heard the “Blood & Fire (Out of the Ashes Mix)” on the Mortal Kombat soundtrack first. It was dark. It was Sabbathy and Misfitsy and Metallicish. I needed more. I think there was about a year where 90% of what I listened to was Black Sabbath, the Misfits, and Type O Negative. I used to put this on low on repeat when I went to bed at night. It is best enjoyed as a whole album. Even within a lot of the songs, it’s like there are movements. The metal guitars and incredible bass vocals are fantastic. Again, they had an incredible balance of humor, a dark scary tone, and it’s just… fun. Don’t tell anyone the goth kids are having fun though.
  • Boogadaboogadaboogada! – Screeching Weasel | If the Ramones created the pop-punk template, these guys stole it and ran. This is just a fun, snotty, whiny, poppy, witty, and goofy album. What a great sense of melody mixed with suburban angst and sloppy buzzing guitars.
  • Chimborazo – Foundation | Rob can really craft a song. This is a beautiful stripped-down heartfelt collection of stories in song form. It’s awesome how much emotion can be conveyed with a few lines. Rob is definitely up there as one of my favorite song writers.
  • Countdown to Extinction – Megadeth | I know. this is the “sell out” commercial album. You can’t deny that every track is killer metal while also being commercially successful. It represents a time to me where the “underground” stuff that I was aware of became mainstream. Why not celebrate more people being able to discover something you already know is great? Dave is a monster on the fretboard and sounds like an unhinged maniac on vocals. These songs are put together really well.
  • Danzig – Danzig | When you’re 15, Danzig is the coolest thing on the planet. Punk. Goth. Metal. Badass. He reads weird books! He reads comics! Rick Rubin probably deserves a lot of credit for image crafting and turning Samhain into this. John, Eerie, & Chuck provided a killer band! John definitely had an instantly recognizable sound. It sounded like metal, but it was clearly channeling the blues and hard rock. Danzig does not seem to have a sense of humor about his music, but that makes it humorous.
  • Dookie – Green Day | This was a solid album. Again, it brought stuff I liked to the masses. It took me a while to realize what a solid album this was. I don’t even know if I’d put Green Day at the top of my Favorite Bands list… but an this is a great pop punk album. Those drums! That wild bass! The vocal harmonies are perfection. Mike Dirnt is the yin to Bille Joe’s yang. You can tell these guys loved what they do. You can tell that subject-matter wise, they’re not the Sex Pistols or the Ramones… but they loved all that stuff. Is this skate punk? I don’t care about labels. This is well-crafted end-to-end and hit the right place at the right time.
  • Energy – Operation Ivy | A great example of working backwards to find gems. Like the Misfits, it has some Lo-Fi appeal that is just hard to quantify. Energy is so appropriate. It’s like they had to let it out before it became destructive. It sounds so sloppy but it is so tight. It’s chaos. It’s chocolate and peanut butter. Watch the East Bay Punk documentary!
  • For Dancing and Listening – Guns ‘n’ Wankers | I wish more people knew about Guns ‘n’ Wankers. I wish I knew more about Guns ‘n’ Wankers. This album stands alone as incredible. It’s a bit of a mish-mash as Fat Mike could not leave it alone for the Fat Wreck release. It’s missing a few of the more metal tracks. I don’t know if Duncan Redmonds wrote all the songs, or what. His sense of harmony is fantastic. The song structure is just great. The tone is great. I love where the vocals sit in the mix. It’s another example of great storytelling with just a few lines.
  • Good Company – The Dead South | Usually I like loud distorted guitars. I like them clean too. This is clean acoustic guitars, as well as some more traditional stringed instruments, and just powerful melodies and vocal arrangements. Some of the vocals almost sound painful and sorrowful. I dove pretty hard into their discography after hearing the first few tracks.
  • High Risk Behaviour – The Chats | These kids are what I wish AiXeLsyD was! Ha ha. They are cheeky, hilarious, and totally serious. Ha ha. These songs are super fun. I need an Australian to English dictionary. This is another one that I heard an instantly wanted more more more.
  • Kill ‘Em All – Metallica | What can I say about this album that hasn’t already been said? It is the template. It is the sum of its ingredients and the sum of it’s strong-willed creators. From start to finish it just assaults your eardrums and raises your heart rate. Those riffs! That bass solo! Is he singing about the apocalypse? All killer, no filler. I think the first time Metallica hit my radar, it was …And Justice for All. When I worked back to this my mind was successfully blown. It was SO HEAVY at the time, which seems almost quaint now. Again, they get hate for success, maybe borrowing too hard from their influences, or for not being cool to Mustaine, to selling out, but… you can say they have ever compromised.
  • Licensed to Ill – Beastie Boys | The kids that are too cool for school or old heads will give you Paul’s Boutique for sure. I get that, and respect that. Again, this album brought it to the masses. This made music fans give a resounding collective “What?” Hardcore kids rapping? Sampling? Playing guitars? I don’t care if it’s hip hop or punk or pop. I love it. Another Rick Rubin album on the list? He must be on to something.
  • Master of Puppets – Metallica | This album could be included for just “Orion” and the “do-do-do-do do-do-do” double-lead part in “Master of Puppets.” This is another cassette tape that I wore out at least twice. I remember it being a go-to when I used to mow lawns for cash. Metallica matured here, but they weren’t yet racked by tragedy or swelled with excess. You could feel what I think was Cliff exerting guidance & expertise. All these songs felt great together. My favorite Metallica songs mostly reside on other albums, but this album makes a great statement as a whole piece of art.
  • Ramones – Ramones | Again. This is an iconic no-brainer. Did the Ramones start punk? People will argue to the end of time citing earlier examples. Are they what you think of when you think of punk? They are to me. It’s either that or the Sex Pistols. This album is fantastic. Guitar panned hard to one side, bass to the other… so you can play along! Cranked out in just a week, it’s frantic. It’s intimidating. Its 4 guys that have no idea what they’re doing while simultaneously knowing exactly what they’re doing. It’s loud, it’s catchy, it’s funny, it just rocks.
  • State of Discontent – The Unseen | Yeah, another “sell out” album. The dirty street punks found a producer so they must be inherently evil and capitalist and whatever other darts you can throw. Regardless, it’s an album full of screamy-yet-melodic shenanigans and I’m all for it. It’s catchy without losing it’s edge in my opinion. These guys spit fire and you’re either flammable or not.
  • Static Age – The Misfits | It’s got “Last Caress” which is probably one of their most covered songs. It’s got a bunch of stuff that is lo-fi on its way to becoming hi-fi. It’s catchy, it’s campy, it’s sort of funny, it’s melodic, it has loud guitars, it checks all my boxes. It’s just fantastic.
  • The Impossible Kid – Aesop Rock | I don’t even know if I can do this album justice by writing about it. I don’t have his vocabulary. I got this album and could not stop listening, on repeat. It’s layer upon layer in between level upon level. It’s an introspective and deeply personal look at anxiety and artistry intertwining, but it is so incredibly relatable. The tracks flow right into each other. You don’t want to stop. It lacs the guitar presence of every other album on this list… but we need a little variety, right?
  • The Ozzy Osborne Years – Black Sabbath | Admittedly, I cheated. I could not pick a Sabbath album proper and I graduated from listening to the Bootleggy-ish We Sold Our Sul for Rock ‘N’ Roll to this all the time. This collects all the Ozzy stuff. The one sentence in the Wikipedia article about it is “This box set includes all songs from Black Sabbath‘s first six albums, excluding the songs without vocals.” It’s dark. It’s doomy. Iommi’s riffs are just massive, Ozzy melodies with Geezer’s lyrics and thunderous bass lines all marching along to Bill Ward’s inimitable swing is just crushing.
  • Tweet Tweet My Lovely – Snuff | This is definitely top 5, probably top 3, or even 1. Snuff have mastered sounding like snuff whether they’re playing punk, metal, ska, or anything else they want to play. Duncan Redmonds is a mad genius. Loz’s guitars sound beautiful… jangly almost. There are horns and keys throughout, and they’re not jarring. The vocal melodies and harmonies are epic. (Green Day cites them as an influence and you can immediately hear how.) I like everything Snuff has put out, but this was my first from them and it really encompasses the gamut of their sound.
  • Within a Mile of Home – Flogging Molly | I could have probably picked any Flogging Molly album. This is where my taste in music & my wife’s taste in music overlaps. (Although, I have brought her more into punk rock and metal than she has pulled me into pop and top-4o-ish country.) We always end up with Flogging Molly, Willie Nelson, or Johnny Cash on road trips… usually all 3. Flogging Molly definitely has a punk rock ethic and bent. They have beautiful tales set to music in a traditional Irish vein. It’s sentimental. It’s raucous. It makes you tap your feet. This is a collection of bangers that also tug at your heart strings.

Honorable mentions would probably have to go out to The Sword, The Bloodhound Gang, Masked Intruder, Aerosmith, Avenged Sevenfold, Graves, Gotham Road, Dogpiss, Duncan Redmonds, Rob Huddleston, Wat Tyler, Crotchduster, ALL, Descendents, Poison, The Devil Makes Three, Alice in Chains, Warrant, Peelander-Z, Willie Nelson, Def Leppard, Johnny Cash, AC/DC, Teenage Bottlerocket, Ozzy, Jimi Hendrix, and so many more that I am probably momentarily forgetting. Don’t even get me started on greatest hits, compilations, and soundtracks.

What are you waiting for? Leave yours in the comments!

I know I just said these are solid albums, but it doesn’t negate the fact that they contain solid songs too. Check out 2 tracks from each album!

Christmas Playlist 2020


I posted not too long ago about Christmas playlists on various platforms. Ultimately most of them are frustrating because you can’t just pick a song order without signing up for a “premium” account. I’m already subscribed to enough stuff.

I have other YouTube lists (Naughty & Nice), but I decided to pull some of my favorites and put them all on one:

Christmas 2020 🎶🤘🎅🎸🎄🎵

What great ones am I missing? Drop them in the comments below!

While you’re on my YouTube Channel, don’t forget to watch, give a like, and drop a comment for “Jingle Bells” by the Christmas Carrolls! We have over 400 views already, it would be cool to hit 500 by Christmas! Please share it on your social media platform of choice.

Christmas Playlists and Streaming Services


I am signed up for too many free streaming accounts. I like raucous punk and metal Christmas music in addition to some of the more straightforward poppy and traditional stuff. I wish that all of these songs were available across all platforms. I have some stuff from the wild west days of mp3 downloading that I can’t seem to find on any platforms.

Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube
Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube

I do need to work on refining the lists I have. The YouTubes ones are all over the place. I hardly use Pandora enough to thumbs up or down to get it where every song is a smash. Spotify and Amazon are the ones that are easy to use… but I wish I could add more content.

I do have the free accounts for all mentioned. I don’t feel like playing for a streaming service unless it can be complete. I heard Google Music was pretty awesome, until it just became the YouTube Music thing. I need to get my personal stuff all digitized someday too. Man, I miss just running WinAmp on a giant desktop.

What do you use to listen to Christmas music? What are your favorite songs, traditional, wild, overplayed, or obscure?

Here are mine:

Spotify | Christmas 🤘🎸🎄

Amazon Music | Christmas

(WordPress doesn’t seem to want to embed the Amazon playlist.)

Pandora | Holiday Rock N’ Roll ☃

https://www.pandora.com/station/1758025359576278863

(WordPress won’t embed Pandora I guess, either.)

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | ☃ ♩♫♬♪ Christmas Songs ♩♫♬♪ ☃

Christmas YouTube Playlists – Naughty or Nice?


I have two playlists.

Which is better?

What would you add?

What am I missing?