Pepper Mill Rondo: It’s Christmas Time! tape (Hausu Mountain, 2019)

December 15, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Pepper Mill Rondo: It’s Christmas Time! tape

Last year, Pepper Mill Rondo (Hausu Mountain’s Max and Doug) threw practically the entire internet into a giant sausage grinder for their first tape. Now they’re doing the same thing with the most commercialized holiday of the year, the one that starts two months before it actually happens and is meant to signify an event which probably didn’t happen at this time of year. Adorned with a cover image that appears to be a hybrid of Santa, the Grinch, Jerry Garcia, and a lizard person, this is another 70 minutes of plunderphonic madness which explores pretty much every non-religious aspect of the holiday. “FYI” is a rapidfire glitch collage which interpolates Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”, and “Elf By Myself” alludes to a meme but mainly chops up samples from a Christmas episode of Barney (yes, the purple dinosaur) and “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, particularly Bono’s heartwarming “Thank God it’s them instead of you” line. Continuing the karaoke thread of the duo’s previous tape, this one has jolly renditions of carols and holiday tunes with hacked instrumentals, sounding like some sort of cartoon Christmas special where all the colors are out of wack and deeply contrasting but somehow all of the characters are singing competently and on beat so there’s some semblance of things going the way they’re supposed to. “Humbug” and “Non Disclosure Claus” demonstrate the fine line between holiday cheer and nightmarish chaos, particularly in a family environment, and “The War on Xmas” tackles the “Merry Christmas”/”Happy Holidays” debate (witness a kid saying “Thank you President Trump for letting us say merry Christmas again” and try not to have any nightmares tonight). “Christmas Dinner” uncovers the mystery of figgy pudding, buried underneath shredded children’s choirs and a kid who clearly doesn’t have any dental problems singing “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”. There’s also a tribute to Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas records, which have sold bajillions of copies yet I barely hear anyone talk about them anymore. I pretty much can’t deal with normal Christmas music, only bizarre or deconstructed stuff like the song poem Christmas album or the Illegal Art Mutated Christmas CD, so this is easily right up my alley and will be a staple of any Christmas broadcasts I ever do from now on.

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