1. The Dupont Circles
  2. The Wee Turtles - By Golly, They've Dehydrated Christmas
  3. Pinkie - Pretend Like It's Christmas
  4. Paula Kelley - Blue Christmas
  5. Paul
  6. Sinkcharmer - Stars in Winter
  7. The National Splits - Let's Wrap Each Other
  8. The Bedroom Set - Mele Kaliki Maka
  9. Lucette and Dave
  10. Magic Tennies - Parasols on a Hot Winter Day
  11. Sunday Smoke Kit - God and Holidays
  12. Mark
  13. Christmas Ape - Goes to the North Pole
  14. Planting Seeds Records
  15. Astropop 3 - Little Drummer Boy
  16. The Orchid Pool - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
  17. Miss July - First Noel
  18. The Boy's Star Library - Mary, Where'd You Go?
  19. Andrew
  20. Dipstick and Eggnog - The Christmas That Almost Wasn't
  21. Michael
  22. Michael Gentry - At Christmas Time
  23. Ashley Park - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  24. Robbie
  25. Seasick Crocodile - Christmas Spent in the Hospital
  26. The Echo Orbiter - Christmas in Paris
  27. Patrick Carney - Eurotrash Christmas
  28. Capsela - Christmas Don't Be Late
  29. Jumprope - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  30. The Good Way
  31. The Otter Pops - Brothers
  32. Bugs Eat Books - Waiting on the Sun
  33. Jon

PSR022 / bBR 40

Various Artists
“Christmas Underground”

Released November 2001
Produced by Jimmy Hughes & Neil DelParto

A rather enjoyable 20+ track holiday release that truly celebrates that special time of year. The LP came together rather quickly with help from then New York based label Bumblebear Records. Featuring a good split among both label's roster and close friends. The holiday messages between tracks and sequencing were produced by Jimmy Hughes with artwork designed by Angelo DelParto. 300 copies were pressed and have been sold out since it's release in 2001. As each Christmas approaches, the requests come in. Perhaps a reissue? Perhaps not?

Splendid / January 16, 2002

The spirit of the holiday season shines so brightly on Christmas Underground that you'll want to listen to it every month of the year. The artists that Bumblebear and Planting Seeds have gathered are united by joy and a love f or the coziest blankets of lo-fi bedroom pop. Whether wistful (Sunday Smoke Kit's "God and Holidays"), funny (the Wee Turtles' "By Golly They've Dehydrated Christmas"), traditional (The Orchid Pool's "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear") or just plain cute (The Bedroom Set's "Mele Kaliki Maka"), each band performs with open, generous, Tiny-Tim-beating hearts. This is a Christmas record intended not to highlight acts, but to celebrate the holiday season and the joy that music has given each performer. It's something I expect the bands pass on to their parents and grandparents as a way of saying, "Look, don't worry. Your rockin' kid is not a drug addict, but rather sweet, in fact."

The forlorn gathering of sha la las does not prevent Pinkie's call to "pretend like it's Christmas Day" from being the centerpiece of this collection. Whenever we visit our folks, and find ourselves lost more in boredom than joy, this is the type of song your ears should run to. It makes your heart not mind the distance between conflicting personalities, and dedicates at least one set of its sha la las to familial love. When you hear such tenderly-sung gems as this, or Sinkcharmer's "Stars in Winter", interspersed with phoned-in holiday wishes from the bands featured on the compilation (or nearly on the compilation, as in the case of The Dupont Circles), the following revelation shines loud in the midnight clear: indie poppers -- they who know that sincerity counts far more in the making of a good song than Destiny's Child and all that verbal masturbation -- are one of the primary reasons Santa can keep his reindeer in such good spirits.

Unless you hated Arf Arf's Talent Show, or can't appreciate the local talent playing at your high school or church, every song here will tug at your heart -- even when they're trying to tickle it. From Jumprope's impressively straightforward "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas" to Boys' Star Library's "Mary, Where'd You Go?", this is a compilation totally devoid of the wish to be hip. It just wants your happiness. Buy the CD, wrap it, and then unwrap it with never-waning delight. -Theodore Defosse