Charlie Christmas is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter who has played in bands like Urge Overkill, Moris Tepper, Dogbowl, and The Huge Bastards to name a few. He released Weird Old Man which is a wonderful album that is somehow tongue-in-cheek, fun, infectious and even heartfelt.
The album starts with “Place To Stand.” Christmas’ vocals sound similar to Mark Linkous on the verse and the song is even a little melancholy. That being said, it sounds more playful than Sparklehorse. The chorus is delightfully anthemic but doesn't go overboard. I was happy to sing-along but didn’t feel like I had to if that makes any sense. Suffice it to say this was a fantastic opener.
Up next is “Friend Of Mine” which is a lot of fun. It’s the kind of song I want to hear at a piano bar and has a dash of American classic rock. It sounds like it works in a romp like Rocky Horror Picture Show. The song is really catchy but just drives. I loved the groove. Christmas goes psychedelic on “Happy Day.” He doesn't push the psychedelic qualities. It’s modest in the way you think of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as being psychedelic. The song is dreamy and atmospheric but there are plenty of memorable melodies that come from the vocals.
“(The Band Can’t Play Your) Wedding Song” has a good amount of attitude. The guitars are distorted and you might classify it as hard rock. There is also this great line in there. Christmas sings “Well, a life of moments is all we got / most of them don’t mean a lot / but now and then you take a shot at getting one just right.”
I was all about the Stevie Wonder ’70s funk on “Secret Service Pig” while “Gone So Long” mixes some heartfelt nostalgia with just enough levity. Christmas again just kills when it comes to lyrics. Some of his lines you might say are profound but some lack any pretense or preachy qualities. Christmas goes a little Pink Floyd on “Wrong Way Home” and embraces ’70s fuzz on “Call Me Jumbo,” “Porno Valley” and “Show Your Grit.” Oh my what a name for a closer - “Chess Sauce Crisis Lowered.” The song is more or less a jam or groove. Not a bad way to go out.
I became a big fan after hearing this album. That attitude, songwriting, production and more just came together and worked very well. Highly recommended.
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