I'm a big fan of New Jersey's psyche pop heroes The Grip Weeds. I've previously raved about their work both at this blog, and in my other writing gig over at CultureSonar, https://www.culturesonar.com/. If you haven't yet heard their music, which is a spectacular mix of psychedelia, power pop and garage rock, it's time to check out superb albums such as How I Won The War, Trip Around The Sun, and their wonderful covers record, DiG. The band's supremely talented lineup features Kurt Reil
on drums and vocals, Kristin Pinell Reil on lead guitar and vocals, Rick Reil on guitar and vocals and Dave DeSantis on bass. With the holidays coming soon, you should also experience their musical brilliance on the recently released re-issue of their fabulous album, Under The Influence of Christmas, which is now available on JEM Records.
There are a plethora of Christmas records out there, but how many of them offer you that perfect mix of rocking originals, inspired re-workings of traditional classics, and fantastic reinterpretations of some well-known rock and roll holiday tunes? The Grip Weeds' Christmas celebration kicks off with the guitar-driven original "Christmas Dream," a terrific selection that wouldn't sound out of place on 1960s pop/rock radio during the holiday season. That's followed by another Grip Weeds composition, the hard-rocking "Santa Make Me Good," which includes guest appearances by Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, as well as Myke Scavone and Dar Francis of The Doughboys. This high-energy tune will have you playing air guitar and dancing around the room while you put up your holiday decorations.
One of the best tracks on the album is an ethereal cover of one of my personal Yuletide favorites, "2000 Miles." The heartfelt rendition of this modern rock classic (originally recorded by The Pretenders) includes guest appearances by Jim Babjak and the late Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens. Vince Grogan of Buzzed Meg and Third of Never is featured on an acoustic-tinged version of Jethro Tull's "A Christmas Song" and The Left Banke's George Cameron checks in on "For The Holidays," another marvelous Grip Weeds original. Of course, no ultra cool holiday party would be complete without a psyche pop guest star, so Peter Horvath of The Anderson Council is along for the ride on a sensational garage rock run-through of "Welcome Christmas," from How The Grinch Stole Christmas which could turn even the Grinch himself into a power pop fan.
Under The Influence of Christmas also features The Grip Weeds' psychedelic flavored renditions of the holiday perennials "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" which are infused with heavenly vocals and jangly Byrds-esque guitars, touched off with some brilliant production work by Kurt Reil. This must have holiday record also includes the band's cover of Greg Lake's "I Believe In Father Christmas," Vince Montana's "Merry Christmas All" and the magical, positive energy filled original "Christmas, Bring Us." Under The Influence of Christmas is an extraordinary album from a phenomenal band. If you don't enjoy this dazzling record, your rock and roll heart must be two sizes too small! Under The Influence of Christmas is out now on JEM Records. For more about The Grip Weeds, head over to https://www.jemrecordings.com/, or https://www.gripweeds.com/. Here's a link to the promo video for the album release: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrMz_o0KFo4.