Various Artists 

A Very Bert Dax Christmas Vol. 7
(Bert Dax Cavalcade of Stars) 

You probably know the drill by now: Every year Bunnygrunt's Matt Harnish corrals a bunch of local bands (some new, some established) to record Christmas songs. These discs will never take the place of Nat "King" Cole on your holiday hi-fi, but that's beside the point — these comps exist as a chance for bands to toy with the season's soundtrack. This year's highlights include the Blind Eyes' "Christmas AM Gold," which isn't as soft and sappy as advertised, but still retains the trio's hip-shaking verve. The close boy-girl harmonies of A Bit Shifty kick off the seventh installment with a bit of Christmas-morning sadness, but the Trip Daddys turn the groove around with "Santa Claus is Back in Town." Harnish and his Bunnygrunt cohorts (recording as alteregos Blondiegrunt) take a swing at Blondie's "11:59," which, though not technically a Christmas song, serves as a reminder of how tight the band is when compared to some of the city's newer talent.

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail for more information.

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