Monday, November 28, 2016

It's a Vista Blue Christmas!

This has very much been the year of Vista Blue. The band has released an incredible eight digital EPs in 2016 - including special theme releases for Halloween, the Summer Olympics, the fall, and the opening day of baseball season. So it's no surprise that VB's last release of the year is a Christmas EP. And there's a story to go with it. Lead singer Mike teams up with some musician pals every year, and they record a bunch of holiday-themed songs - essentially creating an annual audio Christmas card that can be shared with friends and family. This tradition has been going on for 16 years and counting. Check It Twice, the new Vista Blue EP, consists of updated versions of songs Mike originally wrote for these Christmas comps between 2012 and 2014. How hot off the presses is this thing? So hot that four of the five tracks were just recorded this month!

Check It Twice again retains all of the signatures of a Vista Blue release. The sound is still textbook pop-punk leaning power pop, with lyrics showing great heart and wit. "Dreaming of the Right Christmas" is a Christmas tune in a truly classic mold - suitable even to those with zero attachment to pop-punk music. It's just so warm and tuneful - with a sweetness to it that really gets to the heart of what the holidays are truly about. A joyful Christmas is always more about who you get to spend it with than it is about what you can afford to buy. "Bobby Kringle" is a buzzing number about an ironically-named hater of all things Christmas, while "I Got Nothing For You" confronts the horrifying realization that one has neglected to purchase a present for a certain special someone. Speaking of horror, "My Zombie Christmas Song" is exactly what the title promises. Finally, "A '90s Kind of Christmas" is a Dr. Frank-ish acoustic number chock full of pop cultural references from two decades ago. Mike's talents as a writer have really been shining on recent VB releases, and that continues to be the case here!

To me, it's just awesome that Vista Blue has gone to the trouble and expense of making so much of its music available for free this year. Check It Twice is yet another name-your-price download over at Bandcamp, and there's lots more where that came from if you enjoy these songs. Even if you've had to write off 2016 as a shit year, Vista Blue has ensured that it hasn't been all bad.


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