Ah, it’s almost that time again kids. Reindeer and tinsel, presents and last-minute shopping so stressful that it shaves years off our lives. Santa and elves dance their merry dance while humankind takes pause, stopping their onslaught of violence and mayhem to give a break to the holiday of togetherness and love. Yes, it’s Christmas time, and in that caring spirit, we come together to explore the world of our next Shoreworld compatriots.
Yawn Mower is a two-piece fuzz, garage, rock, surf duo from Asbury Park, NJ. Since their inception in 2015, YM has released two EP’s — Get To The Boat, and, What’s All This New Piss? — and a slew of one-off singles and covers played as often as they can over the two years throughout the tri-state area, leaving audiences in a wash of fuzz, shouted vocals and cymbal resonance.
Yawn Mower has recently signed to Mint 400 Records and the 2017 holiday season will see the release of Ruins Christmas on Dec. 2, 2017, featuring YM’s take on classics such as “Silent Night,” “Joy To The World” and “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.” YM also puts a new spin on Jimmy Buffett’s classic “Margaritaville” with their own “Christmastime in Margaritaville,” which is sure to become a new standard. Ruins Christmas is the holiday EP you need when you are late to your family party and battling traffic or just want to start a mosh pit at your grandmother’s house.
So, let’s take a few minutes to dig deep into the beautiful world of Asbury Park’s very own Yawn Mower and see what this latest EP says to each and every one of us.
First up is “Frosty the Snowman.” The band kicks hard as they cover our childhood ditty of Christmastime cheer. Yawn Mower covers this classic with all the holiday cheer that could ever be mustered by The Ramones. Guitars, bass and drums unleash holiday thunder as the band thumps through the classic with the panache of The Sex Pistols or the Dead Boys. Drums and bass pound out the rhythm as guitars tear a jagged path through the middle of the song. Vocals are clean and snarly as hell. Mike Chick and Biff Swenson fill everything out to make this sound like a regular four-piece band but do it all on their own terms. Punkish and filled with gnarly playing style, Yawn Mower brings new meaning to an old classic.
I remember “Joy To The World” as a quiet, sensitive number sung by a choir. Not anymore. Yawn Mower brings the angst to joy on this one. I love how they pound their original take into this ancient classic. Utilizing traditional lyrics and original melody, Yawn Mower adds distorted glee to the track as well as some wicked Theremin warbles and lines. Guitars are craggy as hell and bass and drums pulse-like high blood pressure. Chick is a powerful singer, and his voice works like wildfire on this old-time classic reborn. This CD will provide hours of joy for the less traditional Christmas participant.
“Santa Clause Is Coming To Town” is next, and it’s a doozy. Tons of fuzz-laden guitars lay the path work for the boys here. Bass and drums pump adrenalin-laced action over the entire piece. Vocal echo is critical at specific points as the band pounds the song with force very much like a sledgehammer on metal. Once again, the group takes a standard old-fashioned tune and ignites it with modern-day punk sound for the discriminating fan. Well done.
“Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” jumps into the player next. Yawn Mower has a talent for taking classics and twisting them into their own orgiastic compositional wonders. Once again, the band utilizes standard arrangements that they bend into their very own cacophony-laced gems. There is more fuzz than a bushel of peaches here and the bass and drums anchor this 1949 Johnny Marks-penned classic to the proverbial floor with no class to spare. I love the opening that they came up with for this. Chick’s clean vocal attack makes everything understandable while the music slays with holiday cheer and punk rock panache.
“Silent Night” starts off with a sidewinder attack of fuzz-laden guitars, bass, and drums before Chick kicks in with vocals. Vocal echo rises over the top of guitars before Chick kicks into the song — a great new twist on an ancient song. This is another song that will get hours of play on the modern-day music lovers player. Exciting guitar chords take this classic to new heights of holiday cheer. I love the drums in the chorus as well. Solid and backbeat heavy, they support most of the tune’s moxie. I love the ending with live microphone chatter in the studio as well.
“Feliz Navidad” is up next and features a searing intro of guitar, bass, and drums before the boys kick into the traditional portion of the tune. The entire piece rips and the guitars are as boisterous as you can ever imagine. This is a raucous version of another old-time classic that absolutely rips into your musical soul, and it’s a winner. The reason this band scores so well on classics such as this is because they unleash everything they have to make it their very own and come up with something that retains the original concept but comes across wild in their own way. I love it!
“Christmastime in Margaritaville” is up next. This is absolutely comical in its presentation. The band blends cutting-edge guitar with solid bass and drums to come up with the best Jimmy Buffet quasi-original this side of 1979’s New York punk dynasty. The Grinch even makes an appearance in this song. Eggnog cocktails and rock salt blend with standard Buffet lyrics, all dressed up in feedback and distortion. This disc is so much fun that you’ll want to play it through New Year’s Eve and beyond.
Yawn Mower is a fascinating band that continues to create compelling new music, and this stopover — they are in the studio finishing up the next record — is just what the doctor ordered for your holiday hangover. Go to their site and buy this if you’re hankering for some colossal holiday cheer!
Yawn Mower will be celebrating the release of Ruins Christmas at the AP Yacht Club in Asbury Park, NJ on Dec. 2 with Dentist and Wetbrain. They continue to ruin Christmas at The Downtown in Red Bank on Dec. 7 with Plus Plus Minus and The Amboy’s, and at the Wonder Bar’s Happy Monday in Asbury Park on Dec. 18 with A Bird.
Ruins Christmas will be available on all streaming platforms and in physical format at any of these shows. See Yawn Mower tear it up like wrapping paper. Yawn Mower wishes you and yours a great and safe holiday season. Go to yawnmower.com for more information.