Holiday discs 2013: Various Artists Pittsburgh vs. Seasonal Depression

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Various Artists
Pittsburgh vs. Seasonal Depression

underpants

To those who don’t have friends or family in Steeltown, the idea of Pittsburgh at Christmas seems every bit as horrific as November in Vancouver. While this compilation’s title suggests that it’s a soundtrack for drinking warm Lonesome Charlie from the bottle while staring at dirty grey snow and belching factory smokestacks, good chunks of it are surprisingly uplifting in a lo-fi, DIY way. It gets off to a lovely start with the celestial “Dona Nobis Pacem” by Hard Money. Things then veer off in directions ranging from country porn (57 Big End Halos’ “He Only Comes Once a Year”) to grimy garageville (SFX’s “It’s Christmas Time”). Should you also be expecting something so bleak you’ll have to fight the urge to jump into the bathtub with a Christmas tree strung with 17 pounds of plugged-in lights, that’s also here too. The reverb nightmare “A Winter Trilogy Pt. 1: Here’s to Your Ex-Wife” spins a musical tale set in the kind of dive bar that makes you wonder why Santa didn’t bring a Winchester Super X Pump shotgun for Christmas, even though you practically begged.

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