Nonetheless, the biggest disappointment has to be It's Christmas, Of Course (Shout Factory) with Darlene Love. The voice of Phil Spector classics like "(Christmas) Baby Please Come" attempts holiday numbers made famous by the Pretenders, Tom Petty, and XTC, though her robust belt doesn't quite mesh with the uninspired vanilla rock-pop backing. Better is Patti LaBelle's Miss Patti's Christmas (Island Def Jam), which has busy elves Jam and Lewis giving LaBelle well-upholstered grooves with touches of glittered Steinway. Primo for the mom who must get down.
THE ODDS ON THE ENDS Is that all there is? I ended up glomming on to unexpected offerings that dive into the kitsch-flavored eggnog, like Homeless for the Holidaze, a self-released benefit CD for Seattle homeless charities from an Ensemble of Lonesome Fellas (ELF). You have to love the intentional bad taste of pairing a hobo rant next to a holiday version of "The Stripper" and their goof take on "Super Freak," retitled "Jesus Super Freak." Hey, camp and Christmas belong together, like raised lighters and teased locks in flames; hence, a little love to the quickie-looking hair band comp Monster Ballads Xmas (Razor and Tie). Nelson massacre "Jingle Bell Rock," but ya gotta appreciate Dokken applying every candy metal cliché in the book to "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," including screaming axes and a malevolent "Watch out!" as if the imaginary big guy were a refugee from Goblin. And then there's the schlockiday Muzak and sleigh bell dysfunction of Wreck the Halls/Christmas Rock Records, sister label of Rockabye Baby!, the geniuses who dreamed up lullaby versions of Nine Inch Nails, etc. Green Day's "Holiday" sounds downright crazed, yet the pomp of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" off ... And Christmas for All! actually works, and the holidays take on a nice absurd tinge with a nerve-jangling version of AC/DC's "Big Balls." *
Sat/1, 9:30 p.m., $5
950 Geary, SF
For more music picks, see Sonic Reducer Overage at www.sfbg.com/blogs/music.