Usually, each Wednesday we offer up three songs from local artists in this column we like to call Featured Listens.
But with the holidays just around the corner, we've decided to dole out some extra Christmas spirit. This week we've got five great songs from local artists in our second batch of featured holiday music.
And that's just the start!
Next week, we'll continue our giving ways, releasing our first ever compilation album full of great local music as a free download to our readers. It's all just our way of saying thanks for continuing to support ListenUp and the local music scene throughout the holiday season.
Here's a look at this week's tracks:
Greg Bowman Band "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
This Murrells Inlet mainstay is led — of course — by Greg Bowman, a talented songwriter whose smooth vocals give each bluesy track a laid-back feel.
The band's version of the Christmas classic is decidedly upbeat with groovy blues guitar throughout and a relaxed, beachy vibe that's much different from the somber, gothic tone the tune often takes.
Spider & The Grand Strand Blues All-Stars
"There's No Place Like The Beach For The Holidays"
We've mentioned this north-end outfit before, for their recent release "Little River Blues" and now the band led by drummer/vocalist Lee "Spider" Webb is back with a track in the spirit of the season.
This song is a clever little tune which takes off the classic "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays" with Webb's growling vocals and lots of local flair, including some choice musings on Grand Strand traffic.
Bernie Kenerson "Sleigh Ride"
If you're like us, you can't quite get enough of the jazzy electronic melodies put forth by this local master of the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument). Luckily, like the Science Factory he's a part of, Mr. Kenerson churns out music at a rapid rate with tons of great releases under his belt including "Merry EWI Christmas."
While the disc includes fresh and funky versions of many Christmas favorites, maybe none or more out there than the groovy "Sleigh Ride" which rolls in with a mean wah-wah vibe and saunters along with great instrumental work throughout.
J-Sneez "Smells Like Christmas Spirit"
It seems this local rapper never met a holiday he didn't like (check out his Halloween mixtape here). And even though Sneez himself admits he's cheesy with this Ho-Ho-Holiday track, you gotta admire his effort and ability to be genuine in an age where it seems every other rapper is trying to be hard.
This short song is a little goofy and really amounts to little more than an extended freestyle, but Sneez's rhymes are still on point and charismatic as always.
Check out his music and download the track for free at Reverbnation.
Count Your Blessings "Two Front Teeth"
This rock/hardcore band isn't local — they actually hail from Waldorf, Md. — but they do play around the way from time to time and will be back in town Tuesday night to headline a show at the Island Bar & Grill in Surfside with Modern Day Escape, From Ashes to Empire and Hey Dude!
Their amped up version of "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" will likely land well with fans of heavy music, as will the rest of their recent holiday album which features other tweaked classics including "Jingle Bell Stomp" and "Round Up The Christmas Tree."
Download the album "The Top of The Naughty List" on iTunes or check them out live Tuesday.