The Bands

Independent Louis

Independent Louis - Snoopy vs. The Red Barron

Members: Mike Cerio, Justin Estlinbaum, Tom Montague, Jay Lang, Josh Stasik

Having individually played for indie-rock, 90’s alt-cover, and progressive-acoustic bands in the past, IL have succeeded in melding their musical tastes into a melodic goulash that tastefully exhibits each of these genres.

Connor Thuotte

Connor Thuotte - Wishlist

Members: Connor Thuotte

Connor Thuotte is a 19-year old singer/songwriter from Baldwinsville, NY with a very accessible and pop-conscious sound. His second full-length record is due out in early 2012 and is remeniscent of artists like Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, and Dashboard Confessional. His voice stands out among the many other solo artists of his time, and his songwriting is mature beyond his years. With typically sunny, beach-y, fun-filled themes, it is an interesting twist to hear Connor’s take on a CNY winter, and the holidays within it.

White Picket Fence

White Picket Fence - Believe It Or Not

Members: Elise Miklich, Kelly Clancy, Logan Messina, Ryan Chapman,
Garrett Koloski

White Picket Fence have become local music icons in a surprisingly short amount of time. With a ton of SAMMY nominations and wins, numerous regional and national tours, hundreds of local shows, and 3 releases under their belts, it is no wonder why one of the hardest working bands in Syracuse has gained such recognition. Their sound has progressed from its originally quite poppy leanings towards a more unique, attitude driven indie-rock orientation. Their contribution to this compilation shows just how far they’ve come.

The Bells and Whistles

The Bells and Whistles - Blue Christmas

Members: Amy Shapiro, Dan Briggs, Rachel Funck, Steve Sopchak, Phil Smolinski

The Bells and Whistles formed in 2007, playing an innovative style of indie rock focused on minimal yet subtley complex instrumentation. There was also a certain novelty to the group based on the fact that they were primarily made up of couples. After the release of a self-titled EP, a US tour, and a SAMMY nomination, the group went on indefinite hiatus shortly after their return home. This Elvis Presley cover marks the first full reunion of the original line-up in over 3 years, which is a testament to the long standing relationships within the band.

Crystal Mountain Band - Christmas At Kellys’

Members: Bruce Osterman, Mike Waller, Rick Fillippi, Johnny Weber

This uptempo Christmas song has already surfaced at least once in the past, gaining incredible local interest due to its infectious chorus and overall good vibes. The impressive guitar leads, lush background vocals, and blues-y overtones make this the perfect feel-good tune for the holidays. Be sure to catch frontman Bruce Osterman with his new band ‘Rugburn.’

Noah DeCarlo

Noah DeCarlo - My Christmas Love

Members: Noah DeCarlo

Noah DeCarlo is a singer/songwriter with a long history of fronting area bands of all genres. Currently, he is actively involved in an alt/folk project with Tim Paige (of The Brilliant Light) called “The Do’s and Dont’s,” who will have a record out in early 2012. Noah has always incorporated tinges of late 90′s pop punk records into his sound, though with a constant focus on song structures and arrangements that contribute something exciting and original to the genre. In that sense, his music has a comfortable familiarity to it, but it also might leave one guessing what will come next.

The Venetia Fair

The Venetia Fair - You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Members: Benny Santoro, Joe Occhiuti, Mike Abiuso, Mr. Chark, Chris Constantino

Hailing from Boston, MA, The Venetia Fair is somewhat hard to define. Their music is incredibly dynamic organized chaos, that somehow manages to maintain significant pop sensibility. Known for their circus-like live performances and almost cartoon-like personalities, it is only fitting that they cover the anthem of one of Christmas’ most loved and hated characters… The Grinch.

The Brilliant Light

The Brilliant Light - Home For The Holidays

Members: Tim Paige

The Brilliant Light formed as an additional creative outlet for Honor Bright guitarist and vocalist Tim Paige. The songs range from the stripped down folk tunes found on his latest EP “Things That I Don’t Need” to the lush pop arrangements found on his previous full-length “A Healing Is Due.” There is no hiding Tim’s feelings in his music, and that is what makes his blunt, convincing delivery so appealing. Home For The Holidays was inspired by his trip south to record an album with Honor Bright over the holidays and how it just wasn’t the same as a CNY Christmas with family and friends.


Ahnest! - Silent Night

Members: Nick Burger

Pronounced “honest,” after one listen it is easy to see why the name stuck. Nick Burger is the singer/songwriter behind Ahnest!,and his music is a unique blend of folk, pop, and good old fashioned rock n’ roll. This cover of the Christmas traditional “Silent Night” is somewhat of a departure from his usual sound in that he ditches the acoustic guitar in favor of it an a capella arrangement, however, his interpretation of this song is sure to impress.

Phil Smo

Phil Smo - Santa’s Got The Blues

Members: Phil Smo

Phil Smo is a musical chameleon. Just when you think you’ve got him figured out, he changes in a way that is as seamless as it is surprising—and that has become the only honest way to define his music. He has released 2 full-length records and 2 EP’s, and has toured the country numerous times. This blues-y Christmas original is somewhat representative of the material which will be featured on his upcoming full-length, which is due out within the first half of next year.

Trevor Grant

Trevor Grant - Merry Catharsis

Members: Trevor Grant

Trevor Grant is a local singer/songwriter with too much talent for his own good. Armed with impressive piano riffs, intense lyrical witicism, and a perpetual chip on his shoulder, Merry Catharsis presents a much darker, yet artistically valid view of the holiday season. Similarities could be drawn to songwriters like Ben Folds, Conor Oberst, and Tim Kasher, however, fans of these artists will likely find Trev’s work more refreshing than it is familiar.

Honor Bright

Honor Bright - Grandma Got Run Over By A Raindeer

Members: Liam DiCosmo, Tim Paige, Ryan Gilmore, Curt Henry, and Anthony Merritt

Though recently disbanded, Honor Bright was a staple of the Syracuse music scene for years. Throughout their career they toured the country countless times, performed on MTV’s Total Request Live, topped the charts on music sites like PureVolume and Myspace Music, released 2 EP’s and 2 full-length albums, the most recent of which was released on the well-respected indie label Triple Crown Records. They recorded this Christmas song in 2008 as a present for their families, and it is amazing that it is finally seeing the light of day.