Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Most Depressing Christmas Songs

Are you not feeling the Christmas spirit? Here's our guide to alternative musics most miserable Christmas songs.
I Believe In Father Christmas - Six By Seven
Just like the weather in Liverpool right now it there is no snow it just keeps on raining in the decidedly grumpy Greg Lake cover.

Hurts - All I want for Christmas is new years day.
Wishing Christmas all away are Hurts here, they've had quite enough already.

Gruff Rhys - Slashed Wrists This Christmas.
What could be more depressing than suicide. The Super Furry Animals lead singer takes the subject head on.

Adrian Moffat - Plastic Mistletoe
Our favourite miserable Scot sounds like he's singing direct to the bottom of his whiskey glass.
 
Bright Eyes - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Anyone who has seen Meet me in St Louis knows this is not the cheery Christmas tune it's often presented as. Even so Connor Oberst brings it right down on this version.

Mark Kozelek - Christmas Time is Here
Sun Kil Moon singer Kozelek channels his inner Charlie Brown to bring the Melancohly right out of this holiday favourite, even copying Charlie and Linus' lines.

Tom McRae - Wonderful Christmastime
I always hated this McCartney song. That's why it's so apt that its song like the next cigarette might just be Tom's last. He's far from having a wonderful time.
 
What do you think? Do you know any more depressing Christmas tunes. Let me know in the comments, via email xmassongblog@outlook.com or via twitter @xmassongblog

If you really are having a rubbish Christmas let me know and we shall see what I can do to help. There is help out there, don't think you are alone.... I love these songs for a reason...  

Thursday, 10 December 2015

10 Coolest Christmas songs in the world right now 2015

A few years back a Beth Ditto Christmas song was the coolest thing that could possibility happen. Much as I like that tune a lacklustre last album and few years since The Gossip released anything that excited us, has left that song no where near as cool.
So here is my list of the coolest xmassongs right now, I plan to do a list every year as songs and artist get cooler or new artists appear.
The main criteria is that I think the song and artist are cool. It's worth mentioning here that I am based in the UK. Some of these bands will not be cool anywhere else. Furthermore it's about who is cool to me right now. This does not mean that the songs or the artist are the best, they will not all be cool next year and my taste is notoriously bad anyway. Check it out below, agree with me or not? Let me know in the comments or @xmassongblog on twitter.

10 Shins - Wonderful Christmastime
Every students indie rock favourite start off our list even if it's been 3 years since we last had an album off them.

Amazon
9 Slow Club - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
My favourite song from the many Christmas tunes the Sheffield duo have released. Last years album was a motown drenched stormer.
 
8 Low - Just Like Christmas
This is the best Christmas song ever if you ask me. They just seem to release brilliant music year in and year out. This years Ones and Sixes was yet another highlight of their career. To me they will always be cool.
Wikipedia 
Amazon 

7 Maria Hackman - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Marika Hackman is still in the infancy of her career. Check it out at her Soundcloud. Get the song on Daisy Digital's Christmas second compilation at Bandcamp.

6 Dum Dum Girls - On Christmas
The Dum Dum Girls are the coolest ice queens about. They've released a steady stream of the coolest songs over the last 5 years. Regular posts about them at Stereogum usually is a good indicator of coolness. Check it out you can get it for free at Soundcloud.

5 Beach House - I do not car for the winter sun.
Released in 2010 they've had consensus album of the year and all round critical acclaim since then. This year they gave us two albums of loveliness and will be all over the end of the year lists.

4 Bombay Bicycle Club - In the Bleak Midwinter
From BBC radio One's live lounge. Bombay Bicycle club are beloved of the UK critics with good reason. They took 2015 off. Will they be back in 2016. If they are there will be all sorts of excitement here.

3 Mark Kozelek - Christmastine is here
Sun Kil Moon were all over the year end lists in 2014 with Benji. A moody cool take on Christmas here from their main man here. Charlie Brown has never sounded so unimpressed. That's quite the achievement.

2.    Last Christmas (Live) - The XX
Live in the BBC radio One live lounge. The Live lounge is always a good place to find the best new music. The XX have been cool from the start. Jamie XX's solo album this year just confirmed it mashing styles together yet keeping enough space to allow the songs to come out in one undescribable whole. Making the Christmas Cheesepop fest cool again is one mammoth task.
 

1 Scottish electronic band CHVRCHES do a similar thing to Christmas classic in their Live lounge turn. They keep it cool and sparse and it's all the better for it. After releasing their Sophomore album this year they've been finding themselves deep into the top ten of most of the end of the year lists. In all the right places at all the right times. Chvrches have our coolest track for 2015.
  

So am I right or an idiot. Let me know in the comments or email xmassongblog@outlook.com or @xmassongblog on twitter

Friday, 4 December 2015

Phoenix - Alone on Christmas Day

So the mystery is over and we get French band Phoenix's Christmas song. It's straight off the Phoenix song book, it's mid-tempo keyboard drenced strum along pop song with drums that sound like a drum machine but probably are not. Apparently it's a Beach Boys cover but it's a new one on me. Check it out beong and they buy it. We here love a charity single and this one it raising money for Unicef.
Amazon

Alternative Christmas Music: 2015's playlist

Finally here, it's my 2015 playlist of alternative Christmas music. If you don't already know every year since 2004 I have created a playlist of Indie and alternative Christmas music to send to my friends instead of Christmas cards. These are the songs I will be sending this year. Of course alot of the songs were released in previous years because I have had to put the lists together before December begins so I can send them and the recipients have a chance to play them before December is over.
Let me know what you think, and if you know of a good tune I've not got here get in touch via email xmassongblog@outlook.com or @xmassongblog on twitter.

Here's the list with a link and video party going on below.

1 CHVRCHES - Stay Another Day
2 Summer Camp - Last Christmas
3 Ladyhawke - Merry Xmas Everyone
4 Bombay Bicycle Club - In the Bleak Midwinter
5 Shins - Wonderful Christmastime
6 Lisa Hannigan - River
7 Sufjan Steven - Christmas In The Room
8 The Polyphonic Spree - The Christmas Song
9 Eels - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas (Acoustic)
10 Dum Dum Girls - On Christmas
11 She & Him - Christmas Day
12 Mark Kozelek - Christmas Time is Here
13 The Killers - Christmas in L.A.
14 Maria Hackman - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
15 Cerys Matthews - The Little Drummer Boy
16 Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler - Christmas Moon
17 Bastille - Christmas Mashup in the Live Lounge
18 Frightened Rabbit - She Screams Christmas
19 Bright Eyes - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
20 Andrew Bird - Auld Lang Syne

1 CHVRCHES - Stay Another Day
Scottish electronic band CHVRCHES lead us off this year with their cover of the East 17 hit Stay Another Day. It's considered a Christmas song here in the UK and was number one in 1994. We've featured it in our playlists a few times. This may just be the best a sparse electronic take from the BBC Radio One Live Lounge.

2 Summer Camp - Last Christmas
This year Summer Camp released an EP collecting their Christmas tunes and a couple fabulous new ones. However you can still get this cover of Wham's hit free at their label - Moshi Moshi Music's Soundcloud below.
Then you can get the rest of the EP from here Amazon or of course itunes or wherever.
3 Ladyhawke - Merry Xmas Everyone
Another cover, can't find a link playing this pop romp version of Shakin Steven's classic. I couldn't imagine that was a hit outside of the UK but Ladyhawke is from New Zeland so what do I know. Still it was part of Amazon's Christmas playlist All is Bright last year and you can still get it from there.
4 Bombay Bicycle Club - In the Bleak Midwinter
Another song from BBC radio One's live lounge. It's quite a traditional take and all the more beautiful for it.

5 Shins - Wonderful Christmastime
This would have been on last years playlist had it not been for Ex Cops amazing version.

Amazon
6 Lisa Hannigan - River
Xmassongblog favourite Lisa Hannigan's take on the Joni Mitchell classic is a rich Orchestra backed version. It was released last year on A Murray Christmas 2. All the proceeds go to the Irish Charity Aware a very worthy cause.

7 Sufjan Steven - Christmas In The Room
Sufjan's Christmas albums are the things of legend. I have hours and hours of his songs. At some point I plan to write a run down of the best ones. This one is a sweet loving story of making someone feel the love of Christmas against the odds.

Amazon
8 The Polyphonic Spree - The Christmas Song
Another xmassongblog stalwart, the Polyphonic Spree put on an amazing live show. With almost as many Christmas songs as they have members of the band (almost but not quite). This one is taken from their Christmas album Holidaydream. Available from Amazon.

9 Eels - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas (Acoustic)
We've included this song before but this laid back acoustic version is so different we figured it warranted inclusion again. 

I can't find this version for sale but if you know different let me know.
10 Dum Dum Girls - On Christmas
The Dum Dum Girls have steadily been releasing some of the best music around over the last few years. I'm particular fan of their take on the Smiths classic - There is a light that never goes out.
This is more synth driven take than that or their usual guitar based songs but their familiar post grunge feeling is still there. What's better you can get it for free at Soundcloud.

11 She & Him - Christmas Day
I could not be more in love with Zooey Deschanel. She can do no wrong in my eyes. Her band were always destined to release a Christmas album and it's pretty damn perfect if you ask me....like she is.

12 Mark Kozelek - Christmas Time is Here
Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek's Christmas Album was the indie moment of last Christmas. It's a tight almost gloomy take on Christmas classics, but Kozelek's genius is that he leaves a faint sense of hope lingering in the mix despite sighing through the song made famous in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Before tailing off wondering why he doesn't feel Christmassy enough. Regardless the album is a must have. Get it from www.caldoverderecords.com


13 The Killers - Christmas in L.A.
I don't know how many years the Killers have been releasing Christmas songs but it's alot. They are almost always great. I think this is my favourite. They are all of course for the (RED) charity. World Aids day has just been so by the song and give a little towards the cause by getting the song.
Now have the Owen Wilson Staring video.

14 Maria Hackman - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Marika Hackman is a reasonably regular on BBC 6music's roundtable either as a featured song or a guest. The singer songwriter category is a crowded market but there is something just lovely about her take on the traditional advent hymn. She's also got a seriously big back catalogue for someone so young. Check it out at her Soundcloud. Get the song on Daisy Digital's Christmas second compilation at Bandcamp.

15 Cerys Matthews - The Little Drummer Boy
Catatonia Singer and radio presenter Cerys Matthew's gives us her take on another Hymn. Welsh and country tinged with the obligatory military drumming of course. Amazon show it as out of stock. Let me know if you know where to get it from.
 
16 Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler - Christmas Moon
I saw  theses play this live in London once at a special live Christmas show. No longer a couple their Christmas album was written and recorded when they were. It's a rare original song on this years playlist and it's a beautiful rock n roll ballad. Below is a acoustic version that I really love if only for Tim Wheeler in a Christmas jumper. Buy the whole album this song is one of many gems.
 17 Bastille - Christmas Mashup in the Live Lounge
Why have one Christmas song when you can do them all at once. Bastille puts them all together in BBC Radio One's Live Lounge.

18 Frightened Rabbit - She Screams Christmas
Scottish Miserablists Frightened Rabbit threatened to break into the big time but have so far just managed to pass the mainstream by. Still we here like them all the more for that. I intend to make a playlist of the most depressing Christmas songs at this rate the Rabbits will be on the list more than once.
19 Bright Eyes - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Speaking of sad Christmas songs, anyone who has seen Meet Me in St Louis knows that Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas is the saddest of all the traditional Christmas songs. Even so Bright Eyes can still make it more so whispering into the mic and putting a haunting Cello behind. If you feel the need to play this on repeat this Christmas please don't suffer alone. Phone a friend or Samaritans or anyone. You can own it here.

20 Andrew Bird - Auld Lang Syne
And finally if you make it new year you'll need a folky version of Auld Lang Syne of course. This is exactly what you'd expect from Andrew Bird it's a barn dance sort of a version but with all the attention to detail you'd expect from the multi instrumentalist. Download it here.


So there you go, What do you think? Do you have any suggestions for next year? Leave a comment, email me xmassongblog@outlook.com or tweet us @xmassongblog.
I hope you enjoy. See you here again next year for more of the same.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Palma Violets / Summer Camp with new Christmas tunes

I mean honestly, how is one supposed to write a blog on Christmas songs when the girlfriend keeps breaking the computer.

Anyways the drip drip drip of indie Christmas tunes has begun.... I'll be dropping my playlist shortly but before then check out Palma Violets Christmas song. I have to admit I was not expecting this one. The South London rockers didn't really strike me as a xmassong sorta band. It's a really rather good tune with a suitably woozy video check it out below.



Then there is the return of Summer Camp. They are becoming regulars round here. This year they've taken their previous covers of Christmas Wrapping and Last Christmas and filled out an EP with their new tune - I don't wanna wait til Christmas. It's a collection high of quality even if our favourite tune of theirs isn't present. So check that tune out here Then hear the lead song from the new EP here and if you like that you can get it from Amazon

Monday, 30 November 2015

Killers - Dirt Sledding and Amazon playlist.

New Christmas season, new Killers Christmas song. It's not their best effort (to our mind that's Christmas in L.A. despite what NME say) but we commend their commitment to the Christmas song cause.

It's available now via iTunes and all the best online music stores and of course all the proceeds go to the charity (red).

Also out a couple of weeks ago was Amazon's Christmas playlist.

There's Langhorne Slim's Deck the Halls, although that's too cheery for it's own good and doesn't really suit the singer.

Then there's SOAK who was last week nominated for a Mercury award. She gives a pretty straight version of The Christmas Waltz. She's stripped back the production and it works really rather nicely.

Elsewhere there is Guided by Voices singer Robert Pollard with a suitably lo-fi outing on What begins on New Year's Day and Turin Breaks (remember them?) doing their turn on New Year's Day

Dammit people my advent calender hasn't started yet and you are all onto New Year.



Remember if you spot an indie Xmas song that we've missed then tweet us @xmassongblog or email me xmassongblong@outlook.com

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Hey we are back - Courteeners - Winter Wonderland

Hey were back, been a long year and I'm sorry we are starting kinda late but we've been having computer issues in xmassongblog towers...... but then it's been a rather slow start to the xmassong season. We only cover the biggest most exciting indie releases on xmassongblog so whilst alot of our friends have plenty to put up we don't have much to show so far this season.
Phoenix promised but now seem to have taken away their xmassong with Bill Murray. I'm still hopeful but not holding my breath.
Then of course the Killers are going to releasing a new xmassong. All we know so far is that it will be called Dirt Sledding and it will as always be raising funds for the (red) charity.
Finally some good news of a confirmed single we can actually listen to. The Courteeners have stepped in with Winter Wonderland. It's not the classic song but a whole new tune. It's a downbeat song alluding to the difference between the idea and the reality of fresh snow and/or a new relationship.
It's bloody good and I'm sure it'll be making an appearance on one of my playlists soon. Have a listen below.