No Disrespect, Mr. Crosby, But I Need New Music
December 14, 2009 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for good alternative Christmas music from the last 10-15 years, either original or by way of cover.

Some of my favorite music on my "holiday" playlist is the non-traditional stuff. Currently on my list and in heavy rotation are:

Weezer's "Christmas Song" and "Christmas Celebration"
Ingrid Michaelson and Sarah Barellis' "Winter Song"
Death Cab for Cutie's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
Barenaked Ladies "Barenaked for the Holidays" album

What do you know of that's been released in the last 10-15 years that could be added to my playlist to lengthen the gap between Andy Williams and Nat King Cole songs?
posted by moviehawk to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Bright Eyes put out an entire Christmas album. It's all good.
posted by Brodiggitty at 12:17 PM on December 14, 2009


Also, Jethro Tull's Christmas album is traditional while being totally not traditional. Hints of ye olde English, but mostly original songs.
posted by Brodiggitty at 12:20 PM on December 14, 2009


There's a lot you might like on Maybe This Christmas and its sequel albums--a good mix of alternative artists.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:21 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe this Christmas - Ron Sexsmith
Please Come Home for Christmas - Dustin Kensrue
posted by bluloo at 12:22 PM on December 14, 2009


Well if you're going to be listening on headphones, may I suggest this little gem from Blink 182: Happy Holidays, You Bastard. It helps if you were ever (or are still) a 14 year old boy.
posted by Askr at 12:28 PM on December 14, 2009


I like Aimee Mann's, Low's and Sufjian Stevens' Christmas albums.
posted by sugarfish at 12:28 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just Like Christmas by Low is a tradition in my house.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 12:29 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


A Winter's Night: The Best of Nettwerk Christmas

Compilation album, a couple of Barenaked Ladies covers, and some interesting groups I'd never heard before.
posted by kestralwing at 12:29 PM on December 14, 2009


HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY JESUS
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:32 PM on December 14, 2009


Which leads me, as always, to El Vez
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:32 PM on December 14, 2009


Hipster's Holiday. Classic jazz and blues. Lois Armstrong, Ertha Kitt... Can't go wrong. Also 2nd Jethro tull. Hard to find, but the Blackstone Valley Sinners did an alt country Christmas album.
posted by Gungho at 12:35 PM on December 14, 2009


This question get asked a lot around here.
posted by puritycontrol at 12:36 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pogues - fairytale of new york.
posted by slide at 12:38 PM on December 14, 2009


Here are two of my favorite Christmas songs.

Pogues Fairytale of New York with lyrics.

And this simply beautiful version of Silent Night.
posted by travis08 at 12:41 PM on December 14, 2009


Huh, looks like even in those previous questions nobody recommended Junky's Christmas.
posted by The Straightener at 12:42 PM on December 14, 2009


Maybe This Christmas has a lot of appropriate stuff. There's a song by the Japanese band Kishidan called "Secret Love Story." In Japan, Christmas is more of a romantic holiday, so that's why it's a love song, but "Merry Christmas" is in the lyrics, and there are sleigh bells and all that good Christmassy stuff. Another one is "Christmas at the Zoo" by the Flaming Lips.

I know you asked for stuff from the past 10-15 years, but on the off chance you're interested in some older non-traditional Christmas songs, I'd recommend:
"Father Christmas" by the Kinks, "Punk Rock Christmas" by The Ravers, "Merry Christmas Everyone" by Slade, "Thank God It's Christmas," by Queen, "Little St. Nick" by The Beach Boys, "Don't Believe in Christmas" by The Sonics, "Christmas Rappin'" by Kurtis Blow, "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues, "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses, "Jesus Christ" by Big Star is sort of a Christmas song, but not really, same with "Jesus Came from Outta Space" by Supergrass
posted by ishotjr at 12:45 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks, all, for the recs so far, and thanks, puritycontrol for the previouslies...the first two and last are kind of off the track of what I was looking for, but the third link and its suggestions are quite helpful.
posted by moviehawk at 12:49 PM on December 14, 2009


The Straightener, you are my freaking hero, because your link to "Junky's Christmas" allowed me to re-find the Claymation Christmas, which was inexplicably one of my family's favorites when I was a young'n.
posted by moviehawk at 12:58 PM on December 14, 2009


Not to get all pepsi blue, but I put together a compilation of original christmas music every year from me and my friends. There are some gems, but might not be your traditional xmas fare:

http://cvcdesigns.com/xmas/

And this year's just went up today: http://cvcdesigns.com/xmas/09/
posted by CharlesV42 at 1:12 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I can't reccomend the "Christmas Cocktails" series enough. Many standards, but lots of unexpectedly awesome stuff, all in a nice loungey style.
posted by CharlesV42 at 1:14 PM on December 14, 2009


Christmas Caravan by the Squirrel Nut Zippers
posted by onhazier at 1:17 PM on December 14, 2009


Reverend Horton Heat released We Three Kings a few years ago, rockabilly-type covers of holiday classics.
posted by sharkitect at 1:19 PM on December 14, 2009


The Arcade Fire Christmas Album seems to be out of print--find it where you will.

Damon & Naomi have a legally free version of White Christmas.
posted by K.P. at 1:20 PM on December 14, 2009


"Player's Ball" by OutKast.
posted by chrchr at 1:42 PM on December 14, 2009


Hawksley Workman's album Almost of Full Moon is my all-time favourite. Beautifully written original Christmas music. I love it so much I listen to it year-round.
posted by legendarygirlfriend at 2:00 PM on December 14, 2009


My Morning Jacket - MMJ Does Christmas Fiaso Style
posted by Midnight Rambler at 2:14 PM on December 14, 2009


I heard it this weekend and highly recommend A John Waters Christmas. Excellent compilation.
posted by lunalaguna at 2:19 PM on December 14, 2009


Santastic
posted by Mwongozi at 2:54 PM on December 14, 2009


Here's a project by Indy's alt newsweekly and the local spay/neuter shelter that might fit the bill: A Very Standard Christmas, Vol. 2 It made me happy. Hope it works for you too!
posted by meindee at 4:21 PM on December 14, 2009


For Low's songs, I'm partial to Taking Down the Tree.
One of my annual favorites is James Brown's Soulful Christmas. It really gets your yule pumping.
posted by Red Loop at 5:18 PM on December 14, 2009


Nthing Sufjan Stevens.

Pandora allows you to limit your choices to holiday music, so you could get some suggestions from them that way.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:24 PM on December 14, 2009


If you're a Venture Bros fan, they have put out an in-character Christmas song every year as a free MP3 present to the fans. They're really fun!

For something a lot LOT more different, Lady Gaga put out a Christmas song for 2008. I heard for the first time by accident yesterday, and the horror was such that my internet connection shut itself down in suicidal protest. It has all the subtlety of "Disco Stick" with none of the charm.

And I say this as a devoted Lady Gaga fan.

Listen IF YOU DARE.
posted by ErikaB at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2009


I also highly recommend Sufjan Stevens Christmas album and Christmas Cocktails as "alternative" Christmas options.
posted by LouMac at 7:32 PM on December 14, 2009


Los Straightjackets! Dudes in Mexican wrestling masks playing surf-rockified Christmas music. Sweet, there's even a free download in Amazon right now. I saw them on Conan years ago and fell in love. Now it's a family xmas tradition to listen to it.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:33 PM on December 14, 2009


Thanks for starting this thread, moviehawk! So many good suggestions.

I'm making an xmas compilation right now (...that's how I came across this thread. ask and you shall receive) for work. We've been listening to Sufjan and the standards for the last month and I wanted something shiny and new.

It goes further back than 10-15 years, but here's what I have so far:

The First Song - Band of Horses
Jesus Christ - Big Star
Carol of the Bells - Bird and the Bee
Christmas at the Zoo - The Flaming Lips
Fairytale of New York - Kirsty MacColl & The Pogues
2000 Miles - The Pretenders
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Raveonettes
Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
White Christmas - Iggy Pop
Believe in Me - fun.
Thanks for Christmas - XTC
Snowin on Raton - Townes Van Zandt
Lo, How A Rose E're Blooming - Feist
Little Drum Machine Boy - Beck

And just because it's a great song, and in the spirit of christmas (well, it mentions ringing bells)

Anthem - Leonard Cohen

Quite a few of these came from the Just Say Noel xmas compilation Geffen put out in 1996, which is worth a look.
posted by honestamalia at 7:47 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


some of my favourites:

. the Christmas song - the Raveonettes
. 12/23/95 - Jimmy Eat World
. donde esta Santa Claus? - Guster
. Christmas - Leona Naess

any Christmas CD i make ends with "what a year for a new year" by Dan Wilson.
posted by gursky at 8:22 PM on December 14, 2009


Sufjan Stevens's Songs for Christmas is a set of five EPs, including original songs and covers, as well as some instrumentals.
posted by t-rex at 3:59 AM on December 15, 2009


I love and adore the two Xmas albums from Alligator Records. Chicago-style blues, few standards, some pretty bawdy stuff. If you're going to sample one or the other, hit the second link. That's the more entertaining of the two albums for sure.

Looks like you can listen to one of my favorite cuts, "Christmas Time" by Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials, here.
posted by GamblingBlues at 4:27 AM on December 15, 2009


The Bobs' Too Many Santas.
posted by rikschell at 5:17 AM on December 15, 2009


For something a lot LOT more different, Lady Gaga put out a Christmas song for 2008. I heard for the first time by accident yesterday, and the horror was such that my internet connection shut itself down in suicidal protest. It has all the subtlety of "Disco Stick" with none of the charm.

I played that and it really freaked my dog out.

That said, the R&B Christmas series has some good stuff. I also like James Brown's Funky Christmas.
posted by shothotbot at 11:38 AM on December 21, 2009


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