Christmas music is prone to becoming rather tedious. The monotony of Mariah Carey telling you you’re all she wants, year after year, is getting a bit of a drag, and the less said about old men from the eighties coming out of their hole to sing songs for children the better.
Luckily, for the sanity of alternative music aficionados who stumble upon this blog, I’ve compiled a short, remedial list of a few Christmas crackers that are worth playing beyond the sinister domain of the festive season and won’t drive you completely up your Christmas tree.
1. The Raveonettes – The Christmas Song
A poignant, melancholy rock’n’roll waltz around the season to be jolly. Those haunting vocals are beyond beautiful and this is my favourite Christmas song of all time. The opening line has never not fetched up a sleeve of goosebumps.
2. Crocodiles & Dum Dum Girls – Merry Christmas, Baby (Please Don’t Die)
Gothy, fuzzy and jangly shoegazing distortion seasoned with airtight boy-girl harmonies conjuring a form of yuletide bliss. It also sort of sounds like the anarchy of wrapping presents alone. Basically a soundtrack for everything Christmassy, then.
3. The Killers – Don’t Shoot Me Santa
A Christmas song that’s actually jolly despite Brandon Flowers pleading for mercy from a caricatural, maniacal Kris Kringle. Only The Killers.
4. Slow Club – Christmas TV
The candid intimacy of a girl-boy duo interchangeably harmonising with their heart-meltingly twee vocals over acoustic plucks. It’s almost too pretty for words.
5. Glasvegas – A Snowflake Fell (And it Felt Like a Kiss)
Scottish sentimentality shrouded in sleigh bells and shoegaze? Sign me up!
6. The Crookes – It’s Just Not Christmas Without You
Those Steel City boys have got your wistful romanticism covered, whatever the season.
7. Sufjan Stevens – That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!
Banjo, banjo, banjo, Christmas. In that order.
8. Summer Camp – Christmas Wrapping
Summer Camp’s cover of The Waitresses’ classic may be a complete contradiction to the season of their band name, but it remains an enjoyable record that’s both faithful to the original and modernised with their signature, eye-poppingly sweet sound.
9. The Fall – Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Peel Session)
Mark E. Smith sounds like Scrooge if he were a tramp on this cover, as only the misanthropic, pissed-up, wry Northerner could. It’s great.
10. A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector
Not a single as such, but this collaborative album has a pretty strong case for being the quintessential ‘Wall of Sound’ record and is without doubt the best Christmas LP ever released. Every song is gold and can you really call it Christmas without listening to the glorious, shimmering sounds produced by a psychotic white man?
Almost all of the tracks featured in this post can be found here: