by Matt Ayres
Bored of hearing Noddy Holder’s eggnog-curdling screams of “IT’S CHRIIIIISTMAS!” yet?
We are. Music is a big part of the yuletide season, but it seems like most of us are tired of hearing the same old songs as we dive in and out of those crowded department stores, desperately trying to find something not-rubbish for our nearest and dearest to open on the 25th.
Mainstream Christmas playlists rarely change, so as a festive antidote to all that overplayed pop, we dug around a bit and unearthed some underground Christmas treats for you to enjoy. You won’t hear these ones in Debenhams.
1. Los Campesinos! – A Doe To a Deer
Los Campesinos! have recorded three Christmas songs, including a wonderfully unpredictable cover of ‘The Holly and The Ivy’, but this one is our favourite. Lyrics about “shirtless cherubs on the terrace singing hymns” at a Boxing Day football match and a treetop angel “vomiting from vertigo” make this an alternative Christmas classic.
2. Tellison – Snow (Don’t Tell the Truth This Christmas)
Tellison did a great job raising money for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) with their charitable 2011 effort ‘Good Luck It’s Christmas’, and they did it again last year with this little number. All proceeds raised from the pay-what-you-like track ‘Snow’ on Bandcamp go to the charity, which helps to raise awareness of high suicide rates in young men.
3. Stornoway – Gondwanaland
The wintery lyrics in Stornoway‘s rarely-heard B-side are a perfect accompaniment to frosty December strolls. It’s also refreshing to hear a seasonal song that doesn’t bash you over the head with yuletide cliche, and rather rare to find a modern Christmas ditty that doesn’t feature omnipresent jingle bells.
4. Fixers – Swedish Cinnamon Bun
Fixers are weird. Fittingly, they’ve just unleashed one of the weirdest Christmas songs you’ll ever hear: an anarchic, lo-fi mash-up of rolling rhythms and pomp-rock silliness that sounds a bit like what we imagine is going on in the Nintendo 64 kid’s head as he tears away the wrapping from his dream Christmas present.
5. Sufjan Stevens – Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance!
Sufjan Stevens LOVES this time of year. He’s recorded so many Christmas songs (five EPs worth… yeah, seriously) that we basically just picked the one with the best name. And it’s kind of fun, mixing up nursery school excitement with indie pop catchiness and anti-folk experimentation. ‘Tis the season!