Should You Be Singing Christmas Songs?

 

Here’s a brief guide to some of the best xmas themed records ever made - not including our own, of course! I’ve provided links to some of the bands and labels mentioned on this site, but if you have any questions or want to suggest a Christmas record we should have included then please e-mail me.

 

A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector
(Phil Spector Records 1963)
Doesn’t need much of an introduction, heavenly sixties girl band vocals wrapped around Spector’s unique approach to production, and still sounds stunning over 40 years after it was made. I defy anyone not to get into the festive spirit after hearing this; also has the effect of recreating the magic of those childhood Christmases.

Track Listing:
1.  White Christmas - Darlene Love
2.  Frosty The Snowman - The Ronettes
3.  The Bells of St. Mary - Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans
4.  Santa Clause Is Coming To Town - The Crystals
5.  Sleigh Ride - The Ronettes
6.  Marshmallow World - Darlene Love
7.  I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Clause - Ronettes
8.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Crystals
9.  Winter Wonderland -  Darlene Love
10. Parade of the Wooden Soldiers - The Crystals
11. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love
12. Here Come’s Santa Clause - Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans
13. Silent Night - Phil Spector and artists

 

A Christmas Gift From Fortuna Pop!
(Fortuna Pop! 2000)
Very fine indie label Fortuna Pop bring us the first of their festive compilations, and as you’d expect from one of the UK’s leading labels it’s a real treasure. Eight lovely indie pop songs which deal with a range of related themes. Stand out tracks? It sounds corny but all of them are incredible.

Track Listing:
1.  Glitterball - Airport Girl
2.  Snow – Saloon
3.  Winter Hits - The Action Time
4.  Silver Bells - The Pines
5.  The Snow Doesn’t Fall - The Aislers Set
6.  Asleep On The Snow - Comet Gain
7.  Happy New Year - The Chemistry Experiment
8.  Let It Snow - The Butterflies of Love

 

Christmas Gift From Fortuna Pop! vol. 2
(Fortuna Pop! 2002)
Yet more sheer Fortuna Pop! perfection, features yet another Bearsuit Christmas song amongst the treats just waiting to be unwrapped.

Track Listing:
1.  Boxing Day Blues - Discordia
2.  Boxing Day - The Wimp
3.  Frankincense and Myrrh - Tender Trap
4.  The Thought That Counts - The Lucksmiths
5.  (Drive a…) Snowplough Through Your Heart - Home Science
6.  Cold Turkey - The Loves
7.  (Lonely) This Christmas - Mogul
8.  Little Donkey – Bearsuit
9.  A Little Splash of Lime – Sportique
10. Silent Night (The Weapon of Love) - Mark 700


Get Thee Behind Me Santa!
(Puppy Dog Records 2002)
Possibly my favourite Christmas album, a truly oddball mix of quirky British indie, NYC antifolk and some out-and-out indescribable oddness. Own this and make your Christmas complete, though I do warn you that the first song by the Rebel is reminiscent of the moment in the League of Gentlemen Christmas special when Father Christmas turns out to be Papa Lazarou!

Track Listing:
1.  If Every Day was Like Xmas/Obey - The Rebel
2.  Away In A Manger - Long Johnny Silver
3.  Sleighride - Airport Girl
4.  Jesus Christ - Simon Breed
5.  Marshmellow World - Prewar Yardsale
6.  All I Want For Xmas - The Teenbeat
7.  Winter Song - Fun Size Lions
8.  Her Name Was Xmas - Herman DŁne
9.  Goodnight, We 3 Kings - Infant
10. XMAS-4-4-1 - Santa Spris
11. Assassination On Xmas Eve - Jeffrey Lewis
12. Balloons - Jack Hayter
13. The Other Side of Xmas – Baxendale
14. Little Drummer Boy - Simon Breed and Paul The Girl
15. In the Bleak Midwinter - Abbey Grange
16. Zaftalong Gubi Guby – Dufus
17. It’s Only Xmas - Major Matt Mason USA
18. Transylvanian Xmas - Zombina and the Skeletones
19. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - The Rickets
20. The Holly and the Ivy - Borage for Courage
21. Merry Xmas Everyone - Flamingo 50

 

It's A Cool, Cool Christmas
(Jeepster 2000)
Some of the brightest stars in the indie constellation - Eels, Grandaddy, Belle and Sebastian, Six By Seven, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Drugstore, Lauren Laverne, etc. - come out to shine and, all things considered, don't make too bad a job of it. There’s a couple of duffers, the ever-maudlin Snow Patrol trot out a horribly sincere piece of festive tripe, the usually wonderful Flaming Lips hobble through an uninspiring version of White Christmas and the whole thing would have benefited from the loss of Big Boss Man’s Christmas Boogaloo. Definitely worth a punt though, and it was all for charity.

Track Listing:

1.  Alan Parson’s In A Winter Wonderland – Grandaddy
2.  Little Drummer Boy – The Dandy Warhols
3.  Every Day Is Christmas – The Webb Brothers
4.  Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas – Eels
5.  Feliz Navi-Nada – El Vez
6.  Christmas In Waikiki – Morgan
7.  Maybe At Christmas Time – Drugstore
8.  O Come O Come Emmanuel – Belle and Sebastian
9.  Thank You Dreaded Black Ice Thank You – Giant Sand
10. White Christmas (Demo for Tom Waits) – Flaming Lips
11. My Christmas Prayer – Saint Etienne
12. Christmas Downer – Departure Lounge
13. I Believe In Father Christmas – Six By Seven
14. When I Get Home for Christmas – Snow Patrol
15. Spiritual Guidance – Titan
16. Christmas Boogaloo – Big Boss Man
17. Christmas Eve – Teenage Fanclub
18. Gift X-change – Calexico
19. Hwiangerdd Mair – Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
20. Just Like Christmas – Low
21. In The Bleak Midwinter – Lauren Laverne

 

My Pal God Holiday Record
(My Pal God 1998)
Intriguing, eclectic festive collection from excellent US label My Pal God (see label section). The Goblins make it a multi-cultural affair with their ode to Hanukah. Lots of fun.

Track Listing:
1.   What Did Santa Claus Bring You For Christmas? – The Law
2.   Merry Christmas – Silkworm
3.   What WE Do On Christmas – Atom & His Package
4.   Backdoor Santa – Lustre King
5.   2000 Miles – C-Clamp
6.   Ha-Ha Hannukah – The Goblins
7.   Last Christmas – Sarge
8.   Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas) – Sean Na Na
9.   Tonight is My New Year – Margo Vs.  Eiffel Tower
10.  Santa Claus Is Coming (and You’re On His List) – Crucial Youth
11.  Something’s In the Chimney – Sixto
12.  Another Lonely Christmas – Universal Life and Accident
13.  December 91 Or So – Paul Newman
14.  In December – We Ragazzi
15.  Fairytale of New York – The City On Film
16.  Where Every Night Is New Year’s Eve – Burning Star-Core
17.  (I Was) Drunk (On Christmas Eve) – Winechuggers
18.  Feed the World – Sweep the Leg Johnny & All Stars
19.  The Utilitarian Christmas Jingle – Lullaby for the Working Class

 

My Pal God Holiday Record 2
(My Pal God  2000)
More top quality quirky US indie, this time with perhaps a more serious flavour?


Track Listing:
1.  Erotic Xmas (Home for the Holograms) – Emperor Penguin
2.  Ornament – Joshua Falken Trio
3.  100 Handshakes With President Christmas – Oxes
4.  Island of Misfit Toys/Little Drummer Boy – Neutrino
5.  On Xmas Day – Pedal
6.  Alabaster City – The French Kicks
7.  Christmas – Camellia Lane
8.  Candycane – Atombombpocketknife
9.  Candy Your Cane – The Beau Grumpus goBEAUlins
10. Nutcracker Overture/Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy – Del Rey
11. The Snowmen – Port Vale
12. 12.31 – Rebecca Gates
13. Auld Lange Syne – Drums and Tuba

 

Should You Be Singing Christmas Songs?
(Happy Capitalist 2001)
Ah, Norwich: UK capital of wonderful, unique, and life-affirmingly great music. Here one of the city’s many fine labels Happy Capitalist, run by local band Alto 45, release this four track gem of an xmas EP. Featuring a great track by the always consistent Alto 45, an atmospheric little number from the slightly morbid Folk Orchestra, another little gem from prolific Happy Capitalist signing Teruo and the jewel in the crown, another Bearsuit Christmas classic as they make listeners everywhere swoon to the beautiful, off-kilter melodies of 'Snowshoe.' Can this band do no wrong?

Track Listing:
1.  Snowshoe – Bearsuit
2.  Christmas Waltz – Alto 45
3.  Bonedust – The Folk Orchestra
4.  Why It’s Christmas – Teruo

 

Total Gaylord Records presents Cwistmas Twee
(Total Gaylord Records 2004)
Absolutely adorable eleven track compilation from Total Gaylord Records. Eleven slices of sugary sweet US indie, really gorgeous, infectious little pop songs, often reminiscent of sixties girl groups, featuring such current American indie favourites as The Icicles, The Diskettes, Thee Moths, etc.  Definitely worth buying.

Track Listing:
1.  Meow Meow – Colin Clary
2.  Snowman Song – The Icicles
3.  Snowball – Spoilsport
4.  Winter Fashions – The Specific Heats
5.  Dear Scrooge – The Lil' Hospital
6.  California Christmas – Shumai
7.  Good Migrations – The Smittens
8.  The Fruit of the Spirit of Christmas – The Sheets
9.  Noel – The Diskettes
10. Sub-Zero – Snoozer
11. Summer Tastes Wrong – Thee Moths


True Meaning Of Christmas Part 4
(Snowstorm 2000)

Five Track EP from the ever wonderful Snowstorm. The Candidate and Delila tracks are sad but lovely, Folk Orchestra deliver yet another festive message about human remains (?) but the stand out track has become, quite deservedly, an indie xmas classic - it is the fabulous Chriss TT's cautionary tale about a turkey's revolution at Christmas and it is a work of genius!

Track Listing:
1.  Christmas Came Early – Candidate
2.  100,000 Turkeys – Chris TT
3.  Spritzers – Delila
4.  Feeling Yourself Disintegrate – The Dukes of Hand-Gliding
5.  All in the Bones – The Folk Orchestra

 

We Love Yule
(Wall Of Sound 2004)


Track Listing:
1.  Christmas Mourning - Diefenbach 
2.  Sometimes It Snows in April - Shawn Lee 
3.  Daddy Christmas – The Girls
4.  Nobody Gets What They Want (On Xmas Day) - Fakesensations

 

World in Winter Él Christmas
(Él in association with Cherry Red Records)
Super-cool indie labels bring us this delightfully sophisticated but nonetheless magical collection of songs. Stand out track is the cult classic 'Schoolgirl Psychedelia' by the Fantastic Everlasting Gobstopper.

Track Listing:
1.  Slalem – Marden Hill
2.  Christmas Calling – Valerie Masters
3.  Christmas Jam – Bridge
4.  I Don’t Intend to Spend Christmas Without You –Tomorrows World
5.  The Winter Is Cold – Tomorrows World
6.  Christmas in Capri – Mr.  Martini
7.  Christmas In Haiti – Would-Be-Goods
8.  The 13th Day of Christmas – Louis Philippe
9.  Christmas In The Air – Jacques
10. Schoolgirl Psychedelia – Fantastic Everlasting Gobstopper
11. Little Lord Obedience – Momus
12. Psychedelic Christmas – Her
13. The Rain The Park and Other Things – Loveletter
14. Write Your Letter – The Arcadians
15. Instant Always – Milky
16. Goodnight – Wallpaper

 

Kill Xmas
(Taffpop 2004)
Nice, noisy, eccentric Welsh xmas compilation featuring the mighty Steveless and Syd Howells.

Track Listing:
1.  A Christmas Message - Kento
2.  Winter Wonderland - The Viva Knievils
3.  Oh Come, All Ye Faithful - Paint by Sound
4.  Jingle Bells - Steveless
5.  C'mon It's Christmas - Peter Singh
6.  Down in Yon Forest - Syd Howells

 

Christmas themed albums and singles by individual artists:

Low
Christmas EP
(Tugboat/Kranky 1999)

Pop Levi
'Reindeer In My Heart' (7" single In Victa Hifi 2004)
Cute, fuzzy and very twee, just what Santa ordered!

Spearmint
Oklahoma (CD album released October 2001)
Interesting take on the Christmas theme, also available as limited edition 7" set.

Ten Benson
'Black Snow' (three track CD single released on Cottage in 2000)
Time to hide behind the sofa as the mighty Benson bring us three twisted tales of festive terror including the arrival of Satan on Christmas Day. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire anyone?


Festive themed tracks featured on albums or singles:

Band: Bearsuit
Song: Snow
B-side to ‘Chargr’ ( 7" single Fortuna Pop! 2004)

Band: The International Karate Plus
Song: Black Christmas
Taken from the Joyfest compilation (Filthy Little Angels 2004)

Band: The Long Blondes
Song: Christmas Is Cancelled

Band: Ooberman
Song: Why Did My Igloo Collapse?
Taken from the 'Shorley Wall' EP (Tugboat 1998)

Band: The Pipettes
Song: In The Bleak Midwinter

Band: Postalowa
Song: Christmas
Taken from the album Everything That Connects You (Spite 2001)