A Soundhall Christmas

There is an undeniable stigma around the music at this time of year. If Cliff Richard is too much for your festive ears, your usual port of call was the sleigh-bell infested sound of Wizzard, Slade or, god forbid, Wham. The stakes were raised earlier this year when Justin Bieber’s affront to the holiday season ‘Mistletoe’ (featuring a rather catastrophic version of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ with none other than Busta Rhymes) was met with general shrugs and the obligatory hate messages. And the general drudgery of the annual X Factor release – complete with the incredibly standard key change – makes the increasingly forgettable Christmas number ones seem to blend into each other.

But fear not, my friends… Soundhall is here to save your music-consciousness this holiday season. I’ve selected a few alternative tracks that I’ll be playing over and over again (see Geraldine’s Christmas song for that reference) this festive period. Some you’ll have heard before, some you might not have heard, but rest assured, you’ll be ready for Father Christmas’ visit by the end. Sleigh bells are permitted, Cliff Richard however, is not. Sorry Cliff.

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1. Frightened Rabbit – It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop

I’m a big fan of Frightened Rabbit. Their brand of acoustic indie-rock is perfectly suited to my taste and (rather conveniently) this time of year. So, when I discovered this beauty that they dropped back in 2008, I couldn’t help but share it with you all. Normally, Christmas songs get by on just that – they get wheeled out once a year, often purely for the novelty value. But here, FR have created an honest, anthemic and timeless track, with a distinct lack of Rudolph and his red nose. Festive but not festive. Weird how that works, isn’t it?

You can download this track from iTunes HERE.

 

2. Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler – Home For The Holidays

The story goes that last Winter, singer/songwriter Emmy The Great and Ash frontman Tim Wheeler were snowed in together. During this period, they decided to record a Christmas album… And I for one, thank them for arriving at that decision. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have brought us this cracker (no pun intended) of a festive track, entitled ‘Home For The Holidays’. A slightly more upbeat and sleigh bell-friendly offering than the FR one above, but both of equal levels of festiveness. Happiness.

You can download this track from iTunes HERE.

 

3. She & Him – The Christmas Waltz

Zooey Deschanel is well-versed in the Christmas protocol. She starred in one of my all-time favourite festive movies (Elf, for those who didn’t know) and has now brought us a magnificent album for the holidays courtesy of her music project entitled She & Him. Consisting of Deschanel and guitarist M.Ward, they released the album ‘A Very She & Him Christmas’ in October this year, and this is my standout track, the very laid-back ‘The Christmas Waltz’. Full of all those lovely festive lyrics that make you feel all fuzzy and warm inside, this is a definite track to stick on while sitting in front of the fire on Christmas evening.

You can download this track from iTunes HERE.


4. Maverick Sabre – Fairytale of New York

Last week, rising star Maverick Sabre stopped by the Chris Moyles Breakfast Show to perform this stunning rendition of a Christmas classic (one of the best, in my opinion) from The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl – the legendary ‘Fairytale Of New York’. Using his ridiculously rich and soulful voice and simple acoustic guitar accompaniment, he puts his own stamp on a track that is usually regarded as uncoverable. Ireland unites to give us an unbelievably brilliant song. Christmas vibes all round.

 

5. Black Stone Cherry – Santa Claus Is Back In Town

This is one for all you rockers out there, who aren’t willing to turn down your amps for the sake of a sherry or two. Kentucky guitar connoisseurs Black Stone Cherry, of whom I am a massive fan, have turned their hand to this Christmas classic, originally recorded by the King, Elvis Presley, back in 1957. A prime example of their heavy rock, rooted in southern country music, sound – it brings a great end to a great year for these guys, with their album ‘Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea’ met with critical acclaim and won them a place at #13 in the UK album charts. Brilliant track, but with the only obvious connection to Christmas being the lyrics. Oh well, enjoy it anyway.

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That’s it! Those tracks should keep you going until Christmas… I may be posting some more new songs before the big day, but if I forget to say it to you all, have a wonderfully happy Christmas, I love you all. Peace and love x

Follow the official Soundhall Twitter: @soundhallblog

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