Best Little Drummer Boy covers

Have to admit Little Drummer Boy is one of my favourite traditional Christmas songs. I even like the much maligned Bing Crosby and David Bowie version weird as that combination is. Here's my top ten of the best Indie Alternative versions. As ever let me know what you think below or on twitter @xmassongblog.

Firstly some honourable mentions for versions that didn't quite make the list. Lindstrom's epic journey is great but maybe grates a little by the 5th minute of incessant drum machine on the edited version. I'll admit I never saw through the 42 minute original!. Sufjan Steven's gave us a version (of course he did) and it's lovely (well of course it is) and Cerys Matthews of Catatonia did a version and I'm a sucker for it but none of them made the list so who did?

10 Iggy Pop is on crooner duty here. I've said it before full Christmas album by Mr Pop would be fantastic. Very few people have the spoken word expression he does.

9 Iain Archer once a membe…

Flaming Lips do Little Drummer Boy and SOAK does driving home for Christmas

The Flaming Lips have made some fantastic Christmas music over the years and have made some awful rubbish too if I'm honest. Thankfully this years offering is wonderful. Classic enough it is doing the whole Bing Crosby and David Bowie thing, with a few inspired flourishes it comes just in time to fit into my log on the best versions of Little Drummer Boy that I was putting together to publish tomorrow. Check the psychedelic video below.

SOAK the Northern Irish singer songwriter has been expanding into more polished realms recently. Her Single Everybody Loves you hinted at poppier influences creeping into the simple one girl and a guitar dynamic. Her take on the Chris Rea Christmas Standard strips this back. It really is just her voice above lazily strummed guitar. It works giving the song the lonely quality the lyrics hint at.

Ok that's probably the last update for this year bar the aforementioned Little Drummer Boy list. Have a very Merry Christmas Everyone. See you next year…

Sentinel, Night Flowers and Lambchop

It's becoming only weekly that I update the blog, I'm sorry for that but this week I'm ill so I have an excuse. Whilst I die of man flu get a listen to these picks from the week in Indie Christmas music. 

We generally focus on bigger acts but Sentinel asked politely and backed it up with a corking version of Sleigh Ride last year so when they tweeted a link to this years cover of I'll be home for Christmas we had to have a listen. It's all a bit cocteau twins with circling vocals and restrained guitar. Another winner in our book. If you give them a email address there are a few Christmas songs on their bandcamp, enough for a mini album next year maybe.  I'll Be Home For Christmas by Sentinel
Night Flowers got our attention at the start of the year with the brilliant cruel wind, partiuarly it's wonderful shuttle launch video. Now it's Christmas and their name cropped up again with a cover of the pretenders 2000 miles. Yours on bandcamp for as much as you a…

Whyte Horses, MxPx and The Staves

Whyte Horses gave us Empty Words at the start of the year and it must have made some sort of an  impact cos it got to me. Now they've given us one original Christmas song and a cover of Coldest Night of the Year a Vashti Bunyan song. I prefer the cover not only to the original track here but to the original version. So I'll pop that below for you. Thanks to @Santapalooza for the heads up.  

MxPx were just one of those bands that my friends liked when I was a teenager but they have a Christmas album and damn their track Christmas Day is awesome. This year they've updated the digital version of that Christmas mini album and thrown in a new track for good measure. It's nowt special but it's ok and that's about as damning as this song can manage to make me..... Don't usually add songs I don't like here and I don't dislike this it's just it's not as good as they have been.

Then thanks to the awesome Christmas Underground  we were given the heads …

Alternative Christmas Music: 2018's Playlist

It's the start of December and as usual I post my playlist. It's my 14th playlist which is ridiculous to think about. I make a CD of these songs to send to my best of friends instead of Christmas cards. It's a mix of old and new as usual. Saving some of this years better stuff for next year. Please enjoy and send any feedback to @xmassongblog on the twitter. 
Little Saint Nick - Best CoastChristmas Wrapping - Belle and SebastianWonderful Christmas Time - Mac Demarco   Silent Night - The Polyphonic Spree   Thanksgiving Song (Kill the Turkey) - The NationalAll I Want for Christmas Is You - Charly BlissLonely Man of Winter - Sufjan Stevens 2,000 Miles - Mark Kozelek   White Christmas - London Grammar                                            Feliz Navidad - Shame Driving Under Stars - Marika Hackman             I Am the Grinch (feat. Fletcher Jones) - Tyler, The CreatorGod Red Ye Merry Gentlemen - Bright Eyes         Hey Mr. Santa - KT Tunstall         Christmas in Antarctica…

Happy Hanukkah, Alternative Hanukkah songs.

Hanukkah starts this evening and to celebrate I thought we'd run down a few songs I've picked up on over the years that are dedicated to the festival of lights. Happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating.

Woody Guthrie - Hanukkah Dance. The classic Hanukkah song from the Grandaddy of American Folk.

Rogue Wave - Christmas for the Jews, in which the singer comes to terms with being Jewish during the Christmas period.

Stephen Colbert with Jon Stewart - Can I interest you in Hanukkah. Yeah I know it's a comedy song but it's a good one. Gently prodding Judaism and Christianity in all the right places.

Finally for now I have The Minus Five with their offering from this year Festival of Lights (hanukkah song).

I outright don't intend this post to stop here but that's all I have for now. Please send any suggestions you have and I'll update this year on year. Get me on @Xmassongblog on twitter or email

Best Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas covers

Ok done a few of these now, where I compile the finest alternative versions of a particular Christmas song. This time its Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The original from Meet Me in St Louis comes at a rather sad moment in the film. This seems to give acts a decision, either to take it on with the original sombre tone or to follow the lyrics and inject some Merry into the proceedings. I've chosen ten so i'll count them down finishing with my favourite.

10. Maricka Hackman goes the sad route injecting the longing from the film, but don't let that put you off, it's beautiful take with distorted vocals to keep it interesting

9. My Morning Jacket are no happier but their version is no less lovely. An acoustic guitar and a voice for most of this.

8 . Do you remember when Coldplay were a genuinely interesting alternative act? I am afraid I'm old enough. This is almost a crooners version, straight of a Jo Whiley live session for BBC Radio One.

7. Cat Power's …