Alternative Christmas Music: 2015's playlist

Finally here, it's my 2015 playlist of alternative Christmas music. If you don't already know every year since 2004 I have created a playlist of Indie and alternative Christmas music to send to my friends instead of Christmas cards. These are the songs I will be sending this year. Of course alot of the songs were released in previous years because I have had to put the lists together before December begins so I can send them and the recipients have a chance to play them before December is over.
Let me know what you think, and if you know of a good tune I've not got here get in touch via email xmassongblog@outlook.com or @xmassongblog on twitter.

Here's the list with a link and video party going on below.

1 CHVRCHES - Stay Another Day
2 Summer Camp - Last Christmas
3 Ladyhawke - Merry Xmas Everyone
4 Bombay Bicycle Club - In the Bleak Midwinter
5 Shins - Wonderful Christmastime
6 Lisa Hannigan - River
7 Sufjan Steven - Christmas In The Room
8 The Polyphonic Spree - The Christmas Song
9 Eels - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas (Acoustic)
10 Dum Dum Girls - On Christmas
11 She & Him - Christmas Day
12 Mark Kozelek - Christmas Time is Here
13 The Killers - Christmas in L.A.
14 Maria Hackman - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
15 Cerys Matthews - The Little Drummer Boy
16 Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler - Christmas Moon
17 Bastille - Christmas Mashup in the Live Lounge
18 Frightened Rabbit - She Screams Christmas
19 Bright Eyes - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
20 Andrew Bird - Auld Lang Syne

1 CHVRCHES - Stay Another Day
Scottish electronic band CHVRCHES lead us off this year with their cover of the East 17 hit Stay Another Day. It's considered a Christmas song here in the UK and was number one in 1994. We've featured versions of it in our playlists a few times. This may just be the best, a sparse electronic take from the BBC Radio One Live Lounge.



2 Summer Camp - Last Christmas
This year Summer Camp released an EP collecting their Christmas tunes and a couple fabulous new ones. However you can still get this cover of Wham's hit free at their label - Moshi Moshi Music's Soundcloud below.
Then you can get the rest of the EP from here Amazon or of course itunes or wherever.

3 Ladyhawke - Merry Xmas Everyone
Another cover, can't find a link playing this pop romp version of Shakin Steven's classic. I couldn't imagine that was a hit outside of the UK but Ladyhawke is from New Zeland so what do I know. Still it was part of Amazon's Christmas playlist All is Bright last year and you can still get it from there. Do you have the means (and by which I mean the copyright authority ;) ) to make a video of this song? If so do it and let me know so I can fill a gap here.

4 Bombay Bicycle Club - In the Bleak Midwinter
Another song from BBC radio One's live lounge. It's quite a traditional take and all the more beautiful for it.
 

5 Shins - Wonderful Christmastime
This would have been on last years playlist had it not been for Ex Cops amazing version.

Amazon

6 Lisa Hannigan - River
Xmassongblog favourite Lisa Hannigan's take on the Joni Mitchell classic is a rich Orchestra backed version. It was released last year on A Murray Christmas 2. All the proceeds go to the Irish Charity Aware a very worthy cause.

 
7 Sufjan Steven - Christmas In The Room
Sufjan's Christmas albums are the things of legend. I have hours and hours of his songs. At some point I plan to write a run down of the best ones. This one is a sweet loving story of making someone feel the love of Christmas against the odds.

Amazon

8 The Polyphonic Spree - The Christmas Song
Another xmassongblog stalwart, the Polyphonic Spree put on an amazing live show. With almost as many Christmas songs as they have members of the band (almost but not quite). This one is taken from their Christmas album Holidaydream. Available from Amazon.

 
9 Eels - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas (Acoustic)
We've included this song before but this laid back acoustic version is so different we figured it warranted inclusion again. 

I can't find this version for sale but if you know different let me know.

10 Dum Dum Girls - On Christmas
The Dum Dum Girls have steadily been releasing some of the best music around over the last few years. I'm particular fan of their take on the Smiths classic - There is a light that never goes out.
This is more synth driven take than that or their usual guitar based songs but their familiar post grunge feeling is still there. What's better you can get it for free at Soundcloud.

 
11 She & Him - Christmas Day
I could not be more in love with Zooey Deschanel. She can do no wrong in my eyes. Her band were always destined to release a Christmas album and it's pretty damn perfect if you ask me....like she is.

 
12 Mark Kozelek - Christmas Time is Here
Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek's Christmas Album was the indie moment of last Christmas. It's a tight almost gloomy take on Christmas classics, but Kozelek's genius is that he leaves a faint sense of hope lingering in the mix despite sighing through the song made famous in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Before tailing off wondering why he doesn't feel Christmassy enough. Regardless the album is a must have. Get it from www.caldoverderecords.com


 
13 The Killers - Christmas in L.A.
I don't know how many years the Killers have been releasing Christmas songs but it's alot. They are almost always great. I think this is my favourite. They are all of course for the (RED) charity. World Aids day has just been so by the song and give a little towards the cause by getting the song.
Now have the Owen Wilson Staring video.

 
14 Maria Hackman - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Marika Hackman is a reasonably regular on BBC 6music's roundtable either as a featured song or a guest. The singer songwriter category is a crowded market but there is something just lovely about her take on the traditional advent hymn. She's also got a seriously big back catalogue for someone so young. Check it out at her Soundcloud. Get the song on Daisy Digital's Christmas second compilation at Bandcamp.

 
15 Cerys Matthews - The Little Drummer Boy
Catatonia Singer and radio presenter Cerys Matthew's gives us her take on another Hymn. Welsh and country tinged with the obligatory military drumming of course. Amazon show it as out of stock. Let me know if you know where to get it from.
 

16 Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler - Christmas Moon
I saw  theses play this live in London once at a special live Christmas show. No longer a couple their Christmas album was written and recorded when they were. It's a rare original song on this years playlist and it's a beautiful rock n roll ballad. Below is a acoustic version that I really love if only for Tim Wheeler in a Christmas jumper. Buy the whole album this song is one of many gems.
 

17 Bastille - Christmas Mashup in the Live Lounge
Why have one Christmas song when you can do them all at once. Bastille puts them all together in BBC Radio One's Live Lounge.


 
18 Frightened Rabbit - She Screams Christmas
Scottish Miserablists Frightened Rabbit threatened to break into the big time but have so far just managed to pass the mainstream by. Still we here like them all the more for that. I intend to make a playlist of the most depressing Christmas songs at this rate the Rabbits will be on the list more than once.

19 Bright Eyes - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Speaking of sad Christmas songs, anyone who has seen Meet Me in St Louis knows that Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas is the saddest of all the traditional Christmas songs. Even so Bright Eyes can still make it more so whispering into the mic and putting a haunting Cello behind. If you feel the need to play this on repeat this Christmas please don't suffer alone. Phone a friend or Samaritans or anyone. You can own it here.

 
20 Andrew Bird - Auld Lang Syne
And finally if you make it new year you'll need a folky version of Auld Lang Syne of course. This is exactly what you'd expect from Andrew Bird it's a barn dance sort of a version but with all the attention to detail you'd expect from the multi instrumentalist. Download it here.


So there you go, What do you think? Do you have any suggestions for next year? Leave a comment, email me xmassongblog@outlook.com or tweet us @xmassongblog.
I hope you enjoy. See you here again next year for more of the same.

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