Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas music (part 2 of 2)

In my ongoing quest to find awesome Christmas music... I thought I'd share with you these albums, all of which help to make my Advent a joyous time.

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I consider the five EPs that Sufjan Stevens wrote as "songs for Christmas" to be very precious indeed... they really make for a folky, homely and low-key Christmas where participation is more important that what you bring. I like that ideal, expressed through the songs, and recommend this collection to anyone who hasn't already got it.

$12 from Bandcamp

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Jethro Tull are a pretty new discovery for me... and their Christmas album is a wonderful addition to my collection. It is a vibrant and joyously merry affair with plenty of prog-tastic flutes and folky instrumentation. It makes me happy and fills me with cheer.

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"Silent Night" by Timbre is another recent discovery for me. Her vocals and minimal harp playing is simply breathtaking. There is a haunting, ethereal quality to this recording that brings to mind a sense of the timeless magic and wonder of Christmas.

Pay what you want from Bandcamp

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"A very She & Him Christmas" is a wonderfully kitschy collection of popular Christmas songs. Zooey Deschanel's vocals and M.Ward's instrumentation just work perfectly with these songs... to create something really festive and fun. They are my Rat Pack crooners this year.

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Blackmore's Night are a folky / prog rock duo - Ritchie Blackmore on guitar and Candice Night on vocals and instrumentation - whose album "Winder Carols" is truly are great find. They sing carols with gusto... and bring a traditional element to their presentation. This is one of my essential albums during Advent... especially their version of "O Come Emmanuel".

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Caleb and the Carolling Caravan have two Christmas albums out on Bandcamp which I recently discovered and have soaked up ever since. Their sound is very similar to Sufjan Stevens... very folky and low-key... and it is, as such, a welcome addition to my collection. Their version of "as the deer", for example, is so heartfelt and meaningful and takes a simple hymn and makes it fit for Christmas. I like that.

Pay what you want from Bandcamp

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Continuing in a progressive rock theme comes the trilogy of Christmas albums from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Whilst not to everyone's taste... I find their rock-operas fascinating and comical in almost equal measure. They fill me with cheer and that's a good thing.

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There is something about Christmas that brings out the kitsch in me... and "Christmas Harmonies" by the Beach Boys fits that bill nicely. Their presentation of very 'pop' Christmas songs is first class... and simply pure festive fun. Recommended if carols aren't your thing and your sick of the Rat Pack.

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"Christmas Praise" by Olly's band - the Bellshill Salvation Army Band - is a lovely, heartwarming collection of carols and festive music with a wee vocal solo from Olly herself thrown in for good measure. Well recommended if brass music is either your passion or you want something completely different.

£10 + £2 p&p direct from the Band

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"Advent Songs" by Sojourn is a powerful collection of carols and songs for Advent in an alt-rock setting. The instrumentation really brings some familiar songs into a new light... and I love this album for that. Well recommended.

$10 from Bandcamp

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That's me for another year... I haven't had a chance to check out the recommendations that were sent through when I posted the first part of this brief series. I will.

Anyway... please check out the artists above and support great music where you can (especially the independent artists).

Tx


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