Normally, I am the grinchingest person who ever grinched. After Thanksgiving, I'm reluctant to even leave the house, knowing that every store, restaurant, and dentist's office will be playing the worst song of all time (for the record, it's "Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time." Or maybe "Last Christmas." Or the one I heard a few days ago that asked "Where is Christmas?") So yeah. I can't stand most Christmas music, the one exception being KUOW's The Swing Years and Beyond's yearly holiday broadcast. And, happily, the collection of songs that follow, all released by local Seattle artists who really put their hearts into it. In no particular order, the best local holiday music I've discovered of late.
Soul chanteuse Choklate has a holiday EP appropriately titled Fa La La La La. Listen to the song "'Tis The Season" above, and pick up the whole thing on iTunes if you like what you hear.
Damien Jurado, "Christmas Time Is Here"
The man who can sing higher than a children's choir recently tackled the Vince Guaraldi classic "Christmas Time Is Here" to great effect. "Damien Jurado loves Christmas. He's been waking up since October with a specific number in his head that corresponds to the days left until December 25th," says his label, Secretly Canadian (where you can download the track).
Ivan and Alyosha, "Rebel Jesus"
The Sea Navy, "Christmas For One"
In the classic tradition of the sad-sack, lonely Christmas song, Jay Cox laments a solo holiday.
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, "Inuit"
This track, from a few years back in 2009, is from the holiday EP An Eskimo's Christmas. Rather than bombard the listener with explicit references, Benjamin Verdoes uses images of winter to conjure a snowy scene. Like what you hear? You can download the track from the KEXP blog.
Brite Futures, "Last Christmas"
I maintain that the Wham! version of this song is one of the worst songs ever, but this version is so charming I'll let it slide. Now if we can just get into every mall in America. Download it for free on BF's Facebook page.
Exohxo, Exohxmas III: The Wreath of Khan
Yes, every year orchestral pop band Exohxo releases a Christmas album. Now that's dedication! As usual, it's a star-studded affair, with guest turns from Daniel Harmon, Nouela Johnston of People Eating People, and Irene Barber of Eighteen Individual Eyes, among others. Listen to original track "(Just Like) A Kid on Christmas" above, and head to their Bandcamp to hear the whole thing (and download it for free). The previous two years' installments can be found here and here.
Kris Orlowski, Christmas EP
Thought you never wanted to hear "Jingle Bells" again? Give this one a try, then head to Bandcamp to hear Mr. Orlowski's take on two other holiday classics, recorded last year.
What's your favorite local Christmas release of all time? Cast your vote in the comments!