Like clockwork, early December kicks off a steady stream of e-mails from publicists announcing that so-and-so is releasing a holiday-themed song (or album, if you happen to be adorkable). Some turn out to be really good, some are fairly awful, but somehow listening to them always helps lift your mood, even if they are mad creepy (looking at you Woods) and it’s a rainy Tuesday afternoon. So whaddya say we get in the spirit with these homespun tracks that have recently come onto our radar — one happy, one sad, one creepy — then give a bunch of money to that Arcade Fire charity for Haiti? Check back often, we’ll be adding more as they come our way.
Woods – “Christmas Time Is Here” (available as a free download via Pitchfork)
Vince Guaraldi’s classic (of Charlie Brown fame) becomes all sepia-toned and warbling at the hands of Woods, yet remains strangely warm.
Phil & the Osophers – It’s Christmas Time with Phil & the Osophers (listen here)
A jangly five song offering detailing stories of Brutus, the second-string reindeer that saves Christmas, and activities planned for holiday break (shopping, ice skating at the park, caroling). Goofy, charming, the sort of thing you’ll want to listen to at your seasonal ugly sweater party — conveniently bundled with a track called “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.”
Diamond Rugs – “Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant” (listen below)
Diamond Rugs, a supergroup of sorts formed by John McCauley and Robbie Crowell of Deer Tick and rounded out by members of The Black Lips, Los Lobos, Dead Confederate and Six Finger Satellite, have a album slated for spring 2012 on Brooklyn’s own Partisan Records but decided to make their first single a Christmas song. Though technically not based in New York, we’re going to go ahead and chalk Road Island up as a sixth borough… also, the abundancy of Chinese restaurants in New York seems fitting. More importantly, we really want you to hear McCauley shuffle along with a piano while he sings of being alone on Christmas because it’s absolutely heartbreaking, especially when he gets to the “Feliz Navidad and all that” part.