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Welcome to Hip Christmas! Welcome To Hip Christmas! I think you'll enjoy my dysfunctionally vast web archive dedicated to holiday music that rocks, rolls, swings, and twangs. If you do, please support me by shopping at Amazon, iTunes, and Sheet Music Plus! Regardless, the best of the season to you - no matter what month it is! [about me]
A Very Special Christmas A Really Very Special Christmas. After nearly 30 years of increasingly awful sequels, it's easy to forget what a big deal A Very Special Christmas was back in 1985. It spawned a few hip holiday classics (most notably Run-DMC's "Christmas In Hollis"), but its biggest impact came in the slew of Christmas releases that followed in its wake - and continues to this day. Read more in Billboard's new article or in my review of the whole, chequered series. [more, please]
What's New? What's New In 2013? I've just begun cataloging this year's new Christmas CD's for your convenience and pleasure - including albums by Bad Religion, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Mary J. Blige, Erasure, George Jones, Nick Lowe, The Salsoul Orchestra, and many more. Check back soon and often for further updates! [check my list]
A Christmas Gift For You! A Christmas Gift For You. For a brief time, I'm offering free MP3's of a five treasures from my voluminous collection - songs I love (or love to hate) and that I'm confident you can't find easily at any store. This year's bounty includes rare treats from the Amazing Crowns, Thornetta Davis, the Donnas, the Old 97's, and the Pretenders. [download now]
Christmas Jukebox the Christmas Jukebox. My online Christmas music player is bulging with over 350 songs - and counting! Now you can listen to the music I write about - the coolest, weirdest, and loudest holiday tunes ever. All while enjoying my inimitable prose.... [press play]
Mailbag Mailbag. Despite the fact that I all but tell them not to (no, really), artists send me CD's, MP3's, and more, asking me to trumpet their music on my website. Simply put, I can't keep up. Rather than have them completely waste their time and money, I throw the more substantial submissions on this page and let fate take its course. Hey, it's better than a lump of coal! [open the bag]
Eric Carmen Happy New Year from a Raspberry. Longtime hitmaker Eric Carmen has a new collection, The Essential Eric Carmen, coming out in 2014. It'll have lots of hits - both from his solo records and his days as lead singer for The Raspberries - but the big news is that it includes his first new first new recording in over 15 years, "Brand New Year." For a limited time, download it for free at Soundcloud. [old acquaintance]
Holiday HAAM Jam Keep Austin Wired, Yet Again. For the third year in a row, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians has compiled Holiday HAAM Jam, a benefit album to help local musicians stay on the right side of the topsoil. This year's edition features Joe Ely, Reckless Kelly, Dale Watson, Vallejo, and more. Also see Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. [cut a slice]
Top 100 Christmas Songs Top 100 Christmas Songs. Countdown to Christmas Day with these always wonderful, frequently crazy songs - from Phil Spector's celebrated Wall Of Sound to obscure punk, country, and rhythm & blues. [read more]
Sleigh Rides, Jingle Bells, and Silent Nights

The Why Of Christmas. Most books address the who, what, when, and where of Christmas music. Ronald Lankford's new book Sleigh Rides, Jingle Bells, and Silent Nights answers the question of why America wrote and embraced the holiday songs we did. How did they reflect our culture, and how did they subsequently shape that culture? The answer's not a simple as you might think. [learn more] [buy]

Top 20 Christmas Albums Top 20 Christmas Albums. Actually, 40 - I started unwrapping presents and just couldn't stop! Anyway, who said Christmas music has to be boring? Not me! These sterling platters will put you in the Christmas spirit faster than you can say, "Go Cat Go!" [read more]
Sharon Jones My, What Big Bulbs You Have. Neo-soul queen Sharon Jones is back from a triumphant battle with cancer, so I couldn't be happier to download Big Bulbs free from Google Play. Big Bulbs is just one of six exclusive tracks available for free through Google's Holidays Uncovered promotion, including songs by Nick Lowe, Michael Franti, and Trombone Shorty. [the price is right]
Joe Bonamassa Bonamassa Means Christmas. Premier modern blues artist Joe Bonamassa is offering a free song on his website: Christmas Date Blues, originally recorded by Big Joe Turner in 1948. Fair warning: it starts playing very loudly the moment you load the page, and there's no "off" button. So, if your boss doesn't like the blues, wait till you get home from work - or you'll have the Christmas job blues. [play now]
Roger McGuinn Christmas Is Going To The Byrds. Roger McGuinn has been releasing free Christmas songs nearly every year since 1995 through his website, The Folk Den - carols, hymns, and other songs consistent with his long-standing crusade for folk music. This year he offers It Came Upon A Midnight Clear - and all previous tracks are available in the archives. [folk you]
Krampus Merry Krampus! Seattle-based indie Green Monkey Records has released their fifth Christmas compilation, this one named for Krampus, the dark companion of St. Nicholas who drags naughty children to hell. The label is run by musician Tom Dyer, who has just released a collection of his own holiday music, Xmas: 30 Years In The Making. [download]
Santastic Merry Christmash. Now in their ninth year, the DJ BC and crew have released eight volumes of Santastic Christmas mash-ups and more, including my favorite, Menorah Mashups, for the Chanukah celebrant in your family. Mostly, they're free - but a donation will be greatly appreciated. Now dance, Sugar Plum Fairy, dance! [do the mash]
Rhett Miller Run Rhett Run. As frontman for the Old 97's, one of Texas' finest alternative country bands, Rhett Miller waxed a couple of Christmas songs including the lovelorn original Here It Is Christmas Time (2007). He's recorded a new track, Christmas Is Coming, under his own name along with emerging singer/songwriter Sydney Wayser. Available through Noisetrade, name your own price. [download]
Slate Where's My White Christmas, Dammit!? Slate Magazine recently published a provocative piece called All I Want for Christmas Is a New Christmas Song. It laments the fact that there have been very few Christmas standards composed over the past 30 or 40 years - and asks why. Could it be the hegemony of Mariah Carey? A sign of end times? Or merely the artistic backruptcy of an entire generation? [read now]
Eastside Manor A Noisy Christmas. Our friends at Noisetrade host a lot of exclusive live sessions at the Eastside Manor, their mythic headquarters. This holiday season brings us Eastside Manor Christmas Sessions featuring a wide variety of artists including Jars of Clay, Dave Barnes, and Sara Macintosh - and it's also spotlighted on their YouTube channel. As always, it's free - but tipping is recommended. [download]
Marcie and Anthony Webster Take That, Lana. Dance duo Marcie and Anthony Webster have created their own happy holiday version of Lana Del Ray's mopey hit Summertime Sadness. It's Holiday Time Gladness, and it's available for a limited time only as a free download through Sendspace. [download]
Amazon MP3 The Price Is Right. As has been their habit for several years, Amazon is giving away a Christmas MP3 every day during December, and some of them are some of them pretty hip including Erasure, Marvin Sapp, John Fahey, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Carole King. [gimme gimme gimme]
Whitney Wolanin

Hey, Nice Lamp. Recently I discovered Whitney Wolanin, a full-throated rock 'n' blues singer with an affinity for Christmas music. She's just released a smokin' version of Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run" accompanied by a hi-larious video parody of A Christmas Story. Previously, she released three holiday singles - "Christmas (The Warmest Time Of The Year)," "Silver Bells," and "Frosty The Snowman" - followed by an album, Christmasology. [shoot your eye out]

coal I Got Coal. Every year, I wish for a great CD compilation from Norton Records or Damaged Goods - two cool labels who put out tons of great Christmas singles. Every year, I get coal instead. Nevertheless, both companies have easy-to-browse web pages full of Yuletide delights - mostly vinyl, naturally. [Norton] [Damaged Goods]
Stratocruiser Heavy, Man. Over the years, North Carolina band Stratocruiser has progressed from melodic jangle pop to something darker, denser, and heavier. This year's Christmas single, "Put The X Back In Xmas," is part-and-parcel with that evolution, with a deep streak of naughty to go with it. Pick it up at Bandcamp, or download nine years worth of singles bundled as Presents. But, leave a tip, Scrooge. [download]
Hollyberries Catch A Wave. Our favorite Christmas surf band, The Hollyberries, have released a 7-inch vinyl EP compiling four songs previously released only as MP3 downloads. It's called I Wanna Go Surfin' With Santa! and it's available for a limited time only in lovely blue vinyl. [gnarly, dude]
XO For The Holidays Hugs and Kisses For Xmas. This is getting to be a habit! For the sixth straight year, our friends at XO Publicity have compiled a free sampler of hip tunes - XO For The Holidays, Volume 6. What's more, you can still pick up Volume 1 , Volume 2 , Volume 3, Volume 4 and Volume 5 - gratis, as usual. [download now]
Dollyrots Walker Claus. Our favorite post-modern girl group, The Dollyrots, have a new free Christmas single available for download on both Noisetrade and Fanbridge. Called "I Saw Mommy Biting Santa Claus," it's the musical companion to the book written by Matt Mogk and illustrated by Chad Lewis. The song is also available for purchase in high def WAV and FLAC. [listen] [buy] [watch]
Paste Yum, Paste! Oh-so-hip steampunk rag Paste is offering their 2013 Holiday Sampler for absolutely nothing through Noisetrade. Artists include Sufjan Stevens, Nick Lowe, Otis Redding, and Bright Eyes. But, be sure to leave a tip, Ebeneezer. [sticky stuff]
Ian McGlynne Christmas Past (and Present). Modern folkie Ian McGlynne has a totally free three-song EP for download on Noisetrade - but it promotes his new six-song EP that you should totally buy - OK, dude? It's called North Pole Vault EP, and it follows his previously released the singles "Listen To The Choir Sing" (2009) and "The Snow Angel And The Icicle Sword" (2010). [freeload] [pay up]
Jews For Jesus Jews For Jesus. A surprising number of popular Jewish entertainers have recorded Christmas albums and songs. From Irving Berlin to Beck, we've got the shmutz on this strange phenomena. Plus, Jews we wish would record a Christmas record - and Jews we hope do not! [read more]
Horny Holidays Horny Holidays. Some people love to bask in the warm glow of friends and family during the holiday season. Others feel like starting a family (or something to that effect) at Christmas time. Read about the 20 naughtiest songs in the history of the holiday. You'll never look at a candy cane quite the same. [read more]
Season For Stalkers 'Tis The Season For Stalkers. In the 50's and 60's, a number of Christmas songs were recorded about the two most popular artists in rock history - Elvis Presley and the Beatles. Read about this strange and obscure - and obsessive - phenomenon. [read more]
Christmas In Vietnam Christmas In Vietnam. Most holiday music is escapist. Who, after all, wants to think about death and mayhem during the season of hope? Nevertheless, the Vietnam war intruded into this idyllic genre during the turbulent 60's, and we examine six songs that looked at Christmas through the eyes of soldiers and their families. [read more]
Wish List My Wish List. It wouldn't be a record collector's website unless I published my wish list - Christmas songs I'm still hunting down, and songs for which I'd happily barter from my relatively vast treasure chest. If you have a copy of any of these rare goodies, let's talk! [read more]
Spin Humbug Hit Parade. If the annual deluge of holiday music hokum is driving you to suicide-by-fruitcake, Spin Magazine has 25 of the weirdest, darkest, most awesome ought-a-be classics you'll never hear in a mall this season. [read more] Top 40 Christmas Oldies Songs. The web is crammed with blogs and tweets, obscuring the fact that experts might know more than know-it-alls armed with a quick wit and a laptop. To me, that's sad, and this rock solid list from shows why. [read more]
Spinner 12 Worst/Best Songs of Christmas. I enjoyed this list from Spinner Magazine so much that I just had to share it. I am proud to say I own all 12 best songs of Christmas - and all but one of the worst! [read more]
Indie Rock Cafe The 12 Plays Of Christmas. The Indie Rock Cafe has published an amazing set of holiday playlists ranging from a handful of classics to an endless supply of genuinely obscure bands sure to thrill the kiddies and stump obsessive collectors. [listen & download]

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