Chriiiiiiismas time, mistletoe and wine… Indie bands making festive rhymes! Yep, the time is almost upon us and if you’re not quite sure what to listen to while you wrap your presents this year, us lot at DIY HQ have decided to try and make things a little easier for you.
So yes, while we’ll always allow a bit of a Mariah and Slade, we’ve also got a sackful of musical delights from some of our current indie heroes. From our November cover stars Shame, we’ve got a truly glitzy rendition of José Feliciano’s Spanish classic, while Gerard Way has offered up a rather reflective original, named after one of Santa’s reindeer. Meanwhile, Confidence Man are busy gearing up for Mr. Claus’ arrival, and Phoebe Bridgers has a more contemplative cut for us. Maybe that’s one for any after-dinner lulls.
For our verdicts on all of this year’s best festive tracks, all you need to do is scroll down. And if you’re itching to check out something a bit less Christmas-related, step this way for DIY’s Listening Hub, and our Essential Playlist
Shame - Feliz Navidad
Undoubtedly the most unexpected but welcome Christmas song of 2018, Shame’s cover of ‘Feliz Navidad’ is…well, it’s fucking wonderful. Packed full of loose, boozy Christmas cheer, the cover has it all: Eddie Green provides some truly stunning backing vocals in a booming Spanish accent, before Charlie Steen wishes you a merry Christmas while drowning in autotune. It’s barely been off the DIY stereo for a second. Oh and they released it in October. Truly fantastic. (Will Richards)
Phoebe Bridgers - Christmas Song
Phoebe Bridgers is no stranger to a Christmas song. Last year’s offering ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ was a slowed-down, haunting version of the all-time Christmas classic. With this year’s cover of McCarthy Trenching’s ‘Christmas Song’, featuring vocals by Jackson Browne, Phoebe makes her mark on the song with a slow, piano progression and her light, airy vocals. A more contemplative cut than your usual Christmas excess perhaps - there’s literally no mention of Santa, reindeer, Christmas trees or presents, which in this case is most definitely a good thing - the song tells the tale of trying to fight off sadness and loneliness whilst surrounded by Christmas cheer. (Rachel Finn)
Gerard Way - Dasher
While Gerard Way may not be the first person you’d think of when it comes to Christmas jingles, his newest offering is as festively melancholic as the best of them. A serene, atmospheric new track, ‘Dasher’ centres - perhaps predictably - around a reindeer who, er, happens to have fallen in love with a girl. A little strange, perhaps, but ethereal in both lyrics and musicality, his newest solo offering proves that Christmas is the perfect time to suspend our disbeliefs, and let the magic take over for once. (Sarah Jamieson)
Confidence Man - Santa’s Comin’ Down The Chimney
Some people want an X-Box for Christmas, some want a nice box of choccies, but not Confidence Man singer Janet Planet. No, all Janet wants is a beat and she’s going to deliver all kinds of deadpan promises about being naughty, nice and sitting on Santa’s knee to get it.
Combined with an interlude from short shorts-wearing co-frontperson Sugar Bones as the voice of the big man in red himself, there’s something weirdly sexual about ‘Santa’s Coming Down The Chimney’ - but, like most of Confidence Man’s hyper-ironic arsenal, it’s delivered with enough of a wink to come up trumps. Minus 10 points for not the foggiest hints of sleigh bells, ho-ho-ho-ing or Noddy Holder though. It is a bloody Christmas song, lads. (Lisa Wright)
Wavves - Emo Christmas
The most wonderful time of the year it may well be, but it’s also one of the most emotional, from it’s weeping into a glass of fizz at all the loved-up couples the telly likes to throw at us, to throwing a tantrum at just how much your supposed nearest and dearest have misjudged you with their pressies. ’Tis the season to be jolly, but ’tis also one to dabble in one too many sweet sherries for your own good. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) but not between you and your in-laws. You get the picture.
It not being an entirely upbeat period of time is something that’s obviously occurred to Wavves’ Nathan Williams too, with ‘Emo Christmas’ taking melodic cues from the Wise Men of bittersweet, the Beach Boys, and a lyrical bent right out of your teenage diary. And, since many of us retreat back to our adolescent selves staying in the barest of spare rooms at our parents’ through the holidays, it’s pretty apt. (Emma Swann)