Top Ten : Alternative X Mas

Seasonal sonic selection box
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The age old Christmas Single.


There we were thinking it was all poodle perms ala Wham, ironic reindeer woolies and The Darkness unleashing power-solos in a studio in Chipswich, being fanned with dandruff - sorry, we meant snow.

But dig a little deeper into the alternative landscape, and a whole slew of icy X Mas hits clamber from the woodwork. Here's ten of our faves – but please, just don't mention Slade.

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10) Sufjan Stevens: That Was The Wost Christmas Ever

Taken from Sufjan’s mammoth 5CD Christmas LP, originally recorded for people he knew to celebrate the Festive period, ‘That Was The Worst Christmas..’ probably isn’t the best cut if you’re delving into a selection box and playing charades, chiefly as its one of the saddest Christmas songs you’re likely to hear.

9) The Killers: A Great Big Sled

Or the one that isn’t ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’, here Las Vegas’ fave Mormon sons take on Christmas by way of delay-drenched stadium guitars and chiming bells. ‘A Great Big Sled’ is a roaring chunk of festive fun that even sees Brandon crooning “Ho Ho Ho” in a Poundland santa hat – almost as overblown as Crimbo itself.

8) Asobi Seksu: Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)

The dream-pop shoegazers unleash the fuzzy sleigh-bells for their take on ‘Merry Christmas’, turning the Ramones’ classic trashcan blast into a far more polished-pop offering.

7) Seasick Steve: Xmas Prison Blues

Taken from his collaborative Level Devils LP, here we find the delta-blues wanderer pondering a Chrimbo spent behind bars: a suitably stripped-back lament quite possibly penned during his own days serving time.

6) The Eels: Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas

Mark E comes on all chirpy in this surf-pop track which featured on their ‘Trinkets’ B-sides collection. This is what you imagine Christmas in Cali sounds like, where you’re probably more likely to end up with sun-stroke than shovelling snow from your windscreen to the strains of Malcolm Middleton.

5) Fountains Of Wayne: Man In The Santa Suit

Before unleashing the sonic atrocity that was ‘Stacey’s Mom’ on the world, U.S power-poppers F.O.W were partial to putting out Pavement-lite numbers like this, however most don’t contain sleigh bells and funny lyrics.

Like an icy Jesus & Mary Chain glugging mulled wine to thaw out

4) The Raveonettes: Christmas Ghosts

Taken from their new ‘Wishing A Rave Christmas E.P’, this is the Danes’ finest festive moment since ‘Christmas Song’ (the cut currently being used in that pesky Dobbies advert), and sees the duo sounding like an icy Jesus & Mary Chain, glugging mulled wine to thaw out.

3) Flaming Lips: A Change At Christmas

Until Wayne Coyne & Co. get round to releasing their mind-boggling DIY epic ‘Christmas On Mars’, we’ll have to make do with this downbeat treat from their ‘Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell’ collection. Having dancing santas onstage in summer, they’re obviously fans.

2) White Stripes: Candy Cane Children

This rarity from Jack n Meg is harder to track down than an honest politician. Originally released in 2002, White still manages to transport his possessed bluesman aura to the recording, mainly by thrashing out punisher garage licks and reeling off lyrics about the dangers of having no guns at Christmas. Forget sleigh bells, this is so crackers it even has a fanclub named after it.

1) Arcade Fire: Headlights

This pre-Funeral gem was released on their early self-titled E.P. however was reportedly recorded at a party and set for inclusion on a planned Christmas LP from the band. As expected, the grainy production shows a bare side to the band’s now-towering blast, but in some respects only adds to its bouncy, ethereal magnetism.

Did we miss your fave Lo-Fi ode to Selection Boxes? Miss a grunge ditty for Rudolph? Suggest below...

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