Do you hear what we hear? The sounds repeating in NME Staffers’ ears like five-day old turkey.
1. Los Campesinos! – ‘Kindle A Flame In Her Heart’
Gareth Campesinos! is the kind of chap who celebrates misery and bitterness like those loons who adorn their houses with luminous Santas all year round. He delights in a tasty bit of spite like your gran does a nice crystal cut glass of sherry. But, despite all his embittered bravado, you get the impression he wouldn’t half like a nice snog under the mistletoe to make him feel all warm inside, which is what this, Los Camp’s unsurprisingly melancholy ode to the festive season, is all about.
Come the start of December, you inevitably hear the same thing bleated. “Do you feel Christmassy yet?” Everyone’s after this intangible festivity that evaporates along with the myth of Santa Claus.
What LC! understand is that only proper punch-drunk love can replace that ineffable childhood feeling, and that the cold hard truth is that it’ll elude most of us this season, as they describe through a series of astute, dismal Christmas references; the image of an eight-year-old Gareth dressed up as a pessimistic Angel Gabriel, or receiving a lump of coal from Saint Nick instead of the perfect Christmas pash that’ll make it all better.
But with a Chrimbletide song this delightful, there’ll surely be no lack of woolly-jumpered boys and girls queuing beneath the viscum album to offer sloppy-snogged thanks.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
2. Hurts – ‘All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day’
If anyone’s going to get curmudgeonly this Christmas it might as well be 2010’s archest pop practitioners. This grinchy ode to wishing it all away sees them playing spoilsport in the most joyous way possible, inadvertently adding another Chrimbo classic to the canon.
[Tim Chester, Assistant Editor, NME.COM]
3. Poly Styrene – ‘Black Christmas’ (Kahn Remix)
Poly, DayGlo heroine of playfully serious punk and icon to Beth Ditto among many others, has made an unexpected festive return with this twisted true tale of a serial killer dressed as Santa Claus. And here, Bristolian Sureskank collective member Kahn bludgeons the reggae-pop original into a glitchy, 8-bit spangled whomper.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
[Exclusive Free Download]
4. The Walkmen – ‘Holiday Road’
Extra points for one of them wearing a Santa hat in the video. More still for choosing a Fleetwood Mac-related song to cover (it’s a Lindsey Buckingham song from 1981). And usual high marks for Hamilton Leithauser’s soaring vocals. An absolute must-hear.
[Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor]
[Listen/Watch Video Here]
5. The Killers – ‘Boots’
Befitting the law of indie which states that fun and joy comes but once a year – and that’s at Glastonbury – The Killers have reunited to record a world-weary Xmas song. Plaintively, Brandon Flowers cries, “Do you hear my voice, do you know my name?” What’s wrong, Santa didn’t reply to your letter?
[Ailbhe Malone, writer]
6. The Futureheads – ‘Christmas Was Better In The ’80s’
Christmas is a time for peace, love, booze and forgiveness. The perfect time, then, to drop this turkey. Better in the ’80s? Fucking hell. Does the sight of a sweaty Mike Smith (Who? – Youth Of Today Ed) in a tinsel-covered helicopter not haunt you? Nope? OK then, Merry Christmas, we forgive you!
[Mike Williams, Features Editor]
7. Best Coast & Wavves – ‘Got Something For You’
If you’re so misanthropic that the slightest prospect of Christmas cheer turns your stomach like a rancid mince pie, then beware this yuletide love-in. Sunny harmonies, slushy lyrics and sleigh bells? Pah! Stick to crap telly and booze-fuelled fighting…
[Ben Hewitt, writer]
8. Idiot Glee feat. Lulu and the Lampshades – ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ (BBC session)
Rather than becoming slacker indie’s Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews, Idiot Glee and co get kudos for sounding exactly like The Moldy Peaches with their quirky boy-girl harmonies. Better still, there’s none of that “you’re old enough to be her father…” weirdness of the Welsh duo’s cover.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
[Listen Exclusively Here]
9. The Crookes – ‘It’s Just Not Christmas Without You’
A likeable enough doo-wop Christmas song by new Sheffield tykes The Crookes, which sounds quite a lot like Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong, and as such is touched with melancholy. Here’s praying Joe Lean’s alright this season and not wandering the streets eating kippers in a dirty Santa suit like Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
[Download Exclusively Here]
10. Summer Camp – ‘Christmas Wrapping’
Fears that Summer Camp would perish in these winter winds are frozen over with this – a crisp cover of The Waitresses’ sassy ode to being too busy for Xmas. More chillaxed than last-minute stressed, Elizabeth Sankey’s dreamy coos are bolstered with sparkling organ and sprinkles of Christmas cheer.
[Chris Mandle, writer]