35 great alternative Christmas songs

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

Bored of 'Jingle Bells' and the same god awful Christmas songs every time you walk into a shop or turn on the radio? Find salvation with our pick of 30 Yuletide tracks to sooth ears. First up, it's Cee-Lo Green and The Muppets. Listen here

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Added: 27 Nov 2012

Photo: Press

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Paul McCartney has recorded a special festive recording of 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)'. It's no Nat King Cole but it's worth a gander. Listen here

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Added: 21 Nov 2012

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Killers have unveiled their seventh annual Christmas song. Recorded during down-time on their recent UK tour, the track features singer/songwriter Ryan Pardey reprising his role as the song's bad Santa. Listen here

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Added: 3 Dec 2012

Photo: Richard Johnson/NME

35 great alternative Christmas songs

The angelic vocals and shimmering chimes of Summer Camp with 'Christmas Wrapping' certainly makes the annual commercial fest slightly more bearable. Listen here

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Added: 13 Oct 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

Stepping up the party: Julian Casablancas - 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Today'. A drunken-karaoke-stomper that shakes it up like a fistful of holly in the face. Minus points for The Strokes' head honcho however, for not wearing a Santa hat on the single sleeve. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

Sufjan Stevens – 'O Come O Come Emmanuel'. A shimmery treat taken from Steven's must-hear Christmas album. Hushed vocals and plinking strings transform the carol classic into an unexpectedly sublime masterpiece. Listen to the songs as a Spotify Playlist

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

Low – 'Just Like Christmas'. As alternative Noel-time anthems go, this is arguably the star atop the tree. Taken from the Minnesota band's Christmas album, released as a gift to fans in 1999. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

Poly Styrene – 'Black Christmas (Kahn Remix)'. Poly, the DayGlo heroine of playfully serious punk, made an unexpected festive return with this twisted true tale of a serial killer dressed as Santa Claus. Remixer Kahn bludgeoned the reggae-pop original into a glitchy, 8-bit spangled whomper. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

Lucky Soul - 'Lonely This Christmas' Forget the Mud version you've heard at a thousand dismal office parties, this twinkling rendition from the Greenwich indie poppers breathes a beautiful new life into the track. Listen here

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Added: 27 Apr 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Futureheads – 'Christmas Was Better In The 80s'. For anyone aged over 25, Christmas really was better in the 80s. But don't be sad. Jump around to this cheesy-riffed Yuletide bouncer replete with 'hallelujah!' choral vocals instead. Listen to the songs as a Spotify Playlist

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: Aaron Farley/NME

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Best Coast and 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 abound. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

Los Campesinos! – 'Kindle A Flame In Her Heart'. With a Chrimbo song this delightful, there'll surely be no lack of woolly-jumpered boys n' girls queuing beneath the mistletoe to offer sloppy-snogged thanks. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Crookes – 'It’s Just Not Christmas Without You'. A crooning paean to missing loved ones. Aw. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Fall – 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing'. Undisputed genius Mark E Smith sneers his way through the classic carol. Listen to the songs as a Spotify Playlist.

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Added: 16 Dec 2010

Photo: Press

35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Walkmen – 'Holiday Road'. Extra points for one of them wearing a Santa hat in the video. More still for them choosing a Fleetwood Mac-related song to cover (it's a Lindsey Buckingham song from 1981). An absolute must-hear. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Killers – 'Boots'. Befitting the law of indie which states that fun and joy comes but once a year (that'll be Glastonbury) The Killers recorded a world-weary Xmas song. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: Andy Willsher/NME

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Glasvegas – 'A Snowflake Fell And It Felt Like A Kiss'. One of the most beautiful wintertime songs you could ever hear. A tearjerker wrapped up in Christmassy chimes and delicate piano chords, topped off by frontman James Allan's soulful Glaswegian vocals. Listen to the songs as a Spotify Playlist.

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Knife – 'Christmas Reindeer'. Multiple levels here: a child discovers Santa isn't real and that adult life is about hard work. A thudding electro fix topped by evocative Scandinavian vocals. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: PA

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Pearl Jam - 'Let Me Sleep (Christmas Time)'. Double points awarded! Not only was this a Christmas single for Pearl Jam, but the chorus actually references Christmas time as Eddie Vedder growls "When I was kid, oh how magic it seemed." Still, cheer up, guys. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: Press

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Idiot Glee ft. Lulu and The Lampshades – 'Baby It's Cold Outside'. One of the greatest wintry songs ever (see Dean Martin et al's sublime versions) gets a kooky and lo-fi piano makeover courtesy of this BBC live session. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

Sufjan Stevens – 'That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!'. From his much-loved album 'Songs For Christmas', an LP as crucial in December as mulled wine and Argos, comes this super-tender highlight. Listen to the songs as a Spotify Playlist.

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: Pamela Littky/NME

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Death Cab For Cutie – ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’. REM, Joey Ramone, and of course Mariah have taken on the Phil Spector classic, but it’s Death Cab’s lethargic take that really hits home. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: PA

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Blink 182 – 'Won't Be Home For Christmas'. A high energy party-stomper of a track with a sense of humour too. "It's Christmas time again, it's time to be nice to the people you can't stand." Arf. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: Ed Miles/NME

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – 'In This Home On Ice'. Not strictly a Christmas song - in fact the the droning lyrics don't reference Santa, holly or Argos once ("Now that I'm so sad and not quite right, I could dance all night"). But in due to the wintry title and the heartfelt sounds that make it a magical listen. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

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35 great alternative Christmas songs

Hurts – 'All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day'. If anyone's going to get curmudgeonly it might as well be the archest pop practitioners. This grinchy ode to wishing it all away sees them playing spoilsport in the most joyous way possible. Listen to the songs as a Spotify Playlist.

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: Press

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Maps – ‘Stay Another Day’. The East 17 anthem wasn’t a Christmas track per se, but has been co-opted by the festive crowd, and electro shoegazer Maps does the impossible in making a great song greater. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: PA

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Smashing Pumpkins – 'Christmastime'. Billy Corgan at his most twee: "We watch the children playing... Presents are wrapped up, Christmastime has come." So no 'Starla'-esque howling guitar riffs then, just the Pumpkins all loved up after too much mulled wine. Your mum'll love it. Listen here

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Added: 16 Nov 2010

Photo: Press

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Mother And The Addicts - 'Oh No! It's Christmas Again'. Jangly, shuffling, rock n' roll that's as spiky as the holly leaves pinned to your mum's door. Definitely one for after the sherry's been drunk and the annual family fights are brewing. Listen here

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Added: 15 Dec 2010

Photo: Press

35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Streets – 'Scrooge And Marley, I Don’t Want It To Be Me'. Mike Skinner and co celebrate the season of Jesus with this heavy-on-the-sleighbells number. "It's the season to be lonely... Break ups are way more frequent at this time of year, but I don't want it to be me." Not that cheery then. Listen here

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Added: 16 Dec 2010

Photo: Press

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Galaxie 500 – 'Listen The Snow Is Falling'. An alternative Christmas classic, from the angelic vocals to the echoing, jangly guitar strumming. Magical. Listen to the songs as a Spotify Playlist.

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Added: 16 Dec 2010

Photo: Brad Lawson

35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Fire Apes - 'Last Christmas'. The South Carolina band summon the Christmas spirit with this George Michael Yuletide fail-safe that sounds more like Green Day. No bad thing. Listen here

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Added: 16 Dec 2010

Photo: Press

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Aidan Moffat - 'Plastic Mistletoe'. Yuletide tear-jerker with a surreal video that stares forlornly into a pint glass. Sorrowful, but tender. Listen here

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Added: 16 Dec 2010

Photo: PA

35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Ramones - ‘Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)’. Crunching punk riffs and a peace offering of a chorus, from The Ramones’ 1989 album ‘Brain Drain’, the last to feature bassist Dee Dee. Listen here

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Added: 11 Oct 2010

Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME

35 great alternative Christmas songs

The Killers - 'The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball'. For six years in a row now, Brandon and co. have released an Xmas single - and this year, they've gone with an unexpected cowboy twist. Why? Who knows. If you've ever wanted to see this lot at a seasonal ho-down with some dancing robots (yea, we don't get it either), then look no further. Listen/watch the video here

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Added: 21 Jan 2011

Photo: Press

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Dog Is Dead - 'Christmas Wrapping'. When all the holiday stress finally gets to us, we can always find comfort in The Waitresses' classic holiday song. This cover's pretty close to the original - down to that lovely little sax solo midway through - but it's a good'un. Listen here

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Added: 16 Feb 2011

Photo: Josh Anderson

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Caitlin Rose & Keegan De Witt - 'You Never Come Home For Christmas'. Unlike many of these indie Chrimbo tunes, this one from Caitlin and Keegan's an original, written solely for the season. Beautiful and bittersweet, with a few jangling bells in the background. Listen to the songs as a Spotify Playlist.

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Added: 14 Dec 2011

Photo: Tom Martin/NME

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Spectrals - 'It's Christmas and I've Got Everything I Want'. The first four minutes of this sound sound like a modern-day T.Rex gone Chrimbo. The last four minutes (which transition in after a short jingle bell break) sound all nutso and alien. In a good way. Listen here

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Added: 14 Dec 2011

Photo: Emilie Bailey/NME

35 great alternative Christmas songs

Summer Camp - 'All I Wonderful Christmas Is You'. Cutesy duo Summer Camp have meshed together Macca’s ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ with Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, making the ultimate 2011 Indie Xmas tune. Listen to the songs as a Spotify Playlist.

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Added: 14 Feb 2011

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