The Killers, Alphabeat, Dog Is Dead
The Killers – ‘I Feel It In My Bones’
Now as inevitable as hearing drunk, party-hatted elderly relatives make mildly sexist comments over the Brussels sprouts, The Killers return this year with their seventh seasonal single. A sequel of sorts to 2007’s ‘Don’t Shoot Me, Santa’, the song and its campy B-movie video see the band’s former tour manager Ryan Pardey, nicknamed ‘The Captain’, reprising his role as a cigar-chomping, vigilante vision of Saint Nick. He’s made his list, checked it twice, and now he’s mercilessly hunting down those naughty Killers. As for Brandon’s desperate protestations that “Maybe I was naughty once but now I’m nice”? Santa does not care one iota of his soot-blackened heart. He even dispatches poor old Ronnie Vannucci’s brother for having the temerity to have a mounted deer’s head on his wall. The tune itself avoids Christmas bombast and eschews sleigh-bell cliché, opting instead for a driving, ‘Road To Hell’-style groove over which Brandon Flowers breaks out the cracker-worthy reference: “I sweat like a Snowman, out in the sun”. The man who gave the world the po-faced lyric that I hate more than any other (“Are we human, or are we dancer?”), here refuses to take himself at all seriously. Hearing a slick, tight band given an excuse to just piss about makes me wish it could be Christmas every day.
Kevin EG Perry
Glasvegas – ‘No Her No Hymn’
This is crisply beautiful – all shivering piano and bells and James Allan’s broken croon – but also quietly devastating. The band have asked for a donation to Scottish Care And Information On Miscarriages, and lines like “Mother religious, ’til birth do us part/Then carry on the same like you did in the start” will force hand to wallet and heart to throat.
Tim Wheeler & Emmy The Great – ‘Zombie Xmas’
Last Christmas, lovers Tim and Emmy gave us their hearts by recording the best festive album in years. This year, they broke up (awk) but they have released a new-for-2012 video for ‘Zombie Christmas’ in the spirit of the season of reconciliation. It’s Shaun Of The Dead meets the ‘Mistletoe And Wine’ video as zombies descend on roasting chestnuts.
Alphabeat – ‘X-mas (Let’s Do It Again)’
The Danes obviously don’t celebrate Christmas. Because if they did then Danish duo Alphabeat would know what a Christmas song actually is and what Christmas cheer is made of. They definitely wouldn’t try to sabotage it all with this joyless atrocity about taking Christmas up the arse for another year.
Dog Is Dead – ‘Wonderful Christmastime’
Recently in NME, Dog Is Dead paid homage to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ by dressing in those jackets and dancing like zombies. Now they’re doffing their cap to Macca by covering his festive staple. The saxophone parps are just as sensual as their crotch-grabbing. Download a ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ for free from the band’s Facebook page.
DMX – ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’
Recorded on the fly for an amazing video (find it on YouTube, now), DMX brings the gravel-voiced spirit of the Ruff Ryders to this year’s festivities with a freestyle rendition of the Christmas classic. Like Santa’s hip-hop helper.
Gabriel Bruce – ‘Silent Night’
In the midst of all the Christmas crappiness, London’s most svelte aesthete reminds us that this time of year should be a celebration of the immaculate conception and the birth of ol’ JC. He’s done this by covering ‘Silent Night’ in a voice so low it makes Barry White sound like a choirboy.
Cold Specks – ‘Christmas Evermore’
Christmas round Cold Specks’ gaff seems a bit of a drag. “I wish it were Christmas evermore… it put an end to war”, she trills; her guests stare bleakly at the turkey and wonder why they can’t just pull a sodding cracker instead. Still, she has turned this Mary Margaret O’Hara song into a slow-burning, brassy ditty.
Peace – ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You (Live on BBC 6Music)’
Usually I’d slap any indie band that took on Mariah’s winter classic. The song is too big for “cool”. That’s probably why Peace have decided to mix up their version with Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. Makes them sound like weirdos, but weirdos you’d still snog at the Xmas party.