The Killers, Summer Camp, The Flaming Lips – 10 Festive Tracks You Have To Hear This Week

The Killers – ‘The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball’
Yeehaw! Tighten your neckerchief and rinse out the family spittoon – it’s all round Brandon’s for a yuletide Wild West barn dance. This is The Killers’ sixth Christmas song in a row, and fair play to them for resisting the traditional indie temptation to do a self-consciously dismal ‘anti-Christmas’ song. Seriously, we’ve had enough of those. I sat through Andy Burrows’ and Tom Smith’s funereal ‘festive’ album ‘Funny Looking Angels’ the other day and – once I’d finished hacking wildly at my jugular with a penknife – it made me wonder if there was a way of uninventing Christmas entirely. But The Killers do it properly, channelling the authentic mood of the season by indulging in mindless jollity that they’ll no doubt deeply regret come January 5.

The video sees them dressed up like rednecks, cavorting with dancing robots (for some reason). At one point Brandon does a sort of comedy Yosemite Sam/Champ Kind (off Anchorman) cowboy voice. It’s somehow both blustery and jaunty, like U2 covering Steps’ ‘5-6-7-8’. You can imagine it getting played in old people’s homes on Christmas Day, so that the depressed, paper-hat-wearing residents could jiggle about in their wheelchairs and “get the circulation going”. And if that doesn’t channel the true spirit of this wonderful season, I don’t know what does.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM


The Flaming Lips And Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band – ‘Atlas Eets Christmas’
Two vanguards of full-frontal experimentalism get together under the mistletoe, as the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band pucker up to The Flaming Lips for a re-hash of their 2007 ‘secret’ advent gift, ‘Atlas Eets Christmas’. A marvellously shivering vocal from Yoko, the chiming of sleigh bells a-plenty, terrifically syrupy sentiment: what more could ye ask for?

Ben Hewitt, writer

Woods – ‘Christmas Time Is Here’ (Vince Guaraldi cover)
Dammit, what’s a high-octane pop culture Crimbo without a viewing of A Charlie Brown Christmas? Woods are clearly Peanuts aficionados and so have taken it upon themselves to cover this Vince Guaraldi classic in creepy fashion. Watch out for something strange lurking at the bottom of your stocking.

Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM

John Zorn & Mike Patton – ‘The Christmas Song’
Nothing says Yuletide like fruitcake, so what better time for the avant-garde composer and the Faith No More man to pair up? Weirdly, though, this is actually quite straight, the depravity in Patton’s voice reined in to a seductive, snuggly croon over some supper-club jazz.

Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor

Caitlin Rose & Keegan De Witt – ‘You Never Come Home For Christmas’
Rolling by on gentle piano and classily jangled bells, Caitlin laments the absence of a lover – “I’ll send your Christmas card to that old downtown bar” – in bittersweet tones that suggest his disappearance is as much a holiday tradition as turkey and bloating. Undoubtedly the best original track released this Yuletide.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor

This track was taken from the ‘For Folk’s Sake Christmas’ compilation, available to buy/stream in full here. Profits from the sale of this record will be donated to the Integrated Cancer Centre.


Dog Is Dead – ‘Christmas Wrapping’ (The Waitresses cover)
In which the Notts newcomers go all Yank on us and cover the greatest Christmas pop song of all time. Yeah, it’s a pretty faithful to the original, but what’s to complain about when that means we get to hear that brilliantly dumbass story about forgetting the cranberries again?
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor

Click here to download the song for free

Summer Camp – ‘All I Wonderful Christmas Is You’
Seeing the indie Christmas thing as more of a competition than a tradition, Summer Camp have pulled in the big guns, splicing segments of Macca’s ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ with Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’. Which, incidentally, actually go together like excess brandy butter and a good snooze.
Tim Chester, Deputy Editor, NME.COM

Click here to download the song for free

Matt Berry & Everyone – ‘A Christmas Song’
A warmly festive tune, a backing choir of fans and all proceeds going to Shelter: is it possible to be cynical about the Mighty Boosh/Garth Marenghi japester’s addition to the canon? Actually, yes (it’s pretty dreary) but this is a time for charitable sentiment and giving, so top marks for effort, Berry.
Rick Martin, News Editor

Click here to download the song for free

Lucy Rose – ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ (Chris Rea cover)
Lucy Rose’s gossamer-thin, whispered opening verse to this cover is lovely and ephemeral and will melt your heart faster than Christmas cholesterol etc etc, but it’s the second verse where things get interesting, when she swaps oh-so-trad Phil Spector drums for a more syncopated shuffle, and lets her voice bloom boldly.
Susana Pearl, writer

Grab a free MP3 of Lucy Rose’s ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ exclusively on BBC 6 Music’s site as part of Lauren Laverne’s MPFree giveaway. There’s also festive covers from My Morning Jacket and more.

Spectrals – It’s Christmas’
Basically, this sounds like a T Rex Christmas song. And yes, there is a T Rex Christmas song already, but this is like a slowed down, sleazier thing, sung by a ginger guy from Leeds rather than a corkscrew-haired sex alien, and thus infinitely more family-orientated.
Liam Cash, writer

This article originally appeared in the December 17th issue of NME

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