Stubbys House of Christmas       
 
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Somewhere between Soul diva Mary J. Blige and Gospel group Mary Mary lies Shei Atkins, an inspirational Soul singer (and personal fitness trainer!) from Houston, Texas.  Shei has released at least 3 full albums (available at the usual on-line spots) and is currently finishing up "Emotional", set to be released later this year.  Oh, and she's got a book out, too.  "Get A Man, Keep A Man" is available in hard cover, soft cover, and e-book formats.  There's even an accompanying song you can download for free.  Head to Shei's web site for more info on her and her many projects.  "Spread The Love (This Christmas)", apparently from 2009, can be downloaded free through Twiturm.  Twiturm?  Man, they lost me at Facebook, know what I'm sayin'?

 
 
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Not sure how I missed this one--it's been up since November 1--but it's not often a major Jazz legend like Wynton Marsalis offers up a free track like this.  Of course, most Jazz fans bought the album when it came out last year.  But just in case you didn't--or if you found yourself on the fence--take advantage of this opportunity.  "Christmas Jazz Jam" was Marsalis' second Christmas set and he took an entirely different approach than he had on his first such album.  His "Crescent City Christmas Card" was a much more spiritual and reverent piece whereas "Christmas Jazz Jam" was precisely that.  "O Christmas Tree" is one of those songs Jazz artists love to tackle and rarely do they impress me.  The best Jazz cover of that old chestnut remains, in my opinion, Vince Guaraldi's.  Marsalis puts a New Orleans Second-Line spin on his "O Christmas Tree" and the results are impressive if not enough so to topple Guaraldi from the top of my Christmas Tree list.  In any case, it's free at Bandcamp, and that's not something to be dismissed.  Grab it while you can.

 
 
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Had to find a free New Year's Eve song or two.  This one's a 2009 track from the self-titled Sentient Machine download album.  Sentient Machine are an Industrial Rock band out of New York, but here they toss in a bit of funk and the result is an oddly enjoyable jam that reminds me of some of those late 80s 12" dance-mixed Rock records.  So if you already picked up the single "James Brown Died On Christmas Day" from Hands & Knees, might as well complete the theme with "James Brown New Year's Eve Bash", right?  This is free at Bandcamp and the entire album is a "name your price" download.

 
 
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Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance! (2007)
Blue Christmas (2008)
Pregnant Bride (2009)

Inspired by the prolific Sufjan Stevens, San Diego's Longstay began recording EP's of Christmas music for family and friends beginning in 2007.  This year, they shared a track from each through their web site, posting one a day with "Pregnant Bride" being shared on Christmas Day with the promise "More gifts to come still..."  From the 2010 edition, you can listen to (but apparently not download) "Come Thy Fount Of Every Blessing".  Perhaps that's what's still to come.  You'll find that one here.  The rest, you'll find here.  Just click on the artwork to download the songs.

 
 
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1. Hollow Stars – The Other Side
2. Lotus Plaza – Monolith Rock
3. Icky Blossoms – Perfect Vision
4. Atlas Sound – Artificial Snow
5. Battlemoon II – Fuck Yeah! I Wanna Go To A Clam Bake.
6. Jack Hines – HAPPY HOLIDAYS
7. Coyote Bones – Sip It Slow
8. Old King Cole Younger – Am I fit to own your puppets for Christmas?
9. Brian Connell – Dad’s Back On Anti-Depressants
10. The Kiwis Of the South Pacific – When I Think Finished
11. Moonbaby – O Soulstice
12. Brainworlds – Dance Of The Spirits
13. Indreama – Reprogram
14. Rewards – Don’t Give A Damn                                                               DOWNLOAD FROM COCO ART
15. K-Holy Knights – oh holy night
16. Oh, Dorian – Sometimes I’m Happy (Holidays)
17. Council – One Eye On The Open Grave
18. Dereck Higgins – High Spirits
19. The Highlight Factory – SADD047
20. Lazy Monsters – JingleBells


Not long ago, we posted a package of remixes from Atlas Sound (Bradford Cox of Deerhunter).  He had said the remixes were of a song he'd recorded for a seasonal compilation his roommate was working on.  And here is that compilation, "Roam For The Holidaze 2".  A quick sampling reveals a lot of lo-fi indie rock, shoegaze, experimental.  For my tastes, the Atlas Sound track is easily the highlight, though I can certainly think of possibilities for Jack Hines' "Happy Holidays" and I know people who will like "Am I Fit To Own Your Puppets For Christmas" and "Jingle Bells".  Not enough for you?  Well, you'll note the title is "Roam For The Holidaze 2" which implies a "1", does it not?  Yes it do, and you can download Volume 1 here--17 more tracks of Indie weirdness or goodness, depending on your point of view.  Download the 2010 collection at Coco Art.

 
 
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The Swedish Ambient band Ad Dios has a tradition of recording their take on an ancient carol each year.  In 2008, it was "Once In Royal David's City".  For 2009, the band recorded "Hosianna".  This year, the band recorded two songs in their own unique style--"In The Bleak Midwinter" and "Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant".  They've put all four up, plus the cover art (same as last year's) for your downloading or listening pleasure.  If the sweet electronica of Ad Dios is something that really strikes your holiday longings, the band's recent album "Avalon Revisited" includes a pair of Winter themed tunes.  To get the free recordings they've collectively titled "Season Of Tranquillity", just head on over to the Ad Dios web site.

 
 
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Ireland's Clockwork Noise get all wrapped up in Christmas.  For the second year in a row, the rock band is laying some seasonal spice on y'all with a free Christmas download and video.  This year's effort is a cover of Mud's classic "Lonely This Christmas".  You can download it free from the band's home page.   The boys take the ballad in a Power Pop direction rather effectively.  Look a little deeper in the Clockwork Noise archives for 2009's lo-fi take on "Blue Christmas".

 
 
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1. By Divine Right: ‘Mall Santa’*
2. Paper Lions: ‘Jingle Bells’
3. The Mountains and The Trees: ‘My Favourite Sweater (Happy Holidays)’ *
4. Great Lake Swimmers: ‘Gonna Make It Through The Year’
5. Ox: ‘Xmas In the Jailhouse’
6. The Zolas: ‘Snow’
7. Baby Eagle: ‘Fearfully and Wonderfully’ *
8. Boxer The Horse: ‘Material Xmas’
9. Adaline & Frederick: ‘Let’s Stay Inside’
10. Sean Nicholas Savage: ‘Snowflake’
11. The Russian Futurists: ’100 Shopping Days Till Christmas’
12. Kashka (Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers): ‘Picture Books In Winter’ *
13. Nat Jay: ‘Green Trees, Red Hearts’
14. Hooded Fang: ‘Tundra Nights’ *
15. Teen Daze: ‘Medley In D (Holy Holy Holy/ Christmas at Sea/ Goodnight, Sleep Tight)’ *

                                                                                                                 DOWNLOAD AT TLOBF
1. Leif Vollebekk: ‘I’m Be Home For Christmas’ *
2. woodpigeon / Laura Leif: ‘Winter Song’ *
3. Snailhouse: ‘Believer’ *
4. Evening Hymns: ‘Just Like Christmas’ *
5. Ruth Minnikin: ‘Fur Elise’
6. Superfantastics: ‘Northern Lights’
7. Steve McKay: ‘Sounds Like Christmas’
8. The Weather Station: ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ *
9. The Wilderness of Manitoba: ‘We Three Kings’ *
10. The Details: ‘Strings and Ribbons’
11. Artur Dyjecinski: ‘Christmas’ *
12. Basia Bulat: ‘You Are A Gift’
13. The Provincial Archive: ‘Coventry Carol’ *
14. Kris Ellestad: ‘Jeg Er Så Glad Hver Julekveld’ *
15. In-Flight Safety: ‘Fairytale of New York’

*Recorded especially for this collection

Alright, I'm officially throwing in the towel on this one.  I really wanted to give it a thorough listening to, maybe guide you through the good, the bad, and the ugly (if any).  But I haven't been able to find the time and, a week out from Christmas, I don't want you should miss out just because I don't prioritize my time well.  Maybe by next year, I'll have a complete run-down for you.  30 tracks of very diverse stuff, here, is about the best I can say.  I can say "Ho Ho Ho Deux" has been highly recommended to me by others.  That's got to count for something, right?  And, at the very least, you're going to want that Ox track, if you don't already have it.  Great Lake Swimmers and The Details are two bands I know and can certainly recommend.  And--holy crap, will you look at that.  Volume One is still up and available for free download.  25 more tracks on that one.  I ain't never gettin' outta here.  On that set, I recognize the Pointed Sticks track; you'll want to have that one, for sure.  Get the whole lot and listen when you can.  That's all I can say.
 
 
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1.  Christmas Is The Best
2.  Toyland
3.  Don't You Know Where Christmas Comes From?
4.  Angels We Have Heard On High
5.  Malady
6.  I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
7.  Tinsel Vision
8.  Auld Lang Syne
9.  What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?


DOWNLOAD AT BANDCAMP

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1.  Christmas Don't Be Late
2.  Hearthsong
3.  O Holy Night
4.  O! Mistletoe
5.  Little Drummer Boy
6.  Joy To The World
7.  Scarves Of Wool
8.  As The Deer
9.  Feliz Navidad



DOWNLOAD AT BANDCAMP

I can't even tell you how long I've had the bottom album--the one from 2009--on my bookmark list.  Probably since early November.  In the meantime, the group released a new set for 2010--the top album.  The group has a certain undeniable charm, I won't deny it.  How could I?  It's undeniable.  But I definitely preferred the first of these, the 2009 collection.  In any case, here's 18 free Indie Folk Christmas tunes for you from Caleb And The Caroling Caravan.  I'm sure you'll find your own favorites.  (My cat hates it, though, for whatever that's worth.)
 
 
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Merry Ellen Kirk put out this digital Christmas EP last year.  It's a name your price deal with no minimum, so free is among your options.  This year, the Indie singer was asked if she would record a new holiday track for her appearance on The Next Big Thing podcast.  Always trying to give the people what they want, Merry has obliged, recording the Christmas song most often requested of her, "Christmas Time Is Here".  The podcast will be broadcast on December 20th and should be wall-to-wall Christmas music (how many recorded especially for the podcast, we don't yet know).  But there's no need to wait for Merry's contribution.  She's added the song to "Do You Hear What I Hear" and you can download the whole thing free at Bandcamp.  Or, if you picked it up last year, you can just download the newly recorded track.

 

    The FREE List

    Here we hope to direct you to some of the Christmas music on the web that can be yours absolutely free.  We will not direct you to mp3 or sharity sites, here, but only to artist sites, label sites, and other authorized and unquestionably legal locations.

    Archives

    December 22-31, 2010
    December 15-21, 2010
    December 8-14, 2010
    December 1 -7, 2010
    November 2010
    October 2010

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