Stubbys House of Christmas       
 
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01. Moke - White Christmas 
02. De Staat - Let It Snow 
03. Pete Philly - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 
04. Dotan - 2000 Miles 
05. Marike Jager - Frosty The Snowman 
06. Handsome Poets - Merry Xmas Everybody 
07. Shary An - We Wish You A Merry Christmas 
08. Rigby - Christmas Time 
09. Tim Akkerman - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 
10. The Medics - Christmas Alarm 
11. The Souldiers - You've Got Balls 
12. Makebelieve - Together As One 
13. Jah 6 - Eenzame Kerst 
14. Miss Montreal - Being Alone At Christmas 
15. Giovanca - On My Way (Christmas Time) 


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This is a collection of Dutch artists covering the songs of Christmas or, in some cases, offering original tunes.  If you can find it anywhere, I did like the classic rock original from the Medics, the Spectoresque Pop of Miss Montreal, the retro soul of Giovanca, and Makebelieve sounded a bit like Sister Hazel to me (and I like Sister Hazel).  Marike Jager's "Frosty The Snowman" was also not without its charm.  I'd be a lot more excited about this release if there were anywhere you could find it other than Spotify (I'm not a fan).  This would be a great record to have in hard copy.  But as a Spotify thing, I find it hard to care.  Maybe by next Christmas, this will find it's way to iTunes domestic.  Speaking of which, while I haven't checked each of the artists here, Giovanca's "On My Way (Christmas Time)" was her 2010 Christmas single and, as such you can find that one at iTunes (domestic) or Amazon mp3 (domestic).  And I highly recommend that track
 
 
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01. HOTSQUALL:JINGLE BELL ROCK
02. BACK LIFT:JINGLE BELLS
03. MARGALINE:We Wish you a Merry Christmas
04. SABOTEN:Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
05. HOT DOG:LAST CHRISTMAS
06. Boobie Trap:STEP INTO CHRISTMAS
07. SpecialThanks & i GO:クリスマス 
08. S.M.N. : FELIZ NAVIDAD
09. PAN:ジンジンジングルベル 
10. PINKLOOP:Christmas Wish
11. Smash up:Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
12. NUGGET:I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS
13. T.C SPEAKER:ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU 
14. MISSPRAY:Wonderful Christmastime
15. MISS CAST AND THE LIAR LIARS:クリスマスキャロルの頃には                                                             

16. AFROHEAD 7 LINE:Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

YES ASIA
YES ASIA (Ltd. Edition w/ towel)
AMAZON (not available)

After some procrastination (mostly because of the price--$24.25, not including shipping) I bought this.  The regular version, not the one with the towel.  How could I not?  Japanese Punk?  I mean, c'mon, I'm an obsessive Christmas music collector, after all.  And it should arrive in plenty of time for Christmas, so think of it as a Christmas gift to myself.  I can't tell you anything more about this one than you can learn from the 13 minute teaser video.  I am, however, forever indebted to Imwan poster "masg1313" for bringing "Make Merry Christmas" to my attention. 
 
 
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1. Santa Claus In Coming To Town - Guy Sebastian & The Australian Girls Choir
2. Jesus O What A Wonderful Child - Jack Vidgen
3. The Christmas Song - Anthony Warlow
4. Hark The Herald Angels Sing - The McClymonts
5. Silent Night - Damien Leith
6. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - Jon Stevens
7. O Holy Night - Jessica Mauboy
8. Coming Home For Christmas - Leo Sayer
9. The Spirit Of Christmas - Ross Wilson & The Melbourne Staff Songsters of The Salvation Army
10. O Come All Ye Faithful - Gorgi Coghlan
11. Christmas Waltz - Lee Kernaghan
12. Blue Christmas - Lanie Lane
13. Sleigh Ride - The Wiggles

MYER STORES
iTUNES (AU)

Right off the bat, I think it was a mistake to abandon the instrument playing angels that have graced the covers of this Australian series for many a year.  Those angels were iconic.  That said...

"The Spirit of Christmas" CDs are a charity venture put out each year by Australia's Salvation Army and sold exclusively through Myer stores, with proceeds going to support at-risk children in Australia.  The series began in 1993 and they haven't missed a year.  They routinely feature a line-up of the biggest stars on the Australian music scene, across all genres, though many of the names might be unfamiliar to we here in the states.  Among regular contributors to the series are Glenn Shorrock (Little River Band), John Farnham (Australia's Cliff Richard), Delta Goodrem (star of the Australian soap Neighbors), Judith Durham (The Seekers), and Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel, Diesel, INXS).  Yes, Olivia Newton-John has been featured as well, as have Kate Ceberano and Kylie Minogue.  Even Tommy Emmanuel had contributed years before doing his own Christmas album for 2011.

Since you can't get this from any independent retailer, and since Myer doesn't sell them on line, and because iTunes (AU) doesn't sell to Americans, this is pretty much a window shopping exercise.  We get to ooh and aahh, but we can't take it home.  For those determined to add some of these babies to their collection, I can assure you the bidding on eBay is often fierce.  Might I suggest the summer time as less competitive.  The initial retail price is high and our dollar isn't at it's strongest, so you won't get them cheap in any event.  But there are usually some real gems on these collections that don't turn up anywhere else, making the pursuit a worthy one for the obsessive collector.

On this year's "The Spirit Of Christmas", the big draw for folks like us is likely to be Leo Sayer who wrote an original song with an anti-war theme.  And, while I didn't have high hopes for the track, Leo really knocked it out of the park.  The rest of the tunes are all solid as well, especially the tracks from Jack Vidgen, The McClymonts, and Ross Wilson.  But it's Leo's "Coming Home For Christmas" that's putting this album on my wishlist.
 
 
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CD 1:
01: John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)
02: Band Aid II - Do They Know It's Christmas
03: Søs Fenger - Ludvig Og Julemanden
04: Coldplay - Christmas Lights
05: Anden - Jul På Vesterbro
06: Robbie Williams - Walk This Sleigh 
07: Drengene Fra Angora - Jul I Angora 
08: Chris Rea - Driving Home For Christmas 
09: Dean Martin - White Christmas
10: Frankie Goes To Hollywood - The Power Of Love
11: Kylie Minogue - Santa Baby 
12: Otto Brandenburg - Søren Banjomus 
13: Roy Wood & Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
14: Bill Haley & His Comets - Jingle Bell Rock 
15: Flemming 'Bamse' Jørgensen - Muligvisvej 
16: Nat 'King' Kole - The Christmas Song 
17: Tommy Seebach Og Annette Heick - Vi Ønsker Jer Alle En Glædelig Jul 
18: Lis Sørensen - Jul I Hele Kongeriget 
19: The Pretenders - 2000 Miles 
20: Troels Trier Og Rebecca Brüel - Det Bli'r Jul Igen 
21: Tuborg Juleband - Tuborg Julebryg Jingle (Bonus)                          PURCHASE THROUGH CDON

CD 2:
01: Kim Larsen - S?' Det Jul 
02: Mel & Kim - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
03: Jørn Rosenville - Julefrokost
04: Cliff Richard - Another Christmas Day
05: Monkeybuiness Feat. L.O.C. Og Jokeren - Kære Julemayn
06: Pet Shop Boys - It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas (New Version)
07: Julecamp'en Feat. Julie Ruggaard - Penge Til Jul 
08: Sanne Salomonsen Og Nikolaj Steen - Vi Lover Hinanden
09: Gilbert O'Sullivan - Christmas Song 
10: Bossen Og Bumsen - Op Til Jul 
11: Michael Learns To Rock - Upon A Christmas Night 
12: Caroline Henderson - Vil Du Være Min Nat 
13: The Darkness - Christmas Time 
14: Eva Cassidy & Chuck Brown - The Spirit Of Christmas
15: Sweethearts - Feliz Navidad (Fik Lis Nok I Nat) 
16: Cartoons - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 
17: Dodo Gad & Jens Rud - Baby, It's Cold Outside 
18: Sinead O'Connor - Silent Night 
19: Martin Brygmann Og Julie Berthelsen - Jesus Og Josefine
20: Erasure - She Won't Be Home 
21: Michael Bundesen - Det Nye År (Bonus)

Last year, we brought you a listing for "NOW Christmas 2010", Denmark's eighth NOW Christmas release.  So it seemed like a good idea to follow up with their ninth, "NOW Christmas 2011".  Yes the NOW people are intent upon world domination and they'll stop at nothing.  Not even Christmas.  Not even Christmas in a country where Christmas is Jul (and vice versa).

But what's interesting in looking over these two Danish NOW holiday sets is how much of the playlist has turned over in just a year.  In America, you might have to wait a few years between Christmas NOW records.  And even then, a really sizable percentage of the playlist is carried over from one volume to the next.  Here, I can spot maybe a dozen repeats.  On a playlist of 42, that's not too shabby.  Ernie's rule is in play, so we still get John Lennon and Yoko Ono of course.  Thank goodness there seems to be a similar rule in Denmark requiring the Tuborg Holiday jingle.  Keeping things fresh, Coldplay's "Christmas Lights" makes an appearance.  And did you know that "Feliz Navidad" translates to "Fik Lis Nok I Nat" in Danish?  Well, now you do.

One other note of interest.  Flemming "Bamse" Jorgensen is included here in tribute.  The big man passed away on January 1, 2011 at the age of 63.  A well loved actor and singer--"Bamse" translates as "Teddy Bear"--Jorgensen made music for over 35 years and sold over 3.5 million records.  "Muligvisvej" is taken from the 1998 Christmas album "Brødrene Mortensens jul".  It was the soundtrack of a Danish television show that ran for 13 episodes in 1998 and then was shown again in 2002.
 
 
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1.  Here Comes Santa Claus Again
2.  Fira Jul Pa Fyra Hjul (Christmas On Four Wheels)
3.  Christmas Time Has Found Me
4.  Trucking Trees For Christmas
5.  Tomten Ar Aldrig Sen (Santa Is Never Late)
6.  Run Rudolph Run
7.  Ingen Jul Utan Dig (No Christmas Without You)
8.  Santa's On The Go
9.  All I Want For Christmas Dear Is You
10.  Christmas Bug
11.  Julnatt (Christmas Eve)
11.  Julmedley
12.  Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy


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One of the hottest acts in Sweden, right now, also boast one of the hottest albums on their charts.  The Playtones were the first place finishers on the reality TV show Dansbandskampen 2009.  Earlier this year, they topped the Swedish charts with "Rock N Roll Party" and, three weeks after release, "Rock N Roll Christmas Party" has climbed to #4.  The band is generally described as a Rockabilly band but, judging from this outing, they move pretty easily between a wide cross-section of late 50s/early 60s styles.  There's flat out Country ("Trucking Trees For Christmas") and a fairly straight forward cover of Chuck Berry's "Run Ridolph Run", and quite a bit in between.  Whatever you want to call it, it remains an undeniable fact that Europeans love America's musical heritage far more than Americans do.   For me, the highlight was the song above--"Christmas Time Has Found Me", it's got a bouncy, timeless "Jingle Bell Rock" vibe.  The official single, however, appears to be "Tomten Ar Aldrig Sen" (btw, the English translations above are google's, not mine).  In any case, the album, as a whole, is a rocking good time and it wouldn't hurt to have some more of that domestically.

And a bit of good news on this one for those, like myself, who love Christmas music from far away lands (and those looking for "a rocking good time").  "Rock N Roll Christmas Party" is available on the domestic iTunes (released here on 11/15), so you don't have to pay those high import prices for this new release unless you want a hard copy CD. 

 
 
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1.  All I Want For Christmas Is You - Figurines
2.  Carol Of The Bells - Fallulah
3.  Happy Christmas (War Is Over) - Teitur
4.  Merry Xmas Everybody - The Blue Van
5.  The Christmas Song - Coco
6.  Bort Fra Døren, Hansemand - Peter Sommer
7.  What Are You Doing New Years Eve - Sonja Richter
8.  Little Drummer Boy - Kirsten Og Marie
9.  Last Christmas! - The Kissaway Trail
10. You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You - Jacob Bellens
11. Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) - The Fireflies
12. En Helt Fantastisk Jul - Nørlund & Giana Factory


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Some of the finest Indie artists from Denmark are on display on "Fra Danske Hjerter", which translates as "From The Danish Heart".  The Fireflies are already pretty well known in Europe for their appearances on the Danish X Factor (sort of like American Idol), while acts like Kirsten & Marie are just beginning to shine.  (And I really do like Kirsten & Marie's single, "My Dear".)  The material covers the gamut of international standards, from an interesting and very Indie take on "Carol Of The Bells" to a pretty straight forward cover of Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody".  There's also a Danish carol, Peter Sommer's rendition of (translated) "Away From The Door", plus the Danish version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (which translates somehow as "Have A Fantastic Christmas") as sung by Giana Factory and Nørlund.  Nørlund, as it happens, put the whole thing together.  And a televised concert, bringing all of these artists together, is planned for December.

Once again, ordering these overseas gems when they're new is costly.  This one will run you nearly 32 Euros (including shipping)--over $43.  But, of the foreign releases we've looked at so far this year, this might be the best of them.  Better leave a search running at eBay, eh?  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this disc will go to the Christmas Seals Foundation.

You can find some song samples for this album on the Danish iTunes.  But, to give you a chance to become familiar with a few of these acts, we're including some non-Christmas videos from Kirsten & Marie and The Fireflies.

 
 
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Rather than try to fit the track list for this 2 CD set next to our album photo, here, we'll save that for the end of the post.  The important thing to know is that those NOW Music people are everywhere.  It seems like nearly every country in the world has its own NOW series.  Well, a lot of them do, anyway.  But, in a way, that's really cool.  Because each country has their own versions featuring, yes, a lot of stuff you already know, but also the great pop hits of their own country.  And, yes, I repeat myself, that is really really cool.  NOW Christmas albums, beyond America's borders, have only been released in a few countries thusfar--Great Britain, Canada, Japan, The Netherlands, and Denmark.  And the NOW Christmas series out of Denmark has clearly been one of the most successful. 

              PURCHASE THROUGH CDON

NOW Christmas 2010 is Denmark's eighth NOW Christmas release, and that's as many Christmas releases as in the UK (where the NOW folks began their empire) and more than in the US.  And one reason the Denmark releases do so well is their inclusion of a wide variety of selections, musically and nationally.  Even on the English speaking tracks, there's an interesting assortment, including Olivia Newton John & Michael McDonald singing "All Through The Night", Bill Haley & The Comets doing "Jingle Bell Rock", The Spice Girls' "Sleigh Ride", Linda Ronstadt's "When You Wish Upon A Star" and, not Band Aid, but Band Aid II.  Not saying any of those are unique, but they are different.  Different?  This one's even got "Jingle Bombs" by Achmed The Dead Terrorist (comedian Jeff Dunham).  And, of course, where else are you going to get all that, John Mogensen's "Bjældeklang-Kender I den om Rudolf" AND the Tuborg Holiday Jingle?  Anyway, here's the full track list (plus another video at the bottom):
Disc 1
1. Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas 
2. Drengene Fra Angora – Jul I Angora 
3. Band Aid II – Do They Know It’s Christmas 
4. Pet Shop Boys – It Doesnt Often Snow At Christmas 
5. Otto Brandenburg – Sren Banjomus 
6. Cliff Richard – Mistletoe & Wine 
7. D:A:D – Sad Sad X-mas 
8. Caroline Henderson – Vil Du Vre Min I Nat 
9. Roy Wood & Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday 
10. Cartoons – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 
11. Olivia Newton-John & Michael McDonald – All Through The Night 
12. Sanne Salomonsen Og Nikolaj Steen – Vi Lover Hinanden 
13. Martin Brygmann Og Julie Berthelsen – Jesus Og Josefine 
14. Sren Sko – Min Engel 
15. Spice Girls – Sleigh Ride 
16. Gnags – Der Sidder To Nisser 
17. John Mogensen – Bjldeklang/Kender I Den Om Rudolf 
18. Ashley Tisdale – Last Christmas 
19. Julie Maria Og Alis – Pagten (Uden Hinanden) 
20. Sinne Eeg & Bobo Moreno – Baby It’s Cold Outside 
21. Tuborg Juleband – Tuborg Julebryg Jingle (Hidden Track) 
Disc 2
1. John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Happy Xmas (War Is Over) 
2. Anden – Jul Pa Vesterbro 
3. Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas 
4. Shu-Bi-Dua – Rap Jul 
5. Mel & Kim – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree 
6. Flemming ‘Bamse’ Jrgensen – Jul Pa Vimmersvej 
7. Kylie Minogue – Santa Baby 
8. Nordstrm – Danmark, Det Er Jul 
9. Dean Martin – White Christmas 
10. Bossen Og Bumsen – Op Til Jul 
11. The Pretenders – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 
12. Nanny Og Martin Brygmann – Alle Ku’ Se Det Ske 
13. Bill Haley & His Comets – Jinglle Bell Rock 
14. Monrad Og Rislund – Jul Igen (Remix) 
15. Kate Bush – December Will Be Magic Again 
16. Tomym Seebach – Vi nsker Alle En Gldelig Jul 
17. Natalie Cole – Jingle Bells 
18. Laid Back – So This Is X-Mas 
19. Ss Fenger – Jeg Holder je Med Dig (2009) 
20. Linda Ronstadt – When You Wish Upen A Star 
21. Achmed – The Dead Terrorist – Jingle Bombs (Hidden Track) 


 
 
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1. Dubstep Christmas
2. Having it off for Christmas
3. Christmas Dinner
4. Charistmas at Gran's House
5. Christmas Fairy
6. Can't remember Christmas
7. Maggot's Christmas fantasy
8. Don't wanna wear no clothes on Christmas Day
9. Christmas rampage
10. Secret Santa
11. Out of my head on Christmas Day
12. You'll never be alone on Christmas Day

PURCHASE FROM GOLDIE LOOKIN CHAIN

This is a UK release so, even if you go ahead and order it, I wouldn't count on having it before Christmas. I mean, it's possible, but don't count on it. It'll run you £10.00 (I always just double that to estimate the price in USD, even if doubling is overdoing it). 

Now that that's out of the way, who are these guys? Goldie Lookin Chain is a comedic rap group from Wales, and very popular across the pond by the looks of things.  Comedic rap?  Is there such a thing?  Are they any good? I went over to the GLC MySpace page to check them out and let me just say I was thoroughly entertained. The Christmas songs aren't up there yet, but you'll get an idea of the idea. Sort of a cross between The Beastie Boys and The Goons, if you can imagine that.  It isn't really something I'd go out of my way for, but if it turned up in a used CD shop for $10, yeah, I'd buy it.  Please note the parental advisory label on the album cover and proceed accordingly.

 
 
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1.  Joy To The World……Christine Anu
2.  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas……Troy Casser-Daley
3.  I Wish Christmas Day Would Last All Year……Vanessa Amorosi
4.  O Holy Night……Stan Walker
5.  Send Me Back My Dad……Katy Steele
6.  Grown Up Christmas List……The Veronicas
7.  Merry Christmas Baby……Diesel
8.  Last Christmas……Tina Arena
9.  Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)……Mark Vincent
10. Little Drummer Boy……Delta Goodrem
11. Street Parade……Chris Cheney
12. We Three Kings……Gabriella Cilmi
13. White Wine In The Sun……Kate Miller-Heidke
14. All I Want For Christmas Is You……Haley Warner
 SONG SAMPLES AT iTUNES (AUSTRALIA)     15. Christmas Time Is Here……Paul Dempsey

                    MYER STORES

Australian Christmas music might represent the best of all possible worlds when it comes to International holiday sounds--being half a world away and yet sharing a common language.

"The Spirit of Christmas" CDs are a charity venture put out each year by the Salvation Army and sold exclusively through Myer stores, with proceeds going to support at-risk children in Australia.  The series began in 1993 and they haven't missed a year.  They routinely feature a line-up of the biggest stars on the Australian music scene, across all genres, though many of the names might be unfamiliar to we here in the states.  Among regular contributors to the series are Glenn Shorrock (Little River Band), John Farnham (Australia's Cliff Richard), Delta Goodrem (star of the Australian soap Neighbors), Judith Durham (The Seekers), and Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel, Diesel, INXS).  Yes, Olivia Newton-John has been featured as well, as have Kate Ceberano and Kylie Minogue.  

This year's volume gives us The Veronicas, Chris Cheney (The Living End), Katy Steele (Little Birdy), and a great Blues/Rock rendition of "Merry Christmas Baby" by Diesel.

This year, for the first time, "The Spirit Of Christmas" is also being sold through iTunes (AU), which still doesn't help any of us American mates.  The hard copy CDs should show up at Myer stores in mid-November--about the time of the annual Myer Christmas parade.  But the likelihood is that those in this country looking to purchase this one will have to wait until it turns up on eBay.

 

    International

    When it's Christmas, it's Christmas all over the world. And I've long been fascinated by the holiday songs of faraway lands--so different and new and yet somehow so familiar.  

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