Here's another group I don't know that clearly I should. Spiritual Plague self-describes as a Symphonic Rock band from Washington state. They got together in 2007 (though they went through some lineup changes in the early years). But they've done a couple of Christmas songs before ("God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "O Holy Night") and yet I haven't come across them somehow. I will say I think this year's Christmas single, "We Three Kings" is their best yet (IMHO). This one should be in EVERYBODY'S heavy rotation. Look for it on iTunes and CD Baby beginning November 11.
I was a big fan of the New Romantic music of the eighties. You know, synth bands like ABC and Spandau Ballet. Unfortunately, the New Romantic sound had about died out by the time Christmas music came back into vogue, so very few of the New Romantics ever recorded contemporaneous Christmas music. While Synth Pop has continued on, certainly, there's been a mini revival, of late, of New Romantics (or, as the new bands are apparently called--The New New Romantics). Brooklyn based Ice Choir is one of the best of these, in my opinion. For 2014, Ice Choir has released a Christmas single, "Pure Holiday". "Pure Holiday" is actually a collective title. The songs are "It's Different Now" and "Cut Down The Tree". The single is available on 7" vinyl and in digital form. Or will be--the official release date is the 17th. The only place I've found, domestically, offering the vinyl is Insound (they currently have it listed as "out of stock" with no pre-order available). There are some overseas outlets taking pre-orders on the 7". Amazon will have the mp3.
Shane McGowan ("Fairytale Of New York") apparently has a new Christmas single dropping Monday. At least it drops on the other side of the pond (when it gets to America is anyone's guess). I love the title: "Rudolph Can Kiss My Arse". There's the Shane MacGowan holiday spirit we all know and love.
Wiser heads don't always prevail. Bob Geldolf is going ahead with the 30th anniversary Band Aid single. Among the artists set to sing are Adele, Coldplay and One Direction. Bob claims he's re-written the lyrics (this single is for Ebola relief). Me, I think the song, itself, is toast at this point. Once F@#ed Up covered it, there was no more gold to be mined there. But, hey, that's just me.
Austin, Texas Soul/Funkinsteins Roxy Roca are planning a single later this year (and I think it's vinyl). The "A" side is slated to be "It Ain't Christmas Without You" with a new recording of "Back Door Santa" on the flip. Check the video of Roxy Roca and download a freebie (along with a bunch of other folks) over on the Free Page.
Ariana Grande has announced the title of her new Christmas single. "Santa Tell Me" will be released November 24.
And Family Force 5 will also release a new Christmas single this year. November 18 is the scheduled date for the release of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"...done up in Family Force 5 style. When have you heard that old chestnut done with a dance pop vibe? The press release says the single will only be available from DSPs. And I have no clue what a DSP is (but I take it to mean it's a digital single only).
Hanson has recorded a new Christmas single this year, however. And "Finally, It's Christmas" is a top-notch, high energy, expertly crafted Pop Rock Christmas tune. If you grew up listening to Top 40 radio in the late 60s and early 70s, I think you'd love it. I know I did.
"Finally It's Christmas", at present, is only available as a digital download through Hanson's web store and I doubt it'll turn up at Amazon or iTunes any time soon. You'll have to register to get it. Registration is free, but be warned that it won't accept your password unless it has an ungodly number of characters. Hanson is doing a streaming concert on the 29th, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a DVD/CD release next year (a la Heart). Regardless, if you're a Top 40 dude or dudette, "Finally It's Christmas" is a solid hit.
If you're more of a melancholy Alt Rock kind of person, then look no further than "Nothing Left To Do" from The Both. The Both is Aimee Mann and Ted Leo and the song is actually more what you'd expect from an Aimee Mann Christmas song than even her own Christmas album. "Nothing Left To Do" is a downbeat and depressing Folk Rock tune that, at the same time is quite beautiful (that's the miracle of Aimee's voice). And, of course, the juxtaposition of beauty and longing is a fairly common Christmas experience. Wherever fine downloads are sold and that includes Amazon MP3.
Looking for anything different and mixtape worthy, I came across this single from Scott Dion Brown. "Santa's Coming (For Revenge)" doesn't get my highest recommendation (for whatever that's worth), but its a fun song of a kind I know lots of people like. Musically, it's Pop Rock. Lyrically, it tells the story of an ungrateful brat who is due for a bit of comeuppance. And Santa's just the guy to deliver it. I do wish it had been mixed better. Just sayin'. You'll find it over at Bandcamp.
I'm not a "designer label" kind of dude. Really not. I don't do a lot of leather, either. So I can't tell you a thing about Cole Haan (ooh, look, coupons!) But I can tell you there's probably no better or hipper way to draw attention to your brand than by getting Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings to sing a funky rendition of "White Christmas".
Right now, you can't enjoy this track anywhere but YouTube or Cole Haan. But Sharon does have a holiday single coming next week. You can sample and pre-order the vinyl 7" of "Just Another Christmas Song" b/w "Big Bulbs" via Daptone Records.