As a certified holiday junkie, I'm sitting here
writing my column wearing a "Griswold Family Tree" Christmas
t-shirt, sipping a cup of Dunkin' Donuts Mocha Mint coffee. My
office is illuminated only by the light of my computer screen and
the 9' tree to my right. It's safe to say that I'm fueled by the
season at this point and like the mp3 player that was installed a
few years back in Santa's sleigh (how I know that is classified),
I'm also on a mission to deliver some holiday music to those who
care to listen. 2013 is a year that feels a tad light when it comes
to new seasonal songs, but that doesn't mean that they're not
around. Today, I present to all of you here at Chicago Parent a
list of eight records to consider for your 2013 holiday music
playlist. From folk to punk and local to global, there's something
here for all the families that rock!
Me You & Her - "A Lil' More
Available as a Free
Download or suggested donation of $6 to the
Greater Chicago Food Depository via Noisetrade
Me, You and Her is Hannah Rand, Alaina Stacey and Olivia
Harris - a trio of Chicago-based performers that started playing
music together three years ago, while still in high school. Last
year they recorded a Holiday EP. Their rendition of "We Wish You A
Merry Christmas" became an
anthem for a promotional effort for the Greater Chicago Food
Depository after the girls learned that 1 in
5 children in Chicago don't know where their next meal will come
from. For 2013, they've made the entire seven-song record available
as a FREE DOWNLOAD - but if you're inclined to leave them a "tip"
, they will donate 100% of it to the Greater Chicago Food
Depository. Watch the making of "A Lil' More Christmas"
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - "It
Feels Like Christmas Time"(Savoy
For their third seasonal entry following 1997's
"Watchu' Want for Christmas"
and 2004's "Everything You Want for
Christmas," BBVD delivers a
fat bag of sonic presents that are bound to put a smile on your
face and warm the hearts of even the coldest Scrooge or meanest
Grinch. "It Feels Like Christmas Time" is a mix of swingin'
versions of classic songs and all-new compositions. Check out the
video for the title track below:
Elizabeth Mitchell &
Friends - "The Sounding Joy" (Smithsonian
Officially titled "The Sounding Joy: Songs in and
out of the Ruth Crawford Seeger Songbook,"
this new album is a 24-track collection of
spirited carols drawn from Ruth Crawford Seeger's 1953 songbook,
"American Folk Songs for Christmas."
Some of the tracks appeared on the
1957 Seeger Sisters album of the same name (originally issued by
Scholastic, since reissued by Smithsonian Folkways). With
appearances by Peggy Seeger, Dan Zanes and Natalie Merchant (among
others), "The Sounding Joy"
is pure Americana and a traditional album worth
checking out. Get a Free Download of
"Children, Go Where I Send
Istvan and His Imaginary Band - "I
Can't Believe It's Christmas Eve"
Available direct from
the artist via
Straight outta Berwyn, Istvan and His Imaginary
Band have released a new single this year that is, in their own
words, "a song about every kid's favorite part of Christmas: the
Bad Religion - "Christmas Songs"
If there's a band that no one would've expected to
release a Christmas album, Bad Religion certainly would fit the
bill. But, for 2013, these punk rock legends have done just that.
They have put together what has thus far been my most-played new
Christmas record here at Rock Father HQ. With eight holiday
classics re-imagined, along with the Andy Wallace mix of their
Jesus" thrown in for good measure, Bad
Religion just solidified their spot in my perennial playlist, while
creating a true Christmas album for rock families.
Treetop Sisters - "Nicki
and the Crew" (Deer Ridge Music)
Ruby, Pearl and Jade Ayers are a vocal trio of
sisters out of Nashville that make music specifically-geared toward
kids ages 2-10 (the Ayers girls range in age from 7-11 themselves).
For 2013, they've released an all-new single and video called
"Nicki and the Crew" which can be streamed
Various Artists - "Punk
Goes Christmas" (Fearless Records)
I'm a huge fan of Fearless Records' "Punk Goes . .
." series, which launched way back in 2000 with "Punk Goes
Metal." While cover songs are the roots of these
rockin' compilations, "Punk Goes Christmas" finds the
likes of New Found Glory, All Time Low and Crown the Empire turning
in original seasonal songs, while bands like Yellowcard, Man
Overboard and Issues put their own spin on some new and old
Judy Pancoast - "The House
on Christmas Street Volume II: Christmas with Mrs. Claus"
If you've heard "The House on Christmas Street,"
there's a good chance it was on YouTube where Judy Pancoast's viral
hit staked it's ground as the soundtrack for thousands of videos
featuring neighborhood lighting displays. Last year, she followed
it up with a full album of songs wrapped in the persona of Mrs.
Claus, complete with a new version of her signature song. It's
nearly impossible to avoid mentioning that Pancoast sounds eerily
like Karen Carpenter, a trait that is by design. In fact, she's
performed a tribute to The Carpenters in the past.
Known as The Rock Father, James Zahn is a work-at-home dad raising a pair of young daughters while his wife works outside the home.
See more of James's stories here.
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