Have I mentioned that I'm a holiday junkie? Oh yes,
I have. Actually, I mentioned that in my last column here at
Chicago Parent, the one where I shared with you "Eight New
Holiday Records for 2013." But one entry just wasn't
enough and here I am again with another batch of fresh tunes for
your holiday music playlist.
The girls and I have already been making our way up
and down through Chicagoland this season. We have two family
Christmases under our belts, a very brief stop by the
Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza (too cold to stick around) and our
annual visit with Santa Claus at Macy's on State Street in the
books. Our soundtrack just keeps expanding and with that, I'm
sharing with you ten more records to check out this
As always, these selections are geared toward the
entire family - from the kid-friendly sounds of Ralph's World and
Zak Morgan to the contemporary offerings from Lots of Love and NTNT
and all the way to the other side of the dial with metallic entries
from August Burns Red and legendary actor Christopher Lee. Here's
what's in my musical stocking this week:
Poochamungas featuring Strain Busy
Sky - "Santa's Eating Pancakes"
What does Santa eat for breakfast? That's the
question that Chicago's own Poochamungas aims to answer on
their perennial favorite, "Santa's Eating Pancakes." The
track features vocals by Strain Busy Sky, with a horn section
provided by grade school and high school students. All
proceeds from the sale of this track will benefit
Ignite the Spirit,
a fund that helps brothers and sisters of the Chicago Fire
PBS KIDS Presents Daniel Tiger's
Neighborhood - "Snowflake Day" EP (PBS KIDS)
If you have preschool-aged kids like I do, chances
are "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" is a fixture in your home.
Even before I got involved with PBS as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very
Involved Parent) Blogger, Daniel and his pals were becoming
very well-known in our house and the music really struck me
in that it just makes you feel good. Following-up last year's
full-length album, "
Life's Little Lessons,"the "Snowflake Day" EP was
just released and features five songs from the recent episode
of the same name. Guest vocalist Matt Dusk also
Ralph's World - "Songs 4 Happy
Holidays" EP (Waterdog Music)
These four holiday songs by Chicago's Ralph Covert
were originally part of a larger collection called "A Holly Jolly
Ralph's World." Back in 2005, Minty Fresh was set to release the
album but a deal with Disney scrapped those plans and the original
CD's were thought to have been destroyed. Thanks to digital
releasing, Ralph's four original compositions are now on iTunes.
And thanks to luck, a few copies of the original, unreleased CD
(complete with 10 additional recordings) have surfaced. They have
recently been made available exclusively through the Waterdog
Celebration (Walt Disney Records)
Originally released on CD as a Target Stores
exclusive back in 2007, this twelve song collection quietly arrived
at digital retailers just this week! Featuring classics performed
by Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and even The Muppets' Dr. Teeth
and The Electric Mayhem, it's certainly worth a look.
Zak Morgan - "Snow Day"
(Universal Music Enterprises)
Last year, Zak Morgan released a really cool album
called "The Barber of the Beasts" that I just didn't have
time to review. This year, he's released a new music video
for the song "Snow Day," and while it's not a holiday song,
it's definitely seasonal.
Lots of Love - "Lover Man for
Christmas" and "Last Christmas" (Self-released)
Jessica Fleischer, who you might not know just yet
but hopefully will in the coming year, performs under the moniker:
Lots of Love. Over the past few months, she's released
her debut album,
a children's book and now a Christmas
single, "Lover Man for Christmas." It's available as a free
download via the player below.
But that's not all! Last Christmas, she released a
cover version of the George Michael and Wham! classic "Last
Christmas." It's available on
iTunes and there's a video for it,
NTNT - "The List"
Available as a Free
If it was the year 1985 and I was out at the mall
Christmas shopping after catching a matinee screening of "The
Breakfast Club," it's very likely that I would've heard
something with a vibe similar to "The List" at some point in
my travels. But it isn't '85, it's 2013 . . . but that
doesn't matter because Portland-based NTNT (Ninja Turtle
Ninja Tiger) has released "The List" as a holiday-flavored
single that's being made available as a gift for you. Yes,
just for you. Stream it below.
August Burns Red - "Dance of the
Sugar Plum Fairy" (Solid State Records)
They have a tradition of releasing a metal version
of a classic holiday song each Christmas and last year August
Burns Red brought them all together for a full album called
"Sleddin' Hill: A Holiday Album." So what did they do for
2013? They've reissued the album digitally with an all-new
track, "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker."
It's fantastic. Stream the new song below and speaking of
"The Nutcracker," my wife and I attended The Joffrey Ballet's
opening night performance of the famed ballet earlier this
month and it's magnificent. Go see it.
The Raskins - "The Little Drummer
Available as a Free Download
The Raskins (twin brothers Logan and Roger) were
born and raised in New York City in a musical household. Now,
having left their East Coast home for Los Angeles, the duo
are prepping their self-titled debut album for Spring 2014. In the
meantime, they've served up a free single for the holidays
with their version of "The Little Drummer Boy." Grab the
download via the ReverbNation widget below.
Christopher Lee - "A Heavy
Metal Christmas Too" (Charlemagne Productions)
Having already appeared in over 300 films during
his youthful 91 years of age (born in 1922),
Christopher Lee was not only Count Dracula but also
"Star Wars" Count Dooku and Saruman in Peter Jackson's "Lord
of the Rings" and "Hobbit" films. A couple of years ago, Lee
also added heavy metal to his resume with a series of
recordings that included 2012's "
A Heavy Metal Christmas." For 2013, Lee is back
A Heavy Metal Christmas Too," a new single that
pairs his version of "Jingle Bells" with a cover of Frank
Sinatra's "My Way." It's pretty epic, and a great conversation
piece for listeners young and old.
For even more late-breaking additions to the 2013
holiday music playlist, check out the "Seasonal
Cheer" section of my main site, The Rock
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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