With the Christmas/holiday period looming, seasonal songs are everywhere on the radio at the moment. We’ve all heard the usual suspects but I wanted to check out some holiday songs from some smaller artists to listen to at this time of year. The songs below are all holiday songs from independent artists and a playlist can also be found below.
Review by Jane Howkins
Picture by Liz Rachel Walker
Liz Rachel Walker – Dance With Me, It’s New Year’s.
Liz Rachel Walker is a fiction writer from Canada who also writes her own music, making her a little different from most of the other artists on this list. Dance With Me, It’s New Year’s is her latest release, with the song also featuring Marie Clyde. As the title suggests, this is more of a New Year song than a Christmas one but it has all the musical hallmarks of the season – the main melody is catchy and the music has a very wintery feel to it. You can find her website here.
Jade 10 And Sisters Noel – My Ugly Sweater.
My Ugly Sweater is a quirky song from Jade 10 And Sisters Noel, which takes a look at one of the more recent Christmas traditions – the Christmas jumper. It’s possibly the only song I’ve every heard about a Christmas jumper and it gives the track a quirky feel. It’s quite an upbeat song and the bells give it a Christmassy feel – the guitar arpeggios are lovely and the lead vocals performed by Jade 10 sound simply wonderful.
Jessica Braithwaite – I Still Get Excited For Christmas.
Jessica Braithwaite is an Australian singer who has been gaining a lot of traction within her home country due to her musical skills and TV presenting work. I Still Get Excited For Christmas is a new Christmas song which sounds perfect for this time of years – just one listen will get you in the Christmas spirit! She has a great singing voice and the upbeat nature of the song gives it a really classic feel.
Broomfiller – Jingle Bells.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know Jingle Bells by now – it’s one of the most well known Christmas songs in the world, with many different versions available. Broomfillers have a slightly different spin on the track, with this being a punk rock cover of the song. This may not appeal to traditionalists or those into their more mellow styles of music, but I really enjoyed the different tone their version provided, and those into heavier music should find something to love here.
Matteson Gregory – Happy Holidays.
Matteson Gregory is a pop singer-songwriter based in the Midwest area of the USA. Happy Holidays is her newest release, just in time for the Christmas period. Despite the holiday themes, it has a slightly melancholic melody to it, although the lyrics seem rather happy. The track is about being in love during the Christmas period and the bells and piano really help to give the song some holiday cheer. It also helps that the song is incredibly catchy!
Evran – Christmas Day.
Christmas Day is a new release from Evran, a Norwegian composer, artist, writer and singer, who creates music within the indie pop range, although it also has something of a cinematic feel to it. The track was inspired by a walk Evran took in Bergan around ten years ago during December when all the Christmas lights were shining, inspiring Evran to write the song. In terms of the music, the track has quite a dreamy feel to it and is a lot slower than some of the other songs here, with the music having a beautiful, almost medieval style melody to it.
Anita Eccleston – Long Nights.
Long Nights is a new song from Anita Eccleston, a musician and singer-songwriter currently based in Canada. It’s a jazzy song and reminded me a lot of the classic Christmas songs made in the 40s/50s which are still popular today. The track has a rather nostalgic feel to it, giving it a warm, family vibe and the trumpets that Anita plays on the bridge are lovely. It’s great to hear something a little different from the norm and Anita also has a lovely singing voice.
Katherine Nagy – Snow Day.
Snow Day is the latest track from Irish-born Katherine Nagy, with the song being a lovely and warm feeling holiday song. It sounds like quite a typical Christmas track, with a jazzy, nostalgic sound to it, although the production also has a modern feel, helping to mix things up a little. The guitar melodies and bass reminded me a lot of the music made during the 50s/60s, adding to the nostalgic feel of Snow Day.
The Kecks – Lonely This Christmas.
Lonely This Christmas is a song most people know already, with the original track being performed by glam rock band Mud. The Kecks are a DIY band who have covered the track – whilst it doesn’t differ too much from the original, The Kecks manage to give the song a modern twist, updating the production quality along the way. If you’re a fan of the original song then this is well worth checking out – the song isn’t on Spotify but you can find more info on their socials below.
Matt Burke – Whiskey Christmas.
Whiskey Christmas is a little different to the other songs here, although it’s still a Christmas/holiday song by and large. Matt Burke is a singer-songwriter and musician from Nashville and Matt’s hometown truly shines through in his music, with the track having a huge country vibe to it. The slide guitar adds to the country feel and the slow tempo gives it a nice holiday atmosphere.
Caroline Gustavsson – Christmas Lights.
Caroline Gustavsson is a Swedish singer-songwriter and musician who released Christmas Lights at the end of November this year. The track has a very positive feel to it and helps to evoke up memories of Christmas’ long past, as well as giving hope for the future. She has a great singing voice – the bubbly nature of the song suits her vocal style and the themes of the track.
Biskee Brischt – Christmas Morning.
Biskee Brischt are an indie-folk group from the Isle Of Man, an area we admittedly don’t often hear music from. They have a stunning sound to their music which is perpetuated in their latest song, Christmas Morning. It has quite a slow sound to it at first, giving their music an ethereal feel. It sounds simply beautiful at times and you can really hear the influence of their island home in their music.
Wes Walls – This Christmas, I’m Coming Home.
Wes Walls is a singer-songwriter from Montreal who writes catchy songs with memorable melodies to his music. This new song is called This Christmas, I’m Coming Home and has a really poppy feel to it – just try listening to it without wanting to tap your feet along! The main chord sequence on the chorus is brilliant and I reckon this track has the potential to make Wes a household name!
Talina Rae – Christmas Lights.
Talina Rae is a musician of mixed German and Brazilian heritage who now resides in the USA – Christmas Lights is her latest release – just in time for the holiday season! The track sounds like quite a typical modern Christmas song, with a bouncy, upbeat rhythm and bells playing throughout the track – the verse melody has a particularly poppy feel to it and should enter your head straight away! Make sure you check out her debut album release next year!
Simple Sessions – It’s Christmas!
It’s Christmas! is a new release from Simple Sessions, a collection of musicians from Leeds formed by piano/saxophone player Jon Melville. The song has quite a jazzy feel to it, in part due to the piano and the saxophone – the ska style guitar was also a nice addition (and something not often heard on this sort of music) and the female vocals suit the music well – it also helps that the chorus is incredibly catchy!
Darcey Hope – Coming Home.
Coming Home has a slightly different feel to a lot of the songs on this list – it has a much slower tempo, with the track being more of a slow burner. The main instrumentation comes from the piano melody, which highlights folk singer-songwriter Darcey Hope’s vocals perfectly. The main chord sequence is beautiful and rather understated at times and it has quite a jazzy feel, as well as the folky elements.
Cindy-Louise – A Different Little Christmas.
Cindy-Louise is an independent South African artist and musician with a very unique sound to her music – A Different Little Christmas is a Christmas song still (hence the title) but it’s also a rather dramatic piece of music, making Cindy-Louise’s music stand out from the crowd. Cindy-Louise has a fantastic vocal range and she really belts out the lyrics to the track in fantastic fashion – this is one of my favourite songs on this list.
Forgotten Garden – Christmas Time.
Christmas Time is quite a melancholy piece of music, in part due to the haunting feel of the track. Forgotten Garden are an indie rock band with gothic and punk elements to their music, although Christmas Time is quite different, in that it contains a piano melody and some strings as the main instruments in the piece. It has a very eerie feel to it and sounds almost like a medieval Christmas song, making it sound rather different to a lot of the more modern Christmas songs we usually hear on the radio.
Peter Spacey – Midnight Escape.
Midnight Escape is a remix completed by Peter Spacey, the moniker of Tel Aviv based DJ and producer Omer Luz. The track has a semi Christmas melody to it, but it also has something of a creepy feel, making it sound perfect for Halloween listening too. Omar has a jazz background and his musicianship really shows through here – there are a lot of different influences on show and it’s fantastic to hear a DJ trying something new and thinking outside of the box.
Nell Davies – The Day After Christmas.
Nell Davies is an indie pop artist from Cornwall in the UK – The Day After Christmas is her latest release. The track starts off with a slow acoustic guitar melody, mixing well with the folky vibes. The song soon kicks into a faster track, with a punky, indie rock guitar rhythm and melody running throughout the rest of the song. It’s catchy, but still has a rock and roll edge to it, which I loved.
Marvin Muoneké – Santa, I Can Explain.
Marvin Muoneké is the bandleader for the jazz/swing band The Marvin Muoneké Quartet, with Marvin being the lead vocalist of the band. Marvin’s music is along the lines of the classic crooners/jazz bands that became big in the 1940s/1950s, with Santa, I Can Explain being their latest Christmas themed song. The lyrics are very tongue in cheek and the track is worth listening to purely because of the lyrics, but thee jazzy music and crooning vocal style also sounds fantastic.
Sarah McGuinness – Christmas Everyday (No More Sad Songs).
Sarah McGuinness is a musician and singer-songwriter who started her musical career in Derry, Northern Ireland. Christmas Everyday (No More Sad Songs) is a new release from her, and as the title suggests, it’s a rather upbeat song about the positive sides to Christmas and the holiday period. Sarah was influenced heavily by the Motown movement and this really shows through on the music, especially with the rhythm of the track. It’s good to hear something so positive at this time of year so make sure you check the song out in our playlist!
JamsideUp feat Timeless Tim & MC Burglar – All She Wants For Christmas.
All She Wants For Christmas is a song from Jamside Up feat. Timeless Tim & MC Burglar, with the track itself being written by musician and producer Tim Hain. The song was written about a homeless woman Tim saw living on the streets during the Christmas period a few years ago, with him using the track to draw attention to the plight of the homeless – an important message, especially at this time of year. It’s a reggae-based track, making it sound quite different to the usual slew of Christmas songs you hear at this time of year.
Kinga Angelys – Can’t Do Christmas Without You.
Kinga Angelys is a Canadian musician, performer and songwriter who is currently based in Germany – Can’t Do Christmas Without You is a very festive sounding song and is rather catchy. Whilst it is poppy at times, it also has that distinctive Christmas sound to it, with some jazzy, soul elements also present in there. Kinga’s vocal style is rather different to the norm, but it suits the music well, and I also really enjoyed the fast rhythm of the track.
Eric Alexandrakis – Here Comes The Snow!
Here Comes The Snow! is a new release from Eric Alexandrakis, a Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, composer and producer with Greek heritage. The song is very catchy and has a folky feel to it, in part due to the acoustic guitars on the track. The lyrics are rather repetitive but this makes the song sound even more catchy and gives it a singalong quality. The rhythm is also rather upbeat and it has a very positive feel to it.
Rich Chambers – It’s Christmas Time (All Over The World).
It’s Christmas Time All Over The World has that classic holiday music feel to it, with an upbeat rhythm and melody kicking the song off instantly – the track has something of a classic rock feel to it, in part due to the guitar lines and musician and singer Rich Chambers’ vocal style. It’s good to hear something a little heavier than the norm (in terms of holiday music anyway) so those into their rock and roll music should find something to love here.
Ralph Curtis – You Feel Like Christmas.
Country artist Ralph Curtis released his debut holiday song, You Feel Like Christmas, back at the end of November, with the song being a romantic Christmas love song. It’s a great song for those who are loved up this Christmas with the lyrics having quite an amorous vibe to them. The piano melody is gorgeous and I really liked the slowed down feel of the track, adding to the romantic Christmas feel the track has.
Winterbrook – My Boyfriend Is A Snowman.
Winterbrook is a musical project from singer and musician T J Winterbrook. Despite the holiday themes, My Boyfriend Is A Snowman actually has quite a sad feel to it, with the track being about the main character’s boyfriend being cold in nature, giving the lyrics a metaphorical aspect. The music itself sounds quite Christmassy, with bells and an up-tempo rhythm being the name of the game here. The vocals also suit the lyrics well, with a real sense of emotion being portrayed within them.