An eMusic Christmas: Viva Noel and Aimee Mann

I love Christmas music. Every year I get a few Christmas CDs to add to my collection. While I do love the classics, I tend to seek out non-traditional Christmas music. Here are a couple non-traditional efforts that I recommend. (And all are available on eMusic)

Viva Noel: A Q Division Christmas

– Various Artists
Viva Noel: A Q Division ChristmasQ-Division is one of my favorite underground labels. Jen Trynin is probably the biggest of their label roster, and she never quite made it to the big time. All off beat and interesting – there are a couple of classics like Aimee Mann doing “The Christmas Song”. But the best songs are the originals and my favorite is “Little Christmas” by Jules Verdone; a sad tale of a lonely Christmas that is smarter and cooler than any blue Christmas. Best of all, this CD has been out of print and was near impossible to find until the digital age – now available on eMusic
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One More Drifter in the Snow
– Aimee Mann

One More Drifter in the SnowWith my love of off beat Christmas song, this was a must. The classics are done traditionally untraditional. Her version of I’ll Be Home for Christmas sounds like the song you’ve grown up with, but with a little slide guitar, and a sly beat that makes it hers. Then there are the cool songs such as You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch and a new version of the Jon Brion/Michael Penn tune Christmastime done all by her lonesome as opposed to the original duet with her husband Penn. This CD is another must have for the holidays.
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A few more recommendations:

‘Tis The Season For Los Straitjackets

-Los Straitjackets

'Tis The Season For Los Straitjackets

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A Winter’s Night

- Various Artists (featuring Ron Sexsmith, Barenaked Ladies, Neil Finn, Sarah McLachlan and other Nettwerk artists)
A Winter's Night

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  • radiocynic

    Surprised we never discussed this before — I’m a major Christmas music freak, too. We’ll have to trade favorites and the like sometime.

    Caught up late to Aimee’s album; just got it a few days ago. Liking it a LOT, though I still slightly prefer her earlier versions of Have Yourself A… and Christmas Song. And I greatly prefer the old duet version of Christmastime, but I like the song so much it’s just great to have another version to enjoy. REALLY especially loving the new original (Calling on Mary) and the Jimmy Webb cover (Whatever Happened…).

    Amazes me how the whole thing is so COMPLETELY opposite from the way that interviewer dude was trying to spin it (as discussed in > .) If anything, I find the whole project unusually consciously sentimental, not even close to overly-cynical/depressing. (And I’m uncharacteristically finding myself in a mood this year to appreciate a bit more sentimentality than usual — must be the old age thing…) Your “traditionally untraditional” is right on the money. Hard to explain other than telling someone to listen. Surprisingly and sincerely traditional in so many ways, yet still original and unique to her sound, especially in the tasteful vocal phrasing. Anyway, great record!

  • radiocynic

    Hmm, I just learned you can’t put a link in a comment… or maybe I just formatted it wrong. The “(as discussed in >)” means: “as discussed in your earlier ‘Aimee Mann goes one on one with a moron’ post.”

  • Spencer

    Let’s see if putting links in works:

    Aimee goes one on one with a moron.

    Looks like it needs to be put in as actual HTML.

  • http://www.svrspy.blogspot.com Scarlet

    I have to endure a lot of Christmas music since I work in Barnes and Noble, but this year they’ve given us a much better selection. I’ve been enjoying the Sarah McLachlen one as well as the Putamayo New Orleans Christmas.

  • http://merujo.blogspot.com Merujo

    I’m trying to figure out if I have enough pennies in my sofa to go to Aimee’s Xmas concert here on Thursday night at the Birchmere… ponder, ponder, ponder… I found these tracks on iTunes not knowing about the CD – I was looking for specific holiday songs for a mix CD – and I downloaded some of them immediately. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”? Fantastic, and sad, and lovely.

  • http://merujo.blogspot.com Merujo

    Oops. My bad. Aimee’s performing Tuesday and Wednesday night at the Birchmere, and I’m booked both nights. I’m a Thomas Dolby groupie this week. :-)