Alternative music to get you in the Holiday mood

By: Adilene Rodriguez


If you love holiday music but are too cool to admit it, this playlist might be for you. With holiday music being one of the music industry’s top breadwinners every year, it’s no surprise many artists have put out holiday-themed singles and albums, indie and alternative artists are no exception. Alternative/indie artists have dived into the holiday music trend and listed below are just a few select, interesting takes of holiday classics from alternative/indie artists.

  1. “Sleigh Ride” by fun. : Back in 2012, after the massive success of the single “We Are Young,” the band fun. took part in an indie holiday compilation album titled “Holidays Rule.” Their cover of the holiday classic was the album’s lead track. Packed with string arrangements, synths and electronic sound effects, and the ever-important sleigh bells, this cover is the epitome of an indie take of a holiday song. It’s weird; it’s fun and it’ll be sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
  2. “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” by The Head and the Heart: Taken off the same holiday album, folk band The Head and the Heart lent their talents to this song, covered by a range of artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Conick Jr., Rod Stewart and even creator of “Family Guy” Seth Macfarlane. True to their folk sound, the band keeps it simple with an acoustic guitar, a piano and the flicking of a drum, to accompany their gruff voices, making it sound more like a song you’d hear in an romantic scene of an indie film rather than a holiday classic. Nevertheless, it is still a lovely cover.
  3. “O Holy Night” by Bastille: Bastille is a relatively new alternative band that has received a lot of hype since the 2013 release of their commercially successful single, “Pompeii.” Also famous for their strange cover choices, such as Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” (where they also sampled Cyrus’ dad, Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart”) to TLC’s “No Scrubs,” their take on Oh Holy Night also turns odd. Sampling audio from holiday movie favorite “Home Alone,” lead singer Dan Smith hauntingly starts the song in a dark place, singing in a low whisper. Later joined by a choir, the song gets heavier and has never sounded more eerie. It is nothing you’d expect from an “O Holy Night” cover.
  4. “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” by Julian Casablancas: It’s probably the most fun inspired by a Saturday Night Live skit by a gravelly vocalist Christmas song ever. Ripping from a Saturday Night Live bit by SNL veterans, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan and Tracy Morgan, the song turned into a guitar-band jam when Julian Casablancas decided to cover it. Casablancas vocals aren’t exactly what you’d expect to hear from a Christmas song. But somehow him shouting that he wished Christmas was today and whispering that he hears sleigh bells “a’ ring-a-ding ding” work. Casablancas kicked up the nutty tune up some notches and turned it into an electrifying dance-y number.
  5. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by She & Him: She & Him is a musical project spearheaded by actress Zooey Deschanel alongside musician M.Ward. In 2011, they released their very own holiday album titled, “A Very She & Him Christmas.” In this version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” they speed up the tempo, use a ukulele and there’s whistling involved. It has all the quirk you’d expect—a very She & Him cover indeed.
  6. “Got Something For You” by Best Coast and Wavves: Lead Singer of Best Coast, Bethany Cosentino, and lead singer of Wavves, Nathan Williams, are the modern-day indie power couple. Both super-Californian rock stars recorded this, making it their first musical collaboration. It sounds like a song that would appropriately be played at a Christmas beach party— true to each of the artists’ nature.
  7. “Last Christmas” by Peace: UK band Peace covered “Last Christmas,” arguably the best Christmas song of the 80’s, as a promo to announce the making of a new album (that has yet to be released) in 2013. Although technically they didn’t release the cover as a single, it’s still a really indie take on a holiday song, complete with a double-neck guitar solo. You can’t go wrong with a Wham cover.

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